117 Why (and how) real estate agents need to become personal brands

Why real estate agents need to build their personal brand

If people like you, they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.

This statement from celebrated author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar rings particularly true for the real estate industry. Investing in property comes with a hefty price tag, and for many buyers a solid connection with a real estate agent is non-negotiable.

The question is: as an agent, how do you establish your reputation? How do you build your brand and shine amongst your many competitors?

Australia’s real estate industry has grown at a fast rate. According to data from IBISWorld, the market size of the real estate services industry has grown 0.8 per cent per year on average between 2018 to 2023, while the total value of the nation’s housing market reached $9.9 trillion in the 2022 December quarter. Breaking through the competition and securing your piece of the market is vital to success.

While personal referrals still work, agents must also have a strong community and online presence. Potential buyers and sellers can do a simple online search to find information, background sale data and articles about an agent or agency. If your story or pitch doesn’t stand out, chances are you could lose a potential sale

Your brand must be memorable to ensure it stays top-of-mind with buyers and vendors. When someone hears or sees your name, you need them to automatically recognise you are a leading agent.

Brand recognition and trust are two of the most sought-after traits people look for in an agent. 

So, how do you continue to build your brand? The answer lies in creating interesting and engaging content. Read on to find out more.

Real estate agents who have built their personal brand domination over their industry and media 

Take a second to think about the real estate industry and the agents you know. Business names, logos, marketing material – it all comes to the forefront of your mind. Why? Because these are the agents who have worked hard to establish themselves as leaders. These are the people who stand out amongst the pack.  

Let’s take a look at two of Australia’s leading agents who have successfully built strong business and community profiles. Both of these agents make strong, multiple sales, command large audiences and even star on television.

Ryan Serhant 

You’ve likely heard of New York-based agent Ryan Serhant. As the star of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York and Sell It Like Serhant, he is one of the most recognised agents in the world. According to research, he’s estimated to be worth US$30 million.

Through hard work, tenacity and an understanding of brand development, Ryan has become an author, entrepreneur, producer, public speaker and head of the number one sales team in New York as ranked by The Wall Street Journal for three consecutive years. The Serhant team has secured more than $4 billion in sales.

Ryan began working in the industry as a way to pay his rent but soon unearthed a passion and talent for selling property. He also discovered the important role brand development and content sharing play in building a career. Today he is the CEO and founder of SERHANT., an integrated brokerage firm that comprises an in-house film studio, education arm, marketing division and technology platform.

SERHANT. is a content-to-commerce technology ecosystem dedicated to real estate content. Its digital education platform has more than 14,000 members across 110 countries. His in-house marketing and production company, SERHANT. Studios produce content for Ryan’s agency and television ventures. It averages more than 100 million impressions per month. Through his content production and savvy social media presence, he is the owner of one of the most-followed real estate brands in the world through YouTube, the Facebook Watch show Unlocked, and the real estate media network, LISTED.

To date, Ryan has 1.7 million followers on Instagram and 1.3 million subscribers on YouTube. He says the key is to learn how to master social media content creation and be consistent about it.

“Countless billions use social media daily, and mastering real estate social media content creation means you can get in front of more of them in a way that’s in line with your branding,” Ryan says.

Gavin Rubinstein 

Star of Prime Video’s Luxe Listings – Sydney, Gavin Rubinstein, has fast become a household name here in Australia. Rumoured to be worth a whopping $50 million, Gavin first captured the attention of media, producers and the public with his unique property marketing methods.

Under the banner of his business, The Rubinstein Group (TRG), he was initially questioned by peers for his non-traditional approach to selling real estate – using social media to market properties in the luxury eastern suburbs of Sydney.

He invested in a videographer team to capture his life, shared his listings via social media, and used Instagram to provide insight into his personal life.TRG has reimagined the way they “utilise video content to showcase and sell Sydney’s most elite properties.”

Needless to say, it’s been a winning formula. Gavin has defined the new era of real estate, has developed a reputation as being the best (he was awarded Ray White’s number one salesperson across the state of New South Wales from 2013 through to 2019, and won the global title in 2018 and 2019), has 79,000 Instagram followers and heads up popular podcast Outside the Box with Gavin Rubinstein.

Three reasons why real estate agents need to build their personal brand 

 To reach new heights in the industry, you need to build your brand. Here’s why.

1. Competition is fierce 

The real estate industry is a busy game. Take a walk through your local shopping precinct or scroll social media and you are sure to discover the number of competing agencies. 

In fact, Rate My Agent reports that there are almost 10,500 active real estate agencies in Victoria. In New South Wales the figure sits at 12,700, while Queensland has almost 10,600 agencies. According to the Real Estate Institute of Australia, the industry employs a combined workforce of 133,360 Australians through a network of 46,000 real estate businesses.

The popularity is driven by growth in property numbers and valuations, as well as the opportunity to earn significant commissions and base salary. What this means is that vendors and buyers are swamped with choices, making it more difficult to choose an agent a difficult one.

Cutting through the competition is key and to do so, you must have a strong brand that is promoted through a professional, sustainable and strong content strategy.

2. Your network is your net worth 

 In 2007, sociologist and physician Dr Nicholas Christakis was credited with revising the age-old ‘six degrees of separation’ concept. Dr Christakis and his colleague, social scientist James H. Fowler, challenged the theory with their own. Their theory of three degrees of influence is based on the reach and engagement within the realm of social media. Put simply, the theory centres on the influence of social connections on behaviour, and how everything we do or say impacts our peers, friends and family with around three degrees of separation.

Fast forward to today and there are more than 21 million social media users across Australia. We communicate via social platforms, plan and share events, and grow our connections.

Furthermore, around 60 per cent of businesses are planning to increase their Instagram budget, and almost half are planning to do the same for Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Why? Because your network is relevant to your net worth. Building a network of vendors, buyers, investors and industry professionals will ensure business growth and brand awareness for agents.

Although traditional means of door-knocking and print campaigns have a place, using well-written and digital content online widens your engagement and reach.

Former marketing vice president of Virgin America, Gale Porter, says building digital connections will enhance productivity and subsequent return on investment. Gale, who authored the book Your Network is your Net Worth, says the three degrees concept, and the growth of social media, have changed networking and connectivity forever.

She says: “Networking is about who you are becoming as a person – it’s a transformational process.” Networking allows companies to prosper, she adds.

3. Create your destiny  

We recently sat down with an established agent who has spent 30 years in the industry. He now runs a successful business and is in the position to live the life he chooses. It is not unusual for this business owner to take a month off at a time, handing the day-to-day running of his established business over to his team in his absence. It gives him more time to do the things he loves – boating and spending time with family.

Of course, it hasn’t always been this way. There were long hours, sacrifices and lots to learn. But, through hard work, presenting a solid and dependable personal brand and educating his staff accordingly, he is now able to reap the rewards.

Building a personal brand has enabled this agent, and many others (including the multi-millionaires we mentioned earlier!) to create their future. By working on their businesses and reputations, being honest and determining what they want their futures to be, these business owners have leveraged their personal brands to build successful careers. 

By building your business and personal foundations, you can target a wide audience, build your community and cut through your competition. Establishing trust and developing a solid reputation, while investing in a strong marketing and content strategy, will ensure a connection with the next generation of vendors and buyers.

If you want to learn more about harnessing the power of a personal brand through well-written and strategic content, get in touch with our team of experts at Story League. 

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