How to Build Your Personal Brand

  • | 2 December 2016

The Hong Kong property industry is incredibly competitive and for even the most talented of agents, standing out from the crowd and getting the attention you deserve can be an expensive and fruitless task. That’s why building a personal brand is essential for a successful career.

You should seek to build, improve and leverage your unique brand to support your career goals. Ask yourself, why me versus someone else? Start strategizing on how you can stand out against your competitors.

Below we have defined 7 things you can do that will help improve your brand in the property industry.

How to Build Your Personal Brand

1. Think FAST

How quickly do you get back to your clients? Many believe that responsiveness is the foundation of your personal brand and is essentially what defines you. The lack of responsiveness could be a reason why you are not attaining as many deals as you aspire to. When an agent doesn’t respond for several days, a client may naturally believe they are unorganized, have no prioritization skills or simply don’t care enough to give a quick reply. In fact, it could affect both you and your clients in the form of time, money and even deals. Delayed responses and/or no replies result in missed opportunities as there is a potential for clients to miss out on their perfect property because another agent showed it to them first.

Tip: This is especially true with today’s mobile technology. Clients expect quick responses, so respond as soon as you receive a client’s message. All phone calls, emails and WhatsApp messages should be returned within 24 hours. If you are too busy to answer fully, respond quickly and let your client know you’ll get back to them by a definitive time (e.g. the next morning). A simple acknowledgment of their email with a message that you will revert soon assures your clients that you are taking their request seriously and are doing your due diligence to find a solution.

2. Get Mobile

In a fast-paced market like Hong Kong, information and speed give you immense advantages over other agents. Having real time access to your property database and client information proves that you are quick, resourceful and well organized. As technology evolves, it is important for companies to design with mobile in mind. How mobile responsive is your agency? Do you have access to your database on the go? If so, are the mobile pages easy to navigate? These are all questions that you should be asking yourself.

Tip: Look for an agency that gives you access to their database on the go. Living in a digital era means people expect information within a few minutes! Use the power of your mobility to respond to your clients quickly. As an added benefit, a mobile platform also lets you establish a better work-life balance, so you can be productive without sacrificing all of your personal time.

3. De-commoditize

One of the common mindsets agents have is to treat clients as commodities – i.e. clients are all the same, and it’s just a numbers game. It’s tempting to shift focus to new leads coming in, but sometimes you need to take a step back and focus on your existing clients. Communication is key to building long lasting relationships. Keeping in touch with clients who have yet to make a decision or who need a bit of hand-holding, is enough of a reason for them to choose you over someone else.

Tip: If your customer is not ready to rent, buy, lease or sell, then determining a follow-up schedule is key. Be sure to send your clients relevant information that they will find useful but avoid the pushy and ‘salesy’ correspondence.

4. Juggle Me Not

Working with numerous clients at a time doesn’t necessarily help your credibility or generate more income in the long run. Clients know when someone is really focused on their needs (or not), so practicing this faux pas feeds into the stereotype that agents are aggressive, money hungry and indifferent to their needs. By focusing on fewer clients you become more responsive, you can immediately revert to them after a viewing, or to discuss an offer, instead of having to go back to 5 other clients before you follow up with your first one.

Imagine yourself juggling. You can juggle three balls, masterfully anticipating where they’re going, but if you try to juggle that 4th or 5th ball, you’ll drop them all. The same is true of working with clients. If you try to serve too many at once, you won’t spend enough time or focus with any of them. You won’t be able to properly serve or build any kind of relationship with them, which means you will end up being unsuccessful with most, if not all of them.

There are numerous articles and studies showing how multitasking is around 40% less productive and more stressful than focusing on a few tasks (or one) at a time. (If you still need convincing, you can read more detail about the studies conducted by Stanford University and the American Psychological Association, or a good summary in Forbes).

You’re better off focusing on fewer clients, you’ll come out ahead with happy clients who will rave about you to their friends.

Best part of it all… you’ll be less stressed!

Tip: What happens after you find your client their perfect property? How about helping them move-in to their home or offering to give them a tour around their neighborhood. Have you seen any helpful articles? Send them to your clients who have already moved or who are looking to buy.

5. Don’t Be Shy

Word of mouth is a very powerful tool and client referrals are an important source for any good agent. Taking this further, imagine how much faster word would travel with a little help from technology i.e. putting it on your website, social media and every channel you can.

Surprisingly, agents rarely ask for that testimonial!

You should absolutely ask every client for a testimonial, however brief (but of course, the longer and more personal it is, the better). Just be straightforward and let them know that testimonials are important for you, and that they help new clients understand the level of service they can expect. Any happy client, especially one who feels like you’ve taken care of them as a person will be thrilled to share their thoughts.

You’ll quickly have a long list of happy clients that make you look great and give new clients a reason to select and trust you instead of another agent.

And don’t just limit yourself to your website – what good are wonderful testimonials if no one knows about them? Post them on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook (yes, even Facebook). You can post in a sincere manner, thanking your clients, or sharing how proud you feel, how hard you’ve worked or how happy you are to have successfully found someone a home. Your friends will be impressed and will remember you when they or their other friends need some real estate help.

Tip: Do you have a personal website? If so, make sure to gather testimonials from your clients regularly. Some property agencies create personalized webpages for each of their agents — If the thought of creating your own webpage doesn’t appeal to you, find an agency that will do the heavy lifting for you.

6. Be Prepared

When we started, we did so in order to solve many of the complaints we were hearing from consumers about the real estate agencies and agents. The number one complaint we heard was “agents waste my time”. This is especially true when agents take their clients to properties that they weren’t interested in or that clearly didn’t match their requirements.

Although we’ve built several proprietary tools for agents to solve this problem, you don’t need a cutting-edge client management system to do so.

Listen carefully to your clients, so you can thoughtfully select the right properties to introduce them to. Then send viewing options in a well-organized and digestible way.

This saves both you and your client’s time.

Tip: Find a list of properties that fit your client’s requirements and present it in a digestible way. Make sure to list out the property details alongside a map of where the properties are located. Once approved by your client, make sure to map your routes for an efficient viewing. Don’t have this capability? Look for property agencies that offer this type of tool integrated with their technology platform.

7. Power of One

Your colleagues are not your enemies. In fact, they can be instrumental in helping you find properties that are not on your radar or offer support in closing a difficult deal. They may also share personal stories with you that may help you conduct business differently.

Tip: Find an environment and team that you love! Not only does an open, supportive team (without internal competition) greatly improve your success, it makes each day a lot more enjoyable. When you can share problems and solutions with your colleagues (such as a difficult negotiation, or client looking for something unusual), you learn more, become more successful, and even have fun while you’re doing it.

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