Help, I’m New! How Can I Market Myself?
By Blanche Evans
Posted: 1999 ~ Reviewed: 2005
You are a new agent. Your company is introducing you to the marketplace with a feature story in the papers and adding your bio to the company website. And you don’t even have your first client yet. What are you going to say about yourself?
Few topics can bring on writer’s block faster than writing about oneself — especially when you have to sell yourself. No matter what you put down, it seems trite, conceited, self-serving, boring, or worse, calls attention to your inexperience. Who wants to read this stuff, you ask?
You’d be surprised. The human animal is eternally fascinated by other people, and your bio could be read with enthusiasm by any number of people. And, who knows? It might even attract some business.
Like any other learned skill, writing has a blueprint you can follow, and the rest will come. But don’t shut yourself down before you get started. Writing about yourself may seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating.
Lesson One: String the information
Writing a bio is like tying together strings. Each string represents a paragraph of information that is organized under a topic. (Remember topic sentences in junior high?) The first paragraph lays down a string of information, like your name and what you have done (joined XYZ company). The next paragraph picks up the string by explaining who you are, and then the next paragraph could explain why what you did was special, and so on. The idea is to make it flow. Try to avoid abrupt changes of topics from one paragraph to the next. If you don’t need to change topics, make a transition sentence to ease into a subject change.
Lesson Two: You have more appeal than you think
New agents think there is nothing to say, but there is a wealth of material in your past and present that can relate to your new career. What you want to do is provide as much of an overview as possible with details that will distinguish you to the widest range of buyers and sellers. They are your audience, and what you write needs to appeal to them. So include your educational, business, philanthropical, and community service backgrounds.
I once wrote a profile for a new agent that put a lot of so-called negatives to advantage. If I had written just the facts as she presented them to me, the story would have been titled, “Devastated Divorcee Attempts New Life in Real Estate.” Not very appealing. Instead we talked, and I soon found out a lot of great things I could use. Her special interests included gardening, interior design, and volunteering in her church’s nursery, where she met a lot of young families. So we played up the positives by writing that she “has a special place in her heart for young families starting out. They rely on her for guidance, especially when evaluating homes that require updates of fresh landscaping.”
We continued to embellish her profile with an authoritative-sounding quote, “Starter homes often need updates,” New Agent said. “When I show homes to my first-time buyers, I use my experience to see the possibilities, I know what will add value to a home and what will work for my customer’s budget.”
After this story ran in the paper, who do you think made appointments to meet this agent? Several new homebuyers who though she could help them find the right home in their price range.
Lesson Three: Ask questions of yourself to generate topic ideas
Agent profiles tell a story. A story is made up of answers to questions such as who, what, when, where, and why. Brainstorm with yourself, asking questions that you think buyers and sellers will want to know the answers. Take the answers and turn them into points of difference that will help distinguish you from other agents.
Did you move to take the real estate job? Recount your relocation experience as a good reason why you can empathize with the needs of transferees. You already know from experience what types of services they need to make the buying, moving, and settling-in experience easier.
Do you have previous work or school experience? If so, look for the qualities in your previous work or school curriculum that are of value in a real estate career. Ask your office manager what work experience they consider valuable preparation for a career in real estate, and pick the same examples from your work experience. Connect the experience to your new position. If you were a history major, for example, you could have a special interest in historic homes or older homes with character. To play down the fact that your are new, say, “This experience was invaluable in helping me relate to buyers and sellers.”
What are your personal qualities? Positive characteristics don’t need a spin, but negative ones sometimes do. And it helps if you can include a quote from someone in your office, the company owner, or office manager on why they hired you and why you will be good at the job. That Type A perfectionism you have taken so much flak about now becomes “He is extremely focused on details — an attribute buyers and sellers appreciate especially at contract time.”
What are your interests? Sometimes a personal hobby can make a great client niche. One REALTOR® was having trouble standing out among the crowd at a large firm. Her hobby was golf, so in her spare time she researched all the new and existing home communities with golf courses in her area. She made a note of public courses, as well, creating a handy database for research. Her niche is so in demand that she now specializes in golf course communities. An added bonus is that she plays golf often with her clients.
Lesson Four: Dance with the partner that brought you
Be sure to include a quote as to why you chose to work with your broker over other in the market. Take your finished bio to someone in authority whom you trust, and ask that person’s help in editing your work. Look for typos, misspellings, and other inconsistencies. Be open to suggestion, and don’t be hurt by some constructive criticism. Your goal is create a bio that will work as a marketing tool for you. It doesn’t matter how you get there.
Reprinted with permission of Real Times.
Real Times is an on-line real estate news service for consumers and professionals, at www.realtimes.com.