Margie McGregor, MBA Candidate
As much as we might like to think that we are wildly different than everybody else, our DNA is actually 99.9% the same as everyone else's. We're 99.9% average. As odd as it may seem, our individuality and personality only makes up .1% of us. Real estate agents need to differentiate themselves as professionals, rather than try to imitate the competition. According to How the World Sees You, "Your .1% is your distinct value. It describes the best of how the world sees you, and how you are most likely to rise above and stand out. It's your own little zone of genius."
Why is it so important that real estate agents hone their strengths and define the kind of value that they can deliver? According to RealtorMag, chances are most real estate agents already have a brand established, whether they've intended to craft a personal brand or not. The question is, however, is your personal brand the kind of brand that you want, and is it the brand that will communicate your value the best? It's not enough to only know how you see the world. You also have to realize the signals that you're intentionally or unintentionally sending to the world, because that shapes how the world sees you.
Every time realtors communicate with their customers, they face three distinct threats: distraction, competition, and commoditization. How can these threats be overcome? Know your distinct value, and fascinate your customers by communicating to them what you can provide that others cannot. In essence, in order to become more successful, you do not have to change who you are. Instead, you must learn to become more of who you already are.
THINKPOINT #1: USING STRENGTHS TO ADD VALUE
Sally Hogshead preaches in How the World Sees You that you do not need to be perfect at everything, but you should aim to be extraordinary at something. How do you become extraordinary at something? By examining yourself and creating what Hogshead refers to as an anthem.
Your anthem "distills your personality's key defining qualities into just a few words, summarizing your key benefits." It should never be the job of the client to figure out how you can solve a problem; it is your job to make it easy for the client to understand what you have to offer. Your "anthem" is essentially shorthand for how your personality is prepared to add value. It is not a sales pitch—instead it who you are, today, at your most valuable. A strong anthem is vitally important in that it leads to positive first impressions and strong customer loyalty—both of which are vital to the success of realtors. Essentially, your anthem can steer "your entire career, and even your life."
Now that we've discussed the need to focus on strengths rather than working to develop weaknesses, how do you determine what your strengths are and form them into an anthem? While many people may enjoy talking about themselves, they freeze when asked to find the exact words to describe themselves. How the World Sees You helps in creating the perfect anthem with the following formula:
STEP 1: Pick one adjective (how you are different)
STEP 2: Pick one noun (what you do best)
STEP 3: Bring the words together to create your anthem
Examples of completed anthems include "purposeful insight," "cautionary management," and "imaginative influence."
THINKPOINT #2: DISCOVERING YOUR DIFFERENCES
Every person has his or her own personality, and every one of us will thrive in certain situations, and be less favorable in others. What is important is determining your own specific specialty.
It is important to note here the different personality archetypes that the author How the World Sees You has developed. There are 49 personality archetypes, according to Hogshead, which are based upon how individuals behave in group settings, how they make decisions, and what their preferences are in various situations. Each archetype is made to describe how someone intentionally or unintentionally expresses himself or herself.
Archetypes are made up of two advantages—a primary advantage and a secondary advantage. Every personality also has a dormant advantage. This is the way in which individuals are least likely to persuade or captivate others. One way to think of this is imagining being forced to draw with your non-dominant hand—difficult and awkward. When individuals are forced to use their dormant advantages, it is often exhausting in that it is their least natural form of communicating. The seven different advantages are:
POWER: You lead with authority
PASSION: You connect with emotion
MYSTIQUE: You communicate with care
PRESTIGE: You set the standard
ALERT: You protect the details
INNOVATION: You bring creativity
TRUST: You build loyalty
To look at the different archetypes more in depth, we suggest visiting the book's website www.howtofascinate.com.
Each archetype is linked to different adjectives to create a personal anthem. For example, the authentic archetype, which is comprised of the trust and passion advantages, can be described using the following five adjectives: approachable, dependable, trustworthy, agreeable, and benevolent. After examining your particular archetype's adjectives, then think of one way in which each adjective describes how you communicate in the professional setting.
The next step is to learn how to apply your specific adjectives—how do these adjectives apply to you and how do you see yourself portraying these characteristics when dealing with clients? More importantly, how do you communicate differently than others? Consider the following fill in the blank statements:
"Clients can always count on me to be __________."
"I am more efficient than other real estate agents because I am __________."
"I am best suited to serve my clients because I deliver housing solutions that are __________."
These questions are vitally important in creating your anthem because not only does your anthem describe what you do best, but also how you are different. Once you think you have pinpointed a few ways to describe how you communicate with others and what makes you different, you can move forward with constructing your anthem.
THINKPOINT #3: THE ANTHEM METHOD
As mentioned previously, the first step to constructing your anthem is to pick just one adjective. This adjective could be one that is given with your archetype, or another adjective that you think describes you best.
The next step in creating your anthem is to pick one noun that describes what you do best—you do lots of things well, but what do you do at your best? For example, have you worked in real estate for more than a decade? Then "experience" might be a noun that you consider. Is your network one of your strongest ways to gain new customers? Then "reputation" might describe what you do best.Combine your two words that you have chosen together to create your anthem—the tagline for your personality.
Finally, learn how to apply your anthem. Your anthem is what you stand for in all of your communications—a promise to your co-workers and your clients. An anthem is more than a slogan. Many people use their anthem as their own rallying cry, or something they can return to over and over again when communicating with others what kind of value they can deliver.
THINKPOINT #4: SO WHAT? APPLY YOUR ANTHEM
Once you have an anthem constructed, the final step is to apply this anthem in all of your marketing and communication, and in all aspects of your life. For example, you can make your anthem the intro for your LinkedIn profile, make it a part of your email signature, or add it to your personal website. This way, anyone that you communicate with realizes what you stand for and what you have to offer.
Additionally, once you have an anthem, it can provide you with a sense of confidence when making first impressions. An anthem gives you the opportunity to immediately communicate to clients how you can benefit them by working together. How might your anthem change the way you show clients different properties? Many real estate agents do many of the same things when showing properties to clients; however how you handle property demonstrations is part of the value each agent brings to the table.
These concepts can be applied to teams in addition to individuals. If you help your employees feel more "fascinating at work, they're likely to feel more fascinated by work." Anthems can also help teams become more efficient. If everyone on a team knows the kind of value that their co-workers bring to the table, productivity increases.
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Hogshead,Sally (2014), How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value through the Science of Fascination . New York: Harper Collins.
Sparta, Kellie (2010), “ Building a Personal Brand,” Realtor Magazine, accessed on February 26, 2015 at https://magazine.realtor/sales-and-marketing/2010/09/article/building-personal-brand.
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About the Author
Margie McGregor, MBA Candidate
Margie is a graduate student from The Woodlands, Texas. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Marketing from Baylor University, and is pursuing her MBA with a Healthcare Administration concentration at Baylor University. Beginning in June of 2015, she will be completing her residency at Texas Children's Hospital, and plans starting her professional career in Houston in 2016.