Brokers: embrace difference, love the eccentric

In a recent post I waxed on about the type of agents I would recruit if I started a brokerage.

As someone who believes branding results from the conscious decisions you make about what you want the world to remember about you, well, I’d create something memorable. And a brokerage filled with salespeople isn’t memorable. It’s commonplace.

So why duplicate that?

Especially when it appears that isn’t working out for most brokers.

But how?

I’d know my target customer.  I’d understand their pain points. I’d offer simple, clear solutions for them. I’d operate from a set of core values and weigh every decision against them. I’d never waiver. I’d obsess on how those values are made manifest across every touchpoint – digital, terrestrial and interpersonal. My agents would abide by that commitment from day one.

Now mind you, until these things are practiced like a religion they are, well, just things. Brands are created when peoples’ perceptions, interpretations, thoughts, gut feelings, and beliefs are in line with with a company’s vision of itself.

Then I’d let lose with many of ideas I’ve had over the years. Infuse some flair mixed with a little eccentricity. Just enough to push the envelope. To innovate. To attract people who are cut from a different cloth.

Here are some of the things I’m thinking about:

My eccentricity would force me to design the most amazing restroom space imaginable. Web connected touchscreen in the wall. Smart phone recharger. Electronic TP dispensers. High-end toiletries on the counter. A room people will talk about. A touch of kindness in a place most companies ignore. I’d also tackle the age-old yard sign and try to get Jonathan Paul Ive to design something breathtaking. People talk. My brokerage will give people something to spread around.

I’d master the social web and create digital assets laser focused on educating and captivating my marketplace. I’d generate leads, which I’d send to my agents based solely on finding the best match between agent and client, not how much I could profit from the distribution.

Customer service would be paramount. Think Four Seasons. We would offer a comprehensive set of post-closing services and benefits that would leave competing brokerages standing at the end of the exit ramp with a cardboard sign. Birthday cards? Give me a break. I’d (in tandem with the agent) make donations every year on behalf of each client on their birthday – to a cause that matters to them.

My commitment to my agents will run deep. I will attend to their continued education. Not on the things they should already know, like how to use a computer or how to write capably. The ones who need help with those things can work for the other guy. My agents will know how to price homes to sell. And how to turn down a listing if the seller thinks they know better than we do. When the best conferences in real estate take place, I’ll send my agents on my dime. My agents will be at least three years ahead of the competition.

My brokerage will master its marketing. Online, offline, there’s not a platform I won’t own.

Grandiose? Sure. That’s what it takes. I’ve been there before. And done that.

How does it pencil you ask? It pencils because as the broker I will deliver value: a brand that means something, principles that guide action, a marvelous experience and marketing support, training and technology that don’t suck.

I will know everything there is to know about everything

My brokerage would have one goal in mind: to be so different, so special, so obviously better, that we don’t run neck and neck in market share with everyone else year after year.

Our profits would be invested wisely and not squandered on insane splits with “top producers” and ball-and-chain vendors pimping inferior products. As the owner, I will know everything there is to know about every thing I could get my mind around. Intellectual curiosity is underrated in our business.

If I recruit young and inexperienced agents, they will mentor with the veterans for one solid year before they call a single closing their own. And I’d make that clear in my public messaging because when I tell consumers that real estate is the most important transaction they will ever execute, I want them to know I really mean it. And honor it.

My brand will not be built on a promise.

It will be built on a promise kept.

Every single time.