- Be in tune with who you are and whom you are serving.
- Keep an eye on data and analytics. It is important to see what attracts people to you.
- On social media, your business pages should be 80% focused on real estate and 20% personal. Your personal profiles should be 80% personal and 20% business.
When Peter Lorimer started his real estate business in the U.S. after a successful career as a record producer in the United Kingdom, he didn’t feel like he was being himself.
“I felt like I walked into the morgue. Everyone was on their best behavior with very conservative dress,” he adds.
For a while, he, too, wore a button-down shirt and shoes.
“I tried it, and I hated it. I couldn’t be my true, authentic self. I needed to do real estate my way,” he says.
So, he started wearing his shorts and Metallica T-shirts to work.
“That’s really when my career took off,” says Lorimer, now co-owner and president of Corcoran Global Living in Los Angeles.
Lorimer decided he was never going to be afraid to lose a client again. He firmly believes if he is his true, authentic self, he will attract more clients. And it’s safe to say it has worked for him. Lorimer now oversees six offices and more than 200 agents, is a prolific podcaster, and co-hosted the Netflix series “Stay Here.”
When brokers and agents are authentic in their lives, business, and marketing, their clients and potential clients can see it and feel it, Lorimer says.
“I have ingrained in myself to never make decisions based on fear. I can’t be scared to lose a deal, client, or agent,” he explains.
As a professional, you have to be guided by faith in yourself, otherwise, you’ll end up being guided by fear, Lorimer says.
How Much to Reveal About the Real You
Tara Holloway, vice president of marketing for CENTURY 21 Scheetz in Central Indiana, says a good rule of thumb is to understand why your clients, contacts, and social media followers are there and to honor them.
“Your business page’s followers expect to see your business content,” says Holloway.
She recommends the 80/20 rule—80% of your content should be focused on business and 20% personal. Friends and followers on your personal pages likely expect to see more about you and your life. Therefore, 80% of that content should focus on your likes, hobbies, and personal life, and 20% on your business.
There is a way to marry the personal and professional. Take, for instance, if you’re passionate about extreme sports, baking French pastries, or knitting—own it in your marketing.
Keep an open mind and be curious about the data and analytics of your online engagements, she adds. It is important to see what attracts people to you.
“If you are into ultimate fighting or wrestling, you shouldn’t care if someone finds it distasteful,” Lorimer says.
When he was a new agent, he was into the rave scene. He didn’t want to hide who he was and where he came from.
“Playing to the crowd is a slow, horrible death,” he adds. “If people can’t accept you for who you are, you shouldn’t work with them.”
He dropped out of high school at 15 years old to work in the music business in London. One of the biggest lessons he’s learned through the years is that when you surround yourself with people you connect with, there is trust.
“At the end of the day, we don’t sell houses, we sell trust. When they trust us, they work with us,” Lorimer says.
5 Ways to Be Real in Your Marketing
Here are some ideas from Holloway and Lorimer about presenting yourself with authenticity in real estate.
- Show what it will be like to work with you. Instead of posting the photo of the house with the caption, “Just sold,” share the story about the hurdles you overcame in that transaction, Holloway explains. Tell your followers how your experience and expertise made it possible for your sellers to have a positive outcome.
- Don’t let the fear guide you. “Authenticity boils down to utterly being comfortable in your own skin,” says Lorimer. Everyone will have moments of doubts or moments of darkness. But remember that mistakes you make can help you in your future dealings.
- Commit to positivity. Say what you want as long as it’s coming from love and solution, not from a place of hate and destruction, Lorimer says. If you find yourself in a situation where you want to lash out, sleep on it first so you have time to think clearly about your response.
- Speak directly to your target audience in your voice. By providing valuable content, you build relationships, which builds trust, which drives revenue, says Holloway. Create a content strategy directly from the questions people ask you. Keep a list of every question you’re asked—you can turn each item on that list into a social post, email, blog post, article, video, or podcast.
- Use the pause. Lorimer doesn’t believe in scripts or dialogues in real estate. “Authenticity to me means listening in a really acute way to the client or agent,” he says. Learning the power of the pause becomes an important step. An agent might come to you in the middle of something dramatic. They need a solution now. Lorimer pauses before he reacts. “It allows you a little time to figure out what way you can serve whoever is in front of you,” Lorimer says.
Developing an authentic marketing strategy starts with a solid foundation of being “in tune with who you are, whom you are serving, and having a clear vision of what success looks like in your business,” Holloway adds.