Estate Agents: Business just got personal!

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I don’t know about you, but I do my absolute best thinking when I’m out walking the dog or immersed in exercise. And yesterday was no exception. Out in the spring sunshine, I was wandering and pondering, and I thought to myself, why are so many estate agencies named after their owners or directors?

I’m not going to mention any names as I don’t want to appear biased or be seen to be promoting one agent over another and anyway, you’ll know exactly what I mean as you are very likely to be one, but if you think about it, I’m right, aren’t I?

Obviously, some of the corporate agents and a few franchises are named otherwise, again, mentioning no names, but these are, in the main, larger companies with many offices or locations.

The independents are mostly named after their founders. And it’s highly likely that if I was an independent estate agency, I would call my business Amanda O’Brien Estates or O’Brien Estate Agents, or just O’Brien’s.

What is the reason estate agents name their business after themselves?

Well, it’s not due to laziness. It’s because it makes it personal. Every independent estate agent wants an excellent reputation to go before them. It’s what you build your business on, isn’t it?

You want to be seen to be offering a personal service. A personal touch. Individual solutions to every client, all delivered in a highly personal, bespoke manner, and this personal connection that comes with naming your estate agency after yourself can be a great thing.

By naming your agency after yourself, you instantly give the impression of that individual personal service we’re talking about. You have the opportunity to build your reputation based on you, which is fantastic if you are a friendly, personable, knowledgeable, community orientated, generally all-round good egg.

It puts you right at the centre of your business and ensures that you’re immediately recognisable for your amazing-ness and your good work and so attracts business.

Show me an estate agent who doesn’t want more business!

So, most estate agents choose to name their agencies after themselves because a personal service brings with it that trust, respect and individuality. The question is, why does the understanding that personal service is good for business, suddenly go right out the window when it comes to the actual promotion of your agency?

When it comes to projecting a personal image, other than your name above the door, it saddens me there is no additional effort made to offer the personal touch, that the business name implies, at all.

You post facts, figures, data and details of new instructions on your news or blog page because you think that shouting about how many properties you’ve sold will attract clients and help you compete with the corporates.

You don’t show your personality or an insight into your real life on social media because you think it’s not business-y enough and people won’t take you seriously.

You don’t post useful information or engage with your target audience on social media because “Facebook is just for millennials posting pictures of their avocado on toast and soya lattes”, Instagram is all about pouty-selfies, and you can’t be bothered to write and condense a post of 280 characters for Twitter, because it’s so short, what’s the point? And anyway, you must remain professional at all times as you are ‘running a business’.  

This attitude is wrong on all three counts.

People generally find facts and figures boring. They would rather read about how your loopy dog escaped at the weekend, and you spent three hours chasing it around the village or how a stray goat ate one of your for sale boards or how you went to view a property and the owner was in the shower when you arrived, and you didn’t realise (this actually happened to me once).

This makes you human. It makes you real, and it makes you appear potentially quite good fun to be around.

So, this week, I challenge you to get out there ‘virtually’ and show your real personality to your target audience. Whether it’s through content on your website that offers useful information (tips, tricks, hacks, whatever you want to call them, just not facts and figures) for home movers, or a post on social media with a funny property-related anecdote, shows who you really are. It makes you approachable, and above all, it makes people want to do business with you.

Live up to your name – and not just by having it in 10-foot letters above your door!

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