We recently came across an ActiveRain blog post titled, “How Do You Write Your Agent Bio? Put Your Best Foot Forward & Write Something Unique (Lose the Boilerplate!).” In the post, the writer notes how she came across a bio of a relatively new agent, and how the bio seemed very “reminiscent” of something she’d seen before. She goes on to explain how she Googled one particular phrase and found 1,030 exact matches on the Internet! Ouch. Hardly original, right?
I scanned some of the comments and feedback from other agents. There were quite a few. Some remarked how hard it is to write one’s own bio. Others commented on how important it is to differentiate oneself from other agents, and ironically, many others complained about copycat agents who perform wholesale lifting of bios, slogans and taglines from others. All this talk felt familiar to me — and for good reason.
A Long ‘Personal’ Journey
It was more than 26 years ago that I embarked on my long journey of teaching agents all about the power of Personal Marketing. Over those two and a half decades, I’ve logged frequent flyer miles in the millions and spent countless hours in airports across North America. In the beginning, the Hobbs/Herder message was pure heresy and one angry broker literally chased me out of his office. But an early strategic component of our message was how important it is for agents to differentiate themselves, to brand themselves, and to do it by telling their unique story.
Making An Impact
Now, reflecting back two plus decades later and reading the comments in ActiveRain, I had mixed emotions. The fact that agents are talking about writing “bios” and “differentiating” themselves warms my heart and makes me feel good about my contributions to spreading this message for over 26 years. It feels like we’ve come a long way and we made an impact.
Defining What a Bio Is
But a tinge of sadness came over me that made me feel like we haven’t accomplished that much progress after all. I realize that for many of these agents who are blogging about the importance of having a bio, their definition of what a bio is falls way short. For many of them, a bio is still comprised only of “how many years they’ve been in the business,” or “what their service philosophy is,” or trotting out the “infamous real estate designations.” That is NOT your bio. You need to tell Your Story. That’s how you differentiate yourself.
An Example of Olympian Proportions
Let me give you the perfect example of the power of one’s “story.” Just as it probably is for many of you, it’s exciting that 2012 is the year of the Olympics. The splendor of the Olympics will be in full swing on my television this summer. I enjoy watching the competition and seeing so records being broken. If you are like me, what I like about the Olympics is that every once in a while, they’ll do a “back story” on some of these athletes. These short vignettes or stories are great. You learn about trials and tribulations the athletes went through to get to the Olympics. You learn about all the odds they overcame. You learn about their families, what inspires them.
At the last Olympics in 2008, we met Michael Phelps’ mom and you learned about her sacrifices, we saw the obvious pride she has for her son. We heard the television commentator mention how Shawn Johnson’s parents mortgaged their house twice to finance her training and keep her dream alive. We see the athletes’ mothers and fathers, their brothers and sisters beaming in the stands. These “glimpses” of their private lives, these “pieces” of the entire fabric of their story intrigues us and the athletes become more human, more likeable.
Suddenly, you aren’t just watching someone run on a track, swim across a pool or perform a routine on a balance beam; you are rooting for a person you care about, someone you feel connected to. Emotions enter into the mix. You feel their pain and you can almost feel their same exhilaration as they cross the finish line. You want them to win even more because you like them and understand what has gone into that win.
Who Do You Root For?
You can see how the stories behind the athletes make them unique. After all, except for some slight color variations, they all wear the same type of state-of-the-art aerodynamic tracksuits and streamlined swimsuits; they all look the same at the starting line. The stories differentiate the athletes, and make you root for that one racer over all the others. The stories make the events richer, more dramatic, much more powerful.
Taking it One Race at a Time
Think about it: if you only were shown the racer’s stats and times from his or her last 10 races, or were read a list of how many trophies or ribbons that swimmer won in college, or if you were only told that this gymnast’s training philosophy is to “work real hard,” you wouldn’t have the same experience. Why? All those things are similar for most athletes. What makes them different aren’t race results, winning times, past medals and trophies or sports cliches about being dedicated and taking it “one race at a time.” What makes them different is their story. Their unique set of life experiences that forged their character that are different from all others’ life experiences. Learning about these unique stories forms an emotional connection with us. “I am rooting for the swimmer in lane 5!”
As You Stand in the Starting Gate
The same applies to your real estate career. As you line up at the starting gate with hundreds of agents who look and act the same, how do you stand out and get consumers to connect with you, to make them root for you — and most importantly — call you instead of all the other agents at the starting gate to come list their houses?
The answer is branding. It’s personal marketing and differentiating yourself by telling your story. Your unique story. Your story cannot be copied because it is uniquely yours. It will make prospects notice you, care about you and connect with you. It will make them feel comfortable picking up the phone and dialing your number instead of one of the agents from the office across the street.
A Message as Timely as Ever!
26 years ago, I hit the road to preach this message. Now, probably more than ever, it’s a timely message. Buyers and sellers are gun shy. They are unsure of this market and what it holds for them. They don’t know if it’s a good time to buy. They are unsure if the latest promising news on the economy will last. Many sellers are still in denial holding on to prices that are not reflective of the current market. How do you not only stand out from the pack, but also gain their confidence and trust so that they will pick you and trust your advice?
Go for the Gold
You do it by branding yourself with a unique story presented in a quality format. That’s how you stand out, get noticed and get called. It’s how you get consumers to connect with you and WANT to do business with you. So if you’re pondering what you should write in your bio, make sure you tell your unique emotional story, don’t copy anyone, and even better — consider giving Hobbs/Herder a call. We are the original Storytellers and we’ll find your story and get it communicated. We’ll help you Go for the Gold!