As the Silver Tsunami makes landfall, the number of real estate professionals diving into the seniors niche is growing by the day. Unfortunately, many are falling short when it comes to making their specialization viable in a saturated marketplace.
One of the places where we at the Seniors Real Estate Institute find that agents miss the mark is the all important task of projecting themselves as a specialist.
A while back when I was scouting for top agents in the seniors real estate field to participate in a high level mastermind group, I researched over 100 “specialists” with NAR approved designations for working with the 50+ age group. My intention was to do some filtering before calling them direct and what I found was quite interesting.
Out of some 100 agents listed as “specialists” in seniors real estate, only about 1% actually reflected this specialization on their public website beyond having the designation logo somewhere on their page or the approved acronym in their bio.
These supposed specialists did not address any particular knowledge of senior living options, specialized services for older adults, community resources for seniors, or value added services catering to seniors.
Suffice it to say, it simplified my scouting calls for the mastermind group! I was astonished at the number of REALTORS calling themselves specialists when there was virtually no evidence of such.
Why is Branding Important?
Three “C” words come to mind when I think about the importance of branding your seniors real estate and housing specialization: Credibility, Congruency, Contribution.
The definition of the word credible as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “offering reasonable grounds for being believed.” When branding yourself as a specialist and offering supporting content as such, you increase your “believability factor” as a true expert in your field. Absent any branding or supporting evidence, you are merely one of many with no particular point of difference.
One of the things we teach in our Certified Senior Housing Professional classes is to make sure that your actions and your words are congruent. If you say you have added value services, offer them. When you say you are a specialist, act like one. Virtually the first thing I do when someone requests to be in relationship with me, either personally or professionally, is seek to determine if their actions are congruent with their words. Clearly, the easiest way to do this nowadays is via the web - social media and websites. As a specialist seeking to connect with others in aging services, senior living communities, and professional networks, it is critical that what you are projecting publicly matches what you are saying privately and visa versa.
Specialists know their stuff. Not only do they know their stuff, they offer up what they know in order to add value to others. Experts in every field from medicine to fine cuisine share their expertise with the world. Not only does it add value to the consumer, it adds credibility to the source.
We all know that content is king in this day and age of the internet (or what my friend Bill calls the inter-web) and if you aren’t contributing expert content about your seniors real estate and housing specialty, you will probably not be recognized as a specialist for long - even with great branding. I am not talking about marketing - it’s about adding value to your tribe: coming from a place of contribution. Blogs, websites, and social media vehicles make sharing content so much easier and allow even beginners to look more experienced and knowledgable than they are. Ghost writers and virtual assistants specializing in social media are plentiful and not expensive to hire making it simple to share your expertise with the world.
If this post hit you between the eyes as one of the 99% club and you are ready to begin living your expert status as a one-percenter, here are a few resources to consider as you get the ball rolling.
Custom websites: Brian McDanielhttp://www.bkmacdaddy.com/
Keller Williams template website customization: Brandco http://www.brandco.com/
Social Media Maintenance: Mark Bingaman http://socialmediacontentmarketing.blogspot.com/
Facebook fanpage customization: http://www.marketingimperfect.com/
Virtual assistant for admin, transcription, and database management: Shannon Peebles, http://soundtranscripts.com/
Professional content & blog writing:Lisa Wahlgren,firstname.lastname@example.org,
Mark Bingaman, http://socialmediacontentmarketing.blogspot.com/
Options for graphic design or other types of virtual work:www.99designs.com
We have no financial interest in these recommendations...just seeking to add value to our tribe by sharing people who have done a good job for us or our clients. Do let them know we sent you (Nikki and/or Chris Buckelew) because in some cases you get preferred pricing. Remember: this is about showcasing yourself as what you are; a specialist.
|Nikki Buckelew is the Founder and CEO of the Seniors Real Estate Institute and administrator for the Certified Senior Housing Professional® (CSHP) designation. A veteran REALTOR® of over two decades, she holds a bachelor’s degree in gerontology and a master’s degree in counseling psychology. As a professional speaker, coach, and trainer, Nikki is committed to empowering, equipping, and educating real estate sales and senior housing professionals seeking to better serve the mature market segment.