What is your brand? Not your company’s brand, or your apartment community’s brand, or even your management company’s brand. What is YOUR personal brand? This is the brand that your residents see when they call or visit the office. This is the brand that prospects experience when they tour your community and the brand that businesses encounter when you conduct outreach marketing. You may not be Coke or Pepsi, but people buy from people and this makes your brand one of the most important parts of the customer experience.
When you buy a Harley, you are buying a brand. What that brand represents is a lifestyle. Sure, there are other motorcycle brands that are less expensive or have amazing add-ons, bells and whistles. The important connection is with the experience and the lifestyle that the Harley Davidson brand offers. This same fact goes for most people and the brands they choose. We typically buy from people whom we identify with and are drawn to. They may have that special something that you can’t put your finger on, or they may just be really amazing at what it is that they do. There is a reason we buy from the brand’s ambassadors, even when the brand is more expensive.
People will pay more for a brand they believe in. It does not matter if it is purses, cars or motorcycles. In the same way you choose to buy a Harley or a Coach purse, your customers will choose an apartment they believe in. It starts with you. You have the ability to make it not about price. Every apartment is not the same and both you and your apartment community have a value that your customers attach to. What are you selling? You are selling yourself. When you buy a TV or an airline ticket, each one of them seems the same and the salespeople treat it that way too. In those cases, buying is all about price. But salespeople who become their own brand can create a unique experience that people are drawn to – by important factors other than price. In fact, Ken Schmidt, former director of communications for Harley Davidson, says, “What will the people that you serve today say about you tomorrow?”
HERE ARE PETE’S TAKE5 TIPS TO BEING YOUR OWN BRAND:
1. DO SOMETHING different. Stand out and be memorable.
2. BE A RESOURCE. Be that “go to” person. You can help your customers with whatever they need, or at least steer them in the right direction. Be prepared to have an answer for anything you could be asked.
3. CARE ENOUGH TO CREATE AN EXPERIENCE. Do you really care about your customers (even those who may be a little more high maintenance)? You may be busy, but care enough to give your customer your full attention. They need to feel that they are more important than anything else that you could be doing at that moment.
4. KNOWLEDGE. You have to know your stuff. Know the area, the market and your comps. Bring the little details. People remember the little things and those small nuggets of knowledge that you share are a powerful tool. Practice with your family and ask them to stump you. Think of a business five miles down the street from your community. Do you have the manager’s cell phone number if your customer needs it? There is no limit to the power that knowledge will bring you.
5. CONFIDENCE. When you have the other four together, confidence will come to you. Confidence means that you believe in what you are doing. You are empowered to be able to say, “I can help you. I truly can help you with that.”