For over 10 years I worked as a Veterinary Surgeon, you would think that meant that I loved animals?
At least I did at the beginning, very much so, but after awhile? Things changed, it became more about the business of working with animals than the animals themselves. This is more common than you might think.
Familiarity breeds contempt and in any career you can lose your perspective and you can forget what it is all about. You can become cynical, jaded and focused on the numbers.
In my experience this happens for Real Estate Professionals also.
The long suffering Real Estate Professional can forget that it is not really about the transaction, the legal work, the pre-approval, the commission, their miracle morning or their broker. It’s not about the house it is 100% about the home. It is 100% about people standing before them.
In the past week we have been examining the 4 key commands or laws that any Real Estate Professional must follow if they wish to succeed with their marketing online. On Tuesday we looked at the importance of maximizing your creativity in the digital space, and utilizing the power of your own unique voice.
In this post we’re going to look at another law that will directly determine the success of your online brand. We’re going to look at the importance of giving back to the world.
3 Ways in which Real Estate Professionals Can Give Back via Social Media
Look at the diagram above and you will see that there is a sweet spot for giving back. This sweet spot (the intersection) is found when you are operating in a highly relational, creative way to maximize the effect of your real estate work as you give back to the world.
Here are 3 distinct ways in which you can leverage giving back online to grow your real estate business.
1. Create Digital Memories
Remember it’s about the home and not the house AND as a real estate pro you are partnering with people during an incredibly significant time in their lives.
It is typically either the passing of an old memory (selling) or the beginning of a new memory (buying). If you are truly listening and if you are operating in a highly creative manner, then there will nearly always be an opportunity for you to create a digital story that is truly magical.
As part of our Digital Strategy Coaching program, we work with our clients to clearly identify and create digital stories that have the potential to spread in a viral manner online. It’s far more than a closing photo in your Real Estate office, instead it can be an incredibly valuable, often nostalgic, sometimes romantic, deeply personal memory that you create for your client with words, pictures, video or some other aspect of your creativity.
There is no one-size-fits-all here, you have to listen throughout each transaction to find out what matters most to your client. But for example: if you were working with a seller whose kids have finally left home, you could create a memory video, where every member of the family shares one thing that they loved/remember about growing up in the house. Share this video with them on Facebook and they will share it with all their friends (along with your brand). You’ve captured their memories, connected deeply with them and they will be grateful.
Again, this is only an example, every transaction is different… but look to see how you can give back with Digital Memories.
2. Partner with a Non-Profit
Giving back is about far more than donating a percentage of your commission to your favorite non-profit. Giving back is about actually sharing a passion with a non-profit, it is about true partnership.
An important person once told me, “if you are not prepared to lend someone or something your time, then don’t give them your money.”
I encourage our clients to choose a non-profit or a cause that fully aligns with their brand and their person-hood. Once we do this then we can also have a strong partnership online. You can become known in part as the Realtor who is passionate about climate change, the professional who will fight to feed those living on the streets, or the person who cares deeply about cleaning up the local river. The genuine alignment of your values is key here. You are more that a Realtor, you are firstly a human being who cares.
Once you’ve established the correct alignment then there are all sorts of digital stories and pieces of content that can be created and shared online with the support of your non-profit partner. These should be very human stories that engage a wider audience and expose people not only to your cause but also to your personal brand.
3. Look for Stories that Don’t Make Sense
Giving to the world can be a cynical act if your primary reason for doing so is to get something in return. What is required here is a huge amount of trust, both in yourself and in humanity (tough sometimes). We need to trust that if we truly and completely put others first then the business will flow back to us.
Trust me it works. One of our clients Laura A.Hall in Sonoma County does this remarkably well and her business has grown hugely as a result. There is nothing fake about it. It is a genuine reflection of who she is as a person.
How does it work?
Firstly, you have to identify the stories that make no business sense. What do I mean by this? Stories where there is no obvious gain for you. Secondly, you must live out and share the story. Since we’re talking about the digital media and the social space involve the Internet in your story telling.
Again this is all about keeping your ear to the ground and being actively involved in your local community. If you have no stories to tell the first thing you are going to have to do is to get more involved… to listen more, to talk to people you haven’t met.
Let me give you a powerful example of a story that doesn’t make sense.
I once heard the true story of a preacher (Tony Campolo) who couldn’t sleep one night when he was travelling and he went to a small back street diner in the middle of the night.
Sitting at the bar was a lady who worked as a prostitute and the two of them got to talking. The lady was sad and she told him that tomorrow was her birthday and in her entire life no one and ever thrown her a birthday party and that she had never even had a birthday cake. Soon after she left the diner and the preacher talked to the manager and he asked him where he might find other street workers who knew the prostitute.
The next night, when the lady arrived at the diner she found the place fully decked out for a birthday party, streamers, balloons, all her friends and a massive birthday cake. It was one of the greatest nights of her life.
As I remember the story, it was only later that night that the manager talked to the preacher and got to asking him what he did for a living… When the preacher told him that he ran a church, this rough, tough man’s mouth fell open and he uttered these famous words… ‘what kind of a church cares enough to hold birthday parties for whores?”
He had been struck and changed by a story that ran against the expectations of what was normal, it didn’t make sense and it touched him deeply
Ask yourself, where are these stories in your life? Where are the people who desperately need your service.
I know that we all have needs, most of us have bills to pay and families to support and the transactional nature of our work is important. But if we can trust ourselves and the process of being a generous human being we will be repaid a thousand times over in a number of different ways.
Live well. Give back.