If I were to ask that question to a group of experienced real estate agents, I’m certain they would say ‘Absolutely’.

If I were to ask that question to a broker or officer of the brokerage, I’m certain I would get a completely different response.

So, today, let’s cover some reasons why it truly is important for an agent to have their own identity.

First off, your Broker is the reason you’re allowed to practice real estate. They deserve to have their brokerage info out, alongside of, the independent contractors they’re responsible for within their company.

Most real estate agents don’t choose a real estate brokerage with a plan of leaving that company. But, agents and brokers do part ways on occasion. It’s just a fact of the business.

No matter what the reason for the parting of ways, the real estate agent; if they want to continue practicing real estate, will need to go to a different brokerage and begin anew.

For that reason; to begin anew, is reason enough as to why it’s important for real estate agents to have their own identity.

Most brokerages these days provide virtual offices for their agents. Some provide additional resources in order for their agents to be able to market listings or solicit buyers. All of which are great.

But, that brings about a couple of points I’d like to make.

I was a new agent, at one time…before YEARS of experience were put under my belt. As a new agent, I had time to solicit business from sellers, as well as, buyers. But…once I got busy with customers…then clients…I no longer had the time to devote to marketing. That, in and of itself, is the reason I founded My Faithful Assistant.

When I became booked with appointments throughout the day, I felt fortunate to get marketing done for my clients before the clock struck midnight. For those who aren’t familiar with the hours an agent keeps; it’s definitely NOT a 9 to 5 job. Agents don’t get to clock-out at 5pm. They clock-out when there’s no more calls, texts or emails, received for the day, from their leads and no further contracts that need to be written for their buyers or sellers. If they’re only up until midnight finishing paperwork and marketing; it’s considered a good day. And, a normal one.

Let’s get real for a second…parents, you know; even if you’re not a real estate agent, there’s always things that need to get done once you clock-out at 5pm (whether you work outside of the home or not). Supper needs to be made. Dishes need to be washed. Baths need to be had. Story-time waits for no one! Then, there’s the prep-work required for the next day….clothes ready for school, clothes ready for work, clothes ready for after-school practice or games and lunches made. Lord have Mercy, I get tired just thinking about what ALL truly goes into a normal day for any one!!!

Back to my point:  To be an effective real estate agent…or any type of business owner actually, it takes TIME and lots of it. To be effective it also takes organization, paperwork and follow-up; which again, ALL take TIME.

With that being said, beginning anew with another brokerage just means you start again; without buyers, sellers or leads. And, why would anyone want to begin anew after they’ve devoted countless hours to existing customers, clients, leads and deal making.

Why do agents start anew without any form of leads, you ask? Because when agents depend upon a brokerage to provide a virtual office, that virtual office houses every customer, every client and every lead that is generated by the real estate agent. Unless a brokerage allows for exporting of contacts through a virtual office, agents do not get to take their contacts with them when they leave.

Contacts are the number one asset of any type of business owner. And, when a business owner decides to sell their business…their contact list is the biggest asset that gets sold. And, YES, real estate agents CAN sell their ‘book-of-business’. Buying an established agent’s book of business can be very profitable to a new agent who is just starting out. Even, to an existing agent, with an interest in expanding a team.

Whether you’re a new agent or an experienced one, consider this, what will happen to your contact list if you leave your current brokerage…or God forbid, your current broker closes its doors? I’ve unfortunately seen several brokerages close their doors; all due to the death of the broker.

The other thing I’d like to mention today is creating an identity outside of your brokerage when you market yourself.

The independent contractor typically turns out to be the ‘face’ or the ‘representation’ of the brokerage to a buyer or seller. Buyer and seller presentations should always include information about the brokerage. But, it’s always the buyer’s agent or the listing agent who presents the paperwork, explains the paperwork, gets the required signatures and puts the ‘deal’ into action. It’s the agent who keeps the client informed and walks them through the process of buying or selling. It’s the agent who speaks with them the most.

That’s why your leads need to recognize you, the agent, as an individual…not just the ‘face’ they recognize as the brokerage who helped them buy, sell or lease.

So, let’s talk about ways to create an individual identity, as an agent.

Social media has made it easier to solicit business. It also makes it easier to create an identity outside of your broker’s identity. While you’re on social media, make sure you include your cell phone as a way for customers to reach you. Don’t use just a desk-phone or the main phone line for the brokerage.

Use an email address that’s specific to you; not one that your brokerage assigns you which ends in yourbrokersname.com. That way, no matter where you are, your contacts will always be able to reach you.

Market yourself, outside of your brokerage. It’s great that brokerages have websites for their agents, create enewsletters and blogs, design market reports, postcards or even social media graphics. But, in reality, it’s coming from and marketing the brokerage.

Have you done an internet search for real estate agents within your area?

How many times do individual agent websites come up?

How many times do brokerage websites come up?

Friends, there’s nothing wrong with brokerages marketing themselves. But, there’s also nothing wrong with agents marketing themselves outside of what their brokerage provides.

Do agents have to create their own logo? No, they don’t. But, it does create their individuality. Keep in mind, an agent is typically required to include either their brokerage logo or brokerage name in any type of advertising or marketing an agent does on their own. But, that doesn’t mean the agent can’t also include their own logo to be included in their marketing efforts.

Do agents have to create their own tag lines? No, they don’t. But, again, it creates their own unique identity outside of the brokerage. I used one that described the states I was licensed in. It was short, to the point and caught the attention of my target audience.

Do agents need to have their own contact management or project management? No, they don’t. But, it’s something I would highly recommend. Keeping contacts, as well as, the details associated with any sales that were made with those contacts is the best way to stay organized. The last thing you want to try and do is re-create a business flow…in a rush…after you’ve left your brokerage.

Do agents have to have their own blog, create their own graphics and market-watch reports? Absolutely not. Would I recommend they do? Yes, I would recommend those things without hesitation!!!

Do agents have time to do ALL of those things? Likely not. That’s where My Faithful Assistant can help THEM build their business.

What’s the different between a brokerage providing those services for an agent or MFA providing similar services for an agent, you ask?

The brokerage ultimately markets the brokerage and includes a small blurb about the agent. If an agent leaves the brokerage, the brokerage just removes the agent’s information from any marketing pieces; such as websites, and email…as if the agent was never there.

My Faithful Assistant provides support and marketing services to the agent in order to build that agent’s business and individuality. The agent owns the rights for ALL of the intellectual property we design or provide for them; that includes documents, presentations, branding and marketing. If an agent moves from one brokerage to another, there is NO beginning anew for the agent because MFA continues to provide the same services to the agent…which can be contact management, project management and marketing; such as social media, newsletters, postcards, market reports, websites and blogs. And, if the agent ever decides to discontinue services provided by My Faithful Assistant, the agent gets to take all of their intellectual property with them; we do not keep any of it to repurpose because it was made exclusively for that client.

If that sounds like our goal is to build the agent’s business and support it, as well as, the owner; then I’ve explained the purpose of My Faithful Assistant. We’re not anti-brokerage. We are pro-business owner…..yes, even if that business owner is a broker.

Whether you’re an independent contractor, a direct seller, a subcontractor or any type of small business owner, I hope I’ve helped you understand the importance of having your own unique identity within your field.

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