Chapter 4: How To Make Top Of Mind Awareness Work For YOU/ From the book Less Blah Blah More Ah Ha. By Ken Brand

Chapter Four of the book: Less Blah Blah More Ah HaHow social savvy real estate agents become trusted, preferred, referred — and rewarded.

 Make Top of Mind Awareness Work for You

“If you have a talent, use it in every which way possible. Don’t hoard it. Don’t dole it out like a miser. Spend it lavishly like a millionaire intent on going broke.” ~ Brendan Francis, Irish Poet

How Top of Mind Awareness Works

If nobody knows you as a trustworthy, knowledgeable, and remarkable real estate agent, you don’t have a chance. You’ll starve. Here’s why.

Having tracked thousand of transactions throughout my real estate career and scrutinizing the professional research that’s available, I can share with confidence that over 70% of homebuyers and sellers choose a real estate agent they know and trust, or who was referred by a trusted friend.  But don’t take my word for it.

One of the most important elements of a trustworthy presentation is to tell less and show more.  Also, using third-party proof, when possible, adds weight and credibility.  To that end, let’s continue by reviewing these startling revelations from an official source — the National Association of REALTORS®. After we review these survey results, we’ll dive into what the survey results tell us about what we should and shouldn’t be doing, and how we can catapult our business success from starving to well-fed.

Source: 2010 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. 

As we can see from this chart above, referred by (or is) a friend, neighbor, or relative and used agent previously continue to be among the most important factors when choosing a real estate agent.

The chart below identifies which important factors influence which agents they choose to contact and interview.

In this chart above we learn that trust, reputation, listening, and market knowledge play key roles in choosing which agents a homebuyer or seller will contact and interview.

Note that agents with the biggest ads, agents who send the most direct mail, agents who brag the most, and agents who hope the most don’t show up as a Most Important Factor.

Now that we have a handle on which agents are chosen and why, the next chart below reveals how many agents a motivated homebuyer or seller will consider.

 These three charts make three things brilliantly clear.

  1.  Seven out of ten sellers choose an agent they know, or one who has been referred to them.
  2.   Reputation, trustworthiness, and market knowledge are sky-high on the “agent must-have” list.
  3. Surprisingly, four out of five sellers choose to contact and interview only one or two agents.

Let’s delve deeper into these three important points.

Seven out of ten homebuyers and sellers choose an agent they know, or one who was referred to them.

Wow, right?   This is why having a larger network of past and present clients, friends, and acquaintances is not optional; it’s mandatory.  The quality and size of our network will absolutely determine the size and quality of our success.

Reputation, trustworthiness, and market knowledge are sky-high on the “agent-must-have” list.

The people we know, know more than one real estate agent.  For example, my market is a suburb of Houston, a master planned community called The Woodlands.  We have an adult civilian population of around 68,500 and a local real estate agent population of around 1,100.  That’s one real estate agent for every sixty-three adults. This doesn’t include the roughly around 24,000 Houston Association of REALTORS® who would crawl across cut glass to list or sell a property in The Woodlands.   No doubt, most civilians who live in The Woodlands know more than one real estate agent, agreed?  It’s likely the same in your market – the people you know, they know more than one real estate agent.

The huge Ah-Ha conclusion we can make is this: Agents who keep a low profile (secret agents) are, in effect, invisible. If an agent is invisible, then there is simply no way that the people they know will know anything about their reputation, whether or not they are trustworthy, a mega-watt marketing savant, or a village idiot. Does that make sense?

If you’re beginning to get a funny feeling, like maybe you’re a secret agent and people don’t know how great you are, don’t worry.  We’re going to cover how to go from secret agent to out-loud visible, attractive, choosable, and referrable, very soon.

Surprisingly, four out of five choose to contact and interview only one or two agents.

Gulp!  Homebuyers and sellers have an army to choose from. But guess what? They don’t consider or interview an army. When needing a real estate professional, four out of five people only choose only one or two lucky agents to talk to.  That’s wow-wild, right?

When civilians have a real estate need, or are asked to recommend a reliable real estate agent, out of all the agents they could choose from, most choose to engage with only one. That means that if we aren’t the first or second agent they think of, we are completely and utterly screwed. This is why secret agents are starving, stressed, and struggling.  Because secret agents are invisible and therefore never thought of, they’re never called-on or referred.

Now that we know how civilians behave, what can we do so that when someone we know has a real estate need, shazam, we are the ones who magically pop into their conscious thoughts?  Becoming the first or second person they choose to call on isn’t magic or luck at all.  It’s really a combination of science and art called Top of Mind Awareness.

How Top of Mind Awareness Works

I’d like you to read each of the following five questions in turn, jotting down your answers or speaking them out loud. Again, please do this exercise, don’t skip over it. The idea here is to give you an experience of what I’m talking about, not just some dry theory:

  1. When I say to-die-for dessert, what taste sensation makes your mouth water and your face smile? What desert did you think of?
  2. When someone asks you to name the greatest rock-n-roll band of all time, who do your ears hear?  Name the band or artist.
  3. You’ve been offered your favorite cocktail. What drink do you immediately think of?  Let’s hear you say it out loud, as you would to the bartender.
  4. Now think of a sexy and romantic vacation destination. What place comes to mind?  Who’d you take?  Speak the location and their name.
  5. When I ask you to name a top performing real estate agent other than yourself, who do you think of?

The answers to all of these questions are examples of Top of Mind Awareness in action.  Who or what occupies your first recall position in a certain category is the definition of Top of Mind Awareness.  Your contextual recall category is “real estate agent.”  In the next chapter we’ll dive into the two contextual types of recall, professional and personal, why they are important, and how you can use them to take more listings and make more sales.

Now here’s a $100,000+ a year question.  Within your network of acquaintances, friends, neighbors, relatives, and past clients, when they has a real estate need or when they are asked to refer a trustworthy real estate agent, do they think of you first or second, or not at all?  Are you benefitting from Top of Mind Awareness?

If you are, congratulations.  Always keep in mind that your most ambitious and savvy competitors are trying to erase your Top of Mind Awareness and replace it with their own. Keep up the good work and stay Top of Mind.

If you need to amplify your Top of Mind Awareness, no worries, we’re going to talk about how you can do that right now.

Top of Mind Awareness

Creating Top of Mind Awareness is a simple concept and has an easy-to-follow formula, but the execution of it takes hard work, diligence, and commitment. The good news is, if you’ll engage in that hard work, diligence, and commitment, you’ll change everything — big time.

Remember the two keys to success?  Knowing what others don’t and doing what others won’t.  Understanding what Top of Mind Awareness is and how to benefit from it is a perfect example of knowing what others don’t and doing what others won’t.

The 3 R’s:  Relevance. Remarkable. Repetition 

To earn righteous recall, you’ll need to rain your network with these 3 R’s.

Relevance:  The most important thing to know about relevance is this. It’s not about you, your awards, how epic you are, how many homes you’ve sold, how you’re number one, and so on and so on. Why is none of that old-school bragging relevant? Because nobody cares much about you; everyone cares about themselves and the important people in their lives.  Don’t you agree?

So the question is, how do you achieve relevance? By paying attention and observing what others are interested in, want, need, and desire.  Listen long and hard — what questions do they need answered?  What things make people smile and nod?  What problems do people need solved?  What information do people value or find interesting?

So, the formula for Relevance is to:

  1. Focus on them and the important people in their lives, not you.
  2. Come to a conclusion or two about what they’re interested in, need ,or want; what questions need answering, what they want to avoid, and what services and solutions you can provide.
  3. Share what is relevant.
  4. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Remarkable: Average and ordinary is forgettable; remarkable is memorable.  If you want to be remarkable you can’t walk, talk, chew gum, act, look, work, communicate, or engage in ordinary or expected ways. Many people struggle with the concept of being remarkable because they mistake it with somehow being outlandish.  Relax, you don’t have to be outlandish or a superhuman woman.

Remarkable simply means worthy of remark.  It’s easy to be worthy of remark if you do the following eleven things sincerely.

  1. Show up on time.
  2. Listen and pay attention.
  3. Deliver as promised.
  4. Be consistent.
  5. Keep your promises, be generous.
  6. Don’t brag, complain, or make excuses.
  7. Don’t push and shove.
  8. Follow up.
  9. Follow through.
  10. Have a sense of humor.
  11. Be patient, positive and passionate.
  12. ____________________________________
  13. ____________________________________
  14. ____________________________________
  15. ____________________________________

Go ahead and fill in blanks 12 – 15 with actions or behaviors you feel would glide you from ordinary to remarkable (you’ll notice some strong similarities to the formula for relevance).

See, being remarkable isn’t being outlandish: it simply involves showing up, being sincere, and, most of all, behaving in a trustworthy way.

Repetition:  This is about consistent and remarkable conduct, contact, conversation, sharing, and engagement. Here’s a handy list of old and new school media in which you can rain your remarkable repetition:

  • In Person
  • Telephone/Cell phone
  • Personal Mail (i.e., handwritten)
  • e-mail
  • eNewsletter
  • Video –
  • Blog Posts
  • Blog comments
  • Texting
  • Online Chat
  • Advertising
  • Direct Mail

Creating indelible Top of Mind Awareness is one of the most valuable skills a real estate agent can possess.  Master this and you’ll easily move from Blah-Blah boring to Ah-Ha attractive and perpetually successful.

What Have We Discovered?

  • Let’s wrap up this chapter with a summary of what we’ve discovered about what homebuyers and sellers do when they need real estate services:
  • The vast majority of homebuyers and sellers talk to only one or two agents at most before selecting who they will offer their business to.
  • Most civilians typically know more than one real estate agent and have access to hundreds. The one or two real estate agents they call on are contacted because they are already known and trusted, or they were recommended by a trusted friend.
  • When real estate services are needed, if we’re not the first or second real estate agent that person thinks of, we’re sunk.

To succeed in this business we must create Top of Mind Awareness in the memories of everyone we know.  We do this through relevant, remarkable, and repetitious contact, engagement, and marketing impressions.  As you read further, you’ll find that this book is full of high wattage ideas, strategies, and actions that position you in winning form within the minds and memories of your clients, prospects, and suspects.

So far in this section of the book we’ve determined what business we’re really in. We’ve discovered why we need to be in the business of building and maintaining trust with everyone we meet. And we’ve looked at the concept of Top of Mind Awareness to ensure we’re preferably the first or — at worst – the second real estate professional that civilians think of when they need our services. Are you ready to jump into the thick of it, kick ass  and take names? Er…not just yet. We’re off to a solid start, but there’s more to know and do.

There are a few other tips I’d like to share with you. The first of which is how to ensure that the people who know you, or know of you, don’t just know you.  We want them to instantly think of you first and foremost in the right context.  Here’s what I mean…

Stay tuned for Chapter Five:  It’s Not Who YOU Know.  It’s Who Know’s You.  Or you can pull the trigger and ride the bullet – buy the book NOW.

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

Thanks for reading and cheers.  If I can be helpful, let me know: Ken Brand – 832-797-1779