authenticity in the age of marketing
“I think a lot of people get lost. They start following iconic figures and get drowned in the pool of celebrity. Our society, as we know it, is definitely changing. With social media and cell phones, you freak out when you don’t know what’s going on.” — Israel Broussard
I fell into real estate by accident.
I was burnt out after 20 or more years off and on in the running footwear and apparel industry. I disliked the travel, a necessary evil for working for a top tier or startup running shoe firm, as it took me away from my family and threw me off kilter.
I got into the industry because I loved running. I found out after all those years I didn’t like selling running shoes.
It was almost as if I had two lives. The running shoe company me, visiting running shops, selling the owners on my brand, training sales people and the tech reps I had hired, staying in chain hotels and eating dinner at 9 or 10pm each night or entertaining the running shops whom we were courting for business while we competed with large and small running companies for shelf space.
And then there was home me who had to re-integrate into the routines of family. Get kids ready for school, make lunches, get dinner, have time for my wife, do jobs around the house.
There was one thing I really wanted when I came to real estate: to be authentic. I realized in my previous roles in the running industry I spent so much time twisting myself into different shapes to accommodate both my bosses and our potential clients I didn’t know who I was anymore. I was afraid to not please both my bosses and our customers when in reality, being more myself may have made me more successful.
Authenticity is thrown around today as a fast route to ultimate success. In marketing and advertising and in the self-help and psychology fields, being authentic is such a ubiquitous and undefinable term it’s become superficial and almost meaningless.
“Authentic people are brave enough to question the status quo! It’s about seeing things from a very personal perspective, as well as from new perspectives and standpoints, and reasoning with enthusiasm and credibility.” – Tina Mueller, Group CEO Douglas in LinkedIn
This piece through LinkedIn resonated as I’ve been thinking about how I connect with people who might become real estate clients. Rather than seeking to be more popular, I’ve come to see authenticity as a way for me to make that genuine and more satisfying connection. It’s journey, something to strive for because I’m not sure 100% authentic is achievable. Not everyone will like me nor want to work with me. I’m okay with that. There are plenty of other great Realtors® around.
As a Realtor® we are constantly bombarded with “tools” that help each agent market themselves as unique arbiters of insight, competence and the flows of the real estate market aside from every other agent doing almost exactly the same thing. How many “Just Listed” or “Just Sold” postcards have you received in the mail lately? Seen any billboards or placards on the side of buses or on your grocery carts?
That’s what I mean. There are conventions in real estate, a kind of status quo that describes how one is supposed to be as a real estate agent and to grow one’s business. These tools promote the notion that the best way up the real estate mountain is to be a star. In effect, to rise out of one’s own personality and become a celebrity in their particular market. (See here: http://www.bravotv.com/million-dollar-listing-new-york)
I’ve always loved being valuable to people. However I can bring people closer to their most important goals is what I aim for. I’ve worked to build my expertise in real estate so I can provide the kind of useful service that helps people make smart decisions. And in doing that I also want to be my most honest and true self. Not a fake celebrity pretending to be me. Is there room for you to be more authentic in your professional life?