Now more than ever, effective marketing is key to survival. On that we can ALL agree. Selling oneself (no, not like that) boils down to spreading the word about how much better/smarter/more experienced you are over other agents. Or does it?
Thinking outside the box doesn't necessarily mean being a totally creative type such as using Guerrilla marketing methods. Guerrilla marketing is viable; proven for those who are daring enough to use it consistently.
My sense is that many agents may not be that inventive or bold. In terms of the difference between marketing oneself and advertising, I think it's worth pointing out that promoting your merits does not meet a very important criteria in modern marketing... specifically "what's in it for me?"
So thinking outside the box could include turning that box upside down or inside out. Instead of "Hey look at me! Aren't I wonderful? Have you seen the way I walk on water lately?"... take a different approach, think about your clients, even the ones you have yet to meet... think about what you can do for them, honor and serve them.
Top producers have a track record of singing about their credentials and expertise. And because they are top producers, many agents are lured into thinking that's the best approach to take. What I discovered is that most buyers and sellers don't choose an agent based on their professional merits. More often than not, they are comfortable with the agent who has a customer-centric mindset and who they believe will meet their needs and take care of them best.
Here's the main problems with the "look at me!" mindset: you've got to spend time and money getting that message out to all your would-be fans. That, my friends is the old way. It's still advertising your greatness and that requires a consistent expenditure of time, money and effort. The approach for the new millennium? Take such amazing care of people that they become RAVING FANS and they brag about you to those they know. My friends, you cannot buy word-of-mouth advertising... it's priceless. Conversely, you cannot un-ring a bell and upset, dissatisfied clients will NEVER promote you but they will bash you and they have the platform (the internet) to do it! And they do....
Impress through service, after all, branding is literally making an impression. Your service is your brand and every interaction with another human being is an opportunity to make an indelible mark. Branding need not cost you anything (you are already doing it) but negative branding can cost you EVERYTHING!Take care of others and they WILL take care of you.
Let's have a dialog about your burning marketing questions!