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First Person

Why the Director of Marketing at ERA American Believes Your Brand is About Your Story, Not Your Logo.

“I got into real estate because I answered an ad. You know, it's kind of one of those things-- serendipity is the best reason to get into anything.” - Kim Luckie, Director of Brand & Demand Generation at ERA American Real Estate

Here are a few highlights:

  • Why all business is relationship driven.
  • How group accountability can help you gain control of your schedule
  • Why understanding your customer is the most important place to start.

Rather read it? Check out the transcript here:
Mike Schneider: Welcome back to another episode of First Person, where we talk about the intersection of relationships and business, particularly in real estate.

Kim Luckie: Mmhmm.

Mike Schneider: And I am really excited to have Kim Luckie with us, who's the director of marketing at ERA American. And it's been amazing to watch and, and work with them and see how she implements different systems and supports their agents. And so, uh, I wanted to start off by just, just getting-- rewinding really quick to how you got into real estate. Why did you get into real estate?

Kim Luckie: Oh, well, I got into real estate because I answered an ad. You know, it's kind of one of those things that-- serendipity is the best reason to get into anything. It's totally by accident but it was exactly how it was supposed to be. I moved back home and I'd been doing marketing for 20 years. And, ERA American Real Estate was hiring in marketing and I thought, "Oh, I'm in this small town."

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Kim Luckie: "How am I gonna find a job in my field?"

Mike Schneider: Right.

Kim Luckie: And it turns out that's exactly where I was supposed to be.

Mike Schneider: Wow.

Kim Luckie: It's-- everything in my career prepared me to work in real estate, work with realtors, help agents grow. So--

Mike Schneider: So you brought 20 years of marketing into real estate. And, were you surprised about how much of this was relationship driving at the marketing background?

Kim Luckie: I really actually was because, when you're-- it's amazing. When you are-- I think you have a really good perspective, particularly right now, in real estate, to have not had any background in it. Because what I'm bringing is my experience on how to connect with people. So in my mind, all business is relationship.

Mike Schneider: Agree.

Kim Luckie: But when you get into real estate, what I realized is, people don't really have-- they don't do-- it's a huge transaction and they don't -- they aren't loyal to a logo.

Mike Schneider: Nope.

Kim Luckie: They're not loyal to a tagline. They're loyal to a person. And so helping agents who have so much to do and so many hats to wear, understand that it's who they are that people are loyal to and want to do business with, more critical in a real estate transactions than in any other kind of transaction, I think.

Mike Schneider: So, I've been really excited about this conversation just because of that. And you help so many different agents think about how to build that loyalty.

Kim Luckie: Mmhmm.

Mike Schneider: Um, can you walk us through some tips and tricks? What are some things that you, you help agents think about or process or implement?

Kim Luckie: Well, I think probably the biggest key to success and relationships in my mind is, has a lot more to do with, accountability, honestly, more than anything. So a lot of the things that we look for, we're trying to help our agents, you know, remember that they have this relationship. It's a long transaction, right? Um, agents-- consumers are, they start browsing 18 to 24 months--

Mike Schneider: 24 months. That's right. That's right.

Kim Luckie: Right? That's what we keep hearing. But it's because, we, they have access to information a lot sooner. And so, in order to create loyalty, you have to be loyal first. And, we try to find products and services and, any kind of, uh, tools and habits and coaching that will help our agents, create those habits to be giving all the time--

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Kim Luckie: -- in those relationships, so that when people are ready to transact, you're, you're who they think of and you're who they trust already.

Mike Schneider: So this doesn't have to be the end all, be all, but do have a few of those habits or tools that you'd be willing to mention that people can say, "I, I'd go do that. I'll try that."

Kim Luckie: Well, I think it's just like anything, you know? When you are-- well, okay. My best example?

Mike Schneider: Yes.

Kim Luckie: If you're dating someone, you make a special appointment-

Mike Schneider: You set them up on your drip campaign. 

Kim Luckie: Right. You do. Absolutely [laughter]

Mike Schneider: That's right. That's right. "Here's my newsletter."

Kim Luckie: But--

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Kim Luckie: --you make sure your online profile's really good, you know, right?

Mike Schneider: You do. Yeah.

Kim Luckie: You do. You actually create a brand around yourself. The best version of yourself. And then as you get to know someone, you reveal, you become more and more vulnerable. But what you're doing is you're just coming together and what you want, and what they want, and it's not-- and it's really not that different.

Mike Schneider: Think about your personal branding as if you're going on a date.

Kim Luckie: Well, kind-- yeah.

Mike Schneider: There you go. Get back in the dating world.

Kim Luckie: You know, you're building-- right, exactly. Maybe sometimes we're having to, get some different skills, but--

Mike Schneider: So, refresh, maybe, that headshot you have from 10 years ago. Is that part of what you're talking about?

Kim Luckie: Possibly. Possibly.

Mike Schneider: Okay.

Kim Luckie: Yeah, yeah. I don't know, yeah.

Mike Schneider: I, I like that cause I was gonna ask you about the personal branding side. Because obviously you know about, a lot about marketing. But what, what are some of the coaching things or other things you guys have implemented that you think have been, have been helpful?

Kim Luckie: Well, we try to, we try to come up with anything that we can do to, help people be accountable. So--

Mike Schneider: Mmm. 

Kim Luckie: Um, you know, time blocking is huge. I mean, actually just making time to do it.

Mike Schneider: I mean, we were in your office. It was a cool vibe. It, it was clear that your agents actually like being in the office and working together. Do you do time blocking together?

Kim Luckie: Sometimes.

Mike Schneider: Really?

Kim Luckie: It just depends. You know, one of the things about, the size that we're at-- we're kind of a medium size, small to medium size brokerage, so--

Mike Schneider: How many agents is [inaudible]?

Kim Luckie: About 110 agents.

Mike Schneider: 110 agents. Okay.

Kim Luckie: Yeah. And so, you know, when you're at that, at that point, you still have time and resources to do one on one, but you also try to put people together to do things as groups. And the more that we can do sort of group accountability, the more people can kind of take control of their own schedules--

Mike Schneider: Sure.

Kim Luckie: --and help each other. But I think that's what creates that vibe, too, is that, like-minded people, get excited about holding each other accountable. Plus, there's nothing like telling someone a goal. "I'm gonna do this."

Mike Schneider: "I'm gonna do it."

Kim Luckie: "I'm gonna call these people." You know, "I'm gonna follow up with these people." And then you have-- then you're, you know, accountable to someone else, so-- [laughter]

Mike Schneider: I really like that. I mean, maybe the, the, the takeaway would be find an accountability if you don't have one. And say what you're gonna do. And then go do it.

Kim Luckie: Yeah. Yeah.

Mike Schneider: And that could be five calls a day. It could be whatever you need it to be. But, go do it.

Kim Luckie: Mmhmm. Absolutely.

Mike Schneider: That's cool. Um, what's something that, uh, you wish you had known before, particularly about, you know, the relationship side of the business that, that you now know?

Kim Luckie: Mmm. What would I-- what, if I, if I could start right now knowing what I know now?

Mike Schneider: That's right. If you could rewind to when you started at ERA American, what's something you wish you, you had known about how relationships drive this industry?

Kim Luckie: I think that I would've spent more time understanding the customer and less time understanding what we say about real estate. Does that make sense?

Mike Schneider: It makes all the sense in the world. I think there's a, a big shift going towards customer experience.

Kim Luckie: Right.

Mike Schneider: But, tell us more.

Kim Luckie: Right. Well--

Mike Schneider: What, what do you now know about the customer? Like, what-- tell us, tell us what you mean there?

Kim Luckie: Well, paying attention to what they're telling you they want just based on their behavior. So, being able to see what they're actually doing, you know, where they're going, where they're shopping, as opposed to, uh, maybe trying to control the transaction, you know, your perspective. So, sometimes I think we-- you can go back to websites. You know, when I started five, five years ago-- so much has changed in five years. 

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Kim Luckie: When I started in real estate, we were really focused on personal branding to the extent that, you know, every agent was trying to create their own logo, their own--

Mike Schneider: Their own website. Yeah.

Kim Luckie: Their own website. And it wasn't really based on what the customer wanted necessarily. It was based on the way we wanted to maybe control or tell our story. And so, yeah, um, if I could start right now, I would spend a lot more time, you know, listening. Finding tools that helped me listen to what the customer wants. You know, uh, maybe bring some of that experience from other industries in and pay attention to what they're doing and how they're building, you know, better relationships.

Mike Schneider: So, to wrap that up-- I, I thought it was really interesting what, what your point is, essentially that your personal brand isn't a logo and a website. Right?

Kim Luckie: No.

Mike Schneider: Um, how do you help agents understand what their, what their real brand is in terms of helping the consumer?

Kim Luckie: Well--

Mike Schneider: Because I think you have a really interesting trick.

Kim Luckie: [laughter] the great thing about start-- being new in real estate myself is that I, I have no preconceived ideas. And so what I've learned just by watching and trying to figure it out on my own is that agents, I don't think you really know who you are in the transaction until you've done quite a few of them. And so, one of the traps that you can get caught up in, especially when everyone's telling you you're an entrepreneur-- I heard today, "You're a CEO. You're a CEO of your own, business." Which I don't disagree with at all. But, you have to be really careful not to get into the trap of, um, feeling like you have to do all of those kinds of things--

Mike Schneider: You have to be everything and do everything.

Kim Luckie: You have to figure all of that stuff-- because, you really-- your branding is really about telling the story of what makes you unique. And until you have, I've noticed a pattern, 25 to 30 transactions under your belt, that's when I see agents really start to understand who they really are, what they love most about the transaction. What kind of value they can actually, uniquely provide in that relationship. And so, you know, my advice for new agents, which -- we help train a lot of new agents, every single year. And what I try to help them understand to be successful is, worry about who you are and the relationships you're building and don't worry about your, all of the, all of the trappings of marketing. I'm a creative professional. I really--

Mike Schneider: And you're a marketer.

Kim Luckie: --love it. I know. So, it's like, you don't need me that much--

Mike Schneider: Yes.

Kim Luckie: --until you've really had time to figure out who you are. But I see it, I see it so often. They hit that 25, 30 transaction mark and suddenly the lightbulb goes on and they know how to succinctly say what their story is and what they provide.

Mike Schneider: Well, there's nothing better than ending on that. Get to 25 or 30 transactions. Think about who you are in that. And that's what you can then build your brand off. It's not that logo. It's not the website.

Kim Luckie: No. Nope.

Mike Schneider: The, the website and the logo should be aligned with that, eventually, right--

Kim Luckie: Mmhmm. It's a complement.

Mike Schneider: --of, of what you know.

Kim Luckie: Well, it's a complement to and not the lead in--

Mike Schneider: The lead in.

Kim Luckie: --for. Yeah.

Mike Schneider: Don't look for marketing to lead the way.

Kim Luckie: No.

Mike Schneider: Well, thank you Kim for being on. Really appreciate you taking time.

Kim Luckie: Thanks. It's great.