What is a Platform?
A “platform” is what you earn for yourself by being a known expert in your field. It is the reputation you garner from effectively broadcasting your expertise through a variety of methods over a period of time.
Building your platform is very similar to Branding. Your Brand is how people perceive you, and your Platform is the expertise and substance that other people deem you to be a master of, worthy of being listened to on whatever your subject is.
As a real estate professional, when you have built a “platform” on being a Lifestyle Expert for your area, others will listen to you as an authority figure and give you the credibility you wish to have to become known and trusted locally as a quality Realtor.
Why is this important? In most markets, there are a lot of real estate agents and it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out and seen as something other than one of the perceived herd of generic Realtors all competing for the same pool of home buyers and sellers. All of them have the same necessary websites and social profiles, though most are in a quandary on how to use them.
Case Study: Tego and Tracy Venturi
When I think of Agents who have successfully built a platform, I immediately think of The Venturi Team from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Tracy Venturi was the initial spouse to venture into real estate while her husband held down a company job which had him in the office or on the road 5 days a week. Tracy’s goal was to “retire” her husband Tego from his dayjob and for them to build a successful real estate business.
Once the Venturi’s decided to go all-in with Personal Branding and tap into blogging and the new world of social media in the late 2000s, their lead faucet just turned on, and business came in at such a rate that Tracy’s dream of having Tego join her in the real estate business came to fruition.
Now, with Tego on board full time to implement their Internet marketing strategies, they watched their website’s Google rankings go steadily up until they reached the top in their market, followed soon by them becoming the #1 real estate team for their company in the entire state of New Mexico.
By the early 2010s, e-v-e-r-y-b-o-d-y knew The Venturi Team. And not just from their phenomenal sales achievements, but by the amount of “giving back” to their local fellow Realtors by serving on local boards, advocating for better IDX systems from their MLS, and mentoring other agents.
Albuquerque’s Fox Newsradio station KIVA 95.9 FM was impressed enough by the Venturis to offer them a weekly radio show to talk about the local real estate market. They’ve done so well with their show that the popular announcer Eddy Aragon calls them his “two favorite people in real estate.” Through that connection and others, the Venturis have been endorsed by big names in the world of talk radio and even Shark Tank real estate expert Barbara Cochran. To top it off, in 2015, Tego Venturi was named Albuquerque Real Estate Salesperson of the Year to honor him for all he has done for their Realtor community.
The point is that the Venturis now have a huge platform of correctly perceived expertise and success that helps them be well known and respected, and that platform has made their business explode even further. In fact, their team attracted so many quality team members, buyer’s agents, home sales specialists, administrative staff, that they outgrew their space in their broker’s office and had to buy an old Italian restaurant in Albuquerque that they converted into their real estate team headquarters. The sky’s the limit now.
The Venturis didn’t know any of this stuff when they started, but they had a vision of where they wanted to go. They could imagine the life they wanted for themselves and their children. Being able to take family trips to exotic locations and swim with the dolphins or visit Italy.
Using a Book to Create Your Platform
As mentioned in the previous chapter, a book that you have written (or ghost-written) can be your ticket to getting interviewed by local radio and TV shows as an authority figure on local real estate trends. You may find yourself being interviewed on local radio about real estate. If you’re not too shy, you might be like The Venturis and become the radio voice for real estate in your market.
Would it matter if that show was top rated show on the station or if your book was a million seller? No! What matters is that you would have built yourself a platform and forever going forward will be know as an author in addition to being a real estate expert.
Ways to expand your reach and your platform using your book as leverage:
● Speaking at local events such as Lunch and Learns, First Time Buyer Seminars and Chamber of Commerce Programs.
● Radio interviews
If you know you will be on any broadcast, make sure you get a recording of it. Ask the station in advance, or confirm someone you know has the correct technology to record you, and then set up a reminder for them to ensure they don’t forget.
Every single time you are in the media gives you added credibility and should be fully utilized on your website and social media.
What if I’m terrified of speaking in public?
It’s true that at the top of the list of things that most frighten people, public speaking rates above even death.
Most of us are not born with the public speaking gene. Like almost anything, it is a learned skill. Luckily, an organization that has been around for years can help you not only get over your fear, but can help you really be good at it.
Toastmasters International was formed in 1924 at a YMCA in Santa Ana, California. In the 90+ years since it began, they have helped over four million people learn to effectively speak in public. Today the organization serves over 332,000 members in 135 countries, through its over 15,400 member clubs.
Local chapters meet at all times of the day and some on weekends. Membership is very inexpensive and they have a proven system to help people just like you learn to speak comfortably and confidently. Toastmasters’ groups are informal and supportive and its OK to not be good. Everyone there started just like you.
What happens when I build my platform and its wildly successful beyond my dreams?
This will be a wonderful time when you will be setting up multiple systems and team members to work “in” your business so that you can work “on” your business doing the fun networking things and building your platform even more.