Your real estate bio is not your resume...it's your sales page
If someone is thinking about working with you, at some point they'll Google you. They want to like you. They want to say, "yes!" If they've gotten as far as searching your name, they're yours to lose. You need to control the story the internet tells about you as they search for your credentials. A key part of that story is your real estate bio.
- If you offer weak bio, there's a good chance you'll lose them. A weak bio contains misspellings, bad grammar, or generic copy that sounds like it could be anyone in the world.
- If you offer a mediocre bio, it's hit or miss. A mediocre bio reads like a resume where you list your "me too" credentials and talk about how you serve both buyers and sellers in the great yada yada area. You're something for everyone and have the creds to prove it! But so do a lot of agents who proclaim similar-sounding credentials. Sure, a lot of clients would be happy with a list of credentials, but with a tiny bit of tweaking, you can do so much more!
- If you give people an audacious bio, you compel them to call. An audacious bio tells a story, brags about your credentials in context, and motivates people to call you. It's a well-crafted sales page that doesn't look like it.
6 ways to make your real estate bio say wow!
I review real estate agent bios regularly. Below, I've teased out 6 principles that make the best bios stand out. You can use some or all of these ideas to help you craft your audacious bio. If you prefer, jump to the Before and After example below, then come back to these details later.
- Use features, benefits, and advantages (not just features and benefits).
- Know and show your USP in story form.
- Show your lifestyle, and that of your team.
- Use formatting to break up your text.
- Provide credentials.
- Be clear, be brief, be bold.
Principle 1 — Use features, benefits, and advantages
Example 1: The Expert Car Salesman
A working mom with two young children is buying a new car. She wants a car that is both kid-friendly and reflects her professional status at work.
- The salesman points out the smart design of the cup holders in the car. (FEATURE)
- The salesman indicates how easy the cup holders are to remove and clean. (BENEFIT)
- Then he drives home the point. "This way you can get the gunk out of the cup holders so you can show up at work in a car that looks as professional as you." (ADVANTAGE)
The salesman would have used different advantages for different buyers, such as a Realtor who needs to drive clients around in a clean car.
Example 2: The Expert Realtor
Think of yourself as the product (like the car). What are the features of working with you? What are the benefits of each of those features? And finally, what are the advantages each benefit? Example:
- I have an amazing TC who will keep you informed about transaction details daily. (FEATURE)
- You'll always know what's going on. (BENEFIT)
- You'll have the confidence to...
- continue making plans to buy your next home. (ADVANTAGE 1)
- continue making arrangements to remodel. (ADVANTAGE 2)
- focus on packing your priceless antiques without being distracted by transaction details. (ADVANTAGE 3)
You can see how the ADVANTAGE can be spun differently for different client concerns.
TRY IT—Features, Benefits, Advantages
Write three Features of YOU as a real estate agent. Then add the benefits and advantages. You might not use all three Feature-Benefit-Advantages in your real estate bio, but coming up with three ideas now will make writing it easier.
Principle 2 — Know and show your USP in story form
Your USP is your Unique Selling Proposition. It's also called your Unique Value Proposition (UVP).
The USP is hard for a lot of agents to come up with, especially newer agents with less experience to draw on. But a USP is more about the way you do business, than your credentials or experience. It's a special way you do business, your life philosophy, some experience that makes you stand out, your style, etc.
A USP should tell a story in 60 words or less. Think of it as a big Feature-Benefit-Advantage, where the feature is that one thing that stands out about you. Instead of simply stating the feature, describe it with details that show the feature. And remember that people hire people they like, so show some personality in your USP!
USP Example 1: The Well-Connected Realtor (60 words)
In 25 years, I've shepherded over 5,000 deals to closing. I've done that by gaining the trust of a vast array of partners you'll need as you go through your transaction. They’re the best inspectors, cleaners, title reps, electricians, contractors, and more. You'll get an army of people helping you move, not just a fun Realtor who loves his work.
USP Example 2: The Picky Realtor (60 words)
You know those super-detail-oriented people who have a place for everything... they're color-coordinated... never miss a birthday... and even bullet-journal their life goals? That's me. I guarantee the sale of your house will be well-organized and run like clockwork, from marketing to closing. You'll be able to focus on packing and moving, while I do what I do best...manage the details.
TRY IT—Write your USP
Start by simply brainstorming your personal features...the features that make you good at what you do. After you have a list of those, decide what rises to the top for you. Then list some examples of that feature and finally the benefits and advantages to your clients.
[When I brainstorm, I find it useful to write down everything, even the craziest ideas. Sometimes those crazy ideas lead to the best ideas by helping you think out of the box.]
Principle 3 — Show your lifestyle (and that of your team)
It's important to associate yourself to the community you serve. The easiest way to do that is to list a few places you patronize in the community. If you farm a neighborhood, list a store you like in the area, or a bar. Don't simply rattle off neighborhood names...be specific about where you visit in that neighborhood. If you serve the whole city, list some place names you frequent in different areas of the city. If you sell rural property, talk about doing goat yoga at Jerry's Goat Farm.
Also, include your team in your lifestyle mentions. Brag about them, or include them when mentioning the places you visit in the community. You can also add a photo of your team doing something fun. It's a nice way to tell a story without spending words. See our Fast Newsletters About page for example. You can see Scott and Caden bouldering, which gives you a taste for who they are without talking about them in words. You won't be able to add photos to a lot of bio pages, but if you can, add one or two.
TRY IT—Show your lifestyle
Make a list of the most iconic places you go in your community. Describe your team. List a few hobbies. These are things you'll draw from as you prepare your bio. Not everything will go into your bio, but again, you're brainstorming before writing.
Principle 4 — Use formatting to break up your text
I'm adding this principle, because it's not obvious to everyone that formatting matters when it comes to persuasive copy. Headers and paragraph spaces break up long, monotonous blocks of text. Color, bolding, and italics can draw the eye to important details.
Page design matters! If you don't believe me, read this report: www.sweor.com/firstimpressions. You'll never look at web pages the same way again.
Principle 5 — Provide credentials
Do not provide an endless list of credentials ad nauseam. Simply add enough to give them a flavor for your expertise, preferably in story form. Use the credentials that are most relevant to your story and your target market. If you specialize in senior real estate, you don't need to mention your computer science degree. Instead, focus on your senior real estate designations and other senior connections in the community.
Principle 6 — Be clear, be brief, be bold
In 1918, William Strunk Jr. wrote a tiny book on the basic rules of English writing. In 1959, EB White revised the book and published it as "Elements of Style." Time magazine calls it one of the 100 most influential books written in English." I'm telling you about this because I had to do a book report on that book as part of my journalism classes in college. The main thing I took away was Strunk's timeless advice:
"Be clear, be brief, be bold."
What that means, specifically...
- Keep your bio under 250 words. Any more than that is more than people will want to read about you.
- Omit needless words. (Don't say "I guarantee that I'm the top agent in my office." Say "I'm the top agent in my office.")
- Use the active voice. (Don't say "I'm required to update my license…" Say, "I update my license…")
- Be certain (Don't say "I might be able to find you the home of your dreams." Say "I'll find you the home of your dreams.")
- Avoid adverbs unless they pack a punch (Don't say "It's really beautiful." Just say "It's beautiful." But do say "It's beautifully built." Beautifully packs a punch; really doesn't.)
- Write in an authentic voice, using first and second person pronouns--I, us, you, and we. Don't use third person pronouns--he, she, they. You may have heard that you should write professional profiles in the third person. But after 30 years in sales writing, I can tell you that first and second person are more effective in sales copy. Remember that a real estate bio is sales copy.
TRY IT—Write a first draft of your bio
Add your USP, show off some of your business feature-benefits-advantages, give examples that put you into the community, add relevant credentials (or show these in your features), be clear, brief, and bold, and use layout to make your text more readable.
Real Estate Bio — Before & After Example
I snagged this "before" example of a real estate bio off the internet, exactly as-is. I only changed names to protect the innocent!
Jack Smith is a dream catcher. He helps new friends catch their dreams of buying and selling a wonderful home. A resident of Pittsburgh for more than 25 years, he has lived and worked in many areas in the Three Rivers area. His business is based on more than 80 percent referrals from satisfied clients. Most important to Jack is providing the most excellent service to buyers and sellers in order to earn their trust, referrals, and repeat business. Jack has sold homes in all price ranges from starter homes and high-dollar estate properties to uptown condominiums, ranch properties, and investment properties. Clients appreciate his flexibility, low pressure sales, patience, ability to listen and hear what a client wants, negotiation and analytic skills, and his ability to accurately price and market a home.
- What I like: It's short (133 words). It contains all the important resume hot-buttons. It gives a flavor of who Jack is.
- What I don't like: It's densely packed with factoids, not personality. Jack doesn't look a lot different than a dozen other Pittsburgh Realtors, who profess similar credentials and attributes. It could be anyone because it lacks specific details. It's also laid out as one block of text, which won't read well on mobile. Let's see how it could be re-written, below.
Hi, I'm Jack Smith. I'm a Pittsburgh native who loves selling homes all over our Three Rivers townships, neighborhoods, and boroughs. When I'm not working, you can find me having a beer at Hemingway's or sitting left field at Three Rivers Stadium (AKA Heinz Field), watching the Steelers trounce the Browns.
Best of Both Worlds
My wife, Becky, joins me in in my work. As my sharp-eyed transaction coordinator, she makes us look good by handling the real estate paperwork 100% to perfection. Once you find a house you love, or get an offer on your house for sale, you can relax knowing Becky's taking care of the details with the attention of a mother bear on her cubs.
Nothing Surprises Me Anymore
With over 20 years of real estate under my belt, plus an alphabet soup of credentials (GRI, EPro, ABR, CCIM, GCFI—just kidding, that last one's an electrical outlet), you can believe I have an answer for every problem that can crop up. Nothing surprises me—not a bee swarm in the attic, a seller who passes away the day of closing, an unexpected fence dispute by a neighbor, or any other of the many situations I've seen. Everything has a solution, and I'm the guy to find it for you. Call to start working with me. I mean it. No matter your real estate experience level, call me. I'm here for you.
- What I like: It's still short (236 words). It gives people a strong sense of Jack's personality. It offers details about Pittsburgh that tell us Jack really knows the area, and it offers a window into how things will be done with him in charge of the real estate transaction. It's laid out using headers to break up the text. It also ends on a call to action. The details are specific.
How I applied all 6 Principles to the above profile
- Added a feature, benefit, and advantage, which was Becky as TC (#1).
- Told a story about how nothing surprises Jack (his USP is "unflappable problem solver"), using concrete details, not abstractions (#2). I also added details about Jack's favorite places at the beginning, but in brief story form to connect him to the community he serves.
- Brought Jack's wife into the picture and gave readers a sense of Jack and his wife's (TC's) lifestyle (#3).
- Added paragraph breaks and headers (#4).
- Included Jack's extensive credentials in a humorous fashion that reflects on Jack's personality (#5).
- Put it into first person, used active verbs, and kept it under 250 words (#6).
How to write your audacious real estate bio
- Work through principles 1-3 before you start writing the entire bio. That gives you some content to draw from when writing the bio.
- Brainstorm your bio. Start long and whittle it down. Use someone else's eyes to help you cut unnecessary words.
- Review the bio to see if you've hit on all the key principles described in this post.
Once you're happy with your real estate bio, go through all your online profiles and update them…your Zillow, Realtor.com, personal website, Facebook profile, etc. You may have to create even shorter versions for some pages. Also Google your name to see how you look in online search and optimize your search profile (see this post: It's time to Google yourself (again).