So welcome to personal brand breakthrough I’m Sheryl Plouffe and today I have a special guest with me someone who I’ve come to know over the last eight months to a year or so Kevin Hartley. Kevin I am so glad you’re here We’re going to talk about all things business and marketing and I know that you’ve got some insights to share so welcome to the show Thanks Sheryl nice to be here. So Kevin I know that you’ve been in real estate for a long time you had actually prior marketing experience in your prior life Tell me a little bit about where things when you started doing real estate what were some one related specifically to marketing What did you learn about marketing? What was sort of the lay of the land in real estate and marketing when you kind of got started? Sure. Well I’ll give you a little bit of backstory about why I even got into real estate Certainly I’ve gone through a number of careers and The sunset of hopeful retirement is not too far off in the future And I was just tired of working for the board and I felt I had done Sort of the marketing challenges, I had I had reached the pinnacle of marketing executive level status that I could without going through a whole lot of retraining or you know just looking at new things and I’ve always had a passion for real estate, but I’ve always had a big frustration with real estate So coming into real estate as a marketer I wanted to make sure that I could raise the bar either in value or service Particularly in value and service because I’ve had a lot of frustrating experiences as a buyer and seller so the biggest challenge for me Outside of you know learning to be a real estate agent which was actually quite easy was the rules and regulations and the policy that prohibits agents from doing certain things So I’m used to being an out-of-the-box thinker with very few limitations definitely no government rules or regulations In the industries that I was in which was mostly hospitality Telling me what I can or can’t do what I have to say or not say So that was the biggest challenge for me was how to brand myself creatively and Differentiate myself, but still follow the rules It’s interesting you say that. I just had a conversation with someone this morning over coffee about exactly that not in real estate But in the financial services, and I can see that being a problem in a lot of different industries What were some of these specific limitations from a brand and marketing standpoint that you weren’t allowed to go down? So specifically depending which brokerage you belong with in addition to the government rules and regulations each brokerage or brand Will have their own policies and rules and regulations that they want So they want their logo on the card they want it to be a certain size They want it to be a certain color. They want it to be a certain font There’s other pieces of information that have to be on there so the rules and Regulations from a government point of view are you have to identify your brokerage in text and usually with a logo And you have to adhere to you know brand colors and that sort of thing if not an exact template you have no leeway Outside of the templates that are provided to do your own thing So having been a marketer and other industries having had a lot of creative flexibility having managed design studios That was just too much of a box for me, so I found a brokerage I moved from a name-brand brokerage I moved from Sutton to a company called iPro Which is a little bit more forward-thinking? So they would like their logo there, but they don’t demand that their logo is there So I can put it there in text and meet the government regulations But I can come up with my own branding that is more reflective of myself now When I joined iPro because I was still a young realtor as far as my career. Not so much with age I joined a team So very much again the team had its own brand its own Standards and things that are wanted and even in the way that it serviced clients although they were excellent realtor’s on the team there was in my mind a Traditional philosophy about how real estate transactions are to Take place and the kind of service and value that you can or cannot provide to your clients and so while that was a great learning ground to be on the team and I learned tons of information each of our meetings was like a master class in real estate I just felt limited on a branding point of view so I recently left the team and I’ve gone out on my own So that I can start to modify not just the brand imagery That I want to portray but the actual service that I want to provide and the things that I want to do differently to differentiate myself in this huge marketplace of 80,000 realtors in Ontario 40,000 in Toronto But to really give the clients something different something new something that benefits them I love that I think that you know if I had to describe you you are progressive You know what I mean and and I think that I I don’t think I know that you take action when you know that your heart is pulling you in a certain direction you like to follow that and I love that you go down an unbeaten path because really most realtors are In the situations that you just described so I love the direction that you’re going in with your brand I love the fact that you take action and that you invest in yourself to learn and fast-track yourself to certain in certain things You know you and I have worked together on the video front, and I know you saw some really great results with that Maybe we can talk a little bit about that because from a real real estate standpoint I mean marketing is a really big thing But obviously it’s an Investment so tell me a little bit about the lay of the land and up to this point and what you’ve done in terms of Effectively marketing yourself even within the constraints of what you’ve just described What were some things that you did that worked and maybe didn’t work sure there was a lot of things that didn’t work Again so again, I’ll also preface and say in the learning environment that we have for real estate They don’t teach you how to market yourself So I come with a big advantage having had a marketing background about Things I could think I could do and thank you for for pointing out sort of being a trailblazer And confidence I come with that a lot of people don’t and a lot of people. That’s where they flounder They don’t know what to do They don’t know where to begin so they do what they see other people doing they do the typical it makes sense yeah, they do some postcards they invest in billboards or these they sort of do those things and Realtor’s really haven’t done much else for for many many years That’s newer. That’s different so I also have an acting background and So to me it just seemed that I’ve gotten into real estate. I ought to try and leverage these On-camera skills that I have in a different way I’m used to working with a script so taking your course and working with you was to try to get me out of my head And used to speaking my own words instead of having to work with somebody else’s written word So I’m still working on that But it was an excellent start and also getting used to the technical aspect of self producing video Because the videos that I had seen so I decided the video Was absolutely the next way to go with communicating because I had tried some of those traditional marketing methods the postcards the newsletters and It looked great And I liked them and sure there were some people who recognized my name but the phone wasn’t ringing And I just wasn’t getting results and I know and people watching will totally relate to this Those real estate agents and their darn postcards you know their mailbox to blue box 99.9 percent of the time When you need us, they’re really useful because it happens. You know a mother. It’s time to sell the house well We better start keeping the postcards so they keep the postcards for a while So you knew you’re they or they dig through the recycling bin to see which postcards are in there exactly if they’ve got them or they keep them for a two-week period so that’s why You know I can see why it’s important to be in the mailbox so that you’re there when you are needed But it’s really not until people sort of start to make that decision That they want to go To start to work with a realtor so then they keep them so again it became about money the cost of those postcards so I was doing two postcard drops a month and It was costing me $1,080 for each drop so about $2,160 Per month to deliver 6,000 postcards to my farm area know if there’s any realtor is watching They may say wow that’s a great number. They may say that’s high they may say that’s low again I have a marketing print production background so my feeling is that that number for me is about half of What I know some other realtors are paying because they don’t have marketing skills they don’t have print production skills Wow so even at half at $2,100 a month to go from mailbox to blue box and have no idea if any of them made it to the fridge or Made it to the counter for that time when somebody might be coming along, and I just thought I can’t keep doing this I just can’t and I stumbled across your workshops and it exactly coincided with My thoughts about I gotta work on video, and I had tried to do some video, and I had bought equipment And I had you know on cameras and lights and it was in my basement for a year But it was set up. There was this big scary thing But at the same time I’d made an investment now my investment was about the cost of one drop for postcards right so I thought okay this already makes sense because This is now owned, and I and this is repeatable and duplicatable and I can do this over and over but after I worked with you, I then started to test a few videos and Again being a marketer, and I think anybody any business person wants to see some ROI some return on that investment And it’s hard with postcards or mailers or a lot of things but with facebook advertising You can see the number of clicks. You can see the number of conversions now with facebook Messenger somebody likes One of your ads or something you can start an instant Dialogue with them that just sends them a little bounce note that says hey, thanks for liking That article if I can be of any further assistance Here’s my contact information, and you can start that right away so for me to go From $2,160/month to initially testing it spending ten dollars a day on Facebook so $310/month I cut my marketing by 87% crazy crazy crazy I’m starting to get a tangible result and results that you know the demographics and you can target the demographics and That’s nuts and that’s the beauty of Facebook advertising Right it’s the ability like you said you have a farm market with advertising on Facebook because they know way too much about Us and they and their advertising platform is based around all of our behaviors and there are 2 billion people now on Facebook That you can actually target geographically or based on any number of criteria Demographics that kind of thing it’s truly incredible and remarkable, so I’m so happy to hear you say that yeah well and the ability then to So to take that budget, so I was comfortable spending that twenty one hundred and sixty Really happy to only be spending three hundred But now with that difference what I couldn’t do with postcards is like well Let’s let’s try another market over in a different pocket of Toronto That I haven’t tried before and see how I perform over there or let’s try I’ve started working I’m originally from London, and I had some people that wanted to work with me down there, so I’ve started I’ve joined the London board and I’ve started Instantly from my desk without having to deal with a designer a printer a distributor I’m advertising you duplicate what you do in Facebook in your farm market in Toronto and you duplicate it somewhere else and you Can turn it on and off and if it’s not working in the timeframe that you think is comfortable even though You’ve scheduled it for maybe seven days or 10 days You don’t like what you see in the first to set it up stop spending the money Tweak it fix it and put something else out there. You know and that’s the thing next thing I do Sorry I was gonna say with Facebook okay, it’s looking at the results and just tweaking Like you said for as little as ten dollars a day you can get into it and that’s what’s remarkable about what you’re doing you’re creating the videos and You’re taking that content, and you’re using the digital platform You’re using this amazing Facebook advertising platform to really narrow in on specific Markets and not only that but expanding the markets so you’re you’re kind of you’re kind of looking like you’re everywhere which is Remarkable yeah, which is is starting to help build that new brand, so I’ll be honest most of the since the summer really and since I sort of got the Notion in my head that I was going to depart from my team I spent a lot of time just working on that So what is my personal brand going to be so your personal brand breakthrough workshop was not only about Seating in my mind as a business person how to use video Effectively, but just what is my personal brand going to be so I started Exercising my thoughts around that based on some of the learning that you shared with us, and I took a pause from video But even with static ads that I was sharing articles that I had written from my blog and just posting those Articles for a small community newspaper that I write and sharing those Wait it’s still way better than postcard results, but for sure a hundred percent when I was testing with the video ads Skyrocketing numbers of views and hits and likes and shares an organic reach that you’re not even paying for So that tells me that and I’m still sort of workshopping in my head before I dive right back into video about Just what my video voice is going to be what my video? Character is going to be it’s not that I’m going to be a character as I was when I was an actor But just the persona that I want to be in video That’s coming together and I’m totally confident and inspired that once I start launching those actual videos that those numbers are going to go way up so it’s time yeah, I’m so excited for you because Like you said even though you may be right now looking at the rebrand and like the you know the independence or emancipation I guess if you will that you’re gonna get back into video and really look at what is my voice What is my brand and I know that some of the things that we shared over the summer are gonna help you with that? What would be sort of your number one piece of advice to a real estate agent? Who may be watching right now or a broker like yourself who you know is looking at this and saying okay? I know my marketing is not as effective now as it used to be what can I do? What would be your number one piece of advice? Even though I said I’ve taken a pause from video Start now start after listening to us today Start taping yourself using only your iPhone. We’re talking on iPhone now. I use my iPhone 6s for all of my videos It’s the easiest best quality. I might buy a 10 just because Now you’re an early adopter yeah, cuz I’m an early adopter I like to have things Just get started if you’re of a certain age You might remember the first time you heard your recorded voice on an old cassette tape recorder And you you probably cringed just like I did or VHS the first time somebody took a VHS movie that you saw yourself there’s a little bit of that to get over if you’re not used to being in front of a camera and Also, just just speaking and speaking your thoughts just as we’re doing now Again for me is working without a script, but just having that confidence and being able to wrap your thoughts around Your words even though. You’re as a business person whether it’s real estate or not you’re talking to people all the time If there’s just something about when there’s not a person there that Goes a little funny in your head when you’re talking to a camera I don’t know if it’s that you’re second-guessing the technology or second-guessing yourself See, I just tripped over my words there But so what we’re human And that’s part of what makes video real is just get used to those flubs get used to what you look like get used to how you sound and Just start today. I love that that’s great advice video to do a video diary of just How your day went today and what you’d like to be better tomorrow? Doesn’t even have to be about your business Just almost like you were doing a little book report like you did back in school But just do it my day went this way tomorrow I’d like my day to go that way and don’t even share it just do it with yourself and watch that and that’ll be a Foundation of something you can talk about I think that’s the first thing is oh well what am I going to talk about? We’ll just talk about that Yeah, that’s a great starting point and and you know what I mean I think that and Gary Vaynerchuk really talks a lot about this I don’t know if you know Gary Vaynerchuk, but he talks about you know document versus create It’s one of his big things And I believe wholeheartedly in that I believe that I think I believe we should be content creators And that there’s a way to you know create tangible digital assets We put out there into the world, but this document idea I think is kind of where you’re going is like just document something That happened to you a lot of people in their minds are like yeah, but who really cares. It’s really not about that It’s about sharing and it’s about putting yourself out there and I think that’s the point you’re trying to make is just start putting yourself out there and build from that because if you never start you can never get to the finish line so The starting part is really the hardest part, and it’s the most in many ways rewarding because it sets you on a new path Absolutely, I think also one of the other if I could add sort of another big struggle when I got into real estate as opposed to working in the hospitality industry There’s an old marketing adage that Says let them try what you want them to by so that’s why we get samples That’s why we do consultations in real estate or financial services or a lot of other professional counseling type jobs It’s really hard. How do you sample the real estate transaction unless you’re actually going through it And I really think that again a lot of us we all come out of the same real estate Programming we all have to function under the same box of rules and regulations so really if you read the glowing Testimonials that a lot of realtor’s have or don’t have It’s about them It’s about their personality that is the secret sauce that you can really bring to real estate and I I feel that video and Marketing sort of that value add content being a Content generator being a thought leader It scares a lot of agents because they think they should be of service to anybody and everybody that wants to work with them but I think if you can build your personality and get people to want to work with you and Give them value in advance of any time that they have a transaction again a real estate transaction or a financial transaction or mortgage broker Then they will be there when they are ready to transact with you And you will have already built a rapport you will have already identified that you’re somebody I trust you’re somebody I like you’re somebody who makes me Giggle or smile a little bit every now and then because even though it’s a business transaction it doesn’t have to be so serious every day all the time there can be some lightness to it and Real estate is very much about how well you communicate? With somebody and how much you trust them to protect you and I really think that video is a way to start to establish That with potential clients long before they might ever have The need for your service, and I I’m hoping that’s my target is that if I put that out there? Then the business will come because that’s amazing will already be established. That’s fantastic Thank you so much for sharing that Kevin. I think that Anyone in real estate or otherwise any business really but? And you know but particularly real estate? We’re listening to this conversation what they’ll get from this is knowing that hey I’m not alone. I struggle with my marketing Kevin struggled with his marketing He made something happen, and he did made some changes so that he can go on a different path so that people can identify that there may be a better way, and so I really appreciate your time and your insights and Can you tell everybody if they’re interested to get a hold of you how they would get a hold of you? Absolutely, thanks for that Sheryl the easiest way is to go to my website www.KevinHartley.ca and all my contact information is there My blog is there and I really enjoy talking about real estate again That’s the value I want to give if you just want to reach out and have a conversation Without the need for a transaction about buying selling investing in Toronto or even in southwestern Ontario I’d be happy to hear from people so again www.KevinHartley.ca Awesome, thank you so much And I know you personally and that is an absolute fact right you just like to talk about it, and so there’s no obligation Please reach out to Kevin if you have any thoughts about real estate, or just kind of want to chat about it He is your guy. Thank you so much Kevin for being here today, and thank you so much for watching We really appreciate your time and your energy, and you know taking the time I don’t take that lightly you’ve taken some time out of your busy day to watch this interview And I really appreciate it if you want to check me out. Please do so at www.SherylPlouffe.com otherwise I’ll see you in the next episode of personal brand breakthrough. Thanks so much for watching, and I’ll see you in the next one.