What Does Luxury Mean?
What comes to mind when y’all think about the word luxury? A five-figure handbag from France? A fit with nothing but designer labels and logos? A vehicle where the polished wood on the dashboard was hand-crafted from an old growth forest in Bavaria?
Luxury can mean all of this, plus so much more.
For me, this word has taken on many definitions in my lifetime. There have been times when it meant scoring the $5 million Buckhead mansion listing with a high-net-worth client. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say there had been days when luxury meant having enough gas in the tank of my old beater to make it home to my babies.
So today we’re gonna have ourselves a chat about luxury and all its definitions.
THE REALITY OF REAL ESTATE
Before we get into any definitions or a philosophical discussion, let’s go over the quick and dirty of how you can get yourself on the path to more luxury listings right this minute. I know that’s what’s most important to y’all, so we’re doing it first. (Ultimately, it’s all gonna come down to your personal brand, but we’ll get to that in a minute.)
Define your target market—know who it is you’re trying to reach. Once you figure out who it is you want to get in front of, that is when you tailor your branding and then get in front of them. This is what I did in the early days when I didn’t have a pot to piss in. I still put on a pretty shirt and washed tiny baby Victoria’s face and strolled her around the neighborhood I wanted to target. While I didn’t live there in that fancy community, I wasn’t being inauthentic. My brand was that of a friendly, committed mom who was always around and knew the neighborhood inside-out. No one needed to know I had only $44 in my bank account or lived in a $500/month apartment; it wasn’t relevant.
Create a unique selling proposition—meaning, demonstrate how are you different from your competition. “Oh, but Glennda, I don’t know how I’m different,” you might say. Well, I call bullcrap on that. You absolutely know because you think about it all the time, like, “Oh, my stars, if that were my client, I would do Y and Z, but never X.” Again, early days, I did this by just showing up in the neighborhood.
Develop a brand identity—and make it consistent across every platform and piece of marketing material. At this point, my name is my brand. Just Google “Glennda” and see for yourself. Once you develop that brand identity, stick to it! (Am I about to switch to moons instead of stars? Never!)
Build your relationships with your clients—when you get to know them, when you learn their needs, when you can anticipate what they want before they can even articulate that thought, then you have yourself a fan for life. And those people who believe in you will be your champions—they’ll do your marketing for you with referrals!
Use your socials—and don’t just use them, use them well. Don’t squander the possibly one opportunity you have to get eyeballs on photos you took with your iPhone with the smudged lens. (Do not even start me on not using a professional photographer/videographer for the MLS shots.) I’m talking about posting high-quality videos and photos, relevant info, and a consistent delivery, regardless of the app.
Get involved in your community—because there are zero reasons not to do this. I’m not kidding, y’all. Zero. Why wouldn’t everyone want the chance to enact positive change in organizations or events that are important to your target market?
Have a bit of patience—it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen if you stay true and consistent and committed.
Now, doesn’t all of this sound super doable? Then go do it!
@glenndabaker Sold A $3,000,000 Home From A 47 Cent Bottle Of Water! #glenndabaker #milliondollarlisting #luxuryhomes #realtorlife #realestateagent
ONCE UPON A TIME WITH GLENNDA
Step Up Your LQ (Luxury Quotient) (I Just Made Up That Term)
Recently, I collaborated with David Parnes and James Harris on the subject of how to build a luxury real estate brand. When we put our heads together, we came up with simple steps to turn yourself into a luxury brand. We didn’t create anything out of whole cloth—instead, we looked at how we did it.
Now the key to selling luxury properties is to have a personal brand that speaks to luxury. I know it sounds hard, a bit circular, and maybe disingenuous but it’s not. It’s less about selling yourself and more about being yourself. (Spoiler alert: not one of these steps require you to be on a first-name basis with the salesclerk at Hermès or spend a single dollar.)
First, and foremost, to build your personal brand, you must have authenticity. You must be real because people can tell in one hot second when you’re not.
You also have to be relatable. I know for a fact that y’all are happy to hear about wins, but what really resonates is when I’m honest about when I’ve lost… or I have to pull a dead rat out of an attic myself to close a deal. Like Bethenny Frankel says, “Mention it all.”
You have to be reliable. That means telling the truth, which is always extra important to me. When the news is grim, I let you know. And when it’s time to celebrate, I’m right there with you. There’s no benefit in sugar-coating anything, I promise you that. And rain or shine, y’all know I’ll be here, mentioning it all.
You have to be relevant to your audience. We all live in the now, so if someone’s constantly reliving their glory days of how it used to be, how is that helpful? How does that impact anyone now? (It doesn’t.)
This can be a tough one, but it’s so important to be raw. I discovered this back when I used to create terrible videos for Facebook. They were awkward and uncomfortable, but I persisted because I believed I was onto something. But one day, after a bad inspection, I filmed a video in my car where I just plumb went off—and people loved it! They connected with the version of me that wasn’t all polished and picture-perfect, likely because I am not always polished and picture-perfect.
Finally, it’s crucial to be refreshing. I speak to the camera like I’m speaking to my pals—because I know y’all are out there and we would (and will) be besties when we finally meet. I come at the camera—and by extension, everyone—with BFE (big friend energy) because I appreciate every one of you more than you’ll ever know.
Now, as for how I define luxury, I have to take you back to my childhood. I grew up in lousy rental homes, moving from place to place, never staying anywhere too long. My mother and I didn’t have much stability. Because of this, I did not have a good high school experience. I was bullied relentlessly for how I looked and sounded and dressed. There was one year I missed more than 40 days of school because it was all just too hard for me. I graduated by the skin of my teeth.
It wasn’t until 1984 when my mama was able to buy her first house that I finally felt real roots, real security. Having a little corner of the world that was mine, mine to paint, mine to decorate, mine to fill the walls with holes from my posters was a luxury I’d never before had. I will never forget that feeling; pure luxury.
In the 1990s, I was divorced with a little baby, and about to be evicted from my apartment. My mother, who was my whole world, passed away and I did not have the luxury of falling apart; I had to hold it together for baby Victoria. I had to figure out not only how to make a living, but how to live. Wallowing in self-pity was one of the many things I could not afford. I had to make it all work, and I only had myself to count on.
Turns out, that was enough.
My point is, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I didn’t grow up knowing what fork to use. I never wore a white gown at a debutante ball. My family was poor. I was in the slow class. I was targeted and disregarded. I was never supposed to be here, but I refused to give into the luxury of giving up.
My circumstances made me a fighter. That is why I fought my way into the luxury market, one stroller ride at a time, and I did it by building my personal brand and following the steps I’ve outlined.
There is no reason in the world every one of y’all can’t do it, too.
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Which Path Will You Choose?
“You can survive or you can thrive; the choice is yours.”