How do you stand out as a real estate agent when competition for listings and sales is at an all-time high? One way to not do this is to accept the big-box branding that your company handed you and expect people to remember you. 

Instead, there are some very simple steps to be sure that your brand tells YOUR story and the unique value that YOU bring to your clients. 

This episode shares some very tactical takeaways for agents and offers a soon-to-be-paid-for, but currently free offering of getting a brand score by going to 

Need More Help? Here Are Some Additional Resources

Free Book: Get Justin’s bestselling book, The Upstream Model, free, just pay shipping and handling. Click Here.

Free Training: Find More Inventory Presentation. Watch it here.

Free Strategy Session: Want help getting more warm referrals in your business? Get your Free Session.


Hello, and welcome back to the Think Bigger Real Estate Show. I’m your host, Justin Stoddart and boy am I excited to have two close friends of mine back on the show, talking all about branding.

You know, we’re living at a time when real estate agents are everywhere, and there’s just not enough homes to sell.

How do you differentiate? How do you stand out? That’s today’s topic. Before we go there, let me remind you that we go deep in our learning on helping you think bigger inside of the think bigger Real Estate Group on Facebook. If you’re not yet a member there, if you’re not yet engaging there, go do it. And get back to today’s guests. They’re fabulous people, their amazing business people. Michael Carr and Tanya Eberhart, owners of BrandFace.

I’m so excited to have you guys back. Thank you for being here today.

Hey, we are psyched. Yeah. Thank you, Justin. Always love being on your show. Thank you so much. It’s a pleasure. Now you too have a pretty storied background yourself, Michael, you really kind of the king of, of like auctions. Right? Tell us a little bit about your background, and how you and Tonya met, that actually kind of made this partnership come to be to where you guys are really kind of now teaching other people what made your business skyrocket, right?

Yeah, it’s, it’s my favorite subject. You know, I started off and out of high school, had a job of becoming an engineer and didn’t want to be an engineer, I wanted to be an auctioneer. And the guy that trained me to be an auctioneer and automobile said Get your real estate license, you can make a little extra money. I did that in 1994 just sort of played around with it didn’t do much. bought my own portfolio, rental portfolio, things like that. 2000 open up my own brokerage still continue just to do that. It was just me and I had a part time agent didn’t do anything ever and that sort of thing. But, you know, it was an umbrella in which I could work under.

And then in 2006, I partnered with a company out of Irvine, California, and we went after the Bear Stearns residential portfolio. And we got it. And we thought it’d be about three years worth of work, it turned out to be seven, I ended up with a broker’s license and auctioneers license in over 30 states. And I’ve been actively involved in over 78,000 residential transactions and still counting.

But auctioneers are always working themselves out of a job. And, of course, I was an investor in Atlanta, I did not want us to be in the tank. You know, for years and years and years, I was rooting for the market to come back the real estate market, residential real estate market come back, just like everybody else, came back to Atlanta did not want to retire. But I was looking around, still investing some property bought some property, the agent that I bought the property from, she liked working with me and she goes, look, you know, the little bitty town that we live in, there’s really no competition, you should open up a brokerage.

And so I let her talk me into it. And I did that. And then about two months later, she said, Hey, your your marketing stinks. Like is horrific. And you need to, we need some marketing out here. And she’s you need to meet my niece. And so then I get a phone call from Tanya. And she’s I don’t know if you’re supposed to be calling me or I’m supposed to be calling you. But Carolyn keeps saying that you’re expecting me to call.

And of course, Carolyn was telling me and I was expecting it, Connie was expecting my call. And so if the total setup, word go, and we still thank her every day for putting that together. And the company began to grow under the principles that Tanya has taught and learned over her career at that effectively became brand face. And I tell people now it’s the secret to my success. I just do what she tells me. And so our company continued to grow and grow and grow. We did so good with it. She said, Would you please help me write a second book, which is targeted at real estate agents, and let’s teach other real estate agents, what I’ve taught you and what you can show works. And we still do that today.

And now we’re in 41 states for other countries, and brand face continues to grow and get clients in the real estate industry that are growing businesses every day. So as well as and I have to brag about this. I have now a second tier of agents under Michael Carr and Associates that are also brand face clients. And they are also just crushing it in the process in which we take them through.

So it’s only a couple of a couple of things I want to point out that I think are super interesting about your story, Michael, is that you and this isn’t meant to be a shameless plug, but I just happen to look for it everywhere but talk about to get your hands on 70,000 transactions. You had to go upstream, right? You actually had to like oh, yeah, way, way upstream.

Way upstream point I think at some point everybody’s career you realize like okay, what I used to do, either doesn’t work anymore. I don’t want to do that anymore. I think a lot of resumes.

Real Estate Agents are at that point right now where it’s like, I used to just get an appointment and I closed an appointment. And now I’m going in and I’m competing against two or three other agents. And I’m not getting it for the first time in my career, right?

And or I’m missing the opportunities, like I’ve got a ton of buyers, I don’t have enough listings. And it’s almost like where you had to go back and you had to reinvent yourself, right? Where you had to say like, Okay, I guess my branding does matter. My marketing does matter. The way that I show up in people’s lives, they’re making a decision, a decision on me off times before they ever meet me. Right. And I think Sharran Srivatsaa who I always mispronounce his name, but like one of the bigger minds kind of bigger thinkers in real estate Srivatsaa. There we go. He talks about winning before you arrive. And I think that’s what if I could like kind of put in a package what you guys do you help people win before they arrived. Because you can look at someone’s brand and be like, this looks like a monopod like, this looks like they just don’t have their act together, right.

And I think if there’s anything that that I can say to anybody listening here today, if you’re not getting the opportunities that you want to be getting, or you’re not closing them, it may be the fact that people have already made up their mind about you before they ever meet you. Because your branding is lousy.

I don’t have to say a thing, you gentlemen are doing such a great job today.

You know, I love what you just said, and I would like your permission to use when before you arrive. And I’ll give you credit for it, Justin every time because I love that what we’ve been saying is allow your brand to precede you, you should never, ever walk into a room where someone’s not already familiar with you and what you stand for. And that’s your brand. Because if it precedes you if it gets in front of you, it tells your story you do in essence when before you even arrive.

That’s, that’s well said. And oftentimes, it’s kind of an afterthought, right? That that that already much more time, you know, or it’s kind of homegrown if like, I’ll put some things together.

Let’s talk about like, what are some of the biggest mistakes when you guys look at a brand, because I know, in fact, I want to let everybody know here that’s watching this later in the show, we’re going to talk about a way that you can actually go to a website that these two amazing individuals are going to share with you. And they’re going to evaluate your brand and give you a brand score.

Now at some point, this is going to be a paid product. It’s in beta mode right now. So it’s not a paid product. They’re offering it for free to this audience. So stay tuned, we’re gonna tell you exactly how to get there. But let’s start, Tonya, if you would start to share when you look at a brand and you’re like, Eh, we got some room for improvement here. What right? Like what’s what’s missing, and most people’s branding point of differentiation?

That’s an easy one. There’s a lot of other little things that can be missing, too. You know, we overall we look at 77 different criteria when we help build somebody’s personal brand. But point of differentiation, you cannot. Here’s the difference. There’s basic branding, and then there’s personal branding with a point of differentiation. So in a basic brand, yesterday’s brand, if you will, people think that, hey, if I’ve got a logo, I have brand colors, and I have my photo on some things, that’s a brand, right?

Or my business name is my brand. A lot of times I’ll ask people Hey, what what is your name? What exactly is your name? My name is my brand? Well, no, I mean, your name has a particular brand associated with it, but your name is not your brand. So. So just having those three things is not enough anymore, maybe 50 years ago, maybe even 20.

But today, you especially in the world of real estate, there’s so much competition, you have to be different. And if you can’t, at the very onset show something that indicates how you’re different, then you do not have a differentiating brand, you just have basic branding. And that won’t cut it in today’s world. People move too fast. That’s really what a lot of it was true. And if you don’t have something that catches them like that, then you just the same as everybody else, right?

Think about it this way, Justin, your brand is just like a book. There’s no way you could fit your entire story. You know what you stand for everything, all your experience, the reasons people would want to do business with you, you cannot fit all of that on the cover of the book, right? So you’ve got to have a cover that’s super compelling. And a lot of times we use a brand identifier. A lot of other people might call it a slogan or a tagline. But that’s something that really kind of sets the tone and direction for what you are known for. So it captures their attention right away. It makes them food right and makes them say let me learn more. It’s what makes them crack open that book. That’s why a title of a book is so very important that your book right behind you the upstream model, right? People look at that those are not words that everybody uses, right? They’re not typical everyday words. And the upstream model is exactly what you were talking about.

You know, early is positioning yourself so that you do when before you arrive is positioning yourself so you can walk into the big meetings. It’s funny now you guys have been Amazon bestsellers. It was funny because I had some people who said, Hey, Congratulations on becoming an international bestseller. And I said, it’s interesting because people actually buy the book. Like, obviously, they look at the cover and buy the book, like the like the read a paragraph. But it’s actually like, it’s not a really a best selling book, it’s really a best selling cover. Right? Like, like, they haven’t read the book, they haven’t given up on the book yet.

That’s a very good point, until you get to a certain point, right. And then you have so many people that have read it and thought, Hey, this is great, they reviewed it, they’ve referred it to other people, then you can’t necessarily say it’s the best selling, covering.

But you’re right in the beginning, that’s all you’ve got is the cover. And that’s why we say allow that brand to precede you. Even starting with the tiniest little things, infuse it everywhere and don’t miss a thing. I should love that analogy of the book, because it really speaks to me right now.

It’s interesting, because my publisher came back with, with a suggestion on what the cover of the book should be. And it looked like, like, it wasn’t that good. It was it looked like Very Vanilla, kind of like arrows pointing up, like help you grow your business. And it was kind of like, look like clipart, right, like 1000 other books on the same ship, right.

And I’m saying this because I want agents to realize the fact that your company, oftentimes will give you branding, that they’ve kind of created for everybody. It’s kind of like I heard this analogy once from a guy by the name of Tony Giordano, who talked about how there’s, like, when you go to work for a big company, they assign everybody a company car, and the company car is kind of like a it’s like a Nissan Camry, right? Or a Toyota Camry. There we go. Like it’s, it’s, it’s not meant to stand out. It’s just meant to get you from A to B, and there is no differentiation. And so if you really want your brand to stand out, you can’t just say, okay, Keller Williams, okay. REMAX, okay, whatever, I’m going to use your brand name, if you’re trying to stand out, right. And I think that’s why I had to go back to the publisher to say, like, I’ll get back to you. And I went out and found my own graphic designer, to say, can you help me like design a cover here, and we went back and forth for quite some time.

And I feel like that’s what you guys are doing for agents is that the big companies are handing people, this branding kit. And guess what it looks like the same as the other 300 agents in your office. And it’s good, but it’s not different. And the reality is, we’re living in a time where it’s super competitive, and you want to stand out. And I love what you guys are saying is like find a point of differentiation and build a brand that really kind of points to that. Right? Is that my hearing?

You’re right. That’s exactly right. Yeah, cuz, you know, like any business is building a culture, right? That’s really what we’re doing. And and even if you’re a one man shop, or your 1000 man shop, you’re building a culture, there’s a culture inside the business, and there’s a culture to the outside of the business, right? And branding, personal branding, the way we teach it, and the way we put it together infuses both of those things together. Like you know, sometimes a company is not the same on one side of the door as they are on the other side of the door. Some people are like that, right? A good brand doesn’t allow that though. And you’re always dressing for the job, you won’t not necessarily just the job you have.

And I think that that’s really important like talking earlier about proceeding you Tonya taught me early on she goes like you don’t ever want to walk into a room with somebody has already seen something about you. And that was the goal and it remains our goal and and then once you do that in an area in a farming area, then you just start adding on other farming areas, you know, and let NET Brand get to you first and to the people first before you go. So it’s never a cold call is a warm call it best.

But go ahead. I want to go back to one thing you said is that you know you’ve got a lot of Keller Williams, you know a lot of the REMAX agents out there. And those brands, those business brands are strong and they’re great brands, but it’s not doesn’t define you the individual so you know and and what’s happening in the real estate world right now is we have a lot of those big box brokerages kind of turning out the what we call real estate robots were all of their cards look alike, all their websites look alike.

So there’s no point of differentiation and you know, from from the onset, and then you have the eye buyer movement, you have Zillow issues, you have Redfin, all of those things are trying to either make the real estate agent and order taker or make them obsolete altogether. And so that’s why it’s so important to rise up and stand out. You know, when it comes to that I want I want to invite everybody on February 18 we’ll be on Inman Connect now actually talking about this issue. We call it disrupting the death of differentiation. And we want to talk about it and tell people exactly, you know, what do you need to do to disrupt that which is actually some of the things we’re sharing

Today, I love it. This is more tips, guys, that people. And again, I would encourage everybody here that doing homegrown marketing and branding up to this point, just because you do more homegrown marketing, bringing up to this up like after this isn’t gonna necessarily make it all that better I think you can improve upon it. At some point, you might want to hire a professional, right? At some point, you might want to go to a brand face and say, Look, give me a score. And like help me do this, right. And I think sometimes people maybe think this is gonna cost them like 10s of 1000s of dollars, right? And so it’s like, I don’t even want to start the conversation.

You know? And I’m sure kind of each branding packages is different. But can you give people even just kind of a few more insights as to how they might start to think about branding differently, or things that they can do today to improve their branding? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. You want to start that? Okay.

No, it’s something we both talked can talk about in our sleep. Actually, the The first thing you need to do the two things you need to do in the in the very beginning, we have the process called define, develop and display. It’s our 3d freedom formula for, for business stars.

So in the Define phase, one of the most important things you can do is look at number one, who are you trying to attract with your brand, who are your ideal customers, and don’t say somebody who finds a mirror or somebody who’s selling it, it’s got to go further than that, guys. I need to put a lot more than that.

And, and I love like yesterday, I was on a follow up call when people go through our program, we do a wrap up call with them. And they tell us their experience and everything and, and you know, this lady was telling us yesterday, what I love so much about brand face is that I, I love going through the procedure, I love going through the program.

But I also loved when everything really came together. And I knew what I stood for, you know, I knew what made me different. And I love the process of trying to figure out my ideal customer, because the very first thing and these are her words, the very first thing I thought of was oh my gosh, there’s no way I can figure out who that is. A

nd she did, she said and then you took me step by step. But so four steps, that’s it and figuring out who that ideal customer is. And we can run through those right now. Because I know your audience is comes here for good content, not just you know, fluff.

So we have something we call the heap criteria, and I’ll do it, we’ll just try them off. I’ll do the H, the H is people, you can actually help somebody who you can truly help that you’re qualified to help that you enjoy helping you helped before, perhaps you have things in common with them.

You understand their life phase that they’re going through certain things like that somebody you can truly help. Yep. And then somebody you enjoy working with that is important. And so you can take your past clients and just think about this, like, it’s very important that you really boil this down, right.

And so the second one is people you enjoy working with in the past, in that you know all the demographics that go along with that. So the ideal is that you’re funneling this down into a finite thought process. So the second one is enjoy. Yeah, we enjoy it. And let’s just be real about it. Every real estate agent out there right now is smiling, because they know there are some people that they would never have wanted to do business with. And yet they had to, or felt like we can’t guarantee a nation of course. But there’s a lot of people out there who are doing business consistently with people they don’t enjoy doing business with. And that’s just wrong. That’s not even went live.

So third one is appreciate. And that is people who appreciate what you bring to the table, somebody that’s not going to micromanage you and look over your shoulder every other second and tell you what they found on Google makes more sense than what you just said, and your 30 years of experience or whatever that is you want them to appreciate where you’re coming from and what you’re doing for them.

Yep, and the fourth one is the P which is profitable. You want to do business with people that don’t mind paying your commission that appreciate what you do and bring to the table and think that you’re worth it. And and it’s I don’t think anybody approaches it this way, right? You’re you need to really sit down and think of all of the transactions you’ve already done in your past. And if you’re just starting today, think about the people you want to do business with like that, because this is the Attractor Factor. And and then you boil that down and those are the people you market to and that’s where people miss it. They’re like when I do business with everybody Well, if they come knocking on your door and you can fit it into your schedule. And let’s say that you’re really focused on downsizers, right? You want to work on that retirement community where they’re selling a bigger home and empty nesters and they’re moving down into something that’s a little bit more manageable. And a first time homebuyer comes up to you says,

Hey, will you help me find a house, of course you will. But when you’re spending your money when you’re marketing, when you’re working that upstream model, like your book talks about, you want to think about these heap criteria people, and those are the people you want to go after. Those are the people you want to spend time on social media with. Those are the people you want to bond with. Those are the people that you your culture, and you want your start knowing your people in that culture, and it will it you will reap huge rewards from it. And that is so simple.

You guys, you know, I mean, just what you just described there, I think everybody in their mind as you were going through that exercise, can start to identify who are the people that I can help that I enjoy that I appreciate that are profitable, like you just simplified it so much absolutely love that, like everybody can take, take that, apply it into their business, for those that are really wanting to go go deeper, get a brand score, you guys know who to talk to these guys have shown their expertise and how cool you’re speaking at Inman, that’s fantastic. Just another feather in your cap all the great things you guys are doing.

I want to kind of move now to the effect. Let’s do this. Before we jump to the final segment, I want to ask, Where do people go to get this brand score that you’re talking about?

Okay, it’s easy Man, brand face, perfect brand face, we’ll put that in the show notes as well. But go there, get to get this is a free product right now for this audience, it’s not going to be free for long. So go take advantage of it. It’s a great opportunity for you to get some feedback from some experts on your brand. Where are you missing? Where are you off? Right? So great stuff you guys how generous of you to offer that. Thank you for that.

Now, Okay, I’m gonna jump down to the final segment, which is the one that really helps expand our possibilities, it helps us to grow. The purpose of this show is to help people to think bigger, to help them to recognize the potential inside of them. And then to live in pursuit of that so they can live given serve. abundantly, I want to ask you guys, what do you do to continue to expand your possibilities to continue to grow and to think bigger?

Hmm, you want to go first? Okay, good? Well, I think that the first thing that you should approach is, is seeking what it is that you don’t know, especially about, like, for instance, in a real life example, would be you hear these rumors of Okay, we’re going to have astronomical foreclosures, right? Because of COVID. And the damage that has been and people that have that have, you know, what’s the word I’m looking for pushed off their forbearance? Sorry.

So the people that applied for forbearance, and now they can’t pay it back and all this, and you hear all these rumors about this kind of thing, you should be trying now to attract bankers and and and those lending institutions. Now I’m not wanting to necessarily believes we’re going to be overrun by that my experience level tells me something totally different. We don’t have time for that to discuss it. But that is an example of where you would start to think bigger, right?

Because like your upstream model, you want to go to the to the mouth of the stream, you want to go as far as possible. So right now way to think bigger, would definitely be to be investigating how many of those bankers Do you know, and and your mortgage brokers that you’re using? What are you seeing what is what, what are you seeing first Credit goes? What are you seeing as far as money is being spent, and that credit worthiness and that will, that’s another way that you can try to climb to the next mezzanine, bigger in your real estate business?

It’s almost if to think bigger is to think to think earlier right earlier than the crowds are going to go? To chase an opportunity. Start thinking now like what’s around the corner? And how do I position myself build the relationships now, to where when that opportunity comes? I’m already in? Like I’m already the person that they’ve, you know, that’s brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I love that.

Tonya, anything else that you would add? You’re also a big thinker, building this amazing branding company. How do you continue to grow? What does that look like for you?

Michael is the visionary. He’s fantastic at that. And so he kind of sees things before they happen. I look at things a lot and think, okay, what’s next, right? what’s next in terms of when people and I just kind of drill it down into you know, like, into compartmentalize. That’s how my brain works. So I drill it down and I say, Okay, what is it that that our people come You know, that are brand face people? What do they need next? They’ve got now they’ve made the decision. They’ve said, I’m not going to be like everybody else. I’m going to be open and I’m going to show those things that are different about me in hopes that connecting with the right kind of people what’s next? Well, they have this beautiful brand now what so we’re always thinking okay, how can you utilize that?

How can you think bigger, if you will, about how to use that brand, how to infuse it into things tiny and things huge, like you know, cause marketing events or down to what we were talking with our agents, one of our agents with about yesterday is down to this little envelope seals, with her logo on them on the back of her envelopes, just those tiny little things.

So we do a lot of coaching in the background, just for the people in our program, teaching them how to put their new brand to work, in terms of marketing it is there’s a big difference between branding and marketing. Marketing is getting your message out to your customers via various different platforms. So it could be print, it could be digital, it could be radio, television, podcasts, whatever and your brand is the message and image that you put out there.

So you’ve got a lot of people that are putting the cart before the horse, and there’s going out there to market where they really don’t have that point of differentiation, that stands out from everybody else to market it so that we help them figure out what it is that makes them different first, and then later, how do you use that brand? So that’s kind of like the next steps.

But I love that, like a lot. Here’s what what kind of kind of the way that I would translate that into my terms, right? Which is like, at any given point, you got to be asking, not only how can I serve my customer at the highest level now? But like, what are they going to need next? Like what a way to not only create a happy customer, but a customer for life? If you’re always anticipating, and then what are they going to need? And then what are they going to need? And then what are they going to need? If we can start to think like that. That’s a beautiful way to think bigger because we’re, we’re solving problems before maybe they even know that they have a problem, right? And who else would want to be partnered with, then somebody that is looking out for not just today, but tomorrow as well as powerful today. So good.

Yeah, because if you think about it, like the average person moves seven times in their lifetime, in AR taught us years ago that every every customer we have is worth, you know, around $85,000 in lifetime commissions.

And but we don’t think about it like we should. And there’s so many times we see agents, they fight, they fight, they fight and they fight and fight to grab somebody, and they get them and then we close it and the cash the check in and then we’ll think about it. And really you’ve got to that is a soldier for you, there’s going to be out there saying taking your brand with them. Right. And so how we can apply and infuse those brands on those tiny steps.

And also be looking down the road Three years later, when they’re going to have that need to grow again, or when that next child comes. Or when that youngest child graduates college or graduates high school goes to college.

You know, if you’re thinking about your clients, that way, you’re infusing your life into them, you’re thinking bigger, and you’re not going to hold on all of them. But how much money if you start to think about how much money do you spend how much time you spent to just get one. And now that you got it? How much time are you gonna have to spend to keep them loyal, probably a whole lot less. And I we find that as long as your brand is continuing to be there, and you’re continuing to keep them in your sphere, then you’re growing that, that you’re nurturing what you have. so powerfully, it’s such a pleasure to not only be friends with you, but to be always learning from you.

So thank you so much for your contribution to the show today. I want to thank everybody for tuning in. And I want to remind you that the purpose again of this show, it’s up to you to think bigger. So my final request for these three words and they are go think bigger. Thank you, Michael. Thank you Tonya. Appreciate you both very much. Thank you.