Building Your Brand, with Tracy McLaughlin

Episode 184:

What role does your personal brand play in the success of your real estate business? Most of us know how important it is to market our services, but if you ask Tracy McLaughlin, she’ll tell you that consistently building your business starts with building your brand.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How Tracy built an award-winning real estate career even though her background was in journalism and broadcasting
  • Where Tracy first discovered her passion for branding and design — and how she infuses those passions into her business
  • The role that your personal branding plays in the success of your business
  • How to brand yourself as an expert in your community
  • Ways you can use your brand to offer value, create connection, and foster engagement within your community
  • How to use social media as a tool for monetizing your business
  • Why Tracy believes that real estate is about showing people how to live in homes — not just about selling them

Building Your Brand

What role does your personal brand play in the success of your real estate business? We all know how important it is to market our services, but if you ask Tracy McLaughlin, our guest for this episode of the Pursuing Freedom podcast, she’ll tell you that consistently building your business always come back to how committed you are to building your brand.

Marketing = Passion + Expertise

Tracy will be the first to tell you that she fell into the real estate game unexpectedly. Her background in journalism led to an exciting career in TV broadcasting — a career that often required her to travel all over the country. Ironically, all of this traveling is what ultimately led her back to her hometown of Marin County. When she and her husband were expecting their first child, she decided it was time to pursue something a little bit closer to home.

Tracy and her husband decided to invest in a house down the street from theirs so they could fix it up and increase the market value. That project ended up being the catalyst for Tracy’s real estate career. She discovered her passion for design, for navigating the subtleties and nuances that ultimately make or break a person’s decision to buy a home. After she’d moved on from that first project to flipping several homes each year, Tracy knew that she could marry this passion of hers with the knowledge she’d accumulated in order to turn it into a career. For her, real estate isn’t just about selling people homes, it’s about showing people how to live in them.

According to Tracy, the same principle applies to building a successful brand. It’s the seemingly little things — the fonts you choose, the color and detail of your logo, the specific words you incorporate into your messaging — that ultimately have the power to make or break your personal brand. She says that at the end of the day, if your passion and expertise don’t shine through, then your brand isn’t doing anything to build up your business.

How to Keep Building Your Brand

As a top agent in Marin County for a record-breaking 16 straight years, Tracy’s proven formula for branding and business success kind of speaks for itself. But, fortunately for all of us, Tracy was still gracious enough to speak to her wealth of industry knowledge and to offer up some sage advice for anyone who is struggling to bolster their business or establish their brand.

During our conversation, Tracy emphasized that “brand bleeds through everything.” Not only does your brand represent your business, but when built correctly, it does so in a way that showcases who you are, what you do, and how you do it. From your messaging and design to the way you present your brand in physical spaces or on social media, Tracy stresses the importance of being consistent and remembering that all of these aspects contribute to whether or not your brand will successfully connect you with your audiences. She says that at the end of the day, if your passion and expertise don’t shine through, then your brand isn’t doing anything to build your business.

Tracy offered up several other nuggets of wisdom and advice for anyone who is looking to build their brand or build momentum behind their business:

  • Find Your Passion, and Speak to It — Tracy’s secret to building a successful brand isn’t really a secret at all. Everyone has backgrounds, experiences, and passions that are unique to them. When you infuse that passion and knowledge into your brand, you ensure that you’ll attract the type of work you’ll genuinely love, while also fostering connection and engagement with your audiences.
  • Take Risks — at some point in everyone’s journey, risk happens before the reward. Discomfort and uncertainty are unavoidable in this industry but when you embrace them, those strategic risks can lead to incredible opportunities.
  • Always Create Value — There’s an art to finding your foothold in the communities you work in, but doing so successfully almost always comes down to whether or not you’re creating value for the people in it. Not every conversation, appointment, or showing is going to lead to a sale, but that doesn’t mean those connections are fruitless. Create value in every interaction by offering up the expertise, insights, and passions that make up your brand. Tracy says that when you do, that investment you make in your business will almost always come back to you tenfold.

About Tracy McLaughlin

Tracy McLaughlin was named Marin County’s top producing agent in 2021 for a record-breaking 16th straight year with over $407 million in closed transactions. She was ranked #20th in the country and #10th in California for Individual Agent By Sales Volume by REAL Trends /The Wall Street Journal in 2020. She was ranked #3rd by the Luxury Marketing Council of San Francisco’s Leading 100 rankings, which honors the top-producing Bay Area real estate professionals and teams based on 2020 sales volume. A lifelong resident of Marin, Tracy’s acute understanding of the local market, coupled with her unsurpassed knowledge of the region, has made her the broker of choice for luxury home buyers and sellers in Marin County. To date, Tracy has sold over $3 billion worth of residential real estate.

The combination of Tracy’s styling recommendations, strategic pricing, unparalleled international marketing program, and superior photography and video content, are integral parts of her consistently successful sales. Tracy’s comprehensive pre-listing plans for design, construction, and staging, are implemented in many of the homes that she lists. Having personally purchased and renovated over 25 properties, Tracy’s extensive experience in design and construction makes her uniquely qualified to advise her clients on the smartest investment decisions regarding which home to purchase, when to sell, and what improvements to make in anticipation of selling to maximize a property’s resale value.
Born and raised in the small community of Ross in Marin County, Tracy graduated from U.C. Berkeley. Tracy worked for eight years as a reporter/ anchor for various NBC affiliates around the country. She credits her background in journalism and communication for her ability to effectively present properties and negotiate transactions.

In 2006, Tracy founded Morgan Lane, a boutique brokerage in Marin County. In 2009, she and Mark McLaughlin bought Pacific Union International. Tracy helped brand, recruit for and grow the brokerage before selling her interest in the Pacific Union. Pacific Union became the 5th largest brokerage in the United States and was acquired by Compass. In January 2019, Tracy was recruited by The Agency, a full-service, luxury real estate brokerage and lifestyle company with more than 500 agents in offices throughout the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean. Tracy was recruited by The Agency’s founders, Mauricio Umansky and Billy Rose, to continue her unparalleled sales operations in their Marin office which joined multiple other Northern California offices as The Agency continues to grow its foothold in the region.

Tracy has three children and her active involvement in local communities allows her to provide her clients with invaluable insights into the overall experience of living in Marin County. Tracy has a longstanding history of giving back to the places where she lives and works, with a focus on local charities that directly benefit Marin County residents. Tracy gives a percentage of every closing to Marin’s Center for Domestic Peace, which has provided safe housing for women and children in Marin County for the past 41 years.

How to Connect with Tracy McLaughlin

Balanced Growth Course:

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