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Uplevel Your Real Estate Brand in 2022

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Hey there, it’s episode 143 of the Katie Lance podcast. And in this episode, I’m so excited to interview my dear friend and Realtor and longtime Get Social Smart Academy member, Lisa Escue. We had such a great conversation. Lisa just went through a big rebrand. Her and her husband went out on their own and started their own real estate brokerage. She’s been in real estate for more than 20 years. And we just had a really great conversation about her journey, how she’s gotten into real estate, where she’s getting her business. We had a very real talk about marketing and social media, and I just know you guys will love it. So buckle up and grab your favorite beverage. It’s gonna be a fun episode. Thank you so much, Lisa, for being with us today. And let’s get on with the show.

Hey everybody, Katie Lance here. And I am so excited for our latest episode, our latest Academy Spotlight. This is one of our first ones we’re doing for 2022, and I am so excited for this conversation with my dear friend and Realtor, Lisa Escue. I have known Lisa for many, many years. We have met up at conferences over the years and connected through social media. She’s a long time member of our Get Social Smart Academy and she is rocking it in Texas. I cannot wait to chat with her and get some insights on what’s working. What’s not working and just excited to introduce her. So welcome Lisa to the show.

Thank you so much, Katie. I’m excited that I’m kicking off the new year and I get to be your first one of 2022. So maybe this is a good omen for me.

Exactly. Exactly. It is a good omen. I’m sending good vibes into the world. 2022 is gonna be a good year. We just gotta do that. Right.

I appreciate it. And I will lean into that. Absolutely.

So for folks who don’t know you, I would love to kind of start at the beginning and maybe you can share a little bit about how long you’ve been in real estate. Like a little bit of your backstory, how you got into real estate and maybe where you’re at today.

Awesome. Katie, I’m in my 20th year in real estate. My husband and I worked at IBM in the day where they kind of guaranteed employment. And when they said, you know, we’re gonna probably be rebalancing the workforce. They paid for us to go through all these classes to do interest and skills assessment and all this stuff. It was really quite beneficial. And we decided at the time that probably real estate would be something we would entertain. We liked that came in our interest assessment as well as our skills. And so we said, “hey, this kind of lines up, and this sounds fun.” So at the time they paid us to go back to get graduate degrees. My husband went back and got an MBA in real estate and I got one in technology training. And so as he’s going through his MBA program, we kind of got the idea of investing in real estate and how that would be cool.

And he had an awesome professor that kind of encouraged him. And so we bought our first investment property and, you know, we were young and we were like, we already had a house to live in. Then we bought this one and we thought, oh my gosh, this is so cool. And so we kind of really started figuring out how to kind of leverage that. And 20 years ago there were actually foreclosures on the market and Mark and I were buying them and fixing them up for our own personal use. Nobody had ever heard the word flipping. We did not have the manual skillset to do the construction ourselves. So we had to gather a selection of resources to do the work for us. And when we were really involved in our community and we lived kind of on a high visibility corner.

And so people saw kind of the dust blowing out the window and like, oh, how did you do that? And who did this work for you? And that went on for a few years. And then the next evolution of people were like, well, can you help me sell it? And I didn’t even have a real estate license at the time. And so we decided that would probably be the next evolution. So we kind of backed into the equation. We had kids later in life and I left IBM and I said, you know, I don’t know what I wanna do next. And in my separation package, I had a retraining allowance. Like, I’ll use that money. I’ll go back and get my degree. I’ll wait, you know, until the kids are in school and then I’ll do it. Yeah. And then a friend called when my kids are four months old, two years old and said, Hey, I need to sell my house. My husband’s getting transferred and I want you to do it at the time. I said, I don’t have any clothes that fit. I don’t have, you know, a fax sheet. I don’t have a broker. You know, I don’t even know how to do it. She goes, I don’t really care, but if you can get it listed next week, that’d be awesome. So I figured it out and I did, and here we are 20 years later.

Wow. Oh my goodness. That’s awesome. That is an awesome story. I love that.

So it can be done. It’s not pretty. Yeah. But can be done. It’s an evolution for sure. Right now, I know you and your husband just kinda went out on your own. You started your own firm, right? You went the independent route, which I know I would imagine was a big decision. A big, big leap. And I would love to just kind of hear the story, like, how did that happen? And how are things going?

You know, I was a solo agent and have been and my husband joined me eight years ago in full-time practice. He’d always had that MBA. We talked about, he had his real estate license. We were just too chicken to both be self. And so finally, eight years ago we said, okay, we’re gonna do it. And so he, we had been working together. So it was a beautiful, beautiful thing for our family and for our work life. So, you know, he’s had his broker’s license, we’ve been working under the Remax brand this whole time, which is the only place I’d ever been. And, you know, he’s a licensed arbiter for property taxes in the state of Texas. You know, he brings some different kind of skills to the mix and he’s kind of the detailed guy behind everything. So we had this idea in the back of our mind that we did probably hang out our own shingle and I, the broker of my office died in September really quickly of COVID and she owns three franchises in the area, 200 some odd agents.

It’s a huge loss. She was the huge personality driving force. Her skillset was broad. There is like no person that can take her place. And that was really eye opening for me. And I’m like, I wanna be where I can kind of control the ship right. As much as I can. And so that was the factor that said, okay, I’m unsure kind of the stability going forward. I wanna feel if I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do it, make it mine. And so in ours, I should say, I don’t mean it like that, but you know, a brand that reflects us the personality that we offer. And I want it to be distinct and separate for what may go on. So that is kind of the twisted way of how we got here. Wow.

And so it’s you and your husband. And I think I was poking around on your website. I was doing my homework, you know, before our call, I saw a couple other folks. So it looks like you’re starting to kind of build the team. Is that kinda the thing?

Yes, we hired an operations manager in July, who’s helped us do kind of the backend unsexy parts of setting up a business. And she’s been amazing. She’s a client. We have done five transactions. She’s a young, bright, I would say, virtually brilliant woman. And she’s been such an addition and she’s gone back and gotten her license. And so to watch her grow into her face, and then we brought on another agent, who’s got a year’s worth of experience working with us. And so, you know, I think our focus will be high quality, small boutique kind of service that we all kind of are hands on. I don’t wanna spin off little independent people doing their own thing. I want it, you know, it’s all to work together under this brand. So that’s kind of how we’re starting out. We’ll see how that morphs. Yeah.

Well, that’s the beautiful thing about going out on your own, you know, you can adjust as you go down the road and realize, gosh, let’s add this service on, or let’s bring on this person on our team, or this is missing, you know, that’s the beauty of being able to pivot, you know.

Right. So we’ll see, we’re excited. We’re, trepidatious, I’m anxious, but you know, we’ll just make the next right decision.

I love that. Now I mentioned in the beginning that you are in Texas, obviously Texas is a ginormous state. So I would love to narrow that down to specifically. I know you’re in Trophy Club and I have only seen beautiful pictures of the area you serve. I know there’s some other areas that you serve, right.

Well, and this is where we lived, where we live and we’ve lived here, you know, 30 odd years. So, you know, our sphere of influence is really concentrated. And if you did like a, a root cause analysis of all of our client relationships, there’s probably something to touches here, you know, they started here, we moved them somewhere else. They were a relative, you know, but I think that’s kind of our hub and it’s between Dallas and Fort Worth and it’s near the airport. So if that helps anybody out. Charles Schwab has headquarters here, TD Ameritrade of Fidelity Investments is right across the street from us. So about 10 miles west of the airport, it’s been a really awesome location for us.

Yeah. That’s great. That’s awesome. So for any of our listeners, with folks moving to that area, now you know someone to call, right.

Because it’s a big place, it’s very nuanced even up and down the road. So yeah, somebody who’s got their feet on the ground and these locations are really super helpful, just like any other market, but especially on a big one like this.

Absolutely. So I would like to kind of talk a little bit about marketing, you know, I know a lot of folks watch our show, whether they’re watching on YouTube or maybe listening to the podcast, because we always try to talk about marketing. Every market is different. And I would love to hear from you on maybe one or two things that are really working for you right now with marketing, maybe social media, but if it’s that, if not, that’s okay too. Just curious, what’s working for you right now.

Well, we just started out, we went through a whole branding vision exercise and that’s been kind of fun. I think it’s gonna let us kind of reinvent ourselves and really start analyzing where we wanna be, how we wanna be there. What’s our overarching goal and so that has been fun. So we renamed all of our Facebook, Instagram pages. We’re going with Escue Real Estate. And that was not my choice for a name, but the branding people said that was our strength in market. So I said, okay, fine. We kind of got a little different look and feel. I’ve been red, white, and blue all this time. And so everything looks different. We need to decide how do we wanna keep that continuity. And, this is just kind of a very subtle, but yet interesting perspective. I’ve subscribed to AdWorks for a few years. Do you know what I’m talking about? Yeah, absolutely. They, they chase you around, your sphere of influence and then your five mile radius. And then they’re the ones that do the ads, the ads appear everywhere. You’re shopping and all of a sudden it’s like, wait, there it is again.

Right. And then part of that now is this streaming device. It’s a 32 second video that they put on streaming. Oh, okay. Nice. And so I’ve been doing that. It’s just been percolating along and I had some of my little red light and blue whatever. And so when we rebranded, I blew all that out. All the sudden the traction was kinda unbelievable. Wow. So I’m like, OK, now the people didn’t change. Yeah. My method didn’t change, but I switched up my look and it was like a whole refresh. And that was just one of those small deals that you could, you know, people are like in common and I’m like, I haven’t had that for two years. Yeah. And all of a sudden there’s some visibility. I’m like, okay. So there is something to change it up. People expected me to look like this and do like that.

Right. So I’m like, okay, I need to lean into that. I need to make sure that we continue to this and that, you know, our posts reflect this, our videos reflect this. Yeah. So I, I think that has just been an occasion to, to revisit how we’re gonna position ourselves. So, you know, you were the one that got me out of my mind on video and, you know, was, I was able to transition to that. I’m not afraid of it now. And so, you know, we did the 32nd it’s going on, you know, all these random TV stations. And so, you know, that’s kind of weird, you know, thinking you’re out there. And then, you know, we just finished one or like a three minute one we’re gonna put on our website and we’ll do, like you said, and chop it up and put it in places and, you know, things like that. So I, I’m really excited that I get to look at everything I didn’t do before, and now I can either start it or refine it or whatever makes sense going forward. So I know that’s not a good answer, but that’s just kinda

Where it’s, that’s a great answer. I mean, it’s reflective of where you’re at right now. And I, I think a big takeaway is, you know, I, I don’t think necessarily someone has to, you know, you obviously went through a huge, huge, radical change with your business, but I think the good news is, is anybody can kind of look at their own brand and go, you know what, it’s an opportunity to kind of dust it off a little bit. And especially you said you’ve been in real estate 20 years, you know, people recognize you. And what I loved about your, your new brand is it was still you. It was just, just, I don’t know how to explain. It was just like, I don’t wanna say better, but it was just like this. Ooh, like almost like you, you, you kind of upleveled right. And that’s, that’s what I think a great, a great rebranding does is it’s like, it’s, it’s still you. Like, I still recognized you. I knew it was you. It was like, Ooh, like that sort of surprise and delight. If that makes sense for me. And I was up close personal, I’m like, well, how big a difference can this possibly make? Right, right, right.

It’s just a color, it’s a font, it’s a new picture. But it’s like, it’s just those little things.

And I was just amazed. And I think that also gives us confidence to do something else. Yeah. You, you know what I mean? The feedback has been good, you know, kinda the way we rolled it out, you know, people started noticing and you know, it, I’ve just been, I’ve been hit it’s down for 20 years, doing what I’ve always done, you know, under a brand I’ve always used and I felt really comfortable there and now, you know, we’re kind of flying without them.

Yeah. That’s OK. I love that. So, um, I, you mentioned video, I, I, I wanted to kind ask you a little bit about your video content and I know are a little bit in flux because you’re, you know, obviously you’ve got the rebrand and everything. Um, I’ve seen you do video on the fly, you know, with your phone, I’ve seen you do Facebook live stuff. I’ve seen you do more kind of high end for professional video. What are your thoughts right now with video in, in 2022? Do you have any specific kind of areas you’re kind of thinking about, or is it, are you still kind of in the brainstorm mode of what’s gonna happen with, with some of your video content?

Uh, you know, I, I would still say in brainstorm moment, I think my philosophy always has been and probably will continue to be, I won’t be all over the place. I will only open my mouth when I’ve got something to say that’s worthy of being heard. I, I’m not here to make noise. And just to make sure you see me every day, I’m here, don’t forget about me, call me. I, you know, I, I wanna be that person adding value. I wanna be, um, regarded as a consultant rather than somebody here to sell you on something. Yeah. Um, and so I wanna make sure, and I think with our brand, even though we aren’t that sophisticated, it might just look a little more sophisticated than maybe we gave ourselves credit. And so our behaviors to reflect that as well.

Yeah. No, I think that’s great. And I love that you said, you know, having something to say right. Being purposeful and being thoughtful in, in what you have to say. Um, I think a lot of people feel like because of how fast social media moves, they have to be everywhere. You know, they have to be on Facebook and Instagram and now TikTok and like TW 27 different platforms. What are your, what are your thoughts about that? First of all, do you feel like you have to be in a lot of different places? And my part two to that is, is there a certain platform that you love spending time that you just enjoy spending time on?

You know, I always cognizant, okay. Where do my people live? Do they live on TikTok? Do they live on LinkedIn? Do they live on Facebook? And, you know, I would say, first of all, I, I’m not savvy enough to do the TikTok thing. I don’t think I am. I, I don’t think I have anything clever enough, even though my daughter who’s 23 assures me that there would be a market for that, you know, I don’t enjoy it. So, you know, I’m end up stage in my life. Okay. If you, it’s not bringing me some kind of residual altruistic thing, I’m probably not gonna do it. So I would say my folks are probably Facebook people, probably LinkedIn people would be where they reside.

Hmm. That seems like that’s where you’re spending. That’s not gonna be where I’m gonna be focusing. I do believe. Yeah.

I do see you dabbling a little bit on Instagram.

This is our operations manager, you know, and she’s a millennial and, you know, she’s, she’s making sure, you know, that, that we do that as well. And I, you know, I wanna be there. You know, I started out really big in video when, uh, Facebook business page algorithms were way better. I got Hmm. Disenchanted with how things went. And I felt like I was spending a lot of effort and I felt like, you know, I’m, I’m not, I’m not even, you know, hitting the fry. And so I’ll have to admit, I, I, I kind of stepped away and, um, I’m gonna rethink yeah. What that’s all about now. Yeah. It’s interesting. And I know chasing the algorithm can drive you crazy.

Drive me crazy, right? Exactly. No. Yeah. The Facebook business page algorithm, it’s, it’s, it’s challenging for sure. Um, I think one of the things I’ve always really loved, cause I, I probably follow you the most on Facebook and I always feel like you have just this really good blank. Cause people always ask me like, oh, you know, should I have a personal page? I have a business page. What do you post on? What? And I just feel like you have a really good, like blend of both. Cause I see you talk about business, but it’s not, I don’t know how to explain. It’s not like it’s in your face and they’re not always talking. It’s just, I know I see, you know, your, your life and holidays and travel and then business. It’s like, you just have this and I dunno if it become natural to you, but it’s just like this, this natural kind of blend of, of who you are. Right. It’s not like, oh, I’m Lisa, the realtor now I’m Lisa, the mom, like, it’s just who you are. Right.

Right. And, and that, I think that’s, and there’s no strategy with that. It’s when I feel compelled. Yeah. Then, then that’s what I do. So I think my often itself does come through because there’s no other motivation. Yeah. Other than what I wanna share. And um, and I know this is kind of antisocial and I, I really think of myself as a social being, but I kind of got this pace. I just kind of wanted just my people. Right. You know, I just want my people and I don’t wanna be everything to everybody and everybody chiming in. And I, I don’t know. I think I just, maybe I kind of hunkered down a little bit and so out, I’m slow to release information.

Well, like you wanna be thoughtful. You wanna have something to say, right?

Yes, I really do. I really do. And I don’t know. I, I don’t know. I feel like I’m just tired, everybody pushing their houses and how much they sold last year. And you know, I just, that drains me when I see other people doing that. Yeah. Cause I’m like your dentist, doesn’t say, oh, I did 40,000 root canals last year. You know, they just don’t and I’m like, why do we feel like that is our worth? Yeah. And I said, I guess I, what I wanna do is demonstrate, worth other than how it translates to dollars and cents.

Yeah. That’s so much, I’m sure that’s a very unpopular philosophy. But no, I think a lot of people, I would imagine a lot of people listening would feel that same way because it’s, I think success is so much more than numbers and dollars and cents. And of course money’s important. I mean, obviously, you know, this is not charity work that we’re doing, but it doesn’t define success. It’s not why, like that’s not the barometer, you know?

So I don’t think that’s just me getting in my own mind. Yeah, yeah.

Right. I agree.

And you think, you know, when I pick someone to perform some service to me, you know, what is it that it makes me want to do that? Yeah. And, and it’s like, we always say it’s people that, you know, like and trust and you know, I’m sure, you know, there’s competency and you know, all that behind it, but it’s not them blasting me with how awesome they are that makes me search them out. Right. Right.

As far as your clients do a lot of clients find you just because you’ve known them for a long time, or is it past client referrals? Is it social media? Is it kind of a mix of all of that?

I would say most of ours is past clients repeat, refer. Most everybody that has come to us has a connection that way. For the most part. Yeah a couple of one-offs, you know? But I think what I am finding is they’ve gotten my name somehow and then they probably check me out.

Right. Which we all do.

Right. Well, you know, I know when I’m getting ready to go to a client visit, I gonna find their social media accounts. Totally. I go to LinkedIn. Yeah. I think who we know, I wanna have an idea of what I’m stepping into. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And so I hope when they look me up now that all across all the platforms, I should look better and look unified. Yep. Um, that there will be like, okay it looks like she’s got her stuff together, you know. Yeah. And so I’m cognizant that that’s probably more of how I’m being checked out rather than just a straight call to me.

Well you know, 20 years, if you take care of people right. You’ve kind of got a pretty decent referral base.

Right. Yeah. I mean, you’re probably now on like the people who’ve worked with you multiple times and now probably their kids who’ve grown up and you know, it’s like this, I would imagine snowball effect.

And it’s the business we want Katie. These are our people. Yeah. We’ve taken care of them. I just sold a young couple, actually helped them buy their first house. Now they built a house and she said, Lisa, I remember I was seven years old. You came into our house, we were moving to Cincinnati. And she said, you made us move all this stuff around in the house. And, and she said, I just couldn’t believe you were telling us to do all this stuff. And she said, so she said, and I don’t think my mom really believed it either. But she said, we did all this stuff and the house looked so awesome. And she said, I just kept remembering that. And she said, then, you know, we be friends on social media and then I kind of kept up with you. And so, you know, those little interactions probably started in person, but they were reaffirmed later by kind of, sort of keep in touch that, okay, miss Lisa, as she affectionately calls me is still doing it. You know, she’s still got it going on. And you know that there’s no greater satisfaction for me than that. That’s awesome. That’s those are my people. That’s who I want.

That’s awesome. So I know we’re getting towards the end here. And I, one of the things I wanted to ask you about is, you know, you’ve been a long time member of the academy. I think you were one of our original members back in the day. And, and it’s been so fun to see your like career blossom, obviously with everything that’s going out now with your rebrand. And I know you, you know, been to our masterminds, there’s certainly a lot of folks who listen to our podcast and watch our YouTube and, you know, have considered working with us or considered the academy. And I would just be curious if there’s any, I dunno, words of wisdom or things that you’ve learned from, you know, working with us, working in the academy, anything you’d like to share, we would love to hear,

Well, here’s what I would love to share. Katie. I have loved just being in your space. I’m with you, it’s an elevated experience. And so it probably goes against everything the academy does, but I love the offline way more than the online. And you know, it’s not just you’ve introduced me to other people. And the significant part of my rebrand was Christine George, who I met through you, you know, and now she’s an ambassador for you. And, you know, I just called her randomly and I said, you know, that’s just the thing I love. You don’t know what, what to do, but you know who to call. Right? And so I didn’t know who to call, but so I called Christine. I said, this is what I’m thinking about doing. She goes, girl, we’re thinking about doing that too. And we got stuff. And so I just, the relationships that I’ve been able to forge through this community, there’s no value for that. I have. So not taken advantage of the plethora of stuff you offer in no, in no way, shape or form. Um, and that’s, that’s on me. That’s my, that’s my character flaw. But the other part has been so rich that I, I can’t even begin to think for what you, what you mean to this community. It’s just the greatest.

Thank you. Oh, I have to agree with you. I love seeing you in face to face. Hopefully we’ll get to do that soon. And just the times we’ve broken bread together and had dinners and glass of wine, it’s really the best, you know, and we nurture that online. Right. So we know the highs and lows that our families and careers have gone through. We kind of have an innate desire to kind of, you know, be there for people in a meaningful way. And so the connections I’ve made there, it’s what it exactly.

Thank you. Well, I appreciate that. I appreciate that so much. Well, this has been awesome. I know we could probably talk for another couple hours, but I wanna be respectful of your time. Thank you so much.

So for people who want to connect with you, I’m going to link your website and some of your social handles in the show notes, but is there anywhere specific? You’d like to direct people if, if maybe they’re moving to the area or they just wanna connect with you and find out more about what you guys are doing.

Girl, call me. I answer my phone. It’s my favorite topic. My daughter says, who turns their ring on mom? I’m like, I do. I legit turn my ring on. Yeah, I will tell you from nine in the morning until 10:30 at night, my phone is on. And I won’t answer that because, you know, here’s what I know when people wanna know information, they wanna know information and more times than not, they just don’t want data. They probably want it in some kind of meaningful way. And boy, I can do that in three sentences, a lot better than I can talk in a paragraph. And, you know, hopefully you get a little sense of personality. You have a little connection and you know what? You can put people at ease. This is a big step. A lot of ’em are taken and something about a human voice, I think. Well, just like you said, the video, right? How else can we communicate with our voice? So you can do it, you know, the old fashioned way it still works. I remember when I worked at IBM, one of the consultants in my group walked in, he goes, Lisa, you just give good phone. That’s all I gotta say, you give good phone. And so that’s been a skillset. I’m like, why not lean into it? Yeah. They could email me if they want, but it’ll be way more fun with the phone.

It’s way more fun. This is way more fun than email. Absolutely. It’s way more. It’s a lot of what you talked about today. We teach this in the academy, this idea of you taking the online, offline. I love social media. I’m in the business of social media, but there’s still nothing like this, like a phone call, like meeting people face to face and where I think what you’ve done really well is social media kind of bridges that gap. Right. So you’ve got these connections face to face, you’re on the phone with people, but then you can keep in touch. You can scale kind of the keeping in touch part through social media.

Exactly. Yeah. Keep ’em around. You know, now that I’m around now that I’m listening, not that I’m here.

Totally. That’s awesome. All right. Well, we’ll put your contact info. You can send me the phone number. I should tell people and I’ll put it on the show. I’ll do that. I so appreciate you being with us today, Lisa, this was just awesome,

Katie, thanks for everything what you do for realtors and social media. It’s amazing.

Thank you. And for all of our listeners today, if you enjoyed this episode, if you’re listening over on YouTube, we would love if you hit the subscribe button and the bell button, because we have new episodes that come out each and every week. And if you’re listening to the podcast, you can subscribe to the podcast. And if you really enjoy the podcast, you can leave us a five star review. We always appreciate that. All right, until next time, have an awesome day. And we’ll see you soon.

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