Disclaimer: I make no apologies for the length of this post. It contains value bomb after value bomb from the sensational Gia Le. It’s well worth the read.
It’s all in the Perthspective: An interview with Gia Le
The proof that there is more than one way to become a real estate mega star has arrived with Perth agent Gia Le taking centre stage.
Her extraordinary and unique blog – Perthspective – has taken the industry by surprise while simultaneously positioning her as a left field thinking agent of choice.
Deciding to interview local entrepreneurs who have made an impact on the Perth landscape was a bold move for Gia, but one which has reaped untold rewards, attracting and holding the attention of people beyond those simply interested in real estate.
On 1 September 2016, Gia took Perthspective to the next level, turning it into a live event. What comes next for the real estate marketing dynamo is nothing short of anticipatory.
In this post, we hear what went into the making of her first VIP Perthspective event and find out exactly why Gia has become a hit sensation.
She is humble and understated but the very elegant Gia Le has a clear vision for how she will carve out her success as a real estate agent.
“I developed a vision of who I wanted to be and the people I wanted to do business with so I put in place a strategy of how to surround myself with high calibre individuals,” she says.
“I wanted to combine my passion for people and make a social contribution to my city which has essentially given me everything I have.”
A light bulb moment over a glass of wine lead to Gia’s realisation that she already had a phenomenal network developed through her previous career, blog following and social media network which she needed to harness.
“I realised that my greatest asset was my network so I needed to leverage off it, and to be honest, I always love to throw a good party.”
And so VIP Perthspective was conceptualised. Bringing it to life was another matter entirely involving determining the speakers, creating the perfect guest list, finding just the right venue and coordinating marketing efforts.
On how her speakers were selected, Gia says: “I wanted to make sure there was a cross section of industries, age, gender and stories which my audience could relate to.
“The speakers were also people who have made an impact on my personal journey and I wanted to honour them by showing the world why they are so inspirational.
“Rory Vassallo and I worked together when we were both 20. He left school at 15 and by 30 he had built and sold 22 child care centres for a rumoured $65million. He’s a great role model, doting father and astute businessman.
“MJ Satterthewaite I met in my old career when she was doing training and development. She has MS and its never held her back from chasing her dreams.
“Andrew Macpherson was my previous client and within 2 years he’s built his plumbing business from nothing into a multimillion dollar operation with 9 vehicles in his fleet.”
Listening to Gia rave about her speakers is addictive. She’s chosen these people carefully and knows that her passion for them, and their passion for what they do, is going to excite and grab hold of her audience.
This was an audience also carefully chosen.
“I chose my guests based on their influence in the community and ensured that their values were congruent with Perthspective,” she says.
“It was important that I knew they were going to champion me and be my brand advocates long after the event. The message you send to the community afterwards is equally as important, if not more.”
Having created an elegant personal brand in the Perthspective concept – including her tagline ‘live beautiful’ – Gia spent two months making certain that the VIP Perthspective event would honour that elegance.
“I wanted to make sure everything from beginning to end was a reflection of my brand. Nothing was left to chance,” she says.
When asked exactly what sort of planning went into the event, in her own words Gia offers the following:
- I had the invitations designed and professionally printed
- I had my banners designed and made
- I had name badges designed to ensure my ‘Live Beautiful’ logo was on it
- I sourced a trendy venue because it needed to be visually elegant when we captured the event on camera and film
- I asked for sponsorship from the professional photographer
- I negotiated a deal with my film crew
- The film crew even brought in their own audio technician and microphoned all our speakers. There is no excuse for bad audio on video
- We hired extra lighting so it almost looked like a film set
- I invited the local media.
Filming the event has turned out to be a crucial part of the VIP Perthspective event, meaning that what started as an intimate in-person affair has become a highly scalable digital asset.
From the event, Gia and her film crew are creating a 5-part video series and we’ve been lucky enough here at The Digital Agent to be the launch pad for the first snippet.
Check it out:
“I’ve used this film crew for a few projects so they understand my creative direction and stylistic expectations,” says Gia.
“They’re young film graduates and I like giving people like them an opportunity because they’re everything that Perthspective endorses – entrepreneurs making a difference to our city.
“In fact, everyone in my team from my digital strategist, photographers, graphic designer and website developer are all younger than me.
“There is a lot to be learned from having a younger team because they grew up with social media and communicating on these platforms is natural to them.
“My next step with film is extremely exciting and something I will reveal in due course.”
A thrilled Gia talks then about the excellent outcomes from her event.
She says its two sides of the same coin with the first being what a great evening it was and that all the guests had an enjoyable time.
The second side – being the most exciting side for Gia – was all the incredible content her team created with her.
Over the coming weeks, each speech will be released to her audience in a similar fashion to the immensely popular Ted Talks.
“I think the biggest measure of success is showing the audience that Perthspective is evolving from the digital sphere into an event noteworthy on the Perth social calendar. It becomes real.
“I’ve also received numerous private messages asking for an invitation to the next one!
“I think this will be something I’ll do twice a year. The value you create and the relationships you form with your network cannot be quantified!” says Gia.
I spoke to Gia before she held the VIP Perthspective event and at the time, she told me she thought the live event would give her ROI better than 10 letterbox drops. After the event, I checked back in with her to see if she still felt this way and whether she wanted to elaborate on this thinking for The Digital Agent readership.
“Every letterbox drop will cost on average $600 in print and distribution for approximately 1000 – 2000 homes and you will be lucky to get 2 seconds exposure before it gets trashed which is no good for our environment,” she said.
“When I sent the invitations to my guests and followed them up, over 30 per cent of them didn’t even check their letterbox!
“By hosting the event and investing in the infrastructure to capture it, the content can now work 24/7 as I promote is across multiple platforms.
“And of course, the event itself enhances so many relationships with people of influence in the community. All you need is for one of them to refer your name and it pays dividends,” says Gia.
“In real estate, they say it’s all about the numbers which means you either have to saturate a core area with interruption marketing (and annoy everyone) or tailor your message to a specific audience with higher engagement.
“I’ve chosen the latter because attention and awareness is the key.
“This then evolves into leads and opportunities afterwards.”
Having just delivered this successful in-person event and captured the content Gia plans to use in her digital landscape, the savvy marketer says she believes there is still a place for the old methods in real estate marketing but that the odds are quickly tipping in favour of the digital platform.
“Seeing someone on a bus shelter or letterbox drop won’t evoke them to call you into an appraisal.
“Consumers now demand more value – they want to be educated, entertained and engaged.”
Quoting the indelible Gary Vee, Gia says: “I’m effectively day trading attention.”
“Everyone is buried in their devices these days and consume media in their own time so you need to find out how to get in front of your prospects on their device.”
No-one denies that being a real estate agent is a busy, busy job and Gia herself admits it’s hard to juggle your core responsibilities as an agent while establishing a unique approach to marketing yourself.
“I’m actually employing my first part-time assistant.
“In order for me to keep networking, creating opportunities to list and sell properties, I need to delegate the necessary but nonproductive activities to someone else, such as data input to LockedOn.
“As an agent, it’s important to recognise that our face is our brand, we are essentially selling ourselves so it is critical we continuously focus on building our profile digitally and in person.”
She says that data entry is important but being the quickest or most accurate clerk won’t get you invited to an appraisal.
“I get invited because people read Perthspective, they know who I am and what I do.
“My biggest form of prospecting is building and engaging with my audience.
“The role of digital marketing, moving forward in the real estate industry, is to become a leading authority in your target demographic and earn their attention.
“I think digital marketing will also give agents a wider reach in geography, potentially disrupting the notion of the ‘see your local agent’.
“If you become audience specific, they tend to live in clusters and I’ve noticed that buyers are no longer as suburb specific.”
Then Gia throws this out for thought: “I think digital marketing is going to give rise to the ‘media realty agent’.
“If you look at Ryan Serhant, Fredrik Eklund and the Altman brothers, they get their business purely through the global reach they have in accessing an international audience.
“In the first few seasons, their average listing value was around $2million and now they regularly market $20+ million properties. Sellers want access to their audience.”
Gia has not been a real estate agent for an extraordinary length of time. Quite the opposite in fact. It’s been less than a year.
But her wise marketing moves have made her a sought out personality, creating a perception that she’s been on the scene for much, much longer.
Noting this, I questioned Gia about some of her other marketing approaches, above and beyond the VIP Perthspective event.
She’s a warm and approachable person, and very willing to share the benefit of her own experiences.
“I think everyone going into real estate wants to be successful but they are reluctant to invest in promoting themselves,” she declares.
“To be a successful agent, you need to operate like a business and think like a CEO which means developing a vision of where you see your business in 5 years then put in place a strategy for how to get there.
“All the extremely successful agents understand that marketing and promoting their brand is not their agency’s job.”
We talked about her website and why it’s not a typical agent website.
“When I was researching other agents’ sites, I put on my consumer hat and I honestly didn’t find the other agents listings interesting.
“If someone is on your site, they will most likely know you sell real estate or have seen your listings somewhere. REA does a better job of showcasing my listings so why double handle?
“I wanted my site to be about what I can do for my audience and to simply promote my brand.
“When I developed the vision of Perthspective, I instantly knew that I needed a website to house my articles.
“The website was always going to be the centerpiece of my digital strategy.
“I met with about 5 different developers to discuss the architecture of the site, each trying to sell me something different.
“I ended up choosing a young female entrepreneur who listened and shared my vision.
“Whilst designing the site, every decision I made was based on my projected future of where I would be in 5 years’ time.
“It’s important to think big.”
Gia says a lot of people think a website will yield leads straight away which is the wrong reason to build a site and they will be disappointed.
“A website is about creating brand awareness, it’s an online catalogue of who you are and how you want the world to see you.
“My clients don’t contact me though my site, they either call or email but all of them would have visited my website before making the decision to reach out.
“It comes up regularly in our conversations either during or after the listing presentation.”
She says that while she may not get listings directly through her website, the proof is in the pudding. Her listings and sales have double in the past two-months.
“Google analytics confirms that since July, I received 1500 visits to my site per month and its growing organically every day.
“I will have to say that my website is my silent secret weapon.
“It says it best when I say nothing at all.”
To see for yourself what all the fuss is about, pop on over and check out Perthspective and Gia’s fabulous interviews. I promise you, it’s addictive.
Are you ready to be remarkable?I WANT TO BE REMARKABLE