An excerpt from Volume 1 of Be the Better Broker.
No matter what you do now, or may do in the future, you must register your personal name as a domain name. Do it for me, please. But really, do it for yourself. It may not be too late. I believe the same goes for your spouse and your children’s names. Claiming Internet identification for your name and any variations ranks up there in importance with getting a Social Insurance Number and a driver’s licence. If you’re lucky, your name remains available as a web domain.
This message hit home hard for two reality-TV Realtors. In their premiere episode they spoke extensively about their myriad tech connections. Then the third featured Realtor registered each of their personal domain names himself. How neither of these two Realtors’ personal tech connections had set either up with a website, let alone advised them to secure their personal domain names, brings into question just how tight their connections were. This seems not only like IT 101, but since the turn of the century, Sales 101.
Registering both yourname.com and, being Canadian, also yourname.ca is prudent. Take it a step further: does your own name have a unique spelling? Register the more common spelling too.
Consider registering a domain with the word mortgage, financing or a topical word that speaks to the business. This creates perpetual advertising of what it is that you do. When someone is looking at Google results for a mortgage broker in their location, the word “mortgage” in your domain name is assurance that you’re what they’re looking for.
Also consider registering something simpler if your name has a complicated spelling. A catchphrase with your first name, for instance: normknowsnumbers.com is perhaps simpler than normstanaszlawszkimortgages.com.
This also goes if your name is so common that there’s no hope of snagging it as a domain name. You will need to create something memorable and relevant to your business.
And if you use your domain name as your email address, your address alone can bring in new business. For instance, if you’re involved with your kid’s sports team, your email address is flowing out to potentially dozens or even hundreds of people and is speaking for you. Conversations, and subsequently applications, are sparked from my email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. It triggers questions about the market, and one thing leads to another.
An email address based upon your professional domain name, rather than one based on the brokerage house domain, has other benefits as well. As reticent as I am to ever have to move to a new brokerage, one never knows what the future holds. Much like moving to a new home, switching an email address is a colossal pain and creates risk of breaking contact with clients, clients who want to give you their business.
During my first three years as a broker, my business email address was linked to the brokerage where I worked. Naturally, I couldn’t keep that email address when I departed. It was clever branding on their part and a subtle retention tool, as it proved complicated to update all past clients, especially those who had changed their own email without notifying me. To this day, four years later, the odd call will come in asking, “Hey, did you get the email I sent you?”
Finally, you should also Google your own name periodically, just to see what others you share a name with are up to. It is also wise to add your own name to your Google Alerts list.