Show Notes

During this episode, host Dan Lesniak speaks with a power duo in the San Francisco Bay Area,  realtors and brand coaches Connie Chung and Kenny Gong. Connie and Kenny share their vision for successful branding that begins with telling authentic stories that demonstrate your character in a way that helps you build relationships. This is an insightful conversation about the power of telling your story and having vulnerable conversations. 

Episode Highlights: 

  • Connie and Kenny started their residential sales business in San Francisco. They recently turned their focus to coaching others on personal branding, authentic storytelling, and cultivating relationships.
  • Kenny's father was an agent and developer, so he grew up with exposure to the industry.
  • Connie and Kenny met through social justice work.
  • Connie says that a lot of failures led her into real estate. She saw the potential for real estate to empower others. Connie describes the transition from social justice work to real estate.
  • Storytelling involves connecting with people by telling them about yourself and being vulnerable.
  • Kenny shares how it was natural to tell his story about why he pursued a career in real estate.
  • Dan talks about how failure ultimately led him to try a career in real estate.
  • Stories of how you got scrappy are what people connect to at the end of the day.
  • When working with branding clients, they talk about the power of story. Then they talk about what makes someone's character. They then help identify stories that illuminate aspects of that person's character.
  • You can translate the authentic life you're living into an authentic brand.
  • They aim to teach people about branding through infusing their character through stories.
  • When we can remember what keeps our clients up at night, we can connect with them on that level.
  • You stand a chance when you establish trust and rapport.
  • Many agents rely on prettiness alone for their branding.
  • It's so easy to have a great looking brand these days. But when you exclusively focus on prettiness, your branding begins to look like everyone else's branding.
  • People also tend to rely on stating their competence. When you're in a hot market, everyone provides excellent service.
  • At first Connie felt she had to play the part of the "traditional" realtor. Remember there are many ways to be successful in this industry. You can be yourself.
  • Connie and Kenny share about why they started a race and real estate roundtable.
  • It's important to remember for realtors of color that their stories are important to share.
  • They want to encourage people to share the story of their lives up to the point when they became realtors. This may involve family origin stories.
  • Kenny knows that he illustrates the character traits that will attract the right clients to him through his stories.
  • When you do your story work, your brand naturally becomes differentiated from everyone else.
  • Kenny speaks about how important it is to him right now to have conversations that recognize that when we talk about being a white realtor or being a non-black realtor of color in this time, it's about recognizing our privileges.
  • All of our stories are stitched together to create the tapestry of our lives.
  • How are we showing up as white realtors and non-black realtors of color in this current conversation about race?
  • The Thoughtful Realtor podcast is about how to show up in a way that feels holistic, in a way that feels real and honest.
  • Part of thoughtfulness is getting uncomfortable.
  • These conversations may be uncomfortable, but you have to have the conversations if you want to gain that other person's perspective.
  • Connie shares how talking about racism can be scary and uncomfortable for her, but that her role as a coach and educator is to dive into the uncomfortable.
  • Kenny ran into a stat that only 15% of realtors are people of color. When Kenny saw this disparity, that spurred the idea to create the roundtable.
  • Realtors have a unique position as community leaders.
  • Realtors have the responsibility to provide care and compassion to their communities.
  • Connie says the reasons why people of color are underrepresented in real estate are multi-layered.
  • When we see people like us who identify like us in certain roles, it helps us see ourselves in those roles.
  • If you don't see potential and possibility, then it doesn't feel feasible for you.
  • Dan speaks to the low barrier to entry in the real estate industry. He thinks many people are unaware of the opportunities within real estate.
  • Kenny talks about the value of scrappiness and figuring things out in real estate. He loves that this profession allows for so much creativity.
  • Connie says sometimes the biggest challenge they face working together is that they have too much fun and get distracted from the business.
  • Kenny says it's a challenge to focus on the biggest impact they want to make and how to make that impact.
  • Connie's biggest advice to realtors right now is to own your failures. Kenny says not to worry about getting messy.
  • Their most used social media platform is Instagram. Kenny's favorite platform is TikTok.
  • Connie shares about a business mistake she made. Kenny tells us he wishes he got into real estate earlier.
  • In five years, Connie and Kenny hope that most of their work will be done online. Kenny would love to have a coaching program specifically for realtors of color.

3 Key Points:

1.   Telling the right stories can help you attract the right clientele. 

2.   Many realtors make the mistake of emphasizing their brand’s prettiness or their personal competence in their branding. Differentiating yourself matters more.

3.   Right now people of color are underrepresented in real estate. As community leaders, we can work towards greater representation. 

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “We naturally connect with people by telling stories.” – Kenny Gong
  • “We talk about stories of origin. We talk about stories of motivation. We talk about stories of struggle. We talk about stories of people. We talk about stories of passions.” – Kenny Gong
  • “There are some great universal principles and truths that many, many people will be drawn to and the story really is just the vehicle that communicates those universal principles that you embody.” – Dan Lesniak
  • “A huge part for us is really believing that representation matters.” – Connie Chung
  • “I would love to see more folks of color in this industry thriving, succeeding, more top agents that are realtors of color, and I would love to be a part of making that happen.” – Kenny Gong

Resources Mentioned:

The Thoughtful Realtor podcast