Winning Support By Being Real

Brie Stephens, the 2018 30 Under 30 Web Choice Award winner, shares her creative method for rallying fans and showcasing her authentic self.

April 18, 2018

Brie Stephens isn’t the type of person to ask for help. She’d rather help others, which is why she enjoys working in real estate. Stephens, who leads the Lake Life Realty team at Keller Williams Lakes and Mountains Realty in Meredith, N.H., didn’t tell anyone when she applied for the 30 Under 30 honor last December. She kept it a secret until she was named a finalist in early March. Then, she let the cat out of the bag to her two team members, Brendan Connolly and Stephanie Inglis, and together, they developed a plan to win the Web Choice Award.

Members of the public were invited to vote for their favorite 30 Under 30 finalists in the Web Choice competition from March 16-23. This year, 15,637 votes were cast, and Stephens—who garnered 1,372—came out on top, solidifying her place in the 2018 class of 30 Under 30. REALTOR® Magazine’s panel of judges selected the other 29 honorees from the field of finalists. Here is how Stephens and her team members rallied the votes.

Step one: Build an army of supporters.

Stephens connected with those closest to her—friends, family, and colleagues—and asked them to give video testimonials about her character, strengths, and work ethic. Then, she posted those videos to both her personal and business Instagram accounts. Erica Sakin, the manager of Stephens’ office, talked about Stephens’ quick rise to becoming a top producer, as well as her involvement mentoring high school students. Robin Webster of Great Impressions Staging described Stephens as a “dynamo” who’s “very focused in her business.” Even Stephens’ sister, husband, and best friend weighed in, touting their pride in Stephens’ hard work and dedication.

Step two: Harness your marketing creativity and brand.

In an effort to personalize her call to action, Stephens created  www.VoteForBrie30under30.com, which led visitors to her REALTOR® Magazine finalist profile. She also gave detailed instructions to her friends and followers on how to vote. Her assistant created images using old photos of Stephens as a kid and current pictures with her family, which Stephens posted on her social media accounts, along with a request for votes. She was surprised by the result: “People not only voted, but they were looking into what I do,” she says.

Step three: Create a community around the campaign.

Stephens created a Facebook group solely dedicated to soliciting votes and documenting her journey throughout the voting period. The short testimonials were posted in a compilation video. Stephens also used Facebook Live every day during voting to remind people to vote, thank her supporters, and help folks get to know her better. Stephens says the Facebook group—which topped out at 761 members—delivered the biggest response. “I was surprised by the reach it got. New Hampshire is small, so I’d go somewhere, and someone would know my face,” Stephens says. After walking into a local restaurant and being recognized by a server who said, “Oh, you’re the girl breaking the internet right now,” Stephens knew she was on the right track.

The Lakes Region where Stephens works includes eight towns surrounding a 26-mile lake. The population is about 3,000 to 5,000 people in the slow season and climbs to more than 50,000 in the summer. Most of her business is in Moultonborough, N.H.

You’d never know that Stephens, who looks laid back and comfortable in front of the camera, once considered herself a shy person. In her early 20s, while working as a manager at a restaurant in town, she found herself selling the area to the people she’d wait on. Her motto was, “Why don’t you live where you vacation?” Indeed, Stephens, who grew up an hour and a half away, did just that after she finished college. Real estate was a natural fit for her after studying entrepreneurship at the University of Miami. She recalls tooling around Lake Winnipesaukee as a kid, scoping out houses for sale from her family boat.

Aside from working hard, Stephens’ key to success is being herself. It allows her clients to relate to her, which builds trust. She isn’t afraid to show who she is, including her hobbies and passions, in her marketing.

“What helped me get to this point is thinking outside the box and being creative with everything,” she says. Stephens and her team favor video marketing and regularly do on-camera interviews with business owners, community heroes such as firefighters, nonprofit organizers, and other local sources. Her team recently shot a listing from a pet’s point of view by attaching a camera to a dog’s back. Community involvement also means a lot to Stephens. Her team is active with the local homebuilder association and helps raise money for workforce development through their parade of homes every year.

Since being named a 30 Under 30 honoree, her local fame has continued. Just last week, when she met with a new developer a couple towns over, a woman working in the office recognized her and said, “You’re the celebrity.”

Read more about all of the 2018 30 Under 30s when their full profiles are published in the May/June issue of REALTOR® Magazine.

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