- The 2016 presidential election is riddled with contrarians who are making their names on being different, and you can do the same.
- There have been several contrarians who have changed the real estate business as we know it, such as Dale Rector and Brad Inman.
- An agent contrarian differentiates from the competition by going against the grain.
Take a hint from Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump as well as real estate’s leading innovators — being a contrarian can be a boon to your business.
Contrarians are those individuals who take an opposite or different position from others. They are also often innovators and disruptors who are often subjected to ridicule, resentment and even hate. In spite of this, they persevere because they strongly believe in what they are doing and often usher in widespread, lasting change.
The 2016 presidential race: The year of the contrarians
In the 2016 presidential race, three of the four top contenders have staked out top polling positions by being contrarians. To illustrate this point, consider the following:
- Ted Cruz has made a name for himself by directly opposing much of the agenda his fellow Republicans have pursued.
- Bernie Sanders might caucus as a democrat, but he has declared himself an independent for most of his career. Although Sanders is more than 20 points behind in the national polling, he leads Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire and has surpassed her in fundraising.
- Donald Trump continues to lead the polls despite his long string of politically incorrect (and in many people’s minds, totally reprehensible) statements that would have ended anyone else’s presidential campaign.
Contrarianism on steroids
Donald Trump certainly understands that the constitution prohibits discrimination based upon religion. So what prompted him to argue that the U.S. should halt Muslim immigration until we can fix the vetting process? The reason is that contrarianism and disruption are key parts of Trump’s strategy.
One of Trump’s favorite targets is political correctness. Trump knew that his comments would set off a firestorm as well as generating huge press coverage. It achieved something much more paramount as well.
In one fell swoop, Trump managed to get everyone of his opponents to line up with President Obama and the Democrats. He did so by giving voice to the sentiments of a major part of the electorate.
A Rasmussen poll conducted on December 10, 2015, showed that 66 percent of likely Republican voters favor a temporary ban as well as 46 percent (versus the 40 percent who disagree) of the general electorate. A win-win for Trump — another successful attack on political correctness, immigration and even higher polling numbers.
Historical examples of real estate contrarianism
Real estate has been a fertile field for contrarians as witnessed by the strength and longevity of the following brands:
- With the launch of Realty Executives, Dale Rector originated the first 100 percent commission model in 1965. The term “executive” differentiated their services as being a cut above those provided by ordinary Realtors.
- Red Carpet (1966) and Century 21 (1971), two of real estate’s earliest franchise operations that are still in operation today, set their agents apart with their distinctive red or gold coats.
- In 1989, Keller Williams launched the first national franchise to offer profit sharing as a key component in their value proposition.
- Brad Inman launched the first online real estate news service, Inman News in 1996. In 1999, he founded HomeGain, the first online lead generation firm to gain national traction.
- In 2005, Pete Flint and Sami Inkinen launched Trulia to help agents gain greater exposure for their listings nationwide.
- In 2006, Rich Barton launched Zillow with its “Zestimate,” the first online, public-facing home value estimator.
How to put contrarianism to work in your business
Being contrarian is one of the quickest ways to stand out from the competition. Here are five ways you can achieve that goal.
1. Create your personal unique selling proposition (USP) and charge more
To stand out on listing presentations, carefully research the services that your competitors provide, and then offer one or two services that your competitors don’t provide.
It could be a 3-D virtual tour using that Matterport 3-D technology, complementary staging services, digital transaction management or any other services that your clients would find useful and that differentiate you from your competitors.
Keep up with the latest shiny objects to see which ones can give you a competitive edge. The contrarian move is that when others are cutting their commission, charge more.
2. Put up ‘Just Sold By’ signs
Most agents put up “Under Contract” signs when their listings sell, but you should ask your buyers if they would allow you to put a “Just Sold By” sign in front of their house for a month after their property closes. Give them a nice gift for doing this.
Be sure to check with your company, local board and MLS that there is nothing that prohibits you from doing so. By the way, this contrarian move will probably not sit well with the former listing agent.
3. Hold a weekday open house
Almost everyone holds open houses on the weekends. The contrarian takes weekends off and holds open houses for the 90 minutes before school lets out during the week.
Make sure that you serve refreshments and that the house is easy to flag from the route parents take to pick up their kids after school.
4. Don’t be afraid to be who you are
If you want three minutes on how to succeed by being a contrarian, check out the following video from Leigh Brown, “The sh*t Leigh Brown says.”
5. Have a higher purpose
If you are someone who cares deeply about faith, politics or other social issues, giving back often results in your business growing almost effortlessly. Volunteer at the local 10K charitable fundraising event, be active at your place of worship or work hard to improve the community where you live.
People want to do business with like-minded others, especially those who share their values and give back. It’s way more rewarding than door-knocking or cold calling and often produces significantly better results.
Being a contrarian might aggravate your competition, but do you really care when you’re having fun, giving back and making more money to boot?
Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Learn about her training programs at www.RealEstateCoach.com/