Love him or hate him, Donald Trump has done something amazing. As a marketer, how could you not be impressed? According to The New York Times, Trump has earned nearly $2 billion dollars worth of free publicity in this election cycle. And he’s only spent $10 million dollars on advertising.
Compare that to establishment hopeful Jeb Bush, who received a meager $214 million of free publicity, while he spent a whopping $82 million — and now Jeb’s out of the race while Trump leads the pack. Why? Trump gets more of what everyone craves — attention.
But free publicity alone isn’t the explanation — it’s just part of the story. It’s essential for anyone who’s in real estate to learn how to position themselves as Trump has. How can you make yourself more relevant? How do you stand out from the crowd? How do you deliver message people can’t ignore? It starts, first and foremost, with creating a spectacle.
If you’ve been to a county fair, you’ve seen tents with signs claiming, “The world’s largest cow,” “The world’s fattest pig” or “The world’s ugliest dog!”
After a few minutes, the curiosity is driving you nuts. Your head races, “Geez, what does the world’s ugliest dog look like! I’ve just got to find out.”
This is the trick P.T. Barnum used, too. Unrelenting curiosity drives people to explore and pay attention — something that Trump has done masterfully. The same is true of the boxer Floyd Mayweather and musician Kanye West.
Ultimately, a spectacle is the mass consumption of society’s attention. And when everyone is talking about something, inevitably, those who don’t know what’s happened begin to feel in the dark.
That’s when that unrelenting curiosity of not knowing takes root. “What’s happening? What’s going on? What’s everyone talking about?” And it begins to drive more and more attention toward the spectacle. And folks, a spectacle is nothing more than a masterful promoter.
Separating the person from the spectacle: what agents can learn
Legendary evangelist Billy Graham — one of the great spectacles in human history — understood this behavior, too. Like Trump, Graham, some 60 years earlier, made himself into a spectacle through his message.
As an evangelist, he was the thing to pay attention to. Detailed in his book, “America’s Hour of Decision,” Graham crisscrossed the nation, building tabernacle after tabernacle, holding rallies — not all that different than Trump — filled them with tens of thousands of people interested in the word of God.
Some were evangelists themselves while others had not yet been saved and even more showed just to see what all the buzz was about.
This same tactical concept of making yourself into a spectacle can be utilized by real estate agents, too. When you have a documented approach, for example, that enables a superior client result — that is something you can create buzz around: testimonials, proof and stories.
Soon, you put enough of those in your media stream — the content you create — and people start to wonder, “What is this agent doing differently? What is the secret? How are clients getting that result?”
The buzz begins to build. “Why is everyone talking about him? He can’t be that special. I’ve got to know more about this guy.” As a result, attention pours to you.
So, here are three strategies to increase your spectacle-like status:
1. Become an outsider
In the context of Trump saga, the insider is the politician who is the source of voter anger and frustration. If you play word-association, for example, and ask “What words come to mind when I say ‘politician?'”, the consensus is usually “liar” and “untrustworthy.”
Politicians make promises they don’t keep. They will say anything to buy a vote. Beyond that, some might even say they’re corrupt, controlled by special interests. And because of this reality, politicians are seen to govern against the will of the people.
So if politicians (the insiders) are the source of this obvious frustration, then as Trump has done, it’s wise to position yourself as an outsider.
In finance, Warren Buffett has done this brilliantly as well, positioning himself as an outsider to Wall Street insiders.
And in real estate, the same truth exists — like Washington and Wall Street — real estate agents suffer a negative stereotype and reputation.
So, like Trump and Buffett, positioning yourself as an outsider, more naturally positions you as the solution to the problem, to be paid attention to — because you were not the cause.
2. Have strength of conviction
Attention is attracted to conviction. No one can deny that Billy Graham had great conviction. He held adamant beliefs. He moved millions of people based solely on his unyielding, burning conviction, a true desire to spread the word.
When you have that strength of soul and when you believe in something so strongly, you can’t help but to get up and tell people.
That’s the kind of conviction that an agent needs to have. Strength of character guides everything you do — a belief system that is unshakable and unwavering under all conditions.
A real estate agent with that kind of determination, to follow and fulfill a purpose, will be respected and recognized. That kind of conviction is increasingly rare.
3. Harness curiosity, controversy, polarization
Like P.T. Barnum, Donald Trump lives on outrageous claims and statements. He’s got people thinking, “I wonder what crazy thing he’ll say next.” Controversy.
Similar to Howard Stern, no one simply likes or dislikes Trump. He is a polarizing figure. He is controversial. You either love him, or you hate him. It’s the same for real estate agents.
If you can, distinguish yourself as an agent who’s taken a side and is sticking with it. Position yourself as an agent who doesn’t mind going against the grain, who embraces the curiosity factor that comes from doing something different with authentic conviction — then due to the laws of polarization, those who hate you will hate you. And those who love you will become your client.
I promise; execute on these three strategies, and in no time, your status as a spectacle will increase. You will get more attention. Curiosity will be built. More people will talk about you. Polarization will happen, and business will flourish.