To Be Successful, You Have to Be Weird

Seth Godin speaks about marketing to outsiders at Inman Connect.

Seth Godin speaks about marketing to outsiders at Inman Connect.

There’s nothing more boring than being “normal,” and if you’re trying your hardest to fit in, then people won’t care what you’re doing.

That’s the idea marketing expert and author Seth Godin was getting at during the General Session at Inman Connect in New York. He said more and more people are falling outside the box of what’s considered normal, and if you plan to stay relevant to consumers, you have to be willing to cater to the weird and unconventional — and promote yourself that way. Basically, that means you have to find a segment of buyer you can connect with, but you can’t be the “every man” agent anymore because that doesn’t resonate with people.

“There’s all this pressure to be normal, have normal clients, drive a normal car, have normal listings,” Godin said. “And now something is changing. There are more people who are outside of normal than inside normal. What you’ll find is that normal people are ignoring you because they don’t care. People who care are outsiders, and you’ll be forced to segment to them.”

Godin used motorcycle company Harley as an example of a business that found loyalty in a fringe market. “Harley takes disrespected outsiders, gives them a badge, and makes them insiders,” he said.

What this means for you is that you won’t find the greatest success in targeting the “typical” buyer, however that applies to your market. Everyone has an idea of the type of client they want to attract, and for many real estate professionals, it’s the same kind of person. So don’t be like that. There’s a whole group of prospects your competition isn’t trying to reach, and those are the people who are looking for someone like you to work with. As Godin put it: “You must plants the seeds where they will grow and walk away from the places where they won’t.”

Does that sound weird?

Graham Wood

Graham Wood is a senior editor for REALTOR® Magazine. He can be reached at

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  1. “Wonderfully Weird” as my alma mater, Allegheny College, used to say.

    Standing out in a crowd is doubtless one of the most useful tools you can have to attract new consumers; however, the foundation to success at any level remains a solid understanding of your craft and a willingness to innovate.

  2. God bless technology! It breaks frontiers and allows us to reach out to like minded people. Acknowledging our difference is the first step. The next phase, I think, is to stop caring about the judgement of the crowd and stop wanting to be a ”people pleaser”.