The Cult of the Real Estate Agent

Perhaps you could follow this Trappist command: thou shalt not buy too much of our beer.

As Ben McConnell states, “Besides being what people describe as an excellent beer, Westvleteren has developed into a cult brand based on its rituals.”

Some of those rituals include:

  • You must make an appointment to buy the beer
  • You have to call the Beer Phone to make that appointment
  • The monks, from an order of silent monks, may talk on the Beer Phone only
  • You may buy only two cases at a time
  • The beer is sold only once per month
  • They only make 120,000 bottles per year
  • Tales abound of people driving 16 hours across your Europe to get their monthly supply
  • And the monks truly believe that sell beer to live and not “live to sell beer”

The key to creating this kind of cult is essentially being religiously devoted to your craft.

The Horror of Scarcity, the Pain of Exclusivity

Those who brew Westvleteren are serious about their business, “their craft”, but they aren’t trying to maximize results, track eyeballs, post records…

What they’ve done is created a cult: They’ve developed a need for their product that is borderline addiction.

A short supply sends people into horror-stricken panic. Think scarcity. Like the Great Depression type run on banks when everyone thought money was going to be scare.

Or it creates a sort of exclusivity…that it is a prize to have this product.

On an update to his original post, McConnell, an Austin resident, shares the fact that the only way he could get his hands on one of the beers was through a beer connoisseur’s collection.

How about that for being shut out?

The Cult That Spreads Without Help

Another creation of a cult occurred when Hugh McLeod created a the Blue Monster sticker campaign for a winery.

The blue stickers, which read “Microsoft change the world or go home” where a hit and people clamored for the stickers. In the small print on the sticker was a pitch to buy wine and a web address.

He also encouraged bloggers to request free bottles of wine if they blogged about it. They did. Happily.

That is cult via viral.

The Largest Cult in the Smallest Market

There is another kind of cult: the cult of community. Think Star Trek fans. Or medieval Renaissance week enders. Or Green Bay Packer fans.

The Green Bay Packers thrive in the smallest media market to be home of a major professional sports league.

Why is that?

It has a lot to do with legendary history.

The Green Bay Packers won five league championships in seven years and then went on to win the first two Super Bowls. In fact, the Super Bowl trophy was renamed the Vince Lombardi Trophy in 1970 in recognition of these awesome accomplishments.

And tons of lore:

Because Curly Lambeau’s employer, the Indian Packing Company, paid for the team’s first uniforms when they played their first game, they were called the Packers. Initially, due to Lambeau’s affinity to the University of Notre Dame, the Packers’ team colors were blue and yellow. When it was time for a change in 1959, new head coach Vince Lombardi introduced the current green and gold we have all come to know and love. Just two years after the new colors, the oval G was created by Green Bay Packers equipment manager Dad Braisher. [via]

The other towering figure head of the Green Bay Packers is Brett Farve: “The Green Bay Packers have been spoiled to have their quarterback, Brett Favre not miss a start in well over a decade – a record no one has ever come close to touching.”

A Profile of a Real Estate Cult

The thing to remember about creating a cult is that it is slightly religious. A better way of saying it is that it is ritualistic, or rich in ceremony or practice.

As an agent this could mean several things. Let me create a profile to give you an example:

  • If you have significant or unusual history, share it. Create that story of your early days as an agent, the history, the lore.
  • If you are successful, or if you can manage it, work only six months out of the year. When you come back from your six month hiatus, your waiting list will be the length of your arm.
  • If you are charismatic, flaunt it. Use it to make people happy, fulfilled. Use it to entertain or perform on a high level. Cults are built around highly influential people. If you are not an irresistible person, get started on becoming one.
  • If you can arrange it, perform certain functions of buying or selling homes differently. Instead of a closing at the title company as usual, see if you can’t do it at an old historic home, maybe even in the old historic court house. Think ceremony and different.

Finally, if you want to be the best, create the purple cow…

What you deliver should be something people instantly recognize, without being told, as something that’s extraordinary and almost impossible to imitate.

Think the iPod. Or the Wii. Or the Four Seasons Hotel George Paris.

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