The Age of Influence

In the current digital landscape where attention is scarce, noise and complexity are high, and standing out is harder than ever before, how do you become the go-to authority in real estate or in your field? Samantha McLean finds out from Julie Masters, CEO and founder of ODE Management and Influence Nation, the techniques that will get you the right type of attention from the right type of customer.

Influence (n): the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.

Trust (n): firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.

Put these two terms together, influence and trust, and according to Julie Masters you create the most powerful tool possible to market either yourself or your business. Welcome to a new age of authority marketing.

Masters herself has spent a career decoding influence. As a leading authority in the speaking world, she has earned a reputation for launching and advising some of the world’s most respected thought leaders, including industry-leading CEOs, speakers, bestselling authors and media personalities, whose combined voices have reached millions of people globally through speaking, publishing and digital channels.

And in the 15 years she has spent in the industry both in Australia and overseas, Masters says that while the definition of influence has remained the same, what has changed remarkably is ‘the how’. As humans we are no longer necessarily following brands but more trusting instead of individuals.

“The rise of the influencer has been a really interesting shift in attention. For example, L’Oreal used to be more powerful than Taylor Swift. Now Taylor Swift is more powerful than L’Oreal. Nike used to be more powerful than Ronaldo; now Ronaldo is more powerful than Nike.

“As a result of all of that, how we compel people has shifted from an ‘out-spending’ model, which is what I would call a volume strategy where you outspend, out-shout, out-impact everyone else in the marketplace through traditional methods, to an out-contributing model. By ‘out-contributing’ I mean providing value. Figuring out where the pain points are, what the opportunities are for the people that you’re trying to reach and being the translator in your industry where you’re out on the fringes and bringing back important information for your tribe.”

What does this mean for your marketing to consumers in the real estate industry?

Masters says, “Ninety-three per cent of people make buying decisions based on the recommendations of an actual human being. Only 14 per cent trust a brand message. That makes you more powerful than Microsoft, more powerful than Apple in a way.

“The good news is you can now stand out and own your space as a thought leader and an influencer with very little budget. You have access to every single media channel. You are a publisher. You can have your own TV channel if you want to get on YouTube. There is no reason not to stand out and own your space any more.”

Can everyone be a thought leader? “In the old days,” says Masters, “there was a guru on leadership, there was a guru on health and wellbeing. There were a handful of gurus who owned very big spaces. Now that the marketplace is completely democratised, you can’t ‘own’ one particular space any more. You can’t be the guru of real estate.

“What you can do is own a small space that contains enough people to keep you and your business happy for a very long time, and that’s what a micro-authority is.”

You can’t be the guru of real estate. What you can do is own a small space that contains enough people to keep you and your business happy for a very long time.”

To be a micro-authority you need to work out where your own personal influence intersection is. “What are two worlds you can own that nobody else can own? Justine Musk, once married to Elon Musk, when asked what was the secret to his success, said when you become a master of two worlds (say, engineering and business), you can bring them together in a way that will introduce new ideas to each other. This creates a competitive advantage because you can move between worlds and connect the tribes and create magic. And that’s really true; that is the secret to becoming a micro-authority.”

Masters now regularly advises CEOs, entrepreneurs and executive teams on how to dominate their marketplace by turning their expertise into influence. She says there are three other ‘secrets’ to becoming a micro-authority, or to being trusted in the new age of influence: epic contribution, authenticity and intention.

“Firstly, you need to contribute on an epic level. You need to know what your customers are struggling with. You need to know what the opportunities are. And you need to keep contributing so they keep looking to you for what’s next, what do we do now, how do we master that?

“Next is passion versus perfect; that’s what we call authenticity. Often we stay quiet because we’re not perfect, and we don’t share because it’s not perfect and we might change our mind tomorrow. If you look at people you follow, I guarantee you they’re authentic in their journey. They’ve got their ups, their downs, the things they tried, the things that didn’t work.

“The final one is being really clear about your intention. You look at someone like Jamie Oliver and you’re really clear about who he serves and why. Get clear about who you serve. Get clear about why you’re serving. Then everything, every piece of communication needs to come from that place if you are going to garner trust in a new age of influence.”

Julie Masters will be speaking at ‘How to Lead a Winning Team in 2018’ on Nov 14 on the topic of ‘How to dominate online in a new age of influence’. For more information and to book tickets visit eliteagent.com/ win2018.

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Samantha McLean

Samantha McLean is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Elite Agent and Host of the Elevate Podcast.