If you’re passionate about helping others, there’s a good chance your profession is based on two essential human skills that have built fortunes and improved lives for thousands of years:
- Listening and observing until you understand another person’s fears, problems, dreams, and potential
- Applying your knowledge and talent to allay their fears, solve their problems, help them fulfill their dreams and guide them to realize their potential
These two activities are essential for a fulfilling life, but let’s talk about doing them for a living. These two skills are practically the job description for REALTORS®, coaches, marketers, sales professionals, and most entrepreneurs.
If this is you, there’s a reason to be afraid right now.
“Entirely obliterate the middleman”
According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), 84% of new home buyers will spend weeks looking at homes online before they even think of talking to an agent.
An agent’s local expertise, understanding of the market, and instincts honed by multiple transactions are perceived as less valuable than a digital portal. One of my clients, a REALTOR in California, is convinced that websites such as Zillow and Redfin are going to replace most brokerages in the near future.
Ten years from now, if you don’t already know someone who is an agent, you’ll end up with a random person who paid for leads and was selected by the algorithm. If you’re an agent, you’ll have to pay to play, accept a smaller commission, and give up a healthy chunk of that commission to the web portal you’re representing.
There’s a way out of this mess, but it’s not through denial. If you don’t think this scenario is possible, try to find anyone under 30 who knows what a travel agent used to do.
Web portals, virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) are triggering disintermediation in real estate, the insurance industry, and retail. Any industry where the two essential human skills are employed could be disrupted by the next app, portal, or technology.
In a recent article about the future of real estate, Peter Diamandis said, “VR tours and AI agents are absorbing both sides of the coin to entirely obliterate the middleman.”
The word OBLITERATE leaves no room for ambiguity.
The other word, “middleman” (woman, person, etc.) includes almost anyone who uses the two essential skills for a living. These are the people who work in the middle zone between a client and the product they want.
“Middleman” is also a close translation of a popular French word: Entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs are facing OBLITERATION. But there’s a simple solution.
The Survivors of Obliteration
Travel agents aren’t completely gone. There are still boutique, bespoke travel agents who are passionate and skilled at creating personalized, high-end experiences for their clients.
Obliteration is coming in a hundred different ways, but only for the standardized, dispassionate, dial-it-in crowd. That’s not you.
Whatever industry you’re in, you can choose to create a personalized, high-end experience for your clients. You can do it in a way that can’t be reduced to an algorithm and can’t be imitated by anyone else.
You can market yourself as original, unique, and exceptional in your industry.
You may have to change the way you think about your business and your work. You’ll probably have to change the way you speak about your work. You’ll certainly have to do a few things in new and original ways.
Your Authentic Advantage
Come with me on an adventure, a quest to find and optimize your Authentic Advantage.
Your Authentic Advantage is the set of qualities and actions that set you apart in your industry. It’s an advantage because nobody else is doing it and the algorithms can’t imitate it. It’s authentic because it is fully aligned with your goals, your passion, and your deepest values.
Your Authentic Advantage is so important that I’m giving a free, interactive masterclass about it twice a week for the entire month of February. (Go to JacobBear.com/Masterclass to learn more)
If you’re not seeing the results you want, you probably haven’t made the full use of your Authentic Advantage. That’s not an option anymore.
If you don’t find a way to play to your greatest strengths, the Rise of the Machines will terminate you.
At the very least, you’ll have to work a lot harder to maintain the income you want. At worst, you’ll be cut off from the very people you want to serve.
But there’s a much brighter future for you and for anyone else who dares to put their heart and soul into their work. You’ve heard of the 80/20 rule, where 20% of your efforts produce 80% of your results. Let’s tap into that 20%.
One of my first clients was an aircraft mechanic with a creative idea. He wanted his customer’s planes to look good on the inside. He envisioned silk and leather seat covers, hand-stitched embroidery, and other luxurious features that were expensive to execute.
Since he had to compete on price, he never got to do the work he wanted.
I did some research, and borrowed ideas from Yacht Life and boat shows. Tom provided a flood of photos, and we produced a glossy full-color brochure that used language around luxury, craftmanship, and adventure. Within two weeks of sending out the brochure, Tom got a contract to refurbish the interior of a private jet.
Instead of a mere technician, Tom was now an artist. The budget for this new project was greater than any of the work he had done before by an order of magnitude.
Tom’s passion and creativity were his Authentic Advantage. Once he expressed this in his marketing, he was paid a lot more to do work that he loved.
Unleashing your Authentic Advantage is one of the most high-leverage activities you can do. It’s better than obliteration. And when you do it, you immediately set an example and inspire others to find their own Authentic Advantage.
Doug Floyd said, “You don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same note.”
Find a way to move in the world that is both unique and meaningful.