A summary of the best selling book The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell, with the real estate business in mind.

I continue to look for ways to give more value to our clients. This books provides valuable techniques and ideas to improve your communication and sales skills and I felt compelled to share them.

“The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behaviour crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”

Let’s take a snap shot of Malcom Gladwell’s ideas and apply them to the business of real estate:

  1. Law of the Few

Firstly, Malcolm Gladwell explores the people who can spread a message quickly and extensively. Do you think you are one of these ‘few’? Which one do you think you are?

  • Connectors,these are the people who know a lot of people, they make friends easily and they have a lot of connections. They don’t mind ringing their acquaintances and asking questions or asking for business. They connect people together, people ring them for assistance and they enjoy helping. They often know who to speak to in any given field to get the message they need to spread like ‘wildfire’.
  • Mavens, these are people who are specialists in their field of expertise, they have a deep understanding of their field and continuously strive to increase their learning in that field. People rely on their knowledge and experience; they can grow a brand exponentially or break it. It is also noted that without Mavens, Connectors and Salespeople would not have a message to be able to spread.

Malcolm Gladwell explores the notion of car mavens and the luxury brand, Lexus. Car mavens are the ones who will buy a new luxury model of car, so when Lexus first rolled out their flagship their first customers were most likely Mavens. Lexus wanted to be known as the top car brand for reliability and quality workmanship, so when they needed to recall their flagship in the first 6 months, they did so carefully so as to not tarnish their reputation. They ensured that every car that was returned to the workshop was cleaned and the tank filled up with fuel. If a customer didn’t live within a 50 miles of a garage they would send a mechanic to that customer’s house. This unfortunate recall could have sent tongues wagging for negative reasons, instead Lexus became known as the brand with the best customer service. Malcolm Gladwell suggests that car mavens were responsible for helping to spread that message.

  • Salespeople, have you ever bought something you didn’t need? You probably bought it from a salesperson, they use their knowledge to engage and persuade people to think their way. They are great storytellers, they are engaging, they have a keen knowledge of their product and they like making friends.

Not everyone is a “Law of the Few”. For those who are naturally Connectors, Mavens or Salespeople you are more dominant in one of these skills. You probably know which one you are, or know someone who is inherently one of the above. Canford are naturally dominant Connectors due to our networks. Of course we can certainly harness the skillsets of all 3 when we need to!

When selling property, I think it’s important to have an understanding of Connectors, Mavens and Salespeople to understand how we can spread a message to increase exposure to potential buyers and sellers. Agents are brokers, we play matchmaker, therefore we need to connect with as many people as possible. We need to be specialists in marketing property, the art of negotiation and persuasion. Our clients rely on us for specialised knowledge and sound advice. We need to be able to engage and inspire others to think our way, sell the dream, the lifestyle and the investment opportunity.

  1. Stickiness factor

The stickiness factor is how effective an idea or a product’s marketing is to stick in someone’s mind. It is often in the subconscious mind that the stickiness factor has the most impact. We take in so much information and advertising every day, for real estate sales, buyers see so many properties for sale, so how do you make yourself or your property more memorable?

Making the marketing of both the property and of yourself standout is one way to attract more business and make that buyer remember the property above all others in the competitive marketplace.

Video is one way we as agents are elevating a property’s status. Video is stimulating of 2 prominent senses, sight and sound, which then impacts on our emotions.

Large advertisements in print media, finding a twist in the visuals or message can make the ad stand out. It’s the perception that, if your property is prominently marketed then you have a much better chance of sticking in buyer’s mind and them taking action.

  1. Theory of context

“The key to getting people to change their behaviour lies with the smallest details of their immediate situation. The Power of Context says that human beings are a lot more sensitive to their environment than they may seem.”

Malcolm Gladwell explores the example of a suburb in New York with a high crime rate. The police were insistent that increasing the police presence in the area would reduce the crime. But the mayor disagreed and said that they should fix up all the broken windows and clean up the streets. He argued that the untidy suburb was sending out signals that there was a lack or law and order. He challenged that if the buildings were dishevelled, then it gave people the impression the area was unruly and the bad behaviour was a reflection of the environment. This new idea had a dubious reception, however, once the buildings were tidied up and the windows were fixed the crime rate dramatically dropped.

This theory of context can be applied to selling a property. First of all, have the property tidy and uncluttered, then make your marketing bold and beautiful. Advertise across many platforms, attract as many people as you can to your open homes and auctions as this creates the impression the property is really popular. You can change people’s behaviour by appealing to their emotions. Well presented homes will make people feel as though the house has been well maintained. And as humans we naturally want what other people want, so they think that if they like the property then they think other people like it too, increasing the chance of high prices and a shorter selling time frame.


If you’re looking for a book recommendation, The Tipping Point is worth your attention. It offers practical and inspiring ideas that you can apply to numerous areas of marketing and business. The ideas can help you grow your brand, increase your exposure, make your property standout and create the perception your property is the one that buyers don’t want to miss out on.

Written by Laura Langford, 2018
0449 993 114