Advocacy at the South Bay Association of REALTORS®

2016 Election Commentary: What does it mean for REALTORS®?

There are surprises up and down the ballot, many of which will have a profound effect on the REALTOR® profession. The victory of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton should not have been a surprise at all – and that alone changes the public policy business.

Media analysts fell over themselves figuring out how almost every poll and data model was wildly wrong. An NBC news commentator said that “message was more powerful than a giant get out the vote operation.” Her campaign vastly outraised and outspent his, while his message cut through it all. In a an op-ed for grumpy Democrats in the Washington Post, Garrison Keillor said that “Nobody chanted ‘Stronger Together.’ It just doesn’t chant.”

While I don’t completely agree with this notion, it is instructive for how REALTORS® should approach messaging. A simple, memorable message that resonates with our audience is shorthand for what we stand for. Quick quiz: What is the fundamental REALTOR® message? Is it “the American Dream”? “Property rights”? “We hate point-of-sale”?

The answer is whatever resonates with people who are not REALTORS® – the public, your clients, the media, our friends, and our opponents. I’ve been obsessing over this topic for months and I feel that we as a REALTOR® profession should use this opportunity to better know whether our message resonates with the public. We won’t find out by just talking to each other in quarterly industry meetings.

The Democrats, having expected a shiny victory, instead got rewarded with at least two years in the wilderness. REALTORS® nationwide had a much better night, however just like the Democrats, we should not miss the opportunity to understand our audience.