Did he say it’s okay that your prospects hate you?

Yeah I did but it’s not all of your prospects, just a third of them.

You see, it’s really hard to please everybody. In fact, when you try to be liked by everyone, chances are you are playing it so safe that you are almost invisible. The automakers know this principle. They call it the Law of Thirds. They utilize this concept when they create new cars. They know that 1/3 of the people will love the new car, 1/3 of the people will hate it, and the remaining 1/3 will be indifferent. If automakers tried to make one car that appealed to everyone, we’d all be driving white or beige sedans.

When the Pontiac Aztek was released, some people would have told you it was the ugliest car they had ever seen. I, on the other hand, liked the tent attachment, and I thought it had a bold new look. Still, if you asked others, they wouldn’t know what car you were talking about.

The career of Howard Stern is another perfect example. For years he toiled on small radio stations, trying to be what people wanted him to be. One day he finally decided to be himself. He was told that he had to play music on air, so he played no music. They said don’t talk about personal things on air, and he talked of nothing but personal things. He went against the grain and became very controversial. If you loved him, you’d listen to him for an hour; and if you hated him, you’d listen to him even longer! He finally decided to stand for something, and along the way he polarized his audience, magnetically attracting fans while repelling his critics.

Politicians are in the same boat. By saying you are for a certain issue, you are automatically against another issue. Politicians must pick a side and be decisive in order to be perceived as strong leaders. Politicians know that they need to win all the votes they can and turn their back on the votes that they have little chance of getting. To stand out to people, you must commit to a stance and own a position in your prospect’s mind.

So what does this mean for your trade show exhibiting? It means you can afford to take chances. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope and take your concept or idea to the limit. Commit 100% to what you are doing, and you will be remembered. That is how you will become the talk of the trade show. When you pull your punches, you are apologizing for who your company is and what they do. Stand in your power and let them have it. Some booth visitors won’t like it, but others will eat it up, ask for more, and become customers.

If the Law of Thirds holds up, 1/3 of you will be indifferent to this post, 1/3 of you will hate it, and the remaining 1/3will love it. What are your thoughts and feelings on this principle? I expect to hear from at least 2/3 of you!