As a real estate agent, your main objective is to help people fulfill their dreams by helping them find the right home for their needs. While having a strong knowledge of the real estate marketing and transaction process is important, lead generation is key to finding success as a real estate agent.
The REALTORs with the greatest results tend to have the largest Spheres of Influence. After all, purchasing a home is a large investment, and both buyers and sellers want to work with someone they know and trust.
Thus, it pays to have an extensive social and professional circle, and that is only possible with a robust sphere of influence (SOI).
To help you succeed, this extensive guide will give you a comprehensive rundown of what a Sphere of influence is, the crucial role it plays in a real estate agent’s success, and how to effectively expand your Sphere of Influence to reach a broader range of clients.
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What Is a Sphere of Influence in Real Estate?
When most professionals think of their Sphere of Influence, they usually narrow it to the leads you generate and potential prospects. In real estate, your Sphere of Influence includes everyone you know both personally and professionally.
A summary of this list includes:
- Close friends and relatives
- People you stay connected with on social media
- Former co-workers
- Clients met from past work experience.
- Vendors (great for referrals)
- If you coach youth sports, the parents of the kids on your team.
- Parents of kids in your child’s class
- Aquaintences in social groups
- Your spouse’s friends, relatives, etc.
A larger sphere of influence means that a broader range of friends, acquaintances, and professional contacts will think of you when it is time to buy or sell a property.
If a buyer or seller isn’t acquainted with a real estate agent before they enter the market, they will more than likely choose a real estate agent they know and trust. And, if that same buyer or seller happens to be a within your sphere of influence, then they’ll reach out to you before contacting anyone else.
Growing Your Sphere of Influence in Real Estate
The next step is growing your Sphere of Influence. Expanding your sphere of influence as a real estate agent is very similar to how you would network professionally and expand your social circle in other contexts. To grow your sphere of influence, you need to meet people, develop connections, and work to maintain existing relationships. The following sections outline the most effective ways to expand and maintain your Sphere of Influence so that you can meet more clients and succeed as a REALTOR.
Building your Sphere of Influence via Referrals
Most people have large social circles, and your past clients are no exception. If you’ve done an outstanding job, then past clients are naturally more likely to recommend you to friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and family members. Thus, you must make sure to put forward your best effort with every client.
Even when you’re dealing with a less lucrative property, it still pays to give each client the greatest service possible. Not only is it the right thing to do, but if a client remembers that you went the extra mile for them, then they’ll be much more likely to recommend you to others in the future.
Referrals work the other way, too. Real estate agents who close several transactions per month will run into a series of challenges throughout the process. As a result, they will usually obtain a variety of vendors in their Sphere of Influence, and when problems arise for people you know, you can provide them with the information of a quality professional that can help them.
Here’s an example: say one of your friends is having issues with their plumbing. This is their first home, and since plumbing service can get expensive, they want a professional that does good work, is reliable, and won’t gouge them. By referring the plumber you use for your client’s needs, you create a virtuous circle:
- Your friend will receive excellent service from a trusted vendor.
- Your plumbing vendor earns business without having to advertise to your friend.
- You earn trust from both your vendor and your friend as a connector.
Referrals from your SOI is one of the ultimate value propositions in real estate.
Building Your Sphere of Influence via Networking
Real estate sales is an extremely social business. Thus, you should attend as many social events in your area as possible. When you’re at an event, it’s important to be extroverted yet genuine; you must remember that you’re there to help people.
People know when you’re just talking to them for your own benefit, so don’t just look at potential clients in terms of what you can gain from them.
Instead, try to think of them as people whose lives you can improve in any way. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and relationships can’t be formed overnight. Thus, you should follow regular social etiquette and refrain from being pushy. If you meet someone at an event, then be sure to follow up with an email, message, or comment on social media telling them that you were happy to meet them.
You shouldn’t immediately look for an opportunity to give them a pitch or request a more detailed follow-up. You will see that person around, and the relationship will grow organically. Eventually, they will remember you as someone whom they can trust when they enter the market.
If you are invited to a client’s professional or social event, then you should make an effort to attend. Not only will it make that client happy, but you may also meet others at the event. It’s an easy way to have fun and meet interesting people while expanding your real estate sphere of influence.
Not everyone who visits an open house or receives an open house postcard will be serious about buying the house in question. However, if someone is at an open house, then that indicates that they have some interest in the real estate market. While they might not want to buy a home now, they may be residents in the area who may want to sell in the future. Thus, even if you don’t think that someone is a serious buyer at the moment, you should still do your best to leave a great impression so that they will remember you when they enter the market later.
Volunteer in the Community
Volunteering is one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to expand your real estate sphere of influence. Generally, most organizations want as many volunteers as possible. Therefore, the barrier to entry is very low, but you’ll likely be exposed to more new people than you would meet at most professional or social events. Consequently, volunteering in your community will help you meet a ton of potential clients while also boosting your image to the community as a whole. After all, people are much more likely to trust and remember someone who has shown an interest in their community’s wellbeing.
Real estate postcards are a great way to reach a wide range of potential clients within your community. You can include market updates on your postcards, and they’re an effective method to demonstrate proof of production to your Sphere of Influence. Or, if you want to send something fun and not related to real estate, a recipe postcard or coloring postcard can go a long way in staying in front of your SOI.
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These days, almost everybody is on at least one social media platform. With a social media account, you can engage with potential clients organically by leaving likes and comments on their posts. You should have accounts on the most popular platforms within your Sphere of Influence. Once you make an account, remember to include a few good pictures and regularly use and update it. Moreover, social media accounts are especially useful for regularly sharing hot listings and posting general information about your local market.
Nurture Your Sphere of Influence
The prospect of buying or selling property can seem very daunting. As a result, many potential clients may be on the fence. Thus, it pays to know everything about your local market and the general buying and selling process so that you can nudge potential clients in the right direction with solid facts and evidence. On top of that, when someone knows you, they are more likely to reach out whenever they have any questions about real estate. Thus, once you develop a social connection, it’s extremely important to keep that relationship alive.
Stay in Constant Contact
If you don’t work to maintain relationships, then they will eventually fade away. This is true in your social life, and it’s especially true in your professional life as a realtor. You’re likely not the only realtor in your area. Consequently, if you’re not the first person whom a potential buyer or seller thinks about, then there’s a good chance that they will work with someone else.
Once you’ve built relationships, you have to stay in touch so that they don’t fizzle out. That way, more people will contact you when they’re ready to buy or sell. Therefore, you should take advantage of some of the methods below to maintain constant contact with potential clients. Of course, when keeping in touch, remember not to take a one-size-fits-all approach. For example, methods that rely on internet access and digital devices won’t be effective with older people. Likewise, younger contacts may not even look at any letters or cards that arrive in the mail.
Email newsletters are among the most powerful ways to keep clients updated on new listings and general market trends. With a little know-how, you can use quality templates and send automated newsletters at regular intervals so that your contacts always know about the latest developments in the local real estate market. Newsletters should include links and pictures to increase engagement and drive interest.
Everyone has a mailbox, so you can easily send direct mail for real estate, which includes newsletters, brochures, and other promotional materials to clients. This method is especially effective when reaching out to older people or clients in more rural areas that lack high-speed internet access. When using direct mail, you want to be sure to properly scale your marketing.
If you send mail too frequently, then it may annoy recipients who aren’t in the market. Moreover, postage can be expensive, even in small quantities. Therefore, your marketing materials should try to include the most relevant information and mailed on a monthly schedule.
Don’t you love it when someone remembers your birthday? A simple birthday card can go a long way in showing people in your sphere of influence that you care. Depending on each recipient’s age and situation, you can send birthday cards via direct mail, email, or social media.
The United States has 12 official federal holidays, and most states have their own official holidays too. Moreover, there are several unofficial holidays across the world. Mailing holiday postcards provides you with countless touchpoint opportunities throughout the year with your Sphere of Influence.
Video messages can help you strongly connect with people in your sphere of influence. You can send video messages for birthdays, holidays, and a ton of other occasions. By sending a thoughtful video message, you can show your friends and potential clients how much you care, and it won’t cost you more than a couple of minutes of your time.
Strong Connections Are Key to Any Realtor’s Success
To succeed in realty, you need to have a lot of social connections, and those relationships can’t just be superficial. Quality and quantity are important, so you should work hard to expand your sphere of influence without neglecting the relationships that you’ve already developed. Therefore, you must remember to use the aforementioned methods to maintain meaningful relationships with the people in your real estate sphere of influence. Real estate isn’t always easy, but as long as you have strong social skills and are willing to put in the effort, your success as a real estate agent will know no bounds.
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