Most successful, prospecting-driven real estate agents know the importance of building and maintaining their sphere of influence (SOI). While your SOI may not represent the same level of immediacy or urgency as expired listings or even FSBOs, it does represent a solid foundation for future revenue opportunities.
In the broadest sense, your SOI is comprised of nearly everyone who knows, likes and trusts you. These are people with whom you have some level of rapport, such as:
Your SOI is essentially anybody with whom you have built some of rapport over the years, including, but not limited to:
- Friends and business colleagues
- Family members, either your own extended family or a spouse’s family
- Neighbors, and possibly their friends
- People you’ve come to know through your daily activities, such as health club workers, church acquaintances or colleagues from civic organizations.
- Accountants, doctors, dentists or other professionals in your life
And, of course, your SOI also includes former clients with whom you’ve had a working relationship, either as a buyer or seller agent.
Every person in your VULCAN 7, SOI database has their own network of friends and acquaintances, meaning you have exponential opportunities for referrals, because nearly everyone knows someone who needs a real estate agent at one time or another. Some top agents estimate that as much as 50% of their revenue comes through SOI referrals or recommendations in a given year.
The thing to remember about an SOI, however, is that it’s not just about the numbers. You can add countless names to your SOI database. But it’s how you are able to nurture those contacts that will determine your success in generating revenue from your sphere in the long run. To that end, it helps to spend some of your prospecting time each day in the service of SOI outreach. You are not selling, but simply making contact, keeping your name top of mind for when someone you know needs an agent for themselves or someone in their network of friends and family members.
There are myriad approaches to SOI outreach, but here are a few considered to be the most effective:
- One-on-one meetings can be effective, such as lunch or a morning coffee, especially if it’s someone with whom you’ve build a solid relationship.
- Client appreciation events, such as a Kentucky Derby party on the outside patio of a local tavern/restaurant.
- Send an early spring email in March with your personal recommendations for landscapers or suggestions where someone can get the best deals on plants for the new season.
- Fundraising or charitable events represent an opportunity to reach out to your SOI, either to seek donation, or, better yet, to ask if someone can volunteer their time.
While nurturing your current SOI database is important, always work on expanding your contacts, through any combination of the following:
- If you’re out shopping or at your kids’ sporting events, wear something that includes your company/business brand logo.
- Be active and engage on social media, with comments, likes and shares.
- Get out of your comfort zone and strike up conversations with people, in line at the grocery store, at the health club…wherever the opportunity presents itself for some one-on-one chat.
- Don’t miss an opportunity to hand out your business cards, such as leaving a card when you pay their check at a restaurant.
- Be an active, engaged member of your community.
What are you doing to build and nurture your sphere of influence?