Across industries, professionals’ Sphere of Influence (SOI) is made up of people over whom they have some influence. This can and does include coworkers, colleagues, and business associates, but it also includes friends, family members, and community members. In general, SOI spans all the people with whom we interact regularly, and who, more often than not, have a good understanding of our value.
As real estate agents, understanding the definition, value, and methods of optimizing your SOI is crucial to the success of your business. Beyond networking and marketing, leveraging your SOI means cultivating strong personal relationships that transcend the business setting. Here, we’ve assembled five ways to make sure that getting the most out of your SOI.
1. Begin with Your Current Network
The seeds of a healthy SOI start closest to home, with your friends, family, coworkers, and community acquaintances. Whether or not you’ve thought of these people as “SOI members” before, they are the people who can help you expand your influence.
What this doesn’t mean is calling close friends and family and trying to sell them new properties right away. As we’ve said, and will continue to reiterate, having a healthy SOI means developing strong relationships. Instead of going into sales mode, treat this as an opportunity to reconnect with old friends, classmates, and coworkers. Set up calls to learn about them — how they’re doing, what line of work they’re in, and, when appropriate, what their real estate needs may be. There will be natural chances for you to explain your professional circumstances, and you’ll be able to do it in a way that doesn’t feel sales-y.
Being top-of-mind and well-thought-of among the people closest to you means that, regardless of whether they’re looking to buy or sell, they will be that much more likely to connect you to people who have immediate needs.
2. Stay Organized
Once you’ve done a little contact list reconnaissance, sort your contacts into various categories, or tags. Create lists based on the nature of your relationships — work contacts, family contacts, friend contacts, community acquaintance contacts, and whatever else you can imagine. Create lists based on current/future real estate needs — whether they’re likely to buy or sell in the near term or long term. Your contact list tags will change or you might add additional tags as you find out more information on where your contacts want to buy (area), what price point, school district, condo or house, are they an investor and more.
Based on these lists, you can begin to determine how best to stay in touch with different contacts. If you know a friend is looking to buy, consider sending them listings every so often to aid them in that process. Keep notes on each person, too — children’s names, personal hobbies, interesting facts — so that each relationship is personalized and valuable. Add birthdays and other special occasions to their profile so you have reasons to reach out and create additional touchpoints.
3. Join Communities — Online and In-Person
Attending community events is an excellent way to forge new contacts. Invest time and energy in your community, through things like volunteering, joining school boards, and patronizing local businesses. By showing up, and presenting your best self, you establish connections that, in the future, could turn into business relationships.
Online communities are just as valuable as in-person communities. Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter have made it extremely easy to meet new people via newsfeeds and friends’ contact lists. Through posting and commenting on social media, you can put your best foot forward in front of friends and strangers alike. Like something a second-degree connection posts? Comment on it, and start a conversation. Who knows where it could lead? Don’t forget to use hashtags in your posts and stay consistent.
4. Keep in Touch
Once you’ve got a good sense of who you know and what categories they fall into, you’ll be able to determine how best to stay in touch with them. Postcards are a classic real estate agent marketing method, but also consider email marketing, as well as something as simple as text messages every once in a while.
Be sure to schedule messages at proper intervals — too much frequency will irritate people, and too little frequency won’t have any impact. Think about what’s reasonable, given the nature of your relationships, and design a communication model that you can adjust over time. Sending out appropriate, valuable, personalized messages will keep you relevant in people’s minds.
5. Share Your Insights
Many real estate agents have blogs, where they share their insights on industry trends, prime areas, recent renovations, and more. Distributing well-thought-out and well-written information like this is a great way to ensure that your SOI understands that you’re an authoritative and educated voice in the real estate world.
Likewise, engaging in constructive discussions on social media is a great, free way to demonstrate your insight. As we said above, both friends and strangers will see what you write and will come to think of you as an engaged, responsible member of the real estate community.
At Del Rey Urban, we offer each of our agent’s weekly training sessions to help them grow and succeed as realtors in today’s market. Are you interested in joining a team with a proven track record of success? Visit our careers page today.