The real estate industry has seen massive changes in recent years. The internet and digitization of marketing materials have made it easier for agents to market themselves, but this also means that there is more competition than ever before for agents to gain prospects.
Agents looking to build their sphere of influence should work on building relationships with other businesses in the area, which will lead them to new clients that they would not otherwise have had access to.
What is an SOI?
A sphere of influence in real estate can be defined as a group of people that an agent can access, which they could potentially use to find clients. For instance, a dental office may have a sphere of influence consisting of each patient’s family and all the dentist’s friends.
An agent may have a sphere of influence consisting of everyone in their neighborhood, plus everyone that they’ve ever met.
The size of an agent’s sphere of influence depends on many factors, including the number of previous relationships they have had and how active they are social.
How Agents Build Their SOI
There are several ways that agents can build their sphere of influence, and every agent should be actively doing some of them. Discussed below are the most effective ways.
1. Start With Your Existing SOI
The fastest way to generate leads with your sphere of influence is to start with their existing contacts. An agent will have an SOI already if they’ve held onto any contact information for people that they’ve met.
However, old contacts are often hard to track down or may not be responsive once an agent tries to get in touch with them. Agents should make sure that they keep thorough notes of their contacts, including any contact information for clients, friends, and family.
Agents should also be sure to keep in touch with their SOI, even if it means just sending a holiday card or email each year.
2. Social Media
An agent’s sphere of influence will also include their social media connections. Agents can increase their sphere of influence online by connecting with friends, family, and former clients on social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.
They can also connect with new people interested in their line of work by joining forums dedicated to the real estate industry, where they will likely be able to find agents they want to build relationships with.
Building Your SOI
An agent’s sphere of influence is hugely important to their business and will only become more important in the future.
Agents should be building their SOI in various ways, though most importantly, by keeping their existing contacts and building new ones.
Agents with large spheres of influence will be able to rely on their contacts to refer new clients and will be able to find new clients even if they aren’t actively looking. Here are ways to build your SOI:
1. Ask for Referrals
An agent’s sphere of influence will already include their existing SOI, but only if they ask those people for referrals. An agent should always be asking family members and friends for referrals, even if they don’t think that the people will be interested in their line of work.
Agents should also ask everyone they meet if they know anyone looking to buy or sell a home.
2. Post on Social Media to Grow Following
Although not every social media connection is an opportunity for growing your sphere of influence, many are. An agent will have more opportunities if they are active on social media.
They should be making regular posts that stimulate being shared, and they should reply to questions and comments from users daily.
3. Attend Various Networking Events
Attending networking events will help an agent meet people they would not be able to reach otherwise. An agent should find out what networking opportunities are available in their area and attend at least one event per month.
Attending networking events also makes an agent more likely to find new clients, as people who attend regularly tend to refer other attendees.
4. Drop Business Cards
An old-fashioned way of growing your sphere of influence is to drop business cards in high-traffic locations. For instance, an agent could leave their business card with the cashier at a local café or library or hand them out at their child’s school when talking to other parents.
By regularly placing their name and contact information in front of new people, agents build awareness of their names.
Keys to Consistently Staying in Contact with SOI
To keep their SOI strong, agents should always be doing one or more of the following:
1. Set a Schedule
A great way to stay in touch with your SOI is to set a contact schedule. Agents should be calling family and friends on birthdays or major holidays, and they should also be staying in touch with current clients throughout the year. They should also try contacting former clients every few months to see how things are going.
2. Use Technology That Allows Mass Texting and Email
Another way to stay in touch with an agent’s SOI is by using technology. Agents should look for a service that allows them to text or email several people at once through the click of one button, like Real Geeks.
This will make staying in touch with their sphere of influence fast and convenient. Technology also allows agents to schedule contacts with each person individually to set up a time to contact their entire SOI at once.
3. Send Emails or Postcards for Realtors Every Time You Gain or Close a Listing
Every time an agent gains or closes a listing, they should send emails to everyone in their sphere of influence. An email will help them remain in the minds of everyone they meet, and it will also give them a reason to contact people again in the future when they have more listings.
Postcards for realtors are the best option for a small business or average real estate agent. Here is why: they drive more traffic to your website and help establish you as a local expert. People prefer to work with experts in their neighborhood, especially if it means getting a better price or faster sales.
By following the above strategy, real estate agents will grow their sphere of influence and find more referrals. They should also keep in mind that while it is important to keep in touch with family and friends, they should not be overly aggressive or spam people with information or links to listings.
Agents should also avoid receiving complaints from their SOI or prospective clients about being seen as spam or an annoyance.
If you need to enlarge your sphere of influence, then follow these guidelines, and your sphere will be larger than expected by next year and for many years to come. Growing your circle starts with a plan and is achieved through effort and persistence.