When most real estate agents get started in the industry, generating leads is the most important aspect of finding success. Whole Management Team says that instead of spending thousands of dollars on various marketing techniques, it’s often wise to focus on generating leads through your SOI, or Sphere of Influence.
Live Enhanced explores some ideas that will delve into what an SOI is, how to grow it, and how it can help you become a successful Realtor.
What is a Sphere of Influence?
In real estate, a sphere of influence is a group of people you know very well and trust.
It can be a wide or a small circle, depending on the depth of your relationships. As a real estate agent, it is essential to have a large sphere of influence – which means having many people who will recommend your services to others. The question then becomes, how do you go about doing that?
There are three categories of relationships that you need to build your SOI:
- People who know you well enough to recommend your services (family, friends, acquaintances).
- Professionals who know about the real estate market and can refer you business (accountants, mortgage brokers, lawyers). Building a vendor referral network serves two purposes: it helps you build relationships with professionals whom you can refer business to, and grows your network in your local community.
- People who know how hard you work and won’t hesitate to refer your services (tradespeople, suppliers, etc.)
1) Begin with your existing SOI
Make a list of the people in your sphere of influence that know you well enough to recommend you. They could be friends from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, neighbors, family members, or people you went to school with.
Look at the relationships in your list and determine which of these people are in a position to refer your business; for example, they know about the real estate market and specialize in referral marketing.
2) Building your SOI
Ask for referrals Post on Social Media to grow following
Use social media to your advantage. Post on Facebook or LinkedIn about the latest market news, post open houses in the area, and ask for referrals when appropriate. If someone asks you for a referral, then send an email than thank them for asking you. Keep in touch with people regularly, especially if you are not actively working with them.
The key is to often ask for referrals; don’t wait until they need a real estate agent. Send them tips on the market share of that new listing in their neighborhood.
Attend various networking events
By attending networking events, you increase your chances of building new relationships.
But don’t just sit there. Look around and figure out who the audience’s influential people are. If they are sitting at the head table, go up and introduce yourself.
If not, find a way to talk to them during networking breaks or end of the day before leaving.
If you are attending a networking event for the first time, look around and see who has the most people talking to them. Once you have figured that out, walk up to them and introduce yourself. Saying something like, ” Hi, I’m Rachel, I was looking around the room before the session started, and it looked like your table had the most people. Can you tell me a bit about your group?”.
Remember to be genuine, don’t just say it to get more business. By being personable and friendly, you will increase the chance of referring business to you down the road.
Also, have a brief one-sentence answer prepared for “What do you do?” For example: “I’m a real estate agent with a certain agency.” Your response should be quick and to the point. Remember, you are trying to build relationships, not get leads.
Start sending postcards to people in your neighborhood
Mail personalized postcards to your SOI monthly with information about recent market changes, new listings, and market reports.
Find a local postcard printing company that prints out postcards for realtors. This is an excellent way to keep your name in front of your potential customers. You can also use this as a trial run with people you aren’t actively working with. If they like the updates, you know they are open to receiving more information.
Postcards for realtors can take several forms. You can create your information postcards about the latest market changes, new listings in the neighborhood, reports on different segments like luxury homes or first-time buyers.
If you don’t want to spend money creating postcards, then take an online lead generation course and learn how to automate the process of filling a postcard with a home valuation request.
Best Practices for Staying in Contact with your Network
Set a schedule for sending out information or requests for referrals.
Setting a schedule from the beginning is very important for staying in contact with your sphere of influence. Decide how often you will be sending out information and postcards weekly.
If you decide to send out an updated market report or new listings, then make sure that you consider how long it takes for a recipient to open the email and read the information. If you send something out daily or at least every other day, then you will most likely notice that your open rates are higher than they would be if you sent out weekly updates.
Use technology that allows mass texting and emailing
Use technology to automate most of your tasks. The more automated the process is, the less time you need to send information or ask for referrals.
Automating most if not all of your tasks allows you to be more efficient with your time, which will enable you to focus on expanding your sphere of influence.
Real Geeks is an excellent example of an automated lead generation site with landing pages, postcards, and email campaigns.
Automated technology is the key to increasing response rates and getting more referrals with less time invested in networking events.
Every time you acquire or close a listing, send emails and postcards to your SOI
Whenever you get a listing, make sure you send an email to your sphere of influence, including information about the listing and realtors who referred it to you. Emails with new listings should be sent out weekly, monthly, or whenever your marketing plan allows.
By sending out an email with information about the listing and realtors who referred it to you, you will raise awareness that your company is one of the highest-producing companies in town.
Remember that referrals start as quickly as they stop, so try to stay in contact with your SOI as much as possible after closing a listing.
Write an article for your local newspaper.
Writing articles about the current market conditions is a great way to stay in touch with your sphere of influence. If you write an article that gets published, then make sure that you send it out to all of your contacts with the information about its publication.
Article marketing is a great way to stay in touch with your sphere of influence, but it can also drive new clients and referrals for your business.
Include your contact information on all of your listings
The most essential part of staying in touch with your sphere of influence is ensuring that everyone who needs to get in touch with you knows how to do so. Your clients need to know how to refer you to send out new business and referrals for you.
You ensure that your clients will find you and refer your company to others by including personal contact information.
In conclusion, these are just some of the ways you can stay in touch with your sphere of influence. If you don’t receive Realtors’ requests, consider hosting a referral party or meeting to review processes that help generate results. Remember that staying active and visible within your market is key to growing your real estate business. The best way to get referrals is through a consistent lead generation program.