SOI (Sphere of Influence) is one of the most valuable real estate sales and marketing tools you can have in obtaining repeat and referral business. In fact, for many agents, referrals from past clients make up a great deal of their business and income.
Sphere of influence encompasses everyone you know and have some kind of impact on. The list includes relatives, friends, acquaintances, and people you know through other people, businesses, and groups. For most real estate agents, their circle of influence reaches out much farther than they realize. Here are four of the best ways you can add to your sphere of influence and business referrals.
- Focus on Contacts
In the real estate industry, it is essential to be in a constant state of closing a sale, if you want to be successful. The old adage is “always be closing.” This strategy is effective because it keeps you focused on closing transactions. However, it is also equally important to be continually making new contacts or connections.
Everywhere you go, you should focus on making new connections. The time and energy investment can pay off in a big way.
Numbers do not lie. If you have 100 people in your sphere of influence, and each one knows 50 people, you have 5,000 potential customers within your grasp.
- Write it Down
Unless you have a photographic memory (and few people do), you should immediately write down the names and contact info of everyone you meet. Do not hesitate, or you may forget and lose some lucrative business opportunities. Make notations like personal likes, family members, and where you met. Extra notes help you make a good impression the next time you talk.
Remembering someone’s name is an essential sales tool that many salespeople realize. When someone calls you by name (and pronounces it correctly), it makes a lasting impression. On the other hand, if you forget someone's name, you lower your chances of being involved in a deal with that person.
- Make Connecting a Habit
You should get into the habit of asking every client for referrals. You will not offend them, and they may throw a lot of potential business your way. To avoid any awkward situations, wait until you have closed the deal and are saying your goodbyes.
It is best to ask for referrals in person or over the phone. You can use email contact, but people are more likely to respond to direct contact. Once you form the habit of requesting referrals, it will become second nature, and trust me; it gets easier every time you do it.
- Do Not Forget Your SOI
When you have a garden, you must give it regular attention, or your plants will soon wither and die. The same is true with your sphere of influence. If you forget these people and do not keep in regular contact with them, they will soon forget you, and you may lose them (and a lot of business).
Put all the members of your SOI into your CRM (customer relationship management) program. Create a regular email newsletter and include everyone on the list. Call them every now and then and remind them of your services. Keep the communications personal and informative (and not just a sales pitch). When you keep in touch with your SOI members, you increase the odds of obtaining a sale or listing.
Summing it Up
You probably have more people in your sphere of influence than you realize. It is possible to build a list of hundreds of people within a relatively short time. Making contacts should always be uppermost in your mind as you go through your day. When you make new contacts, write down their information as soon as you can. Otherwise, you may forget some of their details. Stay in touch with everyone on your list by using a good CRM program, or they may soon forget about you and your real estate services.