Open the contact list on your phone. Start scrolling. When was the last time you contacted those folks?
If you’re an active real estate agent, you know the answer. Because your contact list is just one place where you’ll find your sphere of influence — the people who provide you with more than 60% of your business, according to data in the NAR 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.
“My Sphere of Influence database (and especially my past client database) is precious to me,” said Jennifer Allen, in her article for salesgravy.com. “Every name on there has the potential to bring thousands of dollars to my business and deserves my respect and attention.”
As critical as these people are, they need your attention. They need gentle reminders of who you are and what you can do. Or, as the term goes, they need “touches.”
Face your fear of touching your sphere of influence
Real estate coaches routinely encourage their clients to nurture their sphere of influence, with some prescribing a certain number of touches per day, per week and per month. As coach Tom Ferry recommends, “In a perfect situation you will be reaching out to your database 24-36 times a year, posting on social, sending direct mail and making phone calls.”
But interestingly enough, the very idea of reaching out makes many an agent downright nervous. But why?
“We feel like we are imposing on them or wasting their time, but that is the wrong way to think. Successful sales people are givers. We are not imposing, we are giving them information.” says Mike Blaney in his article for rew.ca.
The desire to protect your network is a sign that you value the people you know and don’t want to abuse the relationships you’ve nurtured. But you can reach out to them in gentle, more passive ways that keep you top of mind and remind them of your service.
You have to give to get
Giving to the people in your sphere is the key to being valuable. And the least expensive thing to give is information. Some kinds of information can include:
- Local housing market information
- Event calendars
- Money saving tips
- Seasonal home maintenance guides
- Service provider recommendations
Mix your methods
You can’t spend all day making phone calls to your sphere of influence — you have a real estate business to run! Instead, mix up your methods of reaching out. Emails, postcards, phone calls and digital advertising for real estate are different ways of ‘touching’ the people you know. Phone calls and pop-bys might be considered “intrusive,” while digital ads and emails are more “passive” ways of staying in touch with your sphere.
No one is waiting for your phone call, points out luxury real estate expert Jack Cotton. You have to be pro-active in reaching out. Your sphere wants to hear from you, so be consistent, be valuable and be successful!
How do top agents define their sphere?
When real estate agents first go into business, they are told to start with the people they know. They start with their friends, their family, their neighbors and even former coworkers. New agents are building a brand while building a business, and it’s easier to start with people with whom they have relationships: their network. This is also known as a real estate agent’s sphere of influence.
For newly licensed agents, your sphere might be all you have. But as you become a more experienced agent, and your sphere expands accordingly, it will continue to play a critical role.
We spoke with leading agents from all over the country about their sphere — how they define it, who they consider part of it, and how they nurture those relationships.
What’s really fascinating? No two agents’ answer was the same! But they did all agree that their sphere was important.
Watch the video and see how leading real estate agents define their sphere.
Mark Spain of Mark Spain Real Estate says, “I identify my sphere of influence with people that I come in regular contact with, such as family, friends.” And Nikki Beauchamp of Engels and Volkers says, “There are various layers to my sphere of influence, everything from my immediate social circle, people that I went to school with.”
Agent Alison Domnas of RED Collective lists her sphere as, “People from college. People from law school. People who have known me since I was a little kid. Even my sixth-grade teacher sent me her son.”
And UNIT Realty’s Joe Schutt says, “I define my sphere of influence in a lot of different ways because there are multiple spheres of influence out there. There’s not just one.” And many more top thinkers share their own definitions.
So how do you define your sphere? How do you nurture it?