A real estate agent must diversify their lead generation strategy with multiple sources to maximize their reach. While you might immediately decide on spending money on social media paid ad campaigns or writing a new article for your agent website, one of the best ways to get leads for your business is to go back to your roots and connect with the people in your sphere of influence.
A real estate sphere of influence is a strategy that focuses on getting business from the people you know. As a real estate agent, maintaining a healthy sphere and leveraging your network is the best way to get leads and commissions. It requires establishing your brand by keeping your business at the forefront.
Understanding how to generate real estate leads from your real estate sphere of influence is crucial if you want to hit and go beyond your real estate business goals consistently. Read on to learn more about the first steps you can take to tap into your network and establish your own sphere of influence to generate a pipeline of prospective leads.
A sphere of influence is an approach where you influence some people or a group because they know who you are. If you believe that your sphere of influence or SOI is weak or you think you do not have an SOI whatsoever, take a moment to step back and assess your network. If you have ever interacted with another person, you have a sphere of influence!
It is often terrifying for both new and experienced real estate agents to reach out to their network and pitch their business. This is because we probably have all experienced a super tacky or scripted sales pitch that always seems to happen during the most inopportune times. Nobody wants to have a bad reputation or be labeled as an annoyance.
Additionally, listing your personal relationships and loved ones into a customer relationship management database or a spreadsheet sounds immoral, as it can feel like you are leveraging your relationship to make a sale.
But influencing your sphere and using referral marketing tactics is not about selling. It is about providing the people you know with valuable information about who you are and what you do.
You need to own your role as a real estate agent. Growing and strengthening an SOI is important for agents because the real estate business thrives with repeat and referral business.
Your goal is ultimately to make everyone in your network know that you are the go-to real estate agent. Once you are successful in nurturing your sphere, you will get referrals and leads from people in your network.
According to the National Association of Realtors, approximately 39% of sellers who used a real estate agent to sell their home found their agents through a referral from family or friends. From these home sellers, 27% used an agent they worked with previously to sell or buy a home.
Not tapping into your network means that you are walking away from a potential source of income. But most of all, it means that you can be there to help your network when they are ready to go through the process you are intimately familiar with. You are offering a valuable service, but need to make them aware of your skills and experience.
While you can use social media and technology to enhance and expand your sphere of influence, getting business outside your sphere of influence can become costly and time-consuming. You can spend that time strengthening and building up your sphere of influence instead and become a leader of a community.
Connecting with the people you know is especially important during unprecedented and difficult times, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. Life goes on- people are still moving in and out of homes, and others see this economy as an opportunity to buy tangible real estate.
So it is important to let others know that you are here to assist them with whatever they need and provide your network with valuable information on the local market.
Reviewing Your Smartphone
Contacting your friends or acquaintances with a scripted sales pitch is one way to get a bad rep. At the end of the day, you are connecting with people and establishing new or stronger relationships.
Be authentic in how you approach yourself and how you approach others. Give you full respect and attention to every person you contact, as you never know, your next lead could come from your childhood babysitter.
When reviewing your contacts on your smartphone, try to reach out in the same way you normally do. For instance, it would feel a bit awkward if you reach out via a phone call to someone when you usually only text. Acting out of the ordinary can make people raise their defenses.
But rather than pitching a script, make an effort to touch base and discuss their lives. People love talking about themselves, and it is easier to make a connection if you discuss mutual memories and experiences with the person. Then make a natural segway about what you are doing now, and that you would appreciate any referrals.
Especially during this pandemic, it is time to check in with people and see how they are and what they are up to. Showing that you genuinely care about the other person’s wellbeing goes a long way. Be clear in that you are not trying to push your own agenda but rather taking a stance to see if you can contribute or help, especially in these difficult times.
Social Media Connections
Embrace social media to diversify how you are contacting your sphere of influence. Depending on the size of your audience, your single comment can have hundreds to thousands of views on it immediately. Even the use of a relevant hashtag can raise impressions dramatically. This expands your reach exponentially.
However, it can sometimes feel that your posts are being blasted off into the abyss of the internet. Try reaching out to the audience you already have online, your friends and family connected with you.
You can use Facebook to reach out to your network as you already have a sphere of influence online through your Facebook friends. Updating your Facebook by posting status updates or photos in a way to stay relevant in their minds. The people that are connected to you want to hear from you.
Since the algorithms on these social network websites value engagement, it does not only mean that you should be using it as a platform to talk only about yourself.
It is a social network, so be social! Comment and respond to other people’s photos and life updates. You are putting in the effort to nurture relationships with people and, in doing so, can help you get more visibility on Facebook’s newsfeed.
Facebook has a great system that provides notifications to their network for any important announcements such as birthdays or special events. You can capitalize on these notifications and use them as a way to touch base with your sphere consistently. A simple mention of congratulations or saying happy birthday is always appreciated, timely, and non-intrusive.
While many real estate agents post about their business on their professional profile, this goes against Facebook’s Terms of Service. You might have a large friendship network and have built up an audience there, which is tempting to leverage.
But in doing so, you could get your personal account closed down. Instead, create a Facebook Business Page to promote your real estate business. Facebook Pages are designed for organizations and businesses that help you connect with your clients to hit your goals.
Whether you have a smaller audience following your Facebook Business Page or an audience of zero, you can still leverage your Facebook network. When creating a Facebook Business Page, you can like it with your personal Facebook profile.
Then, when you set up Facebook Ad campaigns, set the target as “the people who like the Facebook Business Page and their friends.” Ad campaigns cost money, but it is a way to target your Facebook Friends with advertisements to keep your business in everyone’s mind. This way, you can still reach your sphere of influence and generate leads on your own while abiding by Facebook’s Terms of Service.
Beyond Facebook, another great social network is LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn profile is a great way to position yourself as a professional and an expert in real estate.
You can participate in various business discussions, join online groups of similar-minded people, and link your agent website or real estate blog. Participating in one of the professional social media networks is crucial in building a list of business contacts and establishing your brand as a real estate expert.
While you can easily connect with all your contacts by importing their contact details from your cell phone or email, you can also improve your visibility on LinkedIn by optimizing your profile. It will make it easier for people to find you online.
Your introduction card is the top section of your LinkedIn profile and is the very first part people see when they click on your profile. The best way to utilize this section is to describe and showcase the things you want people to know.
By adding a LinkedIn headline and optimizing keywords, you increase the chance of showing up in LinkedIn search results. Your goal is to get prospects to click on your profile to learn more about you and your real estate business.
Having a professional photo and profile is crucial in making a great first impression on your prospects. They convey a message to the people that land on your LinkedIn profile, so be professionally dressed and invest in a professional portrait photographer.
While having a well-written introduction card and biography can help your LinkedIn profile be found in search results, another way to increase visibility on the social network is to post LinkedIn Publisher articles and status updates. The more your network engages with your profile, the more likely your second-degree connections will be able to see your content as well.
This increases your reach from beyond your initial sphere, exponentially expanding your influence. Posting Publisher articles comes from a place of contribution as you are giving your LinkedIn network valuable information while conveying that you know your stuff.
Similar to Facebook, engage consistently with your LinkedIn network. LinkedIn also has a great notification system where you can congratulate someone when they move to another job or are celebrating their work anniversary. This makes it easy to touch base with them and nurture a relationship.
The larger your LinkedIn network, the more opportunities will surface to turn prospects into clients. LinkedIn allows you to access a feature to see who has viewed your profile, making it easier for you to follow up with interested prospects.
However, LinkedIn is unique because people can only find you if you share a group with them, have your specific contact details, or if they are considered a first, second, or third-degree connection.
To expand your sphere of influence on LinkedIn, find and join LinkedIn groups. Rather than joining real estate specific groups, look into groups that your clients belong to. Look through your prospect and past client’s LinkedIn groups and see what they are members of.
Sometimes those groups are ideal for you to join. You can also join groups in specific regions or cities. The larger the group, the more prospects you have, and the more your network expands.
Yellow Pages Exercise
A great real estate agent is often involved in their local community and acts as a connector. You can do a yellow pages exercise and contact these local businesses such as accountants or estate planners and ask if they are taking on new clients.
When these local businesses say yes, you can pitch hosting a community event that combines spheres of influences to expand your reach.
If your client was moving to your area and asked for a list of referrals for local businesses, you should have some information available as an expert in the area.
Your Neighborhood and Community
If you live somewhere, you are part of the local community. Explore your community in depth and any personal groups that you are a part of. Tap into any religious organizations or volunteer organizations that are serving your local community.
If you have children, consider taking part in any PTA or school committee meetings. Don’t let your neighbors continue to be nameless strangers. Hold yard sales or BBQs where you can touch base and connect with them.
Being an active part of your community or taking on a leadership role will make you and your business recognizable.
The Goal of Emotional Proximity
Ask yourself these two following questions every day:
- Who new? Who are you going to meet or connect with today?
- Who Knew? Who knows that you are still in real estate?
If you meet someone and add them as a priority prospect to your sphere of influence list, you might want to touch base or reach out up to fifty times a year. It is easy to neglect reaching out to people you already know, especially if you do not have any communication processes in place.
For instance, it could mean that you are blasting out a helpful email newsletter or posting a self-recorded video about a real estate tip to your social media account. You could tie in holidays and send out postcard mailers to everyone that you know, wishing them well.
You could take a step further and send clients or important contacts with an unexpected gift or hold a client appreciation party or event to let them know that you appreciate their business.
It is important to re-engage and strengthen relationships. Contacting people on a regular basis does not need to be tedious or complicated. All you need is consistency. With every touchpoint and connection, ask them who they know that you should know.
It might be helpful to come up with a communications calendar planning each month or even the entire year. That way, you can consistently send out any communications material.
For social media, there are a lot of social media posting and scheduling tools that you can use to operate your accounts efficiently. By creating content in advance and scheduling for a specific day, you can ensure that posts are being pushed out at a steady pace.
Some of the best social media scheduling tools on the market are Buffer and Sprout Social, but you can always try out the multitude of other programs that are available and see what fits your needs.
A sphere of influence is an ongoing process that grows and evolves. While reaching out is the first step, nurture relationships by consistently keeping in touch. It is crucial to utilize all the available communications tools at your fingertips, whether it is your phone or social media.
Staying on top of mind for your contacts will help you get those business referrals and generate business for your listings.