Whether you’re a new or seasoned agent, your referral business is a crucial part of the job. However, you can only get referrals if you reach out to the people in your sphere of influence. That is, those within your sphere of influence need to know that you own a successful real estate business through routine communication. But first things first – you have to get your contacts in order and apply good practices for reaching out.
How Can Your Sphere of Influence Help You In Real Estate?
Your sphere of influence is a network of people you know on one level or another. Think of it like LinkedIn – you have first, second and third tier connections.
Your first tier connections are those you know personally, such as a spouse or family member. A second tier connection could be a colleague and a third tier connection might be a neighbor or acquaintance.
Why are these people important to your real estate business? Because they all offer some kind of opportunity related to real estate. Someone in your sphere of influence could be moving or know someone who is moving; your network therefore offers an infinite amount of referral business.
Most agents know how important their sphere of influence is, but few are using it to their full advantage.
Who’s In Your Sphere of Influence?
- Close family members
- Close friends
- Extended family
You should also consider your children’s teachers and your spouse’s friends.
How to Quickly Organize Your Sphere of Influence
The simplest way to get your contacts organized is to put them into a spreadsheet. Then you can start organizing by what level of connection they are to you: first, second or third.
It might be odd to assign a numerical value to these people in your life, but it’s just a method for understanding your influence on these individuals and how likely they are to refer you to others.
Include any and all contact info you have for each person in your sphere of influence. Scour Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Facebook, LinkedIn – anything you can think of to collect both email and postal addresses.
Click here for help pulling all your contacts together.
The Best Ways to Connect With Your Sphere of Influence
The initial outreach can be a bit daunting, but realize that this is a much bigger deal to you than it is to them.
Your first outreach to someone in your sphere of influence should be to ask them to subscribe to your real estate newsletter. If you don’t already have one, watch this video about how to get started with e-newsletters from HomeActions.
If you already have some people’s emails, don’t automatically sign them up – ask first, and make sure you reach out to the people in your sphere of influence in a way that feels natural. Don’t email your sister if you talk on the phone with her every day – give her a call!
If you grab coffee with a certain co-worker every day, simply ask if they want to join your e-newsletter mailing list.
For those contacts you do email, check out these examples of great outreach emails.
How To Ask For Referrals
When you ask someone in your sphere of influence for a referral, mention a recent article in your e-newsletter about home prices, for example, and ask some of your contacts if they know anyone who is moving and might be interested in current low home prices in your area.
For help drafting the perfect referral email, check out these templates!
Visit HomeActions.net today to start connecting on a regular basis with your real estate contacts and improving your real estate business.
HomeActions has enhanced its powerful e-prospecting platform to give you 200+ new articles targeting the most common real estate niches as well as automatic article trigger alerts that tell you when a client is poised to enter the real estate market.
Agents can set article triggers so they’re automatically alerted in real time when a viewer clicks on featured listings, virtual tours, open houses or one of the content library articles created by HomeActions.
“These new additions to the professionally written HomeActions content provided in every edition will bring users more listings, buyers and sales,” said CEO Barry Friedman. HomeActions professionally written content has some of the highest open rates in the industry along with low unsubscribe rates.
The new Content Library articles can appear in any order and you can add your own local content to feature their open houses, listings, video tours, blog posts and commentaries.
Trigger and Target article topics include:
- Home Buying
- Home Selling
- Vacation Home Buying
- Vacation Home Selling
- Investment Real Estate
- First-time Home-buyers
- Condos and Co-ops
- Shore Homes
- 55+ Communities
- Investment Property Management
Additional Enhancements Include:
- Redesigned User Interface to work across more devices including iPads and Android tablets.
- Added search menu to article list page to make content easier to find.
- New dashboard layout with detailed summary graphs and faster access to data.
- Simplified scheduling of articles – now schedule on same page.
- Ability to quickly filter and sort member list.
- Improved sorting when reviewing your uploaded members in spreadsheets.
- Improved layout of images makes it easy to find that perfect image.
- Completely redesigned images and banners modules to make additions easy.
- More filtering options for images and banners to make easier to find the image you want.
- Simplified the navigation by combining like items into singular menus.
- Redesigned the Newsletter Settings module to make it more user friendly.
A year-round steady flow of customers is the Holy Grail of real estate. Without it, you end up staggering from deal to deal praying you’re going to meet your monthly goals.
Is your business where you want it to be?
These are nine reasons why prospecting may not be working for you:
1. You think prospecting is something you’re supposed to do when you don’t have listings to sell or buyers to show homes to.
Prospecting isn’t something that takes time away from listing and selling, it’s what you have to do to get listings and showings. Skimp on marketing and you won’t have a pipeline of deals to work on next month.
Marketing should go out consistently and automatically.
2. Failure to properly identify prospects.
10 percent of your contacts are actively selling or buying. 90 percent are still prospects because they may know someone who’s looking to buy or sell.
Stay in front of your former clients. Make it easy for them to find you when they’re ready to do another real estate transaction.
3. Boring them with advice about buying and selling homes.
Unless your marketing is going directly to potential first-time home-buyers, stay away from sharing home buying advice. The 90 percent of your client base that isn’t actively involved in a transaction doesn’t need home selling and home buying tips.
Compelling content speaks to homeowners.
4. Not prospecting enough.
How much contact is too much? We know from our customer-focus research on email marketing that once a month is not enough and once a week is too much.
Once every two weeks is enough to keep you top-of-mind without being annoying.
5. Marketing via snail mail.
The Internet, not the mailbox, is the starting point for today’s home shoppers. Using snail-mail makes you look old-school.
Reach prospects where they are with online communication via newsletters, emails, web links and webinars.
6. Networking only in the virtual world and not in the real world.
It’s important to take every opportunity to network in person.
Go to Chamber of Commerce breakfasts, do a booth at local fairs and festivals and teach an adult education class for first-time home-buyers or investors.
7. Keeping your business cards in your pocket or your desk drawer.
If you’re not giving away 100 business cards a week, you’re not working hard enough on prospecting. When you give people your card, they often give you theirs and it’s going to have an email address on it. When you exchange cards, mention that you have a newsletter about home ownership that you’ll send them.
8. Thinking a lead service or a free email marketing newsletter will do it all for you.
A lead service or a free email marketing newsletter won’t do all your prospecting for you. Any number of services sell lead information about expired listings, people who’ve inquired about foreclosures or online home shoppers.
Those lists can be out of date, of questionable quality, and in the case of email newsletters from places like Lowe’s, available to every agent in America.
To differentiate yourself, you need exclusive marketing lists and quality newsletter content.
9. Taking shortcuts to build your contact database.
The best email contacts are the ones you gather yourself one potential client at a time.
Building year-round deal flow doesn’t have to be hard, but it does take consistent effort. To fill your deal pipeline:
- Build a database filled with people who know you.
- Form partnerships with companies who can help you share exclusive content that highlights your real estate expertise.
- Get out in the community to raise your visibility.
Lee Sowers, Sales and Marketing SVP of HomeActions, helps Realtors® enhance their prospecting and build relationships to increase sales. Sowers knows what it takes to successfully market to commercial and residential real estate customers.