What if working with just 20 people could produce 40 transactions a year? Sound impossible? Not necessarily ... if you know who your “Golden Geese” referral partners are!
Think about it. If you have 20 really good clients (aka: “golden geese”) who refer you to four people a year, and half of those transactions actually close, you would have 40 deals in a year from focusing on those 20 “golden geese.” Your sphere of influence list is, quite possibly, the best source of business for real estate agents. It can also be the source that is easily neglected.
Here are 7 simple ideas for maintaining and growing your sphere of influence:
I know this seems like a “no-brainer,” but I can’t tell you the number of people I meet on a regular basis that do not have one system for tracking past clients, current clients, and other people who would be a part of their sphere of influence. There are super simple systems like index cards on a ring (maybe a little old-fashioned, but if it works, go for it) and database programs like ACT, Top Producer, or Outlook. Figure out a way to “classify” people in your sphere of influence (an easy, straightforward system is best) and implement it immediately. Then, review it monthly to make sure you’ve added new people you’ve met and updated information when people close a transaction.
Your golden geese are your “raving fans.” They are the people who, without blinking twice, immediately tell their friends to call YOU to buy or sell real estate. Once you identify your golden geese (you need to know who they are), make sure to “take care of them.” And be honest with yourself--most people do not have 200 golden geese on their list!
Every company or person you write a check to is someone who should be on your sphere of influence list. After all, you are helping their business to succeed, why wouldn’t you want to ask them to help your business succeed? Ensure people you do business with know that you sell real estate and can assist them. Additionally, put your best affiliate partners on your list. When I worked at a title company, I never received specific marketing items from any of the Realtors we worked with in the company. Don’t forget your affiliates—they may be some of your best referral sources!
When attending a networking event, the goal shouldn’t be to meet everyone in the room and “collect cards.” Spend time visiting with several people one-on-one and really getting to know them. After you feel you have established a connection, ask for their business card and then send them a personal note to follow-up with them after the event. Adding them to your sphere of influence will feel more genuine if you have made an authentic connection.
On a regular basis, check your social media sources to see if anyone you are “friends” or “connected” with on social media should be receiving your marketing pieces through your marketing plan. Oftentimes, we are connecting with these individuals electronically but they are not receiving regular emails, direct mail or pop by’s from us because they’re not on our “official” sphere of influence list.
If you’re wondering where you might meet new people to add to your sphere of influence list, consider some of these ideas: a) volunteer on a regular basis in the community or at a school, b) attend a networking event sponsored by your local Chamber, c) visit new businesses in the community to welcome them to our area (“gatekeepers” are great people to add to sphere of influence lists), d) join a service club, or e) attend a training/education event and shake some hands while you are there. You won’t meet a lot of “new” people in your own office waiting for the phone to ring—you’ve got to get out there and establish relationships with people in order to grow your list!
When you meet someone, ensure you have all of their pertinent information to add them to your database list. And then, actually add them! So many people encounter prospects or new contacts and don’t take the time to actually add them to their database list. Lots of business is lost this way. While I’m not suggesting you should just add the entire phone book or church directory to your database, I am encouraging you to attentively add individuals to your list with whom you want to be connected!
Working with people who already know, trust and like you is one of the primary goals in this business we call “real estate.” The bottom line reason we want to work with people who know, trust and like us is because they refer others to us for business. A strong sphere of influence list is the key to a long-lasting referral based business.
A big thanks to Chalice Springfield of Sears Real Estate for submitting this content! Chalice started at Sears Real Estate when she answered an ad to work in the mailroom on the job board at the University of Northern Colorado. She was just 19 years old and seeking employment to help put her through college. After earning her bachelor’s degree at UNC, while working full-time at Sears Real Estate, she jumped into the world of real estate where she would find herself some 20 years later. Today, she is delighted to be the CEO/Managing Broker of Sears Real Estate. Chalice has sold real estate, worked in the mortgage and title industries, and currently manages almost 50 people (she calls it “herding cats”).