In the real estate industry that utilizes word of mouth marketing, an agent’s Sphere of Influence is extremely important. A healthy, thriving Sphere of Influence can move you from chasing new clients to having them come directly to you.
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What Is a Sphere of Influence?
A Sphere of Influence is essentially the group of people who know you or know of you. People who like you or feel neutrally toward you are part of your Sphere because you are able to influence them in some way.
People who feel negatively about you are not part of your Sphere because you probably can’t influence them. They won’t refer you to others or be a customer of your business.
Think about how many people you are close to. Add to that the number of people you just consider acquaintances or familiar faces. Now consider how many people you’ve known, been acquainted with, or even been familiar with throughout your entire life. It’s a lot, right?
That’s your Sphere of Influence!
Imagine moving to a new state or country where you know absolutely no one. If you started building a real estate business without establishing a local Sphere of Influence, it would be hard not to fail. How could people trust an agent that seems like a stranger?
In general, people prefer to work with someone they already know (or know of). A lack of connections in an area or even among a certain group of people can hinder your success in real estate.
People do business with and refer people to people they know, like, and trust.” -Bob Burg, author of Endless Referrals
You probably know or are familiar with more people than you think. So who might be in your Sphere?
Spheres of Influence Examples
- Parents of your children’s friends
- Past clients
- Social media followers and friends
- Local professionals (doctors, stylists, mechanics, etc.)
- Colleagues (lenders, contractors, etc.)
- Former teachers and classmates
- Church and club members
- People you meet at events and seminars
If you’re a social person or just well-known in your town, your SOI can be pretty large — and that’s great news for your real estate business. But even if you’re not a social butterfly and have a more limited Sphere, it still carries a lot of value and has the potential to grow.
Grow Your Sphere of Influence
Each person in your Sphere has a Sphere of their own (the people they know, have met, or are familiar with). If they positively talk about you or refer your services to their own contacts, they’re essentially vouching for you.
Because of their referral or mention of you, you’re suddenly on the radar of a new group of people who associate you with real estate expertise. For new and seasoned agents alike, that’s invaluable.
These trust-based referrals can drastically grow your SOI and your real estate business. It comes down to this: The more people that know you (positively or neutrally), the more likely people are to trust you.
“Even if you have doubts about a person or a product, approval by others in your sphere of influence can sway your opinion.” – Forbes
If you consistently do right by your community, your reputation will precede you and help you earn the trust of others.
That’s why it’s so important to take care of your reputation. It fosters trust between you and your Sphere. You can strengthen your reputation (and build trust) in many ways, but paying attention to the points below is a great place to start.
- If you want to earn respect, be civil and polite in every circumstance
- If you want to be a leader, lift up and support others
- If you want to show confidence, don’t brag on yourself or your accomplishments
- If you want to be well-known, make it a mission to get to know others
- If you want to build integrity, do what’s right in public and in private
If you’re in a new town or just need a bigger Sphere of Influence, networking is a good place to start. What is networking but a series of professional introductions?
It’s not about aggressive selling or asking someone to make a decision right then. It’s about initiating new connections with the goal of building familiarity, and maybe even a professional relationship down the road.
You can and should network outside of traditional networking events for professionals.
“Every moment of every day is an opportunity to network…I’ve met people at Christmas parties, engagement parties, beach dates, kickbacks, barbecues, bars, high school reunions, even in line at Starbucks. I’m telling you, everywhere.” –Kellan McKillop, career advisor
Try these ideas to network naturally:
- Visit new businesses in your area to introduce yourself, meet the owners, and show your support.
- Make a point to volunteer your time in the community or help with a local charitable cause.
- Introduce yourself to existing members of local service clubs or organizations you’d like to join.
- Take a class or course at a local community center or fitness studio.
Not every person you meet when you’re networking will end up being a client. In fact, most probably won’t. But with each person you meet and leave a positive (or neutral, at the very least) impression on, you’re adding to your Sphere and increasing your chances of getting a referral out of it.
Your Sphere of Influence is more like a living organism than a static group. It has to be tended and fed to expand. What can you do this week to grow your Sphere of Influence and boost your reputation as a real estate professional?