Why You Can Rely on Your Sphere of Influence

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 26 February 2008 16:00

“Rely on my Sphere of Influence? I don't know anyone who wants to buy or a sell a home right now!”

Although the concept of generating business from the people you know (your sphere of influence or SOI) is nothing new, many agents have objections to the concept, based on some common misperceptions of how an effective SOI business model should work.

Do any of these objections sound familiar to you?

"I don't know anyone who wants to buy or sell right now and even if I did, how can I base my entire business on them?"

In my first year, I sold 25 houses, all to my SOI. Of those 25, all but three were to people I didn't know the day I got my real estate license. They were people I met as a result of the personal relationships in my life. Some were referred directly to me by my SOI; others I met at weddings, parties, etc.; yet others were service providers in my life who weren't my friends, but knew I had a real estate license.

The people we know are the gatekeepers to everyone else they know. Impress those we know … and the floodgates shall open.

"I refuse to be one of those annoying real estate agents that the family avoids at parties."

So don't be! Contrary to popular belief, an effective SOI strategy is not about bothering your friends for their business. Sure, that's a common tactic, and many real estate agents give up on their SOI because they suspect their friends are sick of hearing from them -- and they're probably right. Just be a genuinely nice person with a good head on his or her shoulders ... who happens to sell real estate for a living.

"I don't believe in mixing business with pleasure. If the deal goes sour, I could lose the friendship."

Could happen. Probably won't, if you take great care of your business. Yes, things go wrong, but if you can fix the problems professionally and competently, you'll probably win even MORE brownie points from your friend than if the deal went 100 percent smoothly. Anyway, if you do a great job for someone who knows you and cares about you, you'll get GREAT PR in your social circle for it! I'll take that risk because I have faith in myself.

One caveat here: DON'T take SOI business that you aren't confident you can handle. For example, if your buddy wants to buy a strip mall, and you're a residential agent, REFER IT. I don't believe we should "practice" on anyone, but especially not on our SOI.

"I don't want my family and friends to feel obligated to use me if they don't want to."

"Obligation" is a dirty word in our business. Never ever, ever think that someone is obligated to use you and don't get hurt if they use someone else. It's probably not personal (people have lives outside of our real estate business), and if it IS personal, take the opportunity to figure out why. Always give your SOI the benefit of the doubt if they don't use you -- for them, it was the right decision. Respect that.

If, in your heart, you feel that your SOI is obligated to use your services, they'll feel it and resist. Conversely, if you respect their right to "choose," they also feel that and will probably beat down your door!

Yes, you CAN rely on your SOI!

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