We’re all guilty of nodding our heads at the annual NAR conference or the weekly sales meeting. We hear the term and affirm our sound approval: “…you gotta build your sphere of influence man…!”
The problem with catch-phrases is…well…their catchy. They grab our attention for a moment and they’re easy to reach when we need to illustrate a point that everyone knows already. But I’m willing to bet the number one reason for poor sales by real estate agents is – they lack a sphere of influence.
Do you have a sphere of influence? How big is it? Are you cultivating the sphere each day to build rapport and uncover hidden opportunities to connect with potential buyers or sellers?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
A Sphere Of Influence Is All About Referral Business
Cliche as it may seem, building your sphere of influence should be one of your top priorities EVERY DAY. Whether you’re a solo agent, a brokerage or the most successful agent in the office; the relationships you cultivate within your sphere are your BEST source for referrals.
And we all know that referrals are hands down the #1 source of leads for agents:
“Referrals continue to be the way that most buyers find their real estate agent. Referrals by friends, neighbours, or relatives were higher among younger buyers such as 36 years and younger (52 percent, up from 46 percent last year) and 37 to 51 (39 percent) compared to older generations.”
Referrals are the number one source of leads. Period. If you’re getting a steady flow of referrals each week, every month, then you won’t need to advertise as much. And when you do advertise, it will actually be making an impact.
Why Your Real Estate Ads Aren’t Getting You Results
There’s a secret to advertising that a lot of agents don’t understand:
Advertising works best when you are DOING something worth advertising!
The reason you watch that film starring your favourite actor is because you’re already familiar with the studio, the topic is fascinating or you like the lead actress. Something is already familiar to you and you’re already a fan. The ad is simply an update or reminder about a new offering. Agents, on the other hand, treat their advertising like a selling tool. They think it’s going to get them leads because of their friendly image or the compelling call-to-action. They mistakenly believe that a good ad will ‘sell them’ to prospective buyers and sellers.
If selling homes were only that easy!
You can’t substitute advertising for relationship building. Ads don’t build relationships. They advertise what you are doing.
Build a reputation for outstanding service and the people around you will pay attention to your ad. When business owners and homeowners in your community recognize your face as the neighbourhood expert and the go-to person for their realty needs – your ads will generate leads.
The more effective you are at building your sphere of influence, the less you’ll rely on advertising for your lead generation.
Become The Local Expert
The best way to expand your sphere of influence is to establish yourself both online and offline as the local realty expert. Go the extra mile to promote your farm by providing items of value to residents and business owners that help them achieve their goals.
And I’m not talking about postcards. Instead, leverage your expertise and contacts to connect local people in your farm with solutions.
Get into your community and out of the office. Meet people. Shake hands. And please don’t hand out your business card unless you plan to actually help that individual.
Otherwise, you’re just another cliche.
10 DIY Tips For Agents To Grow Their Sphere of Influence
Every day, local residents in your farm are searching online for deals, information or news about their neighbourhood. You can become the local expert they rely on for this information.
With that in mind, here are some tips to help agents expand their local sphere of influence:
- focus on a neighbourhood or community you believe in
- volunteer for a weekly neighbourhood group or organization
- sponsor a neighbourhood blog or website for local residents to share news and events
- share DIY tips for local homeowners in your farm on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
- interview local business owners and share on your blog
- write a weekly guest blog article on a popular local website
- videotape local experts demonstrating How-To tips, and share on social media
- start a Facebook group for business owners in your target farm(s)
- publish a digital newsletter for residents in your farm
- host A Weekly Q&A for First Time Buyers at a popular local venue (i.e. bar, coffee shop)
Now that you have some ideas to work with, building your sphere of influence will seem a lot easier.
Advertising works best when you are doing something worth advertising. If you commit to helping local residents and business owners find solutions, they’ll come to you as the local realty expert and an influential person. As you gain recognition, your ads will perform better.
Focus your lead generation on a specific neighbourhood and establish yourself as the local expert. Get into the community you serve and engage with local organizations. Your interactions offline will drive interest online.
Lastly, leverage your time, expertise and your website to give local residents items of value that promote businesses in your farm. You’ll earn loyal subscribers that overtime will become valuable referral generators.