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The Secret to a Successful Sphere of Influence Business Model

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Commentary by Jennifer Allan

RISMEDIA, February 25, 2009-The secret to running a successful SOI-based business is to be a great real estate agent who loves her job and knows her market and stays in touch with the people she knows, without ever pestering them for business or referrals.

That’s it! That’s the secret! To be a great real estate agent who loves her job and knows her market and stays in touch with the people she knows, without ever pestering them for business or referrals.

Let’s take these items one by one.

You’re a great real estate agent

This is huge. When I say that you need to be a great real estate agent, I don’t mean that you need to be a great real estate prospector, even though that’s what most of our training tends to imply. I mean that you take great care of your clients as your first priority, not as an afterthought when your prospecting is done. Doing business this way helps you on so many levels. First, obviously, you’ll have happy clients who will be delighted to refer you to everyone they know. Second and third, you’ll be proud of the work you do and confident in the work you do, which will lead to the second requirement…

You love your job

When you’re good at what you do and you know it, you’ll probably absolutely love your job. And that excitement and enthusiasm is contagious to those around you.

When you’re able to hold your head up high and announce that “I’m a real estate agent and it’s the coolest job in the world!” people will be drawn to you – as one agent I know puts it – they want some of what you’re smoking! When the topic of real estate comes up in a social setting and you’re able to say those magic words “I’m a real estate agent and it’s the coolest job in the world!” people will ask you for your business card. It’s beautiful. Which leads me to the third requirement…

You know your market

The best way I’ve found to build rapport with strangers is be master of your market. If you know your local real estate market, and you know you know your local real estate market, you’ll find opportunities to share that knowledge all over the place.

It’s amazing how much confidence this gives you and it’s pretty easy, to strike up a conversation with a total stranger about real estate… if you know what you’re talking about. You’d be surprised how many people will ask you for your business card if you sound like an expert. I get a lot of my business this way – not from prospecting to strangers, but just from being confident about my competence – a big part of which is a good understanding of my market.

So, for someone who needs to build an SOI from scratch, they need to spend some quality time learning their market and put themselves in social situations where they can share their knowledge with people who are interested.

You stay in touch with the people you know

This, of course, is really important. If you know a whole bunch of people, but you never make any effort to have a personal interaction with any of them (above and beyond drip campaigns), your sphere of influence efforts will crash and burn. To be someone’s favorite real estate agent, you either need to have done a fantastic job for them in the past (and stayed in touch) or make an effort to be in touch with them on a somewhat regular basis. Especially if someone hasn’t used your services before, it’s really easy for another agent to swoop in and take your place!

Just know that yes, if you intend to generate business and referrals from the people you know, you will need to take time to talk to them.

You never pester anyone for business or referrals

The last requirement is that you never pester the people you know or the people you meet for business or referrals. This is a tough pill to swallow for many agents. We’re trained to ask for business and to make sure that everyone we know and meet is aware that we are desperate for business. I know, that’s not what we say – but it’s how it comes across. When we constantly or even sporadically remind the people we know that We Love Referrals, we send a message that is counterproductive to our goal of actually generating referrals.

So? Are you a great agent… who loves your job…. and knows your market…. and stays in touch with the people you know without ever pestering them for business or referrals? Yeah? Then get off the computer and go SOI!

Jennifer Allan is the author of Sell with Soul: Creating an Extraordinary Career in Real Estate without Losing Your Friends, Your Principles or Your Self-Respect, as well as a number of eBooks including The Seduction of Your SOI: Generating Business and Referrals from the Very Important People Who Know You, Dorky Announcement Letters – DEDORKED! and For Sale Signs Don’t Pay the Bills. She is a regular contributor to several real estate newsletters and magazines, a member of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame and one of the industry’s most popular bloggers.

For more information, visit www.SellWithSoul.com.

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