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relationship_professionalThe No. 1, most important asset we have in our real estate arsenal is our relationships. Perhaps it will feel a bit redundant for me to remind you how important it is to work on your sphere of influence, but what exactly does that mean? For some, it means connecting with them on Facebook or sending out an annual calendar or birthday card. While those touches are valuable, and will sometimes even generate some business, that is not how the elite agents manage, build or nurture their relationships.

What is a true sphere of influence? A sphere of influence is just that: Your circle of friends and acquaintances that influence you or that you have the ability to influence because of the mutual trust, loyalty and respect you have for each other. This trust can’t be built by simply adding people to your contact management system and putting them on an automated email campaign. Real relationships are nurtured over time and are based on principles of honesty, integrity, clear communication and consistency.

There are many ways to build relationships, but there is one system that I have found that works 100 percent of the time and can generate up to 100 referral transactions a year. Mike Parker, Top 5 in Real Estate Network® member and No. 1 agent in Kentucky, follows a six-step program that has paid huge dividends for him for years. He graciously shared with me his secrets for maximizing and building real relationships:

Step 1: Identify the 50 people in your database that are most likely to give you at least one referral this year.

Step 2: Create a contact type called “Top 50” in your CRM.

Step 3: Have a personal contact with each one of your top 50 every month of the year.

Step 4: Launch Dave Beson’s Gold Mine Referral series of letters. (This teaches them how to give you referrals.)

Step 5: Track all the referrals you get from this group for 12 months.

Step 6: At the end of 12 months, remove anyone that did not give you a single referral and replace them with new relationships. (The goal is to remove as few as possible each year because all 50 of them are giving you referrals.)

Here are a few keys to making this a successful strategy in your business:

• Make sure the touches you have each month are personal. A simple phone call, lunch meeting, or dinner date as couples, etc., are what I’m talking about.

• Focus on the relationships, not the referrals. The business will follow as you build strong relationships.

• Be consistent. Do this every month for the rest of your career.

• Reward your clients when they send you business. (Make sure you follow the rules.)

• Provide excellent service to their referrals and keep them in the loop as to how the transaction is going. This allows additional touches and lets them know you are exceptional…and that you care.

Imagine your business 12 months from now if only half of the people in your top 50 give you a single referral. That’s 25 sides! Last year, one of my coaching clients followed this system and received 43 referrals, representing a total of 86 transaction sides. Now that’s a game changer!

Verl Workman is a speaker, coach, business consultant and president of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®.

For more information, visit