If you’re a real estate agent who hates building your sphere of influence, you’re not alone. A Harvard study showed that networking actually made people feel dirty—physically dirty! But the 2021 NAR Member survey found that Realtors get 19% of their business through referrals from their sphere.
Does this mean top agents just suck it up and feel dirty to get ahead? Are they all extroverts who love to schmooze? Of course not. They just learned smarter ways to build their sphere. To get you started, we put together this list of seven creative ways to build your sphere of influence in real estate.
What Is a Sphere of Influence in Real Estate?
As a real estate agent, your sphere of influence (SOI) is made up of the people you are personally connected with who you have a reasonable chance of influencing with your real estate expertise. People in your sphere include your friends, family, former clients, and their second-order contacts. In other words, a friend of a friend, or a family member of a friend, should be in your sphere of influence.
7 Tips for Expanding Your Sphere of Influence in 2021
1. Write a Great Pitch Email for Your List (Script)
While having someone in your sphere follow you on social media is great, getting into their inbox is better. Getting someone to opt in to your email list isn’t easy, but it is much, much easier if you already have a connection with them—even just on social media. You just need to write a persuasive email template to ask them. Here’s one you can use:
Hey [First Name],
This is [Your Name], [the person you know them through]’s friend from [how you know them]. I just wanted to let you know that I run an exclusive [your farm area] real estate insiders email list and I wanted to invite you to join. I really think you’ll find it useful and enjoyable.
I share sneak peeks of off-market listings, deep dives into the [your farm area] real estate market, actionable advice from experts on negotiating multiple offers, and getting the best deals in [your farm area]. I also do office hours every Wednesday, where I answer questions from the list.
Should I count you in?
[Related article: 19 Best Real Estate Email Templates & Scripts for 2021]
2. Automate Your Content Marketing to Cast a Wider Net
Posting engaging, relevant content to your social media channels is a crucial part of building your sphere. The only problem is that writing or finding the engaging, local content that can help build your sphere is time-consuming. If you just wing it and send out mediocre content, you risk losing your audience. This can happen faster than you think.
This is why automating your content marketing with a service like Artur’in is a great way to expand your sphere. Artur’in will create and share local content to your social media channels every day so you can focus on outreach to your inner circle. Even better, Close readers get 50% off the cost of setup fees.
3. Not an Extrovert? Science Says to Focus on Learning, Not Selling
While some agents take to networking events like fish to water, others would rather get a root canal than schmooze in a roomful of strangers. Luckily, according to research from Harvard, a simple shift in mindset can make networking much easier.
All you need to do is focus on what you can learn from the people you will meet rather than the potential business you can get. So instead of saying to yourself, “I am going to promote myself and get 10 leads tonight!” say something like, “Who knows, maybe I will meet people who I can learn from and become a better agent and better person tonight.”
[Related article: The Pivot: Do Introverts Make Better Real Estate Agents?]
4. Volunteer in Your Local Community
Volunteering at your local church, synagogue, mosque, school, or food kitchen is another great way to build your sphere of influence. As a bonus, even if you strike out making new contacts, you will end up helping the people in your community who need it most.
Even better, studies show that 72% of wealthy people volunteer at least five hours per week. That means your fellow volunteers will have a better than average chance of owning a home and possibly needing your services. You also won’t need to pitch people to expand your sphere volunteering. After all, most friendly conversations with strangers eventually turn to work.
5. Center Your Mission, Vision & Values
Another simple mindset shift that can make networking to build your sphere less awful is to center your Mission, Vision, and Values when you’re networking. For this to work, you’ll need to have a mission that’s a little deeper than “I want to make more money.”
For example, top agent, real estate coach, and Close Contributor Sean Moudry’s mission is “To help people in Boulder, Colorado, build generational wealth through real estate.” So when Sean heads out to a networking event or a dinner party, he is not trying to sell himself, get more clients, or even build his sphere. He is trying to help people in Boulder, Colorado, build generational wealth through real estate. It’s a subtle difference—but a powerful one.
[Related article: How to Create an Inspiring Mission, Vision & Values for Your Brokerage]
6. Join Local Subreddits
With more than 52 million active daily users, Reddit is a sleeping giant for real estate agents who want to expand their sphere. Reddit’s communities, called subreddits, are organized around millions of topics, many of them focused on cities and towns. Chances are, there is a subreddit for your town and maybe even your farm area. Even better, getting noticed on these subreddits can be much easier than getting seen on Facebook Groups.
For example, /r/NYC has 465,000 members, but some posts make it to the front page with fewer than 30 upvotes. That means you only need to get a handful of people to like your post to get in front of thousands of people, who all live in New York City. The subreddit for Portland, Maine, /r/portlandme, only has 16,000 members, and you can get onto the front page with less than a dozen upvotes.
Just keep in mind that your hard sell is not going to work on Reddit. You need to build trust first. The only way to build your sphere on Reddit is to genuinely engage with the community and only offer to help solve people’s problems when they ask. Eventually, you will become a trusted resource for the community.
7. Add Personal Information About People in Your Sphere to Your CRM
If you want to get business from your sphere, you can’t just blast out real estate facts all day. If you do, you’ll get ignored, then abandoned. Instead, you need to make, and more importantly, nurture personal connections. To do this successfully, you need to share things they care about. As Beverly Ruffner always says, “Selling steak to a vegetarian is not a good sales tactic.”
Adding personal information about hobbies, pets, family, or other interests to the contacts in your customer relationship manager (CRM) helps you deliver appropriate news to them. Want to share news about a new dog run being built in your town? Filter to the contacts who love dogs in your CRM. Got tickets to a baseball game to give away? Filter to your former clients who love baseball.
[Related article: The Best Real Estate CRM for 2021: In-depth Reviews & Pricing]
Bonus Tip: Keep Your Sphere a Manageable Size
Most new agents think that they need hundreds or even thousands of people in their sphere of influence to get new business and referrals. They’ve been taught that real estate is a “numbers game,” and the more people they can influence, the more money they will make. This is not realistic or practical for most agents.
Most social scientists today rely on Dunbar’s number, which says the average person cannot maintain relationships with more than 150 people. Since your sphere of influence will include second-order connections (friends of friends), a healthy size for your sphere of influence should be around 300 people.
Having thousands of people in your database is just a vanity metric. It won’t help your business. If you have people on your email list who never open emails or respond to texts or calls, delete them and use the other tips in this article to add more people to your sphere who will engage with you.
[Related article: Long-term Lead Nurturing: Tips & Scripts to Avoid Overtasking]
Over to You
Have a great tip to help expand your sphere of influence in real estate? Let us know in the comments.