Published by Kartik Subramaniam
One of the most important things to understand about operating successfully in the real estate industry is that you're really trying to sell two distinct things at the same time.
Yes, it's absolutely true that you're helping someone sell or buy a house. A big part of your job is to help them navigate what may very well be the biggest financial decisions they'll ever make. But beyond that, you're also selling something arguably more important:
In order to build the type of career you've seen for yourself in the industry, you need to be able to establish yourself as an authority. You need to show, not tell, people that you know what you're talking about. That yours is a voice worth trusting and paying attention to. Only then will they feel confident enough asking you to come along with them on this journey - which is how a book of business is eventually built.
To accomplish that, you need been capitalizing on your Sphere of Influence - something that you've been building with every interaction you've made up to this point, possibly without even realizing it. In the simplest possible terms, a Sphere of Influence is the collection of all the people you know. Not only does this include friends, family members and other loved ones, obviously, but also any loose connections you've forged or acquaintances you've met along the way.
It's also something that will soon become the secret to your success in a wide range of different ways that are worth exploring.
A number of recent studies have illustrated just how important a Sphere of Influence truly is, particularly in an industry that is as connection-driven as real estate.
According to one report, over 80% of all real estate transactions are the direct result of contacts from people you already know. That means not only previous contacts or any referrals they may bring you but also friends, family members and people you know personally.
This is crucial, as another study revealed that 74% of home buyers say that they would gladly use their agent again in the future and had plans to recommend them to others. Along the same lines, about 84% of people say they also trust recommendations from their own collection of peers when it comes to determining who to do business with.
All of this paints a very clear picture of just how the real estate industry operates. Yes, it's possible to "cold call" people and obtain new clients who you've had no interactions with in the past. But in the vast majority of all situations, your business will come from those people who are already in your life - even if only tangentially. Therefore, your Sphere of Influence isn't just an important asset to capitalize on - it may be the single biggest contributing factor to your future as a real estate agent.
When it comes time to actually take advantage of your Sphere of Influence, there are a few key techniques you can try. Chief among these is the idea that if you're not already comfortable on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, now would be an excellent time to start.
Indeed, visualizing your Sphere of Influence through a social media platform like Facebook is actually one of the easiest way to do it. Think about your current contact lists and ask yourself which platforms they're the most active on. Facebook in particular shows you mutual friends and other important metrics like that. Spending a few hours on these sites seeing who you know, and who they know, and who THEY know, is a great way to illustrate how big your Sphere of Influence really is.
All the while, you should also be taking the opportunity to post relevant, valuable and otherwise meaningful content to your pages for these people to see. If there's a particularly interesting industry topic that you can provide insight on, link to the article and write a few paragraphs containing your thoughts. Help people see things from an angle that they may have otherwise missed. Again, it's a great way to establish yourself as an authority - thus expanding your Sphere of Influence as well.
Similarly, distributing printed materials is a tried-and-true tactic and an effective way to create awareness for both you and your business. This, too, is something you can do in a few different ways.
If there was a particularly impressive home sale in the area recently, or if the market is heating up, don't be afraid to print up a flyer and distribute it to the neighborhood outlining your thoughts. Give people information that they don't already have and leave them with something of value without asking for anything in return. It's a great way to both let people know that you're out there and continue to build up your trustworthiness, too.
Of course, it doesn't have to be quite that complicated. Always have business cards handy ready to give to everyone you meet, for example - you just never know who might be looking to buy or sell.
In the end, your Sphere of Influence should always be getting bigger over time - and it likely will in a natural way. You must resist the urge to overlook this critical asset, as it will absolutely be the secret to your success in the future.
Are you ready to get your real estate license?