Happy Friday Everyone! Over the weekend I would like for each of you to expand your SOI & let me know how many new people you have in your circle, I’ll do the same. We can post these in the below comment section (for LinkedIn)
: ) Kristine
SOI = sphere of influence. It’s the connections we have with family, friends, school/college friends, previous business associates, softball/soccer/running buddies, etc. Those folks you know and have interacted with, either on a personal or professional basis.
Since you have an existing “connection” with your SOI, you can save time and effort in potentially securing business from them. Take advantage of your SOI (in an non-intrusive, professional way of course!) to let them know you are in real estate and seeking business.
Try this exercise: Open a spreadsheet or a Word doc on your computer, or grab a sheet of paper. Write down the names of everyone you can think of that falls into your SOI. Don’t worry about whether or not they are looking for real estate at this moment, and don’t worry about where they live or what they do for a living. The point is to build a list of SOI members — a database that you can (and should) mine for potential business.
Running out of ideas? Here are six more sources to consider when adding contacts to your SOI list.
Local service providers
The dry cleaner you visit every week, the barista at the coffee shop that knows your name and drink choice when you step through the door — they are in your SOI too. Ditto with the friendly bank teller, your CPA, and your attorney. Anyone that you regularly do business with should be included in your SOI database.
Adding your nine-year-old to your SOI group doesn’t really count. Besides, family should already be on your list. But your children have an SOI, and by extension that is your SOI as well. School teachers, music teachers, and coaches are all potential contacts. The parents of your children’s friends. Members of the PTA, band boosters, etc. You are connected to these folks through your children, so add them to your SOI database.
I’ll bet you your next commission check that you have Facebook friends that you don’t consider to be in your SOI. Ditto with Twitter followers. Really? You’ve made a connection. Even if you’ve never met face-to-face and are only acquainted through a social media platform, it’s a connection, and worthy of inclusion in your SOI.
While is seems staggeringly obvious, it never ceases to amaze me how many agents do a poor job of keeping in touch with past clients. It’s actually easy to do given that most people buy a house on average every 7-–9 years. Those infrequent purchases make it easy to forget or dismiss the value of a past client. Add them to your SOI contact marketing plan. Even if they aren’t moving soon they may well know someone who is.
Your life before real estate
Few people have real estate sales as their first and only career. All those people you met and worked with in your past life before real estate? SOI members. LinkedIn is a great resource for reconnecting with past co-workers. OK, so maybe the guy in the next cubicle used to drive you insane, but he still needs a place to live — go sell him a house!
Bonus tip: Graduated from college? Find a local alumni association and go to its events. More people to include in your SOI.
You are a local business person. As such, you have an immediate connection and common point of interest with other local business people. Take advantage of that! The next time you’re in a restaurant and the manger stops by and says, “How was everything?” stick out your hand and introduce yourself. Get to know them. Chat about business, the real estate market, their market. Make a friend, and add them to your SOI.
The bottom line
Your SOI is one of the most important pieces of business you “own.” You need to nurture, grow and develop it into the powerful tool it can be. Treat your SOI with attention and care, and you can reap the rewards for years to come.
You don’t have to pound on your SOI contacts relentlessly, sending emails pronouncing that you love their referrals. You do, however, need a plan to both stay in touch with your current SOI and continue to expand it.
The age-old technique of passing out X number of business cards a day works — X being whatever you are comfortable with. Maybe it’s 10, maybe it’s just 1. If you’d handed out 1 business card a day last year, you’d have 365 new people in your SOI.
Do you have that many now? My guess would be no.
So do it! Do something to expand and reach out to your SOI. Create a separate email distribution list for your SOI, and give them “news” first. Add your SOI contacts to a Facebook list. What, you don’t use Facebook lists? That is THE way to manage your Facebook friends. Find out more about lists here.
The bottom line is this: Your SOI can be a huge source of repeat and referral business over time. You should always have a plan to keep in touch with and grow your SOI.