Agents can go beyond traditional advertising and tap into their sphere of influence — people they have some sway over, like family, friends, neighbors, and business associates — to attract new customers.
By relying on people who already know the value certain agents bring to the table, it’s easier to use tactics like social proof and testimonials to attract new customers. It’s also less expensive. And it works: in fact, 65% of agents’ business comes from their sphere of influence.
Here’s how you can use your sphere of influence to attract new customers and grow your real estate business.
1. Get Organized
Establishing and maintaining client relationships is essential to a real estate agent’s success. But to manage relationships within your sphere of influence and effectively market to them, you first need to create a master list of contacts in a single place that’s organized in a method that works for you.
- Segment your contacts. There’s no right way to segment your list. You could do it by relationship, date of initial contact, or countless other methods as long as you’re able to easily highlight the key differences among them. This will help you identify your priorities and time your communications accordingly. You can organize and segment your contacts in Excel, Google Sheets, or with customer relationship management (CRM) software.
- Prioritize them. Not everyone in your sphere of influence is looking to buy or sell a house, so develop a system of prioritization so you know where to focus your efforts. For example, if your neighbor is contemplating an out-of-state job offer or your hairdresser mentions being in the market for a new home, you may highlight these contacts to signify that they’re your strongest leads.
- Take notes. However you organize your sphere of influence contact list, add a column or section for notes. This is an ideal place to leave reminders to follow up, jot down the names of a potential client’s children to show familiarity with the person, or note a particular neighborhood that a friend may be interested in moving to.
2. Tap into Your Social Network
Social media has changed the game when it comes to growing and reaching your sphere of influence, and real estate agents can’t afford not to take advantage of it. Whether you’re using Facebook or Instagram, here’s how to get the most out of your social media accounts.
- Set up business profiles to gain access to certain features. You may already have a personal presence on social media, but it’s worthwhile either to set up separate business pages or accounts or to switch to a business profile if the social network allows. Business accounts give you access to additional features, such as analytics, and they often also let you run ads to promote your business or home listings.
- Share a mix of personal and professional. 74% of sellers use social media to find their real estate agent, and while they’re looking for experienced agents, they also want to work with someone who’s authentic and relatable.
- Make connections and engage with your audience. Don’t wait for users to comment on your posts or like your photos. Instead, take the first step to interact with friends, neighbors, business associates, and other locals in your area by leaving your own likes and comments on their posts. This shows that you’re interested in the members of your sphere of influence and are not mining them for leads.
- Establish yourself as a local expert. Homebuyers aren’t only looking for a place to live but also for a place to call home, so it’s imperative for you to establish yourself as an expert in the area you work in. For inspiration, take a look at how real estate agent Ian Grossman uses Instagram to provide people with a local’s look at neighborhoods and attractions in Austin, Texas.
- Don’t constantly market yourself. No one wants to follow a page or account that’s constantly trying to sell to them, so put the “social” in social media and use it to engage and have fun in addition to marketing yourself. Check out these tips for effective real estate social media marketing.
3. Use Email
The average person spends more than five hours each week checking email, so reach out to the members of your sphere of influence where they’re already spending their time. Follow these tips to ensure you’re emailing in the most effective way.
- Request permission. We all get enough spam in our inboxes, so don’t add to new contacts’ junk mail by sending them real estate listings or newsletters they haven’t signed up for. Instead, ask for permission to email them. This can be as simple as emailing the owner of a local business you frequent with something along the lines of, “I’m starting an e-newsletter that highlights businesses in the community. I’d love to feature you some time. May I add you to my list?”
- Develop an email marketing strategy. Once you have a list, you need a strategy, so you can effectively market yourself and your business to potential clients. Check out this post from Zendesk to develop an email marketing strategy and find a little inspiration for your real estate business emails.
- Ask for referrals. Referrals are a huge part of a real estate agent’s business, so take the time to ask your sphere of influence to share them. This doesn’t require you to draft a referral-specific email. Instead, simply tack on a sentence like this to emails you’re sending to friends or associates: “Do you know anyone who may be interested in buying or selling a home?”
4. Pick up the Phone
Making calls — especially sales-related calls — can be intimidating, but getting a little voice time with your sphere of influence is an excellent way to connect with people, remind them of your business, and find new customers. The trick to calling your sphere of influence is to avoid being overly salesy or pushy and instead focus on having a conversation you both enjoy.
- Prepare a script. Calling someone up — even someone you know well from your sphere of influence — with the intention of talking business can leave even the most experienced agent tongue-tied, so prepare beforehand by composing a script.
- Make conversation. Don’t launch right into your pitch about why someone should work with you. Instead, take the time to check in with your contact, ask about their work, family, or the things that interest them, and look for a natural segue into talking business.
- Ask for referrals. 91% of customers say they’d give a referral to a real estate agent, but only 11% of agents ever ask for a referral, so take the time to work a quick, “By the way, do you know anyone who might be thinking of purchasing a home in the future?” into the conversation.
- Send a text. Research by InsideSales found that when real estate agents texted newly registered leads, 90% of people opened and responded to the texts within five minutes.
5. Get Involved
The best way to expand your sphere of influence and better connect with the people in it is to work and play alongside them. This not only provides you with an opportunity to find new leads, but it also allows the people in your community to establish a relationship with you, which will help you lay the groundwork for working with them in the future.
- Participate in community events. There’s no better way to expand your sphere of influence and get regular face time with them than by getting involved. This could include helping out with a neighborhood festival or attending a local fundraiser.
- Volunteer with a local nonprofit. Giving back to your community is an ideal way to show that you’re invested in the area you serve, as well as a great way to make new contacts.
- Share your expertise. Start an email newsletter that highlights attractions and events in your community, or begin blogging about topics that would interest potential clients, such as the real estate market in your area, DIY tips for home decorating, or common questions people have about buying or selling a home. By establishing yourself as an expert and sharing your knowledge, people will think of you as the go-to person when they need an agent.
Business Comes from People You Know
As noted above, most of a real estate agent’s business comes from their sphere of influence.
In fact, 64% of home sellers either worked with their previous agent or found an agent through a referral, according to the National Association of Realtors. And 89% of home buyers said they’d work with their real estate agent again or recommend their agent to others, according to that same survey.
So if you want to grow your business, it pays to keep in touch with your sphere of influence and continually nurture those relationships, whether you do it online, on the phone, or in person.