Blanche Evans is a writer/editor and CEO of evansEmedia. Formerly, she was a senior editor with Realty Times, where she was named by REALTOR® Magazine as one of the most influential people in the real estate industry.
Who Falls Within Your Sphere of Influence?
Looking for new business? It might be closer than you think.
August 1, 2002
As a new salesperson, one of the first tasks your manager will instruct you to carry out is to contact your sphere of influence and tell everyone in it that you are now a real estate professional and would like their business and referrals. Your sphere is where you will most likely be get your first sales, so it’s important for you to know how large your sphere really is--it's all the contacts you've ever made!
If you are like most real estate professionals, your sphere consists strongly of your family and friends. But the sphere is really much larger than you realize. It can include everyone whose lives you touch in the most major or minor ways.
You need these names to prospect for business, because you won't sell any homes if no one knows who you are in the real estate business. You have to pick up the phone, compose e-mails or fill out postcards, and let people know what you do for a living. And then you have to remind everyone you know month after month that you are available and eager to do business.
Everyone? Yes, everyone. That can be an overwhelming thought, so you need to organize all those people into manageable lists with their names, contact information, and personal data. Every contact should have a full name, address, day and evening phone, cell phone (if available), work address, business and personal e-mail addresses (marked with which is preferred), immediate family member names, birthdays, and personal facts. You should have a record of dates on which you contact these people. If you have a contact management program for your computer, you should input this information as soon as possible, so you can start sending e-mail listing alerts, newsletters, market conditions reports, e-cards or whatever follow-up tools you have chosen to stay in front of your contacts.
Start with the easiest people to reach--your family and friends. Contact everybody who has earned an entry in your address book and tell them that you are in the real estate business and are looking for new business and/or referrals, then tell them how you can be contacted. Spend at least one to two hours a day calling people you know. Make this a daily habit.
Next are acquaintances, people you see infrequently, but wouldn't consider close friends. This might include neighbors, church and club members, parents of your children's friends, and others. Your circle of service providers should also be included, such as your banker/teller, dry cleaner, mechanic, stock broker, clothing salesperson, and grocery clerk, among others.
This list may be more difficult to develop; you don't call these people without a reason like you do close family and friends,. Put them on your contact list anyway. If you have trouble thinking of them, take out your datebook and see what your errands are in a typical week. Get into the habit of asking names at each stop and remember to put them into your contact manager. Don't prejudge and assume that someone in a service position may not be able to afford your services. The college girl serving you Frappacino may be closer to buying a condominium than you think.
Next, build up to people with you may have lost contact or don't see as frequently, such as school chums, past co-workers, and friends of friends. To jog your memory, get out old employee lists or school directories that you may have lying around.
Very soon, you will work your way up to contacting people you don't know, but these lists of people will give you plenty to keep you busy for a while. Remember, daily contacts are a must to build your business. Getting into the habit of making those daily calls will help you become a true professional faster. Prospecting is a numbers game, sooner or later, you will hit upon someone who needs your services, and the more that need you, the more referrals you have. That's how a real estate business is built from the ground up.
(c) Copyright 2002 Realty Times. Reprinted with permission.
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