Sphere of Influence – SOI Real Estate Tactics
Some things will never change when it comes to real estate. The importance of Sphere of Influence prospecting is likely one of those things.
And if you’re not hip to the jargon, here’s what Sphere of Influence (or SOI for short) refers to:
Your SOI is the group of people you have existing social or professional relationships with who could potentially become real estate clients or refer you to clients in the future.
Your SOI is an invaluable resource when it comes to building your real estate business. Why? Because these are the people you’ve already established a connection with, meaning they’re more likely to trust you thus want to work with you.
In this post, we’ll be sharing our top SOI tactics that will help you build lasting relationships, engage past clients, and generate referrals. These efforts require a personal touch, so it’s essential to be genuine and show appreciation for your clients and SOI. With a little bit of creativity and effort, you’ll find that your SOI can be a goldmine for your real estate business. Want to dive in to a specific SOI real estate tactic – pick from these (or just read on):
- Direct contact
- Drive-by Check-ins
- Social media
- Client Appreciation Events
- Gifts & Cards
- Client Club
- Don’t Fear the Reconnection
In today’s digital age, it’s easy to rely on email and social media to stay in touch. Sure a 👍, thoughtful Instagram comment OR a birthday DM is nice…but a personal phone call is going to go a lot further when it comes to nurturing a relationship. Can’t always call? Even a text message can feel a bit more personal than a social media interaction. But whenever possible make the phone call. It creates that two way real-time interaction that goes a long way in fostering a strong connection with your SOI.
When reaching out to past clients, it’s crucial to approach it as a friendly conversation rather than a business solicitation. Ask how they’re doing, what’s new in their life, and take an interest in their personal well-being.
If you need help warming up that personal convo, remember FROG – which stands for Family, Recreation, Occupation, and Goals. Touching on these topics will not only make the interaction feel more genuine, but it will also deepen the relationship with your client outside of the context of a real estate transaction.
Lastly, when making direct contact, make sure to listen more than you talk. Show that you’re interested in their opinion and what they have to say. If the conversation naturally moves towards business (it usually will!) then great. If not don’t worry there’s still time in the relationship to have more direct business convos.
If you thought a phone call gave the personal touch that can develop a relationship, well hang onto your hats! The most effective way to strengthen relationships within your Sphere of Influence is through in-person meetings. And what better way to do this than with a “drive-by” check-in? Yes it’s almost cringe-worthy to think you’ll be intruding on someone’s perfectly planned day like this, but there’s a reason why many top agents find success with this tactic.
Drive-by check-ins are an excellent opportunity for realtors to touch base with past clients in a more casual and personal setting.
It’s as simple as texting or calling and saying “Hey I was in the area and wanted to say ‘Hi’ if you have a moment”. Guess what, even if the person isn’t available (often that’s the case), the gesture goes a long way. For most it’s perceived as more thoughtful than a phone call to catch up.
The beauty of drive-by check-ins is that they appear like you’re going far out of your way to maintain a relationship…but it’s not as hard as it seems.
And because most agents don’t do the check-in, it sets you apart. By taking the time to check in on your clients informally, you’re showing them that you care about their wellbeing and that you’re invested in the community surrounding your business.
If you’re not sure where to start, try sending a text or giving a call to your past clients to let them know you’re in the area. Ask how their family is doing, and see how the community has changed since they last lived there. You might as well make the most out of your time while waiting to show a property, and an impromptu drive-by check-in can go a long way in fostering relationships that will benefit your business in the long run.
Remember, people do business with those they know, like and trust, so building and maintaining relationships should always be at the forefront of your business strategy. Drive-by check-ins are just one of the many ways you can nurture your Sphere of Influence and generate referral business. Give it a try and see the impact it can have on your relationship with your clients!
For better or worse, social media has become a huge part of our daily lives. So it’s important for agents to leverage social media to maintain contact with their SOI. It’s so important that many agents consider social media a top source for leads. By building your digital sphere of influence. Here are a few ways to strengthen these connections:
- Add/follow past clients on platforms such as Instagram, LinkedIn, or Facebook. This is foundational and the rest of the points require that you’ve done this.
- Create posts targeting your SOI on your social media accounts. Share educational content that could be helpful to them. Anything from home decor ideas to market trends in their area. The goal here is to subtly remind them that you’re in business just in case a real estate need comes up.
- Engage in posts from your SOI. That means liking, commenting, and sharing their posts whenever appropriate. It shows that you care about what’s going on in their life and that you’re still there as a resource, friend and/or professional resource. Btw the byproduct is that others see your engagement and your audience grows!
- Host video conversations (aka “lives” on relevant topics). All the major social platforms have this capability (including YouTube). Consider hosting a virtual round-table discussion on the state of the current market, or ways to get your home ready to sell, or even do a drive-by neighborhood tour. This forum will allow you to not only connect directly with your SOI on real estate related topics, and establish your credibility as a real estate expert.
Nowadays, social media is required to stay top of mind and remain relevant in the growing digital sphere of influence. Granted it’s not as intimate as connecting in the real world but connecting with your real estate SOI via social media is more efficient and scales in ways that real world interactions aren’t able.
Client Appreciation Events
Organizing Client Appreciation Events is an excellent way to show your past clients that you appreciate their business and care about maintaining a relationship with them. Moreover, such events can be a lot of fun!
Client appreciation events can range from more planned out events with venues and RSVPs to smaller-scale get-togethers with just a handful of past clients. These events enable you to create a relaxed atmosphere where you can interact with your clients on a personal level, catch up on their recent life events, and find out if they may need help with any real estate-related issues currently.
One of the benefits to a larger scale client appreciation event is the opportunity to connect in-person with your real estate SOI. But here’s the bonus: not only can you reconnect with past clients, but you can encourage them to bring friends and family who can be future prospects. Therefore, the more past clients you have in attendance, the higher the chance to generate new business leads.
In addition to the personal connections, events also showoff your marketing skills and general competency pulling off a complicated production.
And don’t forget that as you mingle and chat with your clients, you can subtly touch on business uncovering if anyone’s looking to move or has a friend/relative looking for real estate advice. Make sure to have your local real estate knowledge dialed-in just in case some tough real estate questions come up too! Providing valuable market information can further establish your expertise and build trust between you and past and prospective clients.
In summary, client appreciation events can be a fantastic tool for real estate agents to engage with their past clients, build upon relationships, and generate new business leads.
Gifts and Cards
Gifts and cards are an excellent way to show your appreciation for your clients and stay top of mind. By sending a thoughtful gift or card, you’re not only celebrating the occasion and strengthening the relationship… but you’re also taking advantage of the law of reciprocity. Devious right? But it’s true: clients are more likely to take a business call with you if they appreciate you especially if they feel like they need to reciprocate after a thoughtful gesture.
When it comes to gifts, it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. It could be as simple as a handwritten note or a small gift basket with their favorite snacks and a thank-you note. You could also consider a more substantial gift, such as a bottle of wine or a gift card to a local restaurant. The key is to make it personalized and thoughtful, so they know you put effort into selecting the gift.
Cards are another great way to stay in touch with your clients and show your appreciation. Sending a card on special occasions such as birthdays, holidays, or even just the anniversary of their home purchase is always a nice gesture. But if you’re like most real estate agents, finding the time to send cards can be a challenge. That’s where services like Handwrytten come in – and Curb Hero users can get $25 in Handwrytten credits for free! Handwrytten uses robots that write out and send cards to your clients on your behalf. They look just like regular handwriting so have a very personal feel. The beauty is that these can be fully automated and connected to your CRM so your “thoughtfulness” technically doesn’t require any ongoing thought. SUPER devious right?!
Overall, gifting and sending cards are easy ways to show your appreciation for your clients and continue to build relationships with them. It doesn’t have to be anything costly, but the effort you put into it will go a long way in establishing you as a trustworthy and reliable agent.
Client Club or Membership
One of the most effective ways to stay top of mind with your SOI is by offering them exclusive perks or prizes.
There are a few benefits of a client club or membership. First, it makes clients feel special and therefore value your relationship more. Second, it will give you an opportunity to keep in touch with your clients and maintain meaningful relationships with them. Third, it’s a fantastic way to generate referrals in a natural way (see disclaimer below* on this). Your clients will be more likely to refer their friends and family to you if they are incentivized by a membership and/or winning something.
*you should make sure this doesn’t violate any rules before formally creating a club or membership based on referrals
Creating a client club or membership doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. You can start with just the client appreciation event (see above) and then layer on perks, drawings, and other incentives. You can also create a Facebook group or send out a monthly newsletter to keep them informed about upcoming events, perks and of course industry news. The key is to be consistent and offer value to your clients.
In conclusion, starting a client club or membership is an excellent way to build a sense of community and maintain relationships with your past clients. By doing so, you will be creating opportunities to generate referrals and stay top of mind with your SOI. Remember, the goal is to offer value and show your clients that you care about them beyond just a business transaction. With a little bit of effort and creativity, you can create a loyal following that will support your real estate business for years to come.
Don’t Fear the Reconnection
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, relationships with clients can go sour due to circumstances…both inside and outside your control. Perhaps you missed your annual appreciation event OR you needed a social media detox. It happens! But it’s crucial to get back in the mix as soon as possible.
Some suggest sending an apology after a lapse in staying in touch with your real estate SOI…but it’s usually not necessary. Most people are inundated with so much content and emails they usually won’t notice that they haven’t heard from you in a little. And similarly many people are so busy that they know how life can get in the way of maintaining connections…so they don’t expect.
So our recommendation is don’t apologize…just resume engaging with your SOI like nothing ever happened. If asked directly you can cop to your reason for not staying in touch, but that’s up to you!
Hopefully this helps you strengthen your Sphere of Influence (SOI) in the real estate business and continue to bring in business from this valuable group of people. Whether it’s calls, text messages, “drive-by” check-ins, social media engagement or hosting client appreciation events, there’s lots of options to choose from to stay top of mind with your real estate SOI.