At least twice a year you should make an effort to personally visit each of your sphere of influence members. Why? There is nothing as powerful in business as personal contact. Shaking hands with another person or looking someone in the eye is the human touch aspect of selling that can’t be replaced with a thousand e-mails, postcards, or flyers.
The logistics of this can become a little more complicated. What if you have 500 sphere of influence members? How would you be able to make contact with all these folks twice a year? The reality is that this would be next to impossible because there are only 220 working days in a year. It would mean that you would have to make time to physically go and visit with two sphere members every day. This would be a terrific but in my experience it is just not realistic. I am going to give you a list of seven ways to make this process easier, less time consuming, and far more effective:
- Schedule Sphere of Influence Events
This is a terrific technique to meet with a high number of your sphere of influence in one evening. You will need to send out personal invitations (another reason for contact) and call your top tier group. Invite them to a special event just for them. This event could be a summer barbeque, a year-end party, a Holiday party, a Halloween party or we have seen agents who rent out a movie theater to show a movie.
This is an incredible idea that really works. Who is the center of attention at these events? Your sphere of influence is of course! Do you sell yourself at the event? No! You just have fun and so do your past clients, friends and neighbors. Will every one come to the event? No. That is not the point. The point is that you have invited everyone and they have an opportunity to come. Some agents co-op the event with partners for instance – title companies, pest and dry rot companies, mortgage brokers and other ancillary business. Be sure to let your team members know that the event is for your sphere of influence and not a time for them to party!
Everyone needs to be comfortable using the F.O.R.D. Technique. Go to my website at:
www.CorcoranCoaching.com/Commitment.php for a free copy of “F.O.R.D. Technique.”
- Provide a Seminar
Many agents will invite a local speaker or celebrity to present a seminar to their sphere of influence a couple of times a year. This is a great opportunity to actually build value for your brand. You can help each of your sphere of influence members by providing valuable information.
You may provide a tax seminar in April or a living trust seminar before the end of the year. In both of these cases you could invite a local business owner to present the information. Potential speakers could be a CPA, an accountant or an attorney. These local experts would no doubt speak for free just for the chance of building their own business. Another great event is to have local celebrities such as political leaders, come in to discuss pertinent issues like zoning changes or tax reform.
- Invite Your Sphere of Influence to an Office Open House
This is a terrific idea, especially in smaller towns. As a group you may want to consider having an office open house once a year. Call it a “Thank You” to the community. Each of your agents can then invite his/her own sphere of influence. You can have a barbeque, have the event catered or just have a potluck. The office or agents may choose to extend the invitation beyond their sphere of influence to the whole community. You can also group together and pitch in for group advertising in local real estate guides or newspapers. You may also reach out to the media for some free press. This is a fairly low cost method that can be very effective.
- Special Dinners
Within your sphere of influence there will always be three categories. The categories are:
A: People who give you multiple referrals
B: People who purchase multiple properties
C: Everyone else
Group A is a special group of people who will send you many referrals. The question then becomes should I treat these people special? Many agents say yes.
Although most state laws prohibit you from providing a direct gift for a referral, many agents choose to provide their special friends with a once-a-year dinner. This dinner could be held at an exclusive restaurant or a catered event. The agent, acting as host, can then send out exclusive invitations for this semi-formal affair. (Check Your State Laws) The sphere members are usually encouraged to bring a guest, their spouse or significant other. This is by no means low cost but it can be of high value.
- Annual Equity Updates
An annual equity update is a great way to stay in contact with your sphere of influence although this should be part of a larger sphere program. Not everyone in your sphere of influence will have purchased a home from you.
The way the system works is very simple. When you sell a home you may want to begin to keep detailed records of each sale. Sales price, loan amount, interest rate, down payment and the term of the loan would be some key numbers to record along with the date of closing. Armed with this information you can then use this data as a basis to update your clients on how their investment is building in their home. Remember, it is always a good idea for your sphere to bring along a neighbor or friend to the equity update as well. This way you will be able to meet their guest and add another listing lead to your pipeline!
- Charity Events
What a terrific opportunity to do several things at once. Number one, you can help people in need, second to that you have a great reason to go and visit with your sphere of influence. How? To give you an example lets say that you spearhead the Habitat for Humanity program (www.Habitat.org). You could have a three phase process within in your sphere of influence.
First you could do a mailing announcing your involvement (if nothing else you look like a hero), second you could do a follow up phone call (active contact) inviting your sphere members to the event, third at the event have photos taken of yourself as well as other sphere members involved in the event. Using those photos you could then mail (or e-mail) a success sheet to your sphere members showing them what happened. Be sure to notify your newspaper marketing representative that you are involved with the charity and that the charity would benefit from press releases. Prepare the press releases in advance so that you can give them to your representative to turn into their community news director.
- Special Delivery
For those ambitious souls this one is for you. Plan on taking about a week to accomplish this feat, but you will get referrals as a result of your efforts!
Take some time and bake… and bake…and bake little loaves of pumpkin bread or any other baked food that you are proud of. The kind of loafs that can be baked in little tins four at a time. The baking needs to be done by hand. When you are done with the baking, hand deliver the baked goods along with a bottle of wine from your local winery or gourmet hot chocolate to every person in your special group (people sending you 3 referrals or more a year). Do you think those clients remember to send you referrals every year? Absolutely!
So there you have it – all that is missing is your decision to take action.
Make A Commitment: I will implement one of these strategies in my business and watch my income soar.