SOI = sphere of influence
It’s every single connection we have with: family, friends, school/college friends, previous business associates, softball/soccer/running buddies, etc.
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 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.
Your kid’s SOI (no, really!)…
Your children have an SOI, and by extension that is your SOI as well. School teachers, music teachers, coaches, 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.
You may have Facebook friends that you don’t consider to be in your SOI even Twitter followers. Really? Yes, 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.
It seems staggeringly obvious, and yet 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 forget about them 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, if they aren’t moving soon they may 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. Yes even the guy in the next cubicle who used to drive you insane with spontaneous drum solos utilizing pens and post-its (We've all done it), he still needs a place to live — go sell him a house!
Find a local alumni association and go to its events. More people to include in your SOI.
You are a local business person. That 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, the friendly bank teller, your CPA, and your attorney — they are in your SOI. Anyone that you regularly do business with should be included in your SOI database. You have an immediate connection and common point of interest with other local business people. Take advantage of it! 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.
Your SOI is a important piece of business you "own"…
You need to nurture, grow and develop it into the powerful tool it can be, your SOI can be a huge source of repeat and referral business over time. Treat your SOI with attention and care, and you can reap the rewards for years to come.
Don’t hound your SOI contacts relentlessly, sending emails pronouncing that you love their referrals.
Do formulate a plan to both stay in touch with your current SOI and continue to expand it.
There is an age-old technique of passing out X number of business cards a day and it still 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?
Create a separate email distribution list for your SOI, and give them “news” first. My favorite? add your SOI contacts to a Facebook list. It’s the most efficient way to manage your Facebook friends and utilize SOI potential.