Tired of going to the same stuffy functions and pushing your business cards on people? Good news; you don't have to. Try a new tactic for keeping up with your sphere and growing your business.
Would you like to win listings with no competition from other real estate agents? I'm going to share a tried and true way to make that happen. As agents, we all know someone who is getting ready to list, or, more importantly, someone who knows someone getting ready to list. How do you get them to refer you as the real estate agent?
Growing your sphere of influence takes time and a good deal of work, but I’ve found a way you can really grow your sphere and have some fun doing it — plus get information you won't get just by showing up at the local chamber once a year and saying, “Do you know anybody who's going to buy or sell? Here's my card.”
The truth is, that technique can come across as pushy and outdated. Furthermore, that's what people do in multi-level marketing schemes. They pressure their friends; they pressure the person in the checkout line; they pressure the person who used to babysit the kids. In short, they're annoying.
Instead, you need a better strategy that plays out more naturally. Start by taking 50 people out of your sphere — the top 50 now — then figure out a way to meet them once every quarter and touch base.
Maybe you’re thinking to yourself, Joe, how is that different from hassling people in the way you were just describing? But hear me out — if you spread it out naturally, it's really not that hard. You can build notes into your CRM and schedule out who you're going to catch up with for coffee or happy hour, and when you’re going to make it happen. With some members of your sphere, you might encounter them at a ballgame, at school, at church, and a multitude of other places. Make a point to check in with them: “Hey, I just wanted to connect. Haven’t talked to you in a while. Do you want to go grab coffee?” Most people are going to say yes.
Once you have certain members of your sphere on rotation, you're going to start adopting the members of their sphere, as well. Instead of growing your network by ones and twos, you're getting 50 and then another 50. You’re adopting their sphere into yours and doubling or tripling your sphere over the course of a year.
What’s the best part about catching up with someone for coffee or happy hour as opposed to a formal networking event or chamber meeting? It's casual. People discuss information in a casual conversation when they don't feel pressured, and you'll get information that is valuable to you. But be warned — this won’t happen if you sit down and say, “Okay! Let's talk business.” That doesn't work. But you can casually sneak in stuff about how their business is going and how they feel about where they live and their area of town. A lot of times, if you can steer the conversation that way, things will come up like a neighbor moving to a different development or someone on the street moving.
Sitting down and having face-to-face time with members of your sphere can give you a big advantage. Afternoon coffee or wine and beer is also a great time to conclude the grind of your own day when you’re getting worn out and need to recharge. Meeting up with members of your sphere is a more low-key way to generate business.
So what do you do after the meeting? If something pertinent was discussed, jot down some notes and add your notes to the CRM so you remember to follow up later. Then, send an email or text that says “I enjoyed catching up; thank you.”
You can also say something like:
I remember you mentioned your neighbors are getting ready to sell. Have you talked to them about it? I would love a referral.
They will likely respond favorably and give you some information, since at this point you’ve built trust and rapport with them. I know this takes time, and it's not as sexy as social media ads or the latest and greatest thing, but to be honest with you, those things are losing their ability to produce results because that's what everyone does. If you can shift to building trust and rapport the old-school way and learn how to grow your sphere, you'll be far ahead of those agents who are just blasting news feeds and pounding the pavement.
Basically, who doesn’t want to build business momentum and grow their sphere of influence while enjoying beer or coffee? Now, if you're not a people person, this may not be your strong point — but if you're not a people person, let’s face it; you're in the wrong industry. I hope this inspires you to go out there, grow your sphere, and grow your business.