Your Sphere of Influence: A Reliable Pipeline for Your Real Estate Business

One of the biggest pieces of advice we give to new brokerages is to use their personal connections to get their first sale.

Therefore, it stands to reason that the more personal connections you have and the better they are, the more chance you have of landing a deal.

This doesn’t just apply to new brokerages; people are more likely to recommend or work with someone they know and like.

These relationships are often referred to as your “sphere of influence.” According to the National Association of Realtors, realtors get almost 20% of their business this way.

This means that by growing and maintaining your sphere of influence, you can ensure that you have a reliable pipeline of new deals and real estate referrals coming in.

In this article, we’ll explain how to do this. 

What is a sphere of influence and why is it important for real estate agents?

Your sphere of influence is your network of personal and industry connections. The stronger your relationship with people in your network, the more influence you will have over them. 

Improving your sphere of influence is important because you can ask more from people who you have a strong relationship with. 

If you’ve read our article on how to start your own brokerage, you’ll know that your sphere of influence is vital when starting a new real estate business.

When you start out, you’ll need to make your first sale as soon as you can. But you’ll face a major hurdle: no one will have heard of your brokerage. This means that to begin with, customers won’t come to you—you’ll have to find them.

One of the best ways of doing this is to use your sphere of influence. You could ask for referrals from:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Former colleagues
  • Your contacts from the local market
  • Neighbors and people from the local community

Example: Asking for referrals

Imagine you were looking for a buyer for an extensive ranch property. If you attend a weekly networking event with your local real estate association you could ask some of your contacts there. 

This approach is likely to be successful because you have a face-to-face relationship with people at the event and they will trust you with their contacts.

On the other hand, sending a generic message asking if anyone knows a buyer via your social media accounts is less likely to be successful. You may not have a face-to-face relationship with these people and the impersonal nature of the request will be less effective. 

How to expand your sphere of influence 

Each relationship you build could result in several deals and could be worth millions of dollars. 

Therefore, growing your sphere of influence is vital to your brokerage’s success. 

Luckily, you can proactively grow your sphere of influence. In this section, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide to doing this. 

Write down and segment ALL your connections

Begin by writing down every person in your sphere of influence. You don’t need to name them, you can just provide a generic description of them.

Really challenge yourself to think of as many people as possible. Think about people you could get to know or people that you could be introduced to.

You should segment your list into different groups that represent these relationships. This will help you target them with relevant, personalized communication.

For example, imagine you were looking for seller referrals. You probably wouldn’t approach your list of prospective buyers. These people don’t want to sell and haven’t done business with you before, so approaching them wouldn’t be relevant.

But you would definitely approach family and friends. In this case, a phone call or asking in person would be appropriate. An email may be too impersonal and formal. 

Get networking

Face-to-face relationships are still the best kind in the real estate industry. The way to make them is to get out into the world and meet people.

Here are some networking tips:

Join professional real estate agent bodies

Your local real estate association is likely to run events for networking and professional development. Attending these events will help you grow your sphere of influence and develop as a professional. 

You might think that meeting other real estate agents and brokers won’t lead to any sales because these people are your competition. But this isn’t the case.

Most real estate agents focus on a specific niche. They may get clients that they can’t or do not want to work with. In these situations they will need to have someone they trust that they can pass the client on to.

Another benefit of meeting a real estate agent is that they could become future employees. Finding a good real estate agent is tough, so you should always be on the lookout for good talent—even if you don’t currently need it.

Here’s a good example from Greater Nashville Realtors. They hold summer mixer events, golf tournaments and awards ceremonies. All of these are great ways to meet fellow realtors. 

Join local business groups

Don’t just focus on building relationships within real estate. Get involved with your wider business community. 

For example, you could become a member of your local chamber of commerce, your city’s trade association, or even more general business networking groups. 

This generates leads and allows you to meet other professionals like lawyers or accountants that could help with your business. 

Here’s an example from the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. The organization provides the usual networking opportunities. But you can also choose to get involved with something more meaningful, like joining a policy board. 

For example, the infrastructure, housing and land-use committee aims to improve the local economy by opening more land up to housing. This could be a good use of your skills and knowledge and a great way to build meaningful relationships.

Get involved in the community

Get involved in your local church or community center, or a local charity. This will help you meet people and develop close, personal relationships. It will also be rewarding for you on a personal level.

Being authentic is particularly important here. If you’re handing out business cards to everyone at church and telling them about your latest hot property, you’ll be unpopular and unlikely to be successful.

Choose something that is close to your heart and do it to help people, fulfill yourself and meet like-minded people. An opportunity will come up naturally in time.

Build a sphere of influence real estate system

Once you’ve started networking, you’ll need a system for communicating with your sphere of influence and growing it digitally. 

Get a CRM

The first thing to do is get a real estate CRM. This allows you to store and update your contacts list and automate common sales and marketing functions.

We recommend you begin using your preferred paid-for real estate CRM platform as soon as you can. That’s because free versions have limitations and switching can be difficult and time consuming. 

We suggest using either Hubspot or Follow Up Boss.

Become a trusted source on the real estate market

Very few real estate brokerages do content marketing well, so it’s a great way to grow your sphere of influence by building authority.

Most brokerages simply blast clients with outdated listings or emails telling them that the market is ‘hot.’ This information is useless to the average person, and it may even be frustrating and demoralizing for buyers struggling to find a home.

Instead you should focus on creating content that buyers and sellers will find genuinely useful. This could include:

  • Buying and selling tips 
  • Training courses and webinars 
  • Listing alerts
  • Industry newsletters

Use email marketing

Once you have your content in place, it’s time to deliver it to your contacts. Email marketing is very effective and is a great way to improve your sphere of influence.

89% of marketers use email marketing as their primary strategy for generating leads. 

The great thing about email marketing is that it can be connected to your CRM and then used to send highly personalized messages to your different contact groups. 

We’ve included a guide to running real estate email marketing campaigns in this article.

Remember, it’s important to think about whether email is the most natural way to contact the person.

If you have never met the person, a targeted mass email might suffice. However, if you have worked with the person professionally a call or a personalized email would be better. If the person is a friend or family member an email may not be appropriate at all.

Use social media

Not every relationship needs to be close and face to face. You can build relationships online via social media that can lead to sales. In some cases, these may even transition to personal or face-to-face relationships. 

One good tactic is to join local real estate groups on social media platforms. These could be places where potential clients ask questions or even look for a real estate agent to help them. 

Reddit is particularly good for this, as most cities have a subreddit dedicated to their local real estate market. 

As with other networking opportunities, make sure you are authentic. Use social media groups to answer people’s questions and find ways to help them. 

Here’s an example of a subreddit dedicated to California real estate. As you can see, the first couple of posts are questions which, as a real estate agent, you could answer.

If you want to push sales and tell followers about your successes, use your brokerage’s own feed or page. This allows people to find out more about your company, without you forcing it on them.

We’ve written guides to several social media channels for realtors, including:

Automate content 

Managing your real estate sphere of influence will become more challenging the larger it grows. Networking, emails, social media posts and creating new content will all take time and effort.

We recommend using automation tools to handle as many common functional tasks as possible. 

Automation should be reserved for less personal communication. For example, you shouldn’t automate messages to family and friends. But it’s fine to automate a newsletter which goes out to everyone.

Stay in touch with clients

Once you’ve sold or bought a property, don’t just forget about the client. If you’ve done a good job they will appreciate your help, and will work with you again the next time they want to buy or sell a property. 

According to ATTOM Research, the average length of home ownership is eight years. If you stay in touch with the client during that time you can build a meaningful relationship with them. You’ll be the first person they think of when it comes to new deals and giving referrals. 

An expensive mistake

By staying in touch with clients, you are building a future pipeline of real estate sales for your brokerage and ensuring its success. 

Unfortunately, most realtors simply add their clients to their email database and send them the same generic content that everyone else receives.

This is not a good way to maintain your sphere of influence. Your existing customers are your best relationships and should be treated that way.

Meet Archie

With this in mind, we’ve created a new tool to help you make your past clients feel cared for and considered.

Archie is a new kind of follow-up system designed to stay in touch with all of your past closings.

Each year for eight years Archie will automatically send your clients:

  • Up to four “how are you?” check-in texts 
  • Follow-up emails (if there is no reply to the texts)
  • Personalized, handwritten milestone and anniversary cards

This gives you the convenience of automation with the personalization that is so important in maintaining your real estate sphere of influence. Each relationship can lead to lots of referral business and follow-on deals. This means that Archie will generate more business and pay for itself several times over. 

Find out more about how Archie can help you.