A National Association of Realtors (NAR) survey has found a key difference between agents who list 20 properties or more a year versus those who only list in the single digits: Successful agents invest more time meeting with those in their sphere of influence.
It’s a smart (and profitable) item to have on your to-do list because NAR also found that most homeowners listed with an agent they knew from a previous transaction or who was referred or recommended by someone they knew.
So it turns out, your sphere of influence – family, friends, business associates, acquaintances, past clients – are worth their weight in gold. Ignore this group at your own peril.
What’s particularly troubling to me is that I meet agents regularly who rarely take advantage of all that their sphere of influence can do for them and their real estate business. In short, a solid sphere of influence, used effectively, can sustain your business for the rest of your career.
The key is to understand the dynamics of influence and how to use it with your sphere. Psychologist, marketing consultant and author, Robert Cialdini, has listed the following principles of influence that can help you turn your sphere of influence into your own personal sales force:
1. Reciprocity – When someone does us a favor, we’re compelled to reciprocate. Think about the last time someone bought you a gift. Didn’t you tuck it away in your brain that you’ll need to return this favor at some point in the future? Sure you did. We all do that. Scratch your sphere’s back and they’ll scratch yours.
2. Commitment and consistency – People will behave in ways consistent with their own past behavior or commitments they’ve made. Your past clients want to be consistent. This is why they’re likely to refer your services to others.
3. Social proof – People behave the same way as those around them, especially when they perceive those people to be similar to themselves. In one experiment, a group of people were told to face the back of the elevator. When people not in on the experiment entered the elevator, they too faced the back for no other reason than to do what the others were doing. So, use testimonials of people in your farm area and prospects will think, “Hmm, Julie and Jim used that Realtor, maybe I should, too.”
4. Liking – People are more readily influenced by people they like, including those similar to them. Whenever you meet with people, always stress the ways in which you’re alike. In the past, I’ve written about mirroring those you talk with in person. If they rest their elbow on the table, you do that, too. It’s a kind of subliminal way of telling that person, “I’m like you, you can trust me.”
5. Authority – People are more readily influenced by people in positions of authority. Look for ways to establishing yourself as the expert in real estate among your sphere by sharing cutting edge information with them, either via newsletter, seminars, social media etc.
How well-defined is your sphere of influence? How much time per week or month do you spend communicating with your sphere? Do you have a plan that relates directly to your sphere and how you can best use it to help your business grow?