Here are a few of my thoughts on the subject:
- Your initial sphere of influence, especially for a Realtor, will strongly affect the time it takes to establish your business or service.
- The rate at which you add names to your sphere of influence will strongly affect the growth of your business.
- Your ability to generate referrals from your sphere of influence will strongly impact the success of your business.
In an earlier entry I provided a list to help build a sphere of influence and I am sure the types of people who qualify as your sphere of influence would surprise most people. Why is your hair stylist in your sphere of influence? Not because they plan to buy or sell a house or will use your product or service, but because they know you and if someone is looking for a product or service you offer then it is likely your hair stylist will refer YOU. (See also my entry on Alliances)
If you believe as I do that people genuinely want to help other people and at the same time build their credibility with their friends and associates, then you can understand the following:
- how important it is to educate your sphere of influence about what you do and the type of clients you are interested in
- how important it is to inform them of changes in your business or new items of interest so they can sound better informed
- how important it is to remind them constantly that your business is built on referrals
- how important it is to reward them in some manner for their referrals
To help your sphere of influence help you you need a firm grasp on the type of client or customer you are looking for. Ask yourself the following questions:
What characteristics do most of the clients tend to have?
What industry, demographic or geographic characteristics do my potential clients have?
How will my sphere of influence identify potential clients?
Carrying the hair stylist example a little further I always work what I do into the conversation with Donna my hair stylist so she knows that I am actively seeking new clients that require assistance with some form of marketing. While I cannot trace a direct lead back to her I know it is only a matter of time before she mentions my name and a referral is born.
Who can refer clients to you?
Make a list of the best source of referrals from your sphere of influence such as:
Civic, charitable or religious organizations
Social or recreational organizations
Business or trade organizations
Real estate professionals
Other financial professionals
Think of ways that are most effective at reaching your sphere of influence?
Membership in specific organizations
Think of events that might work to reach your sphere of influence?
Breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings
Hosted social functions
Client appreciation events
Visits to client businesses
Seminars for clients
Presentations for community, business or professional organizations
Think about community activities and groups that you might belong to or should join that will help reach your sphere of influence.
social or political organizations
For any business, but specifically for a Realtor I cannot stress enough that the most important source of business is from people you know and referrals from people you know. Getting total strangers to work with you or use your product or service is vastly more difficult than attracting people you know or who know someone you know.
What are your next steps to generating referrals from your sphere of influence?
- List your sphere of influence.
- Contact your sphere of influence in the manner you feel is most effective.
- Educate your sphere of influence.
- Earn and then ask your sphere of influence for their referrals.
- Contact your sphere of influence on a regular basis.
- Thank your sphere of influence.
- Refer people to your sphere of influence.