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Why are you not getting your share of business from your family and friends?

I have been involved in training and coaching real estate agents and brokers for most of my adult life now.  And I am always confused about how and why real estate professionals forget or ignore those things that are the simplest and easiest avenues to business for themselves.

The first of those sources of business is their own Sphere of Influence (SOI).  According to the National Association of Realtors, 65% of real estate business comes from agents’ SOI – that is their family, friends, neighbors, former clients and other acquaintances.  And yet, the same NAR survey points out that fewer than 10% of real estate agents actually have an effective strategy for marketing to their SOI.

Before we discuss why so many real estate professionals ignore this vital source of business, let’s first look at some more important statistics.

FACT #1: 65% of all real estate business comes from agents’ SOI.

It is worth repeating that almost 2/3 of all business comes from agents’ SOI.  What this means is that not only does 65% of an AGENT’S business come from his/her SOI, it also means that 2/3 of the BROKER’S business comes from their agents’ SOI.

This makes it all the more surprising that more agents do not effectively market to the people who know them.  If agents either do not know how, or do not have the inclination, to have an SOI strategy, you would think that brokers would have systems and/or training in place to make sure that more of their agents were getting this valuable and often easier-to-acquire business.

FACT #2:  Real estate agents have an average of about 400 people in their SOI.

Many of us do not realize how many people we actually know – who know us.  I learned a long time ago when I first started in real estate that the first strategy of success in real estate is to make sure that as many people as possible know you are in real estate and trust you enough to ask you a question when they have one.

Your SOI does not have to be just your family, close friends and real estate clients.  Neighbors, people you know from previous employment, people from church or other civic organizations, the barista who makes your coffee every morning, and perhaps most of all, those “social friends” who know you because of some similar interest on Social Media – these are all opportunities for business. 

Some agents start with fewer than 400, and others with more.  However, once you start a strategy for staying in front of these people, you tend to grow your networks by inviting more people to engage socially.

FACT #3:  1 out of 8 Americans will have a real estate need each year.

Americans are mobile.  They remain in their homes for less than eight years on the average meaning roughly 40 million Americans will have need for your services to buy and/or sell a home this year.  If you are an average agent with roughly 400 people in your SOI, this statistic indicates that an average of 45-50 people you know will have a real estate need each year.  How many of them will you get?

Think about the many people you know who will think about selling their home and/or buying a new one this year. For how many of them would your name come to mind for answering questions, finding out what their home is worth, or understanding what is on the market in the price range and communities for which they are interested?  It is important to remember that in most cases, you are not the only real estate professional these people know.

And while 9 out of 10 agents are not marketing effectively to the people you both know, you are relying on sheer luck to get a shot at their business.  Remember, 1 out of 10 of the agents they know ARE in fact staying in front of them. And even if you are fortunate enough that none of the agents they know have got on board with an SOI marketing system, how are you going to stand out from the rest of the real estate agents they know?

If you understand the facts, you can build a stream of quality leads.

So…. Let’s look at what these statistics could mean for you:

If you have 400 people in your SOI, and 1 out of 8 of them will have a real estate need each year, that means 50 people you know will have a real estate need in any given year (if you keep meeting new people and adding to your SOI, this number will continue to increase year-to-year).  If all 50 of these people are at least aware that you are a professional real estate agent, and you are available to provide helpful information and answer questions, how many of these transactions might you get?  On top of those transactions, how many referrals might you get?

And of course, you have to ask yourself this question as well:  If you do not have a strategy for staying top of mind for these people, how many of those 50 transactions are you likely to get?

Now let’s discuss why agents do not have a strategy for marketing to their best source of business.  Here are my top three excuses, and the ways to overcome them.

EXCUSE #1:  You don’t want to bother your friends and family “hassling them” for business.

Answer:  Then don’t.  I have been teaching agents to market to their SOI’s and grow their SOI’s for many years.  Not once have I ever indicated they should “hassle” friends or family for business. And while some coaches and trainers do in fact teach agents to solicit business from their SOI, I have never had agents contact a friend, family member, or even a former client, for the sole purpose of asking for business.

Yes, you should stay in contact with the people you know (and you should be utilizing a CRM; if you are not, you are losing business…. guaranteed).  You should be reaching out to your SOI, asking them how they are doing, seeing how things are going, and of course seeing if they have any questions that could help them with their homes.  You can always end a conversation with, “Before I go, do you have any questions about the market, or any upcoming real estate needs with which I can help you?  Do you know anyone who is thinking about buying or selling a house?”

The point is that asking for business never has to be the purpose of your contact.  You are a real estate professional and being helpful and offering your insight and services is what you should be doing for family and friends.  But you never have to “hassle” them to be their Realtor. 

EXCUSE #2:  Immediate gratification

Automated strategies for marketing to your SOI take some time before you see the results.  When you first start posting and engaging on Social Media, sending e-mail newsletters and greetings, mailing postcards and letters and even calling people in your SOI, you are not to immediately be in the front of their minds when they have a real estate need.  It takes 25-40 “touches” per year to make sure the people in your SOI remember you when they think about real estate.

Many agents I know will set up some e-mail campaigns and use a Social Media posting system to try and get more business.  After a month or two, they say “This doesn’t work! I am wasting my money!”  Well, if you stop after a few months, you DID waste your money.  Have some patience and let the system work.

For years, I have tracked analytics for agents who have gone on one of our many Social Media programs.  After the first few months, Social engagement starts to marginally increase.  After six months, there tends to be a big jump in social engagement (leads), and then again after nine months.  After twelve months of consistent posting and engaging, agents tend to get a steady stream of questions, requests and leads.

Increase engagement and leads with your SOI each month

Remember, your SOI has been seeing other agents, and you don’t stand out until you have consistently and professionally continued to provide information, engage with them and offer them services and/or answers to their questions. 

Take the time to do it right, and after 6-9 months, you should have a steady dose of Social engagement that can turn into transactions year after year.

EXCUSE #3:  Success (Yup, that’s right, Success)

One of my favorite business quotes comes from writer/speaker John Maxwell.  He says, “The greatest detriment to tomorrow’s success is today’s success.” John Maxwell had to have had real estate agents in mind when he coined this mantra in February 2019 during a podcast of ‘How to Be Awesome at Your Job’.

TheSOISystem.com, a division of PRISM Real Estate Photography and Media Services Inc., now offers an SOI system that can work for agents for the rest of their careers.  The cost is less than $400 to get you set up and looking professional, and anywhere from $0 to $75 (depending on how and what you want type of content you want and what services you already have available from your brokerage). 

I have had agents who are doing pretty well tell me, “I am getting the business from my SOI. I don’t need to invest any more in it.”  But when pushed for how much of their business are they really getting – and more to the point, not getting – from their former clients, family and friends, many of them finally realize how much easy money they are missing out on.  No agent wants to leave money on the table, even the ones who are doing well.

SOI systems can, and should, be simple, affordable, and automated.  There is absolutely no reason not to have a system for staying in front of and engaging your best source of business.  

As the President of PRISM Real Estate Photography and Media Services Inc., I created and implemented a simple, affordable and effective system that any agent can use to engage their SOI and get business from them.  Our latest division (www.thesoisystem.com) does only ONE package of services for real estate professionals.  We have an impressive team of marketing specialists that all they do is design branding, create pages and accounts, and set up posting, engagement, ads, and lead capture.

Our complete system is less than $400 and will completely change your future in real estate.  We don’t hassle your SOI.  And while you may not get a lot of leads immediately, in a short time you will have an effective stream of income-producing engagement for the rest of your career.  Even the most successful agents will get more business from the people they know with an automated SOI marketing system.

There is no reason to continue to lose valuable business. Click [HERE] to get more information and to download a coupon for $100 off your SOI System package.  If you have any questions or comments feel free to reach out to me directly.  (Andy Witt, President, PRISM, 239-443-6065, andy@realestate-guru.com/andy@thesoisystem.comwww.realestate-guru.com/www/thesoisystem.com).