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Real Estate: How to Market to Your Sphere of Influence

Jul 18, 2010

I’ve read a few blog posts lately where real estate agents discuss how they are spending their ad dollars. Many agents made comments on the posts and shared their ideas. Here are a few things that were on the suggestion list: direct mail, blogging, Internet websites, social media, Craigslist, signs, gifts (key chains, pens, calendars, etc.), cards to neighborhoods (just sold/just listed), newsletters, sphere ads (gifts, sponsorships), and pay-per-click ads.

This is a pretty comprehensive list, although I am sure that many agents have a few other tricks up their sleeve that have led to great success. One item that was glaringly absent from the list was a focus on the sphere of influence.

Marketing to your sphere of influence always proves to be a significant source of future business. It must be done. It must be done. It must be done thoroughly and regularly.

Like clockwork, you must target and work your sphere. The most success that I have ever observed in real estate came from two monthly mailers to the sphere and a minimum of one phone call per month to each individual in the sphere of influence. If your sphere members use the Internet, you can add the Internet to the mix and/or substitute it for the mailers.

There are many computer programs available for maintaining your data. Please comment below if you would like to suggest a good piece of Contact Management Software. Personally, I use Outlook. I like the fact that I can export lists and create mail merges with just a few clicks. I also like the way Outlook syncs seamlessly with my iPhone. No matter the software that you choose, you must create the list.

In order to begin this process, you must create a list of all of the individuals in your sphere of influence. These are people that you know–that know your name and know that you are in the real estate business. These are people that will recognize you when you walk down the street and that you may run into at the supermarket or gas station. If you have never created a database of your sphere of influence before, you better plan ahead. Creating the database will take two to three days of full-time work.

First, begin with your closed real estate transactions. It does not matter whether you have been in the business for one year or for twenty years. Add each and every individual that you have represented in a real estate transaction to your list. (Note that if you have not had contact with these individuals recently, they may have moved. See my instructions for what to do to check the list.)

Next, add all of the contacts from your cell phone and from your email inbox. Now, move on to your Christmas card list, your school directories, your address book, and the stack of business cards piled on your desk or tacked to your bulletin board. Last, think about all of the professionals that you do business with every day: doctors, lawyers, dentists, educators, landscapers, plumbers, etc. Add all of those folks to the list.

If all goes well, your list should include between 100 and 200 individuals.

Now, here comes the fun part: verification of phone, email, and mailing address. If you have not touched base with some of these individuals for a while, then you will need to verify all of this information. There are several online tools that can help you. One popular one is Zaba Search. Many Realtors® also have access to data through title companies; this data can also be helpful when working on the list.

I’m about to give my list a quick ‘once over’. Since Short Sale Expeditor® has a new location as of last Friday, I want to send everyone a mailer letting them know where they can find me.

Two posts written by colleagues about how ad dollars are spent:

Where do you spend your advertising dollars? by Lenn Harley

Where do you spend your advertising dollars? by Ralph Gorgoglione
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