When real estate agents first get started, they are told to start building their business with the people they know -- their sphere of influence.
For newly licensed agents, your existing sphere is all you have. But as you become a more experienced agent, and your sphere expands accordingly, it continues to play a critical role.
We have been lucky enough to speak with leading agents from all over the country about their sphere -- how they define it, who they consider to be part of it, and how they nurture those relationships.
Mark Spain of Mark Spain Real Estate told us, “I identify my sphere of influence with people that I come in regular contact with, such as family, friends.” And Nikki Beauchamp of Engel & Völkers said, “There are various layers to my sphere of influence, everything from my immediate social circle, to people that I went to school with.”
Agent Alison Domnas of RED Collective listed her sphere as, “People from college. People from law school. People who have known me since I was a little kid. Even my sixth grade teacher sent me her son.”
And UNIT Realty Group’s Joe Schutt told us, “I define my sphere of influence in a lot of of different ways because there's multiple spheres of influence out there. There's not just one.”
So how do you define your sphere? How do you nurture it?
Your neighbors. Your book club members. Your past clients. Your agent friends. It’s real estate basics: 60% of your business comes from people you know.
They are your sphere of influence. And whether you are a rookie agent or a veteran, these relationships are your bread and butter. As you can see from our interviews, not every real estate agent defines their sphere the same way.
We looked at four distinctive perspectives on sphere of influence -- and the personalities that go along with them.
The ‘all inclusive’ agent
This is the easiest sphere to get. Ask this agent who is in her sphere and she’ll tell you, “Everyone I know!” This is the agent who will meet you once and you’re on her newsletter list. She’s a hardcore business card keeper, and wants a contact list the size of the Manhattan phone book. (Boy, remember phone books?)
The ‘inner sanctum’ agent
This agent is the opposite of the first. For this agent, his sphere is small and controlled. Only his closest contacts gain admission -- maybe a baker’s dozen, tops. They are probably his longest connections, too, carried over through years of business dealings. And most of his business comes from these core contacts.
The ‘bucket list’ agent
For this agent, it’s not about “100 things to do before you die” but more about sorting each contact into an appropriate category. The different buckets often connect directly to the social circles in which he knows each person: neighborhood association, softball team, service providers and the like.
The ‘bullseye’ agent
This agent has at least three spheres of influence, ranked by importance. Her outer sphere is made up of people she knows, but would like to know better. These are folks she’s met casually or professionally. They know her name, but might not yet think of her as a real estate expert. The middle circle is made up of closer contacts -- people who may have worked with her on real estate deals. The inner circle are the agent’s ambassadors -- they will pick up the phone when she calls and sing her praises when asked. And her focus is on moving folks into the bullseye.
Staying in touch with your sphere and nurturing those relationships takes time. Whether you’re the first type of agent, the fourth type, or a combination thereof, you know that putting in the effort pays dividends over time.