Picking up from Wednesday's blog about how introverts (and other Reluctant Networkers) can and should make more friends to sell houses to, here are some thoughts on how to go about doing that. And trust me, you'll find no nonsense here about accosting every stranger with a business card or elevator speech, or reminding everyone you know how much you LUUUUUUV Referrals!
It's actually much simpler and low-stress than you might think, especially if you are an introvert. You're not trying to find your new best friend or partner for life, you're just trying meet a few (or a lot) more people who think you're generally a decent person who probably can handle the intricacies of a real estate deal. Some may become good friends, but most won't, and that's fine. While I toss the word "friend" around, I'm referring mainly to "people who know you," not all of whom are friends. Most aren't, actually.
So, when someone tells me they have a small Sphere of Influence (SOI), I find out they're almost always thinking that they SOI is their "friends and family." And that's not right. Your SOI is "everyone who knows you and knows that you sell real estate." That's important to keep in mind.
Most advice for expanding an SOI centers on joining groups, networking, volunteering & such. Terrific! If that's up your alley, see ya at the Chamber. But it's not everyone's cup of merlot. (And actually, no, you won't see me at any Chamber).
I prefer a much more subtle approach. And it works, promise.
Every time you leave the house (which you should do on a regular basis), practice making eye contact with strangers. If you're an extrovert, this may come naturally to you, but if you're like me - more reticent about such things, it probably doesn't. Usually when I go out in public, let's say to Wal-Mart, I avoid eye contact. I look at the floor, the ceiling, the apples, or my shopping cart... anything but the other people in the store.
However, I notice a big difference in my shopping experience when I make a concerted effort to LOOK at the other people I'm shopping with. Wow - it's fun! When I smile, they smile back! What a concept.
One day I went to a big box liquor store and using my make-eye-contact-with-strangers campaign, I struck up conversations with eight different people! Okay, so I didn't sell a house to any of them, but you never know.
So, do I think you'll build a huge SOI by hanging out at Wal-Mart or the booze-store? Maybe, maybe not. But it's a great practice ground to get in the habit of bringing the outside world into your world instead of studiously shutting it out. Even for introverts, it's not hard to smile pleasantly at people who cross your path, especially if you're NOT in a networking situation where there's that subtle added pressure of effectively promoting yourself.
BUT... think about this... what if you smiled pleasantly and made eye contact with ten strangers a day... and struck up a conversation with just one of the ten? Just one? Every day? For a year? Y'think you might have a sweeeet SOI 365 days from now?
The Reluctant Prospector's Daily Sanity Savers