Can You "SOI" in a Resort Community (that is, can you depend on your sphere of influence for business)?

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So, you work in a resort community where most of the buyers and sellers live somewhere else. It's not likely you'll run into them at the grocery store or local coffee shop, and they probably won't be having a housewarming party you can finagle an invitation to (or even offer to host!). And unless their friends all decide they want to keep up with the Jones's and buy a vacation home, too, your past clients probably won't be a good source of referrals, no matter how deliriously happy they are with you. 

CAN you rely on your Sphere of Influence (the people you know) to keep you in business? Here are my thoughts.

First, obviously, there are people who do live in the community, who know you and know that you sell real estate. You should definitely apply the principles of SOI to them. Remember that they are the gatekeepers to everyone they know, which may very well include some out-of-town homeowners or future homeowners.

Second, you will likely need to do some marketing to strangers, both directly to absentee owners as well as local advertising to attract buyers. I'm not an expert on that sort of marketing at all, but see what other successful agents are doing... and do it more creatively (that shouldn't be hard). 

When I worked in a resort market, the top producers prospected heavily to expired listings, and there were plenty of those. Perhaps you can create a better, more creative expired listing campaign and incorporate it into your prospecting plan (again, the bar is set pretty low). 

Obviously, a local blog is a must. People buying second homes will almost certainly begin their search online. BE THERE.

If you decide to reach out to strangers, I believe you can still apply the principles of SOI to your efforts. For example, make your advertising interesting, relevant and non-salesy. Create a website that reflects YOUR personality, not just a boilerplate REeee-la-tor site. Use your blog to demonstrate your familiarity with your area as well as to showcase your sparkling personality.

Consider doing a postcard mass-mailing to absentee owners with a fun blurb about your blog (and definitely make sure your local sphere knows about it). If you advertise in local real estate magazines, don't just showcase listings; create a fun, attractive ad for your blog. Create an online referral directory for out-of-town homeowners.

Return phone calls and online leads promptly - and when you get online leads, pick up the phone instead of simply replying via email.

Spend time learning even more about your market so that when A Stranger Calls, you are able to speak intelligently and confidently about the market. Be particularly conversant about the more desirable properties - be familiar with and KNOW how much it costs to live on the beach, the slopes or the river. But also know how much you can save by buying a block or two away.

When you're out and about, have your antenna up and a smile on your face, but keep your business cards to yourself unless asked. Don't risk being that annoying real estate agent who always seems desperate for business.

Any other success strategies for Resort Markets?

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Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

I target people who own property in the state I am originally from (it's a small world after all out there!)  I offer free CMAs, resources and people do like my blog :)  I just like to let them know I exist and am here to assist them in any way they may need it from a former Nebraskan herself!

Aug 30, 2009 11:48 PM #1
Bob Murphy
Keller Williams Realty Consultants - New Albany, IN

I've never lived in a resort market but the suggestions you offer seem to make sense.  I think marketing in an area that is not a resort market the same rules basically apply. 

Aug 31, 2009 12:19 AM #2
Barbara Heil-Sonneck
Design2Sell - Atlanta, GA
Home Staging Atlanta

Hi Jennifer, picking up your line "When you're out and about, have your antenna up and a smile on your face, but keep your business cards to yourself unless asked. Don't risk being that annoying real estate agent who always seems desperate for business." I think this is soooooooooo important, you connect with people first, be a good listener, learn about them. I try to learn if there is a "need" the other side needs a "solution" for and try to make a connection that way, may be an idea for a whole other blog.... Have a great week

Aug 31, 2009 12:49 AM #3
Charlie Ragonesi - Big Canoe, GA
Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros

Jennifer one of my main markets is a resort community. I really really read this post , a couple of times over. The other thing I would advise is get involved in some community activities. For example if there is a chapel you could be involved there. Inmy case it is as a volunteer fire fighter. It makes a difference

Aug 31, 2009 01:42 AM #4
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Thanks, Charlie - you're right! I'm such a non-joiner, I forgot this one.

Barbara - Oh, yeah! I've written extensively on how to generate business without a sales pitch - since most people don't enjoy being prospected to! Especially not by someone they know...

Bob - Very true!

Renee - GREAT point! Especially since you do live in an exciting city, I can totally see how your hometown SOI would be interested in your LV real estate activities.

Aug 31, 2009 02:06 AM #5
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

I live in a resort area, but the reality is that there are more full time residents than part time ones. The farther you get from the beach, the more likely it is that you have full time residents. so I really doubt that any agent "only" works with vacation home buyers.

Aug 31, 2009 04:17 AM #6
Matthew Naumann
Exit Realty Charleston Group - Goose Creek, SC
Goose Creek, SC Real Estate Agent


Great Post.  Lots of great information, which can definitely be used in different markets.

Thanks for sharing,

Matt Naumann

Aug 31, 2009 11:02 PM #7
Sabrina Kelley
ERA Herman Group Real Estate - Woodland Park, CO
Woodland Park Colorado Mountain Homes and Land

I use some of your techniques in my area and the consumers are responding. People are very excited about the possibility of moving to such a beautiful part of the country.

Sep 01, 2009 07:13 PM #8
Hello there,I need your help very badly.I have installed Falkner Sphere at my blog. I have tried to put wedtigs on the sidebar but I don't know why they do not appear on the front. This isn't the first time I have installed wedtigs. I have tried doing it with other themes and I made them appear on other themes. I wonder why I can't make the wedtigs appear in the Falkner Sphere theme.I am using WordPress 2.8. I have linked my site to my name here so you can see it.Thank you so very much in advance for your help.
Apr 02, 2012 10:26 AM #9
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