So, How Often DOES Your SOI Need to Hear From You? Part II (of...?)

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Education & Training with Sell with Soul

Thanks for all the great feedback from the last blog on the topic of how often your Sphere of Influence (SOI) “needs” to be reminded that you sell real estate! I had my follow-up all ready to go in my head, but many of the comments made me back up a little bit and think some more. I like it when that happens.

(Before I continue, let me say that if something is working for you and you’re happy with your results, don’t change a thing. Even if what I Mailboxsay next is completely contrary to your way of doing things – if you’re happy, I’m happy. I’m mainly talking to agents who either haven’t yet figured out an appropriate SOI strategy or to those who have one in place but aren’t satisfied with the results.)

The truth is, there isn’t one truth. There’s no Right Answer that is perfect for everyone. Well, maybe there is, but if so, I don’t know what it is. Neither do you, probably. It’s a question you’ll ask yourself throughout your entire career and never be fully satisfied with the answer(s) you come up with.

That said, call me cynical, but I believe the advice to incessantly bombard your SOI with marketing materials is mainly propagated by the companies who stand to profit from said bombardment. The more agents who buy their postcards and newsletters and trinkets, and the more often they send them out, the more money flows INTO the company. So, it makes sense that they’d advise you to do it MORE, not less. And to back up that advice with official-sounding statistics.

As I said, call me cynical.

But let’s assume my cynicism has merit and that the statistics tossed out by these companies are, um, a bit inflated. Let’s pretend that we have no data or statistics to work with; we only have our own intelligence and experience to make the decision as to how often to communicate with our SOI’s.

Got it? Forget EVERYTHING you’ve ever heard about communicating with your SOI and ask yourself… if you were a member of your SOI, how often would you need to hear from you in order to remember that you sell real estate?

And what sorts of things would: 1) remind you of your existence, 2) inspire you to think of you fondly and 3) inspire you to call you if and when a real estate need arises?

And remember, we’re not talking about your geographic farm; we’re talking about people who know you and, presumably, like you, even just a little (if they don’t like you, it doesn’t matter how often you communicate with them).

Okay, that’s it for today. Give it some thought. And please share those thoughts!

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Rainmaker
516,438
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

Oh...I think it's perfectly alright to indulge in a little cynicism as long as you look on theh bright side?!

Seriously though, I read your first post and was looking forward to this one. I sometimes fall behind on my efforts but STILL try and touch base with snail mail cards every quarter though when I get the urge it's monthly. With the advent of a blog, it;'s more often since my SOI allows me to email them a link to my blog. That saidI am not sure why but the cards still work!

Oct 16, 2010 02:00 AM #23
Rainmaker
650,247
Barbara Hensley
RE/MAX Properties - Rockwall, TX
Homes for Sale in Rockwall County, Texas

My thought has always been, "don't forget those you know and love - your SOI".  It is easy to slack off, but so important to NOT to forget your SOI. 

I think that being consistent is the key and equally important is to be brief.  A quick hello and how are you can do it when you are busy, but don't forget to offer something of value as often as possible. 

  

Oct 16, 2010 02:32 AM #24
Rainer
139,235
John Zappia
Maine Custom Realty - Portland, ME
Maine Custom Realty

I'm with Susan on this as I've never had to grow my business with anything other than referrals, in fact, I never intended to list and sell, so, in that sense, this business found me....as a contractor, I only intended to market my own homes with my license...about a year ago I got to wondering what would happen if I marketed myself so here I am on AR...right now I'm doing a monthly direct-mail campaign and I'm getting great feedback from it...the card engages them and they seem to enjoy it...that said, I will take it down to a bi-monthly mailing this Spring if it's working...I am very aware of the fact there is a cottage industry out there that loves to sell RE brokers marketing stuff and I pick & choose my battles carefully...emulating other peoples success and not reinventing the wheel is important to me as well...everything I do with my marketing dollars is under constant scrutiny (including AR) and I will axe anything that I feel has no significant ROI...but these choices need to have some time to be statistically significant first and therein lies the monetary risk...nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Oct 16, 2010 02:41 AM #25
Ambassador
749,610
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans

Jennifer... per your comment, # 7, thanks for the insightful info...  thanks

jeff belonger

Oct 16, 2010 02:55 AM #26
Rainer
137,004
Brent & Deb Wells
LivingWell Properties - Prosper, TX
Prosper TX

Jennifer,

I loved your post and I think your asking some great questions and challenging us. We send out a monthly newsletter as many agents do, but we focus on information that is helpful and effective. Our SOI actually likes to read the darn thing, but we also do drawings for some really fun prizes and do pop-bys. Its got to be something of value, not just a different version of a business card or a 'please us me' plea.

-Brent

Oct 16, 2010 03:11 AM #27
Rainmaker
222,657
Scott Baker
www.eHomeReports.com Coldwell Banker West Shell - Liberty Township, OH
Realtor Homes for Sale in Cincinnati, West Chester, Mason, OH Area

Jennifer I need to do a better job at this, for certain. This is the fourth reminder to me regarding this in the past 5 days. Need to start right away.

Oct 16, 2010 03:28 AM #28
Rainmaker
995,899
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

Jennifer the Cynical, wouldn't it be correct to believe that you would have an SOI made up of like-minded people.  Those that respond to your way of thinking and acting.  This makes the decision much easier to make.  You know, the "do unto others...." thought.  The monthly plan, no way for me, alienation at it's best.  Looking at the graphic though, those 3.5" diskettes would be great mailers to the SOI.  Tell me you wouldn't get 100% response from sending a bunch of those out with a trendy title on them.     

Oct 16, 2010 04:58 AM #29
Ambassador
1,878,528
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Jennifer, it is about touches, consistent and non intrusive ones and I agree there is not one iron clad rule.

Oct 16, 2010 05:56 AM #30
Rainmaker
484,157
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Cindy - your comments are always welcome and I really do appreciate the details and results you're sharing! Thank you!

Dave - regarding marketing for short sales - if I were pursuing short sale business, I would send out a letter to my SOI talking about how you've been able to help people who were really struggling (maybe give a few examples). Be sympathetic and empathetic and let your SOI know that you ARE an expert in short sales and would be happy to help them or any of their friends explore their options. If done in the right "voice" it won't come across as referral-begging OR ambulance-chasing, simply a sincere heartfelt offer of much-needed help. What you offer IS special!

I have a sample of a letter one of my readers sent out on this subject - email me if you'd like to see it.

Oct 17, 2010 02:39 AM #31
Rainmaker
713,133
Cheryl Johnson
Highland Park, CA

I enjoyed Susan Haughton's remarks so much that I subscribed to her blog today.  :-)

Oct 17, 2010 01:31 PM #32
Rainmaker
2,394,939
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Well, here is the difference, my newsletter has very little about real estate in it, just enough to thank them for the referrals I have received the previous month.

Oct 17, 2010 02:29 PM #33
Rainmaker
406,660
Marian Goetzinger
Pine Knoll Shores Realty 252-422-9000 - Pine Knoll Shores, NC
Crystal Coast Real Estate NC

Jennifer,  This is a great dialogue blog.  I should copywrite that phrase - "dialogue blog". 

I have changed over the years as the market (and my budget) has changed.  I started out with 8 pieces of mail going out every year.  Now I send 3.  One is a personal birthday card and it's one of my favorites.  I rarely go anywhere that I don't run into somebody who thanks me for remembering their birthday.  The other pieces change and evolve. 

Oct 19, 2010 05:48 AM #34
Rainmaker
91,326
Sue Gabriel
Cleveland, OH

I love all the comments! I've also struggled with what is 'too much' and'not enough'. The realtor who sold me my first house in 1987 used to send me a birthday card and a Christmas card every year. That really was enough. Even without the cards, I remembered her and if someone was looking to buy or sell a house, I would have given them her name. Maybe we don't give our SOI enough credit.

Oct 19, 2010 10:27 AM #35
Anonymous
Susan Mann

I agree with the response that your SOI is probably a lot like you, do what you would appreciate.  Sometimes I have used a canned email newsletter, but it is because the content is so beneficial.  I mostly use email.  Keep track of what is going on in your community and send out something appropriate.  The biggest response and it was immediate was my information sent out on flood insurance right after an unexpected flood in our area.  Fortunately none of my clients were affected, but due to the article at least one got flood insurance and turns out they needed it for a freak occurence.  Face Book has been a great tool and I am getting to know people I have never met, but have inquired about vacation property or 2nd homes in our area.  Very low key on the Real Estate, but if it's news worthy to my SOI I will post it.

I feel so grateful when past clients call just to ask general information about real estate.

Oct 20, 2010 04:29 AM #36
Anonymous
Jo Kleinsorge

Cindy in Indy,

I LOVE the Lucky to know you card and I am stealing that idea!

For my past clients and people who have referred me, I really enjoy sending fun, unexpedted things like that.

I don't do it monthly but I do take small trick or treat baskets in person (Clients and friends like you are a real treat), and a small flower basket for May and then I send a Christmas card with holiday CD, calender and football schedule. So I guess 2 personal drop offs and 3 mailers.  I also do a quarterly email newsletter to all in my data base.

That breaks down to almost every other month,  a couple of standard items are to make sure they have me curent contact info and the others are more personal to let them know I appreciate that they choose to do business with me or refer me and I think they appreciate that. In fact I almost always get a thank you email, call or card from the drop by gifts.

So do what you do whith perosnality and do it because you truly like to. If your SOI feels that engergy coming from you they will respond rather it is twice a year or 12.

Oct 20, 2010 11:48 AM #37
Anonymous
Doug Nunnally

Jennifer, Another great post.  Each of us have to find our way of communicating with our SOI.  The key, as you stated, is to communicate with them.  We have to start with something, a real estate review of the national market, the local real estate news that is different from what the media reports, an on going calendar of community events, etc.  It must be something of value to our SOI, not us.  Then, our SOI will let us know.  It is all about continuing to create raving fans!!!

Oct 21, 2010 01:40 AM #38
Rainmaker
216,493
Christine McDaniel
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Porter Co. - Crown Point, IN
Broker Associate

Great posts with alot of good ideas!  I am like Susan and would not necessarily be annoyed with monthly contact but would eventually start to ignore it.  If a personal call or pop by is not made somewhere along the way it would just become junk mail.

 

Oct 21, 2010 08:13 AM #39
Rainmaker
273,464
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

Good comments. I've tried Susan's way, I really identify with her train of thought, but it has not been that successful for me. I'm going to do the 30 day thing.

Oct 27, 2010 06:16 PM #40
Rainer
60,032
Dennis & Terri Neal
RE/MAX, Big Bear - Big Bear Lake, CA
Your Home Sold in 45 Days or We Se

If your not contacting your SOI somebody else is.

Nov 14, 2010 11:06 AM #41
Rainmaker
889,037
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT

Jennifer - I made myself the communications hub of my community so I would have a reason to stay in touch with people on a frequent basis.  I use an emailideas.com business card at the bottom of all my e-mails that has links to my blog, subscriptions to my e-mail updates, my website, and Listingbook.  I also sponsor a community blog with the community events calendar.  And finally, I send out mass permission e-mails via Constant Contact to my subscribers, who have a choice of topics they can subscribe to, including, of course, real estate updates.  I also sponsor my community's Facebook Fan page.  I probably touch members of my SOI many times each month, but no one gets tired of hearing from me, because I'm delivering info they want and need.  It's a lot of work, but so is prospecting, cold calling, floor duty, etc.  I don't do any of those things.  I just keep in constant contact with my SOI giving them info they want and reminding them subtlely that I'm a real estate agent (through my signature card and sponsor info on the community blog).

Feb 11, 2011 05:25 PM #42
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Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn

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