Is it Mercenary to "Use" Your Sphere of Influence for Business?

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

Excerpted from my soon-to-be-released third book, Prospect with Soul (woo hoo!!)Lunch

Is it Mercenary to "Use" Your Sphere of Influence for Business?
I often toss around the phrase "You never know who might lead you to your next $10,000 paycheck."

What I mean by that is that in our business, we get big paychecks we perform. And since most people you're going to meet either own or know someone who owns or wants to own real property, most people you're going to meet can potentially be or introduce you to your next client.

I've always been pretty transparent as to my "mercinariness" about my social life. Before I went into real estate, I didn't have a lot of friends. Didn't bother me at all; I've never been all that socially-inclined and am usually happy to stay home at night and watch Survivor. But when I hung my shiny new real estate license on the wall of my new office, and was made aware that I was going to have to drum up business for myself, it suddenly occurred to me that having more friends might help me do that. 

And I was right. As soon as I had a "reason" to have a social life, I went out and got myself one. And in the process, discovered the joys of having friends, of having plans, of having people in my life who care about me, and I about them.

But yes, there was also joy in having those friends hire me and refer business to me.

Back to the original question: IS it mercenary to intentionally expand your social network so that you can make more money?

Sure it is. But so what? Assuming you're selling real estate in hopes of making money, you have to go get yourself some buyers and sellers. And "use" them to make money from. Whether your clients come from traditional prospecting methods like cold-calling, door-knocking, open-housing or mass-mailing, or from throwing a party, going to lunch or just being pleasant to people, your prospecting efforts are done with the intention of getting business from those efforts.

But here's the kicker.

If you follow the principles of Selling with Soul, you're providing more in value to your clients than they are providing to you in paychecks. You're the best real estate agent you know and are horrified by the thought that anyone you know would hire or refer anyone but you. Not because you need that paycheck or your feelings might be hurt, but because you know you'll do the best job for them. And you'd hate to see anyone you know hire or refer someone who won't do as wonderful a job as you will. That's just not right.

Further, if you're Prospecting with Soul, your promotional efforts with the people you know won't annoy, irritate or bother them a bit. Whatever you do to remind your sphere of influence that you exist will be of value and interest to them, not all about you. It's a win/win.

Hey, you gotta get business from someone, so in that regard, you're "using" everyone who hires you to be their real estate agent. But if you feel in your heart and soul that you're the best thing that could ever happen to your clients, you'll have no qualms about it!


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Mike Jones
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) - Tucson, AZ
Mike Jones NMLS 223495


Lenders like your books too!  Thanks for the post.

Mike in Tucson

Feb 02, 2011 02:49 AM #4
Cindy Marchant
Keller Williams Indy NE 317-290-7775 - Carmel, IN
"Cindy in Indy" , Realtor, Fishers Real Estate

Luckily, I came into Real Estate out of an industry/corp job that is a lot of my referrals.  I'm like Doug with church...don't really talk about it, but 2010 provided a lot of business from there.  My biggest area of referrals is BNI; they are my friends but designed to pass business.  I'm still a sit at home with hubby and a good movie kind of gal!

Cindy in Indy

Feb 02, 2011 02:49 AM #5
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

It is nice to have friends and it is nice when I can help them.  But I don't have friends just to earn money.

Feb 02, 2011 03:46 AM #6
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

An added layer to this, Life is to short to work with people you dont like, so why not work with the people you DO like, and be social with them all at the same time.

Feb 02, 2011 03:55 AM #7
Dana McGary
Crye-Leike Champion Real Estate Group, Searcy, Arkansas - Searcy, AR
Realtor - White County, Arkansas

I agree!  I don't want my friends and family to "use me" because they feel obligated.  I want them to let me help them because I'm good!

Feb 02, 2011 06:08 AM #8
Bob Jakowinicz
National Realty Centers Livonia--Bob Jakowinicz - Livonia, MI
Michigan Real Estate Agent-- MI RE Adventures

I think if we know we can be the best for our friends and family our confidence will also be high enough for us to do some other forms of prospecting as well. 

Feb 02, 2011 07:05 AM #9
Joelle Embres - Parkland, FL
Re/Max Advisors

Hi Jennifer, This was the right post at the right time for me. Funny how that  seems to happen.... Thanks once again for you r insight. Oh yeah, for whatever its worth. I like option 2 better. Have a great rest of the day!!

Feb 02, 2011 08:45 AM #10
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

I agree with Dana above - I don't want anyone to use me out of obligation, but because I can help them!

Feb 02, 2011 01:50 PM #11
Christine Wade - Real Estate Virtual Assistant
Christine Wade - Townsend, MT
Proud to Serve Your Real Estate Support Needs

This is a great post, and teaser to your new book ;-)  I think we all want to feel needed and appreciated...and if you let your SOI know that you are passionate and professional and SKILLED at what you do...they are going to need you and want to work with you...and appreciate you after the deal has closed...and remember you for the next transaction!

Feb 02, 2011 02:18 PM #12
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Good post _  I never really gave that aspect of it much thought.  I've tried to find outlets where I am being useful.   I tend to be bookish and  more than a bit of a geek - so the outlet has to make sense.

Feb 02, 2011 03:24 PM #13
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Thanks for all the feedback. Every once in awhile someone grills me on my "mercenary-ness" when it comes to mixing business with pleasure, but shoot - if I can have a social life and generate business at the same time, why not? But the part about feeling WORTHY of being hired by your sphere of influence as opposed to simply NEEDING them to hire you is critical...

Feb 03, 2011 04:17 AM #14
Rich Gaasenbeek
IXACT Contact Real Estate CRM - Toronto, ON
Real Estate CRM & Marketing Made Easy!

Great post Jennifer.  You've provided the "psychological foundation" that a Realtor needs to practice effective referral and repeat marketing with their SOI.

Rich Gaasenbeek, IXACT Contact, The Easy Way To Manage Your Contacts

Feb 03, 2011 09:06 AM #15
Christine Pappas - REALTOR®
eXp Realty - Willoughby, OH
eXp Realty - Because Experience Matters

I don't know about mercenary -  I just know that no one will take better care of those people that I care about than me.  

Feb 04, 2011 05:41 AM #16
Christine Pappas - REALTOR®
eXp Realty - Willoughby, OH
eXp Realty - Because Experience Matters

And .....  I can't wait for the book!

Feb 04, 2011 05:42 AM #17
Lydie Ouellet Dickinson
Realty Executives Tri County, Bellingham MA - Bellingham, MA

Thank you Jennifer for sharing a little of your new book. I already put my name on your list for receiving a copy when it comes out. Looking forward to it!

Feb 08, 2011 01:35 AM #18
Tanya Nouwens
RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager

In my first year selling real estate, it always puzzled me why I was hesitant to "market" myself to my SOI.  After all, isn't that where new agents are supposed to start their business?  But I came to realize that my hesitation had to do with my confidence level.  In my first year, I didn't feel like a good enough agent to be able to take extraordinary care of my friends and family -- and if I wasn't yet a really great agent, I didn't want to "sic" (sp?) myself on my SOI.  

Now, with more experience and knowledge under my belt, I'm going out there full force, knowing that I will do the best job for my friends and family.  Now, it's win-win, but it took that second "win" to materialize, the one for my SOI, before I felt comfortable doing what I do now.   

Your approach to business is so genuine and common-sensical, Jennifer.  How refreshing!

Feb 09, 2011 01:06 AM #19
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Tanya- that's EXACTLY it. Although I sooo encourage new agents to get up to speed as fast as they can so they are comfortable working with anyone - not just their friends - because every single person you serve could end up being your biggest fan. But yes, your hesitation to "sic" yourself on your friends is definitely admirable.

Feb 09, 2011 11:03 PM #20
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT

Jennifer - I have always loved to entertain and socialize.  I have to admit that I never bring up real estate at social or community events, but I've branded myself so well that people bring the topic up to me and ask me about it.  You are right, you've got to get out and meet people in this business.  I never go to any event solely for the purpose of networking for business.  It never works out well if that's my sole purpose.  It always works out best, when that's an ancillary goal.

Feb 11, 2011 05:14 PM #21
Paul Gapski
Berkshire Hathaway / Prudential Ca Realty - El Cajon, CA
619-504-8999,#1 Resource SD Relo

thank you very much for the informative and interesting post. I get so much out of the active rain network.

Mar 02, 2012 11:11 PM #22
oh Kimmy,Today it is you who has helped me. I still am not flneieg well. And the physical sickness has begun to drain my spiritual energy.Thank you for helping me to remember this is merely a transitional period.One from which I shall rise above.XX:-)
Apr 01, 2012 08:42 PM #23
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