A Lack of Sleep and a Huge SOI Aha Moment

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

For over a year now I've been extolling the virtues of an SOI business model - that is - basing your business on the power of your personal relationships instead of the power of your marketing budget. (If you don't believe me check out my tag cloud under "soi").I've claimed that I ran a nearly 100% SOI business literally from Day One - a business that was very successful by anyone's definition - in which virtually all of my business came directly or indirectly from the people I knew. I've implied (or outright said) that I never pursued business from strangers.

Well, since arriving in Denver last weekend, I've hardly slept. My 40 year old body has not yet adjusted to the altitude and I can't seem to stay asleep more than a few hours. Can't nap either. So, in my sleep-deprived haze, I had a stunning revelation this morning.

I've been lying to y'all. Didn't mean to, but I have. Sorry about that.

Here's the thing. A lot of my business DID come from my SOI, no question about that. I was lucky to have a large circle of acquaintances when I entered the business and was able to generate quite a bit of support among the people who knew me. God bless ‘em.

However, upon closer reflection, I realize that a not-insignificant amount of my business through the years came from total strangers. People I had no personal relationship with, nor did we know anyone in common. While I've always referred to these sales as SOI-generated, technically, they really weren't.  THESE PEOPLE WERE STRANGERS TO ME.

But I'll stand behind my statement (modified slightly) that I never actively pursued business from strangers.

I never cold-called, I never door-knocked, I rarely advertised. I never called a FSBO. I didn't farm.

Yes, I GOT business from strangers, but that business was never the result of PURSUING it.

Stay tuned...soi


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Mott Marvin Kornicki
Waterway Realtors® • South East Florida • Real Estate Brokers - Miami Beach, FL
Waterway Realtors, Notary Public 786-229-7999
I never liked cold calling and seeking out "strangers" as clients. They have come sometimes more frequently than I would expect or desire. I guess that's what happens when you get your name out there.
Jan 25, 2008 10:47 AM #1
Dan Gobis
Re/Max Newport Realty Corp. - Racine, WI
I can't figure out what the attraction is! Gotta be happy for the business.
Jan 25, 2008 10:49 AM #2
Cassie Hansley
Wilikinson and Associates - Lincolnton, NC
That is great. I am new with RE/MAx and working on my SOI right now.
Jan 25, 2008 10:54 AM #3
Jennifer Allan
Jennifer Allan, Inc. - Denver, CO
The trick is attracting those strangers TO you ... and I'll elaborate tomorrow... Cassie - let me know if I can help - SOI is my passion (yeah, I need to get a life)
Jan 25, 2008 11:06 AM #4
Adele Irving - Easton Area Homes
Prudential Patt, White Real Estate - Easton, PA


I'm looking to the next installment of this blog.

Jan 25, 2008 11:21 AM #5
Elaine Hanson
Compass - Topanga, CA
REALTOR - Topanga, CA Real Estate Agent
As long as there is no cold calling, FSBO courting & door knocking, "strangers" are welcome!  I am SO staying tuned. 
Jan 25, 2008 11:54 AM #6
Jennifer Allan
Jennifer Allan, Inc. - Denver, CO
Elaine... we're missing you over at the SOI Blog Forum... please come chime in!
Jan 25, 2008 11:59 AM #7
Dean Davidson, Charlotte/Waxhaw, NC (Active Rain)

No mystery to me, Jennifer.

You still built the relationships, mets or have not mets.  You didn't have to sell them anything but you.

I would suggest even the strangers soon became part of your SOI.



Jan 25, 2008 12:14 PM #8
John MacArthur
Century 21 Redwood - Washington, DC
Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes
Jen - I feel you......APPROACHABLE ......you have to be where bees rest to collect honey.it won't come to you.
Jan 25, 2008 12:25 PM #9
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents
I understand where you are coming from as I am facing the same trend too. My business these days are alot from people calling me (strangers and not from referals). How they find me remains a clue but I'm not complaining.
Jan 25, 2008 12:29 PM #10
Sue Gabriel
Cleveland, OH

As I contemplate joining a top producer as her buyer's agent, part of the allure is NOT having to go after expired listings or FSBOs...even though my one listing DID come from a FSBO. I like the idea of working with the leads she already gets from her many listings...they're still strangers, but I don't have to cold-call or bug anyone. I just have to answer their inquiries and help them find a house...which is why I got into this business in the first place!

So yes...get some sleep, and then tell us more!!

Jan 25, 2008 02:07 PM #11
Jennifer Allan
Jennifer Allan, Inc. - Denver, CO
Just an update from Friday night... it's 1am... been wide awake for a few hours now. Sheesh, by the end of this, I'll have solved all the world's problems!
Jan 25, 2008 06:11 PM #12
John MacArthur
Century 21 Redwood - Washington, DC
Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes
Jenn - Yeah, when you wrap up the world's problems, how about you drop by here and tell me where those damn missing socks disappeared?
Jan 26, 2008 12:09 AM #13
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

LOL...leave it to John Mac for a morning chuckle. 

Jennifer, I understand where you are coming from and it's okay, REALLY...I think most of us are just happy hearing the part about "not pursuing strangers for business"!  LOL  I'm totally cool with strangers - heck, I talk to strangers all the time, waiting on line, in stores, in coffee shops, you name it, I'm talkin' to them.  But ask for business?  Uh huh!  Not going there!  LOL  Maybe there is a ton of missed opportunity there, but hey, not my style and I am not going to intentionally inject any uncomfortable moments into my life.  Enough occur naturally! 


Jan 26, 2008 12:37 AM #14
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Jennifer, it has always amazed me how some veteran Realtors say 90-100% of their business is from sphere and referrals. If that is enough business for you then it works. Others think "strangers" or new customers should account for 40 to 60% of your business. There probably is no right answer, but whatever works for you. SOI definitely seems like less marketing cost for you though. I am interested in your thoughts as we move forward.

Also, strangers are just future members of your SOI.

Jan 26, 2008 02:33 AM #15
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Well, I still consider those "strangers" to be SOI, so I'll say that my business was indeed 90%+ SOI. It's just a slightly different definition of SOI than the traditional ones we hear - even the one I've been spouting all this time.

I'm dying to finish this blog, but things are crazy here... yay!

Jan 26, 2008 02:53 AM #16
Kim Peasley-Parker
AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc. - Sumter, SC
Jennifer- Sometimes we just fall into meeting strangers who need our services so you are forgiven.  LOL  The problem can be if you rely on those strangers to sell to, you don't get a lot of clients.  I am looking forward to your next installment. 
Jan 26, 2008 06:39 AM #17
Rob Baldwin
REALTOR, Santa Clarita
Well Jennifer, it would just have been naive of us to think that at any given time in your Carrier that it would stand to reason you would get business from a total stranger. Besides would you say that 80+ percent of your business was SOI? If so, then no problem. I don't consider it a big deal. Not that what I think really makes a big difference in the whole grand scheme of things.
Jan 26, 2008 01:05 PM #18
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