If You're Gonna SOI*... DON'T OVER-SYSTEMITIZE!

By
Education & Training with Sell with Soul

We real estate agents love our systems, don't we? If we can purchase a product that will help us streamline our prospecting efforts, we're all for it. Where do I sign???

But... but... but... let me fly in the face of convention here and say... STOP! Stop with all the systems and programs and products!

Why? Because when pursuing business from the *Very Important People Who Know You (that is, your Sphere of Influence or SOI), it's kinda important to make them feel special. And no system, program or product is going to do that FOR you. You actually have to do it yourself.

Here are some examples of what I mean.

A question came up a few weeks ago during my weekly SOI training teleconference.  The agent asked if I recommended putting past clients on a 5-year drip campaign that automatically sends out anniversary cards and seasonal postcards. My answer? NO!

My SOI database (and especially my past client database) is precious to me. Every name in there has the potential to bring thousands of dollars to my business and deserves my respect and attention. Before I send anything out to my SOI, I go through my list carefully to make sure it's up to date, with accurate information. This exercise also inspires me to personally "touch" those who I enjoyed getting to know with a more personal effort (phone call, personal email, whatever).  I want to stay intimately in touch with the names in my database. If I put my SOI on any sort of automatic drip campaign, I feel I'll lose that intimacy and connection, and be just another real estate agent looking for business.

Want another example? Today, I sent out a mass-email to my SOI offering to put interested parties on a list to receive a monthly market report created by a local economist. When the positive responses started coming in, I tried to figure out a "system" to track respondents and automatically send out the report every month. But then I caught myself... by systematizing this process, I'm throwing away a wonderful opportunity to connect with my SOI every single month when I personally email them the report. I mean, DUH! They are ASKING to hear from me; why waste the chance to include a personal note with my email each month that might make them smile (and believe me, that personal note will have nothing to do with how much I love referrals! Ick).

One more... one of my agent friends asked me a few weeks ago if she should purchase a program that automatically sends out birthday cards to her SOI. Sheesh. Is it too da*n hard to actually sign and mail a card to someone you care about? I mean, c'mon!!! Are we real estate agents so important and so busy that we can't take five minutes to write "Happy Birthday!" on a card, sign it personally, address the envelope and slap a stamp on it? Please say it isn't so!

One thing I love about this business, especially my 100% SOI business, is that every little thing I do that goes above and beyond what I "have" to do can result in a huge financial payoff for me. Personal notes (that I actually wrote myself), personal emails, personal phone calls... this is where the money is... at least if you're gonna SOI...

sws www.sellwithsoul.com

 

 

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Rainmaker
251,250
Joel Weihe
Realty World Alliance - Wichita, KS
Helping you to use your VA home loan benefits
I totally agree with you!  However.... my problem is that without the system, I totally forget to do anything for my SOI!  How you do remember?  I hate the default emails and letters and automatic thingies, they have no personality and I don't think they make the client feel special at all.  I'd love to be more personal, but I'm more worried about just forgetting to contact them at all!
Mar 19, 2008 07:45 AM #1
Rainer
78,779
Obeoman Glade Jones
www.obeo.com - Salt Lake City, UT

 

Jennifer-

Dead on. Drips are for plumbers to fix.

 

Steve

Mar 19, 2008 07:54 AM #2
Rainmaker
577,444
Dena Stevens Coriz
Rocky Mountain Realty - Canon City, CO
Putting The Real Into Realtor Since 2004

I always love your advice and think carefully about what you write, most of which I agree.

But when I reach out to my SOI in what ever manner or which ever time table I try to do it in a sincere way. Yes, my SOI gets announcements that I have a new listing, whether they want it or not. I feel like by telling them about my business I'm telling them that I'm busy and oh yeah if you need me I'm here. But there are those days the phone isn't ringing and I'm not in a rush that I just sit down and call people. I ask how they are, the kids, the dog, the job, just shoot the breeze.

I just wrote a post I called I have nothing to tell you. Some times I think just checking in with folks is a good idea. Is this building rapport?

Mar 19, 2008 10:04 AM #3
Rainmaker
484,157
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul
Sheree - As I was writing this blog, I asked myself that question... Is it better to be less personal, but at least get it done or to not do it at all? I don't know the answer to that, but I do think that once you see the power of the truly personal touch, that will be incredibly motivating to keep doing it. I happen to be a very organized person, so this approach works well for me (although I'm a bit shy, so the actual DOING of it can be difficult sometimes). My SOI is incredibly good to me, which inspires me to do whatever it is I'm doing 'cause it seems to be working...
Mar 19, 2008 11:02 AM #4
Rainmaker
484,157
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Dena - actually, that blog was the inspiration for my last several blogs I've written! Checking in with your sellers is HUGE HUGE HUGE! Probably the most important thing you can do. So, yeah! Keep doing it and you'll be rewarded long after the sale is done...

Steve - YEAH!

Mar 19, 2008 11:03 AM #5
Ambassador
1,878,628
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth
Jennifer, what I enjoy about your business and your posts is that you are so contrarian to everything else you hear. It's a wonderful voice here.
Mar 19, 2008 11:25 AM #6
Rainmaker
484,157
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul
Gary - that comment made my day! I love being contrarian!
Mar 19, 2008 11:40 AM #7
Rainer
61,960
Denise Shockey
RE/MAX Aerospace Realty - Cocoa Beach, FL
Cocoa Beach, Brevard County Florida Real Estate
Jennifer-Once again, you are right on target.  Guilty!  Thanks for the eye opener and for you help.
Mar 19, 2008 11:53 AM #8
Rainmaker
166,768
Marie Episale
CENTURY 21 CREST REAL ESTATE - Pompton Plains, NJ
ePRO 201-314-0106 - Pompton Plains New Jersey

You are so right.. sometimes we are too fast to "systemize" and should put that extra 1/2 hour a day into personally keeping in touch with our S.O.I.  Thanks for the reminder.

 

Mar 19, 2008 02:41 PM #9
Rainmaker
595,326
Lisa Hill
Florida Property Experts - Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Beach Real Estate
I'll probably have to agree with your stance on this, but I won't be able to help myself. I like everything to be in order and organized. If I don't have a system, I feel out of control. I guess I'll have to find a happy medium.
Mar 19, 2008 04:19 PM #10
Rainmaker
468,727
Alexander Harb
Knights Investing - Mesquite, TX
Dallas, Texas Real Estate Investing

How about an automated way to be NOTIFIED that a birthday or anniversary is coming up so YOU don't miss it??

Maybe a WEEK in advance so you can have the TIME to find a GREAT card...and then write something personal and send it in time for it to get to the recipient ON TIME....

How does THAT sound, Jenn?

I am going to do that in YAHOO calander...Google has one also..... you can have those reminders sent by e-mail to you days, or a week...or even a MONTH in advance....

Hows THEM apples??

An apple a day keeps the doc away...... 

 

 

Mar 19, 2008 09:05 PM #11
Rainmaker
484,157
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul
Alexander - BINGO! There's nothing wrong with creating systems that help you add the personal touch - I use the heck out of Top Producer and I have my entire SOI business plan on there; but when it comes to actually contacting my SOI, I do it myself. Great point!
Mar 19, 2008 10:58 PM #12
Ambassador
1,366,564
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

Jennifer, I definitely agree that having the systems make it seems impersonable. However, as our SOI grows and with so many things going on in our already busy lives, it is good that we set some kind of reminders to at least alert us of some stuff. I had TopProducer and you know I did nothing with it. Today is my 1st year anniversary and I am so glad I dont have to waste my $38/month anymore. It was not for me.

But I'm an outlook girl. That's my communication tool and I like being able to sync on my phone too.

Mar 20, 2008 12:24 AM #13
Ambassador
994,461
Sharon Paxson
Compass - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate
Jennifer - I agree with you that it is important to have specific messages to your SOI. I still use a contact database system to keep me organized, however I do tailor each message to my SOI.
Mar 20, 2008 02:37 AM #14
Rainer
60,635
Dan Homan
Coldwell Banker Ellison Realty, Inc - Ocala, FL

The best word you used to describe your SOI was "valuable."  If people really valued their SOI perhaps instead of spewing out just listed and just sold fliers with the usual assortment of refrigerator magnets and calendars we should at least pretend to treat these folks with the value they claim they have to us.  Additionally, valuing your SOI on a purely economic basis and that is transparent to your valuable "friends."

Mar 20, 2008 04:02 AM #15
Rainmaker
332,163
Kim Peasley-Parker
AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc. - Sumter, SC
SOI is so important.   i just sent out two hand written notes to clients.  One was not able to purchase, but I saw her over the weekend and wanted to say it was great to see her again.  The second bought his house through me and kept me in his phone as "Kim Real Esate Agent".  It has been two years and he just called me about walking thru to recommend changes for putting the house on the market.  I think the notes just reinforce that we care about people.
Mar 20, 2008 08:26 AM #16
Rainer
108,032
Dawn & Charlie Tetro
PalmerHouse Properties & associates - Johns Creek, GA
Real Service Real Results

It has always been a challenge for me to figure out the best way to keep in touch with my SOI. This is especially difficult when I am in the middle of negotiating contracts.

I have recently acquired Advantage Xi as a real estate specific contact management system.   I am still learning how to use it and I am thankful that it sync's with my previous "mind-saver" Outlook.  I have used drips for incubating new prospects, but like you, I prefer a personal touch with my sphere of influence. You just cannot beat hand-written notes and phone calls!!!

Dec 28, 2009 01:41 AM #17
Anonymous
Jameel
iPads are awesome. They are geittng better and more useful as the days go by. I have found that they are becoming more and more useful in every business and job. I believe they are the next thing that everyone will have like TV's, cellphones, iPods. It will soon become a must have!
Aug 10, 2012 06:02 AM #18
Anonymous
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Aug 11, 2012 07:55 AM #19
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