How do you define your sphere of influence?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Adwerx

When real estate agents first get started, they are told to start building their business with the people they know -- their sphere of influence.


For newly licensed agents, your existing sphere is all you have. But as you become a more experienced agent, and your sphere expands accordingly, it continues to play a critical role.

We have been lucky enough to speak with leading agents from all over the country about their sphere -- how they define it, who they consider to be part of it, and how they nurture those relationships.



Mark Spain of Mark Spain Real Estate told us, “I identify my sphere of influence with people that I come in regular contact with, such as family, friends.” And Nikki Beauchamp of Engel & Völkers said, “There are various layers to my sphere of influence, everything from my immediate social circle, to people that I went to school with.”


Agent Alison Domnas of RED Collective listed her sphere as, “People from college. People from law school. People who have known me since I was a little kid. Even my sixth grade teacher sent me her son.”


And UNIT Realty Group’s Joe Schutt told us, “I define my sphere of influence in a lot of of different ways because there's multiple spheres of influence out there. There's not just one.”


So how do you define your sphere? How do you nurture it?


Your neighbors. Your book club members. Your past clients. Your agent friends. It’s real estate basics: 60% of your business comes from people you know.


They are your sphere of influence. And whether you are a rookie agent or a veteran, these relationships are your bread and butter. As you can see from our interviews, not every real estate agent defines their sphere the same way.


We looked at four distinctive perspectives on sphere of influence -- and the personalities that go along with them.


  1. The ‘all inclusive’ agent
    This is the easiest sphere to get. Ask this agent who is in her sphere and she’ll tell you, “Everyone I know!” This is the agent who will meet you once and you’re on her newsletter list. She’s a hardcore business card keeper, and wants a contact list the size of the Manhattan phone book. (Boy, remember phone books?)

  2. The ‘inner sanctum’ agent
    This agent is the opposite of the first. For this agent, his sphere is small and controlled. Only his closest contacts gain admission -- maybe a baker’s dozen, tops. They are probably his longest connections, too, carried over through years of business dealings. And most of his business comes from these core contacts.


  1. The ‘bucket list’ agent
    For this agent, it’s not about “100 things to do before you die” but more about sorting each contact into an appropriate category. The different buckets often connect directly to the social circles in which he knows each person: neighborhood association, softball team, service providers and the like.


  1. The ‘bullseye’ agent
    This agent has at least three spheres of influence, ranked by importance. Her outer sphere is made up of people she knows, but would like to know better. These are folks she’s met casually or professionally. They know her name, but might not yet think of her as a real estate expert. The middle circle is made up of closer contacts -- people who may have worked with her on real estate deals. The inner circle are the agent’s ambassadors -- they will pick up the phone when she calls and sing her praises when asked. And her focus is on moving folks into the bullseye.

Staying in touch with your sphere and nurturing those relationships takes time. Whether you’re the first type of agent, the fourth type, or a combination thereof, you know that putting in the effort pays dividends over time.



Sharon Kowitz
Cary, NC Relocation Specialist ~ Buying or Selling

My sphere consist of people I have sold homes to and for ~ people who are my cheerleaders who love me and refer me without question! Love my referrals! 

Apr 18, 2017 04:56 AM
Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!

And then there's the dirty laundry agent.  Throw it on the wall and see what sticks.  :)

Apr 18, 2017 06:35 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Really like this post - it's made me think more about my sphere nd what I need to do to further develop and refine it.


Apr 18, 2017 08:11 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

I have different spheres, work spheres, customer spheres and social nmedia spheres, all are different but overlap.

Apr 18, 2017 11:17 AM
Jed Carlson

There are definitely a plethora of different spheres for each individual and laying them out like you have is the way to go about it. 

Apr 19, 2017 08:15 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

Mine is people who contact me or people I meet at seminars who want to build wealth through investing in reale state.

Apr 18, 2017 03:08 PM
Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA
Future Home Realty - Seminole, FL
Providing the integrity and service you deserve.

I think I'm a combination of 2 and 4 but mostly the people where there is a mutual relationship of trust and respect. 

Apr 18, 2017 07:22 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Jed this is a very insightful analysis of just what a 'sphere of influence' is all about. There are many ways of achieving a continuing referral business and for me - by far- it is my relationships with clients I've had for well over 25+ years. It's a gift that keeps on giving and I'm not just talking about repeat business.

Apr 18, 2017 07:34 PM
Jed Carlson

That's amazing and says a lot about you Anna. Having people come back and refer clients just goes to show the impact and great work you've provided. 

Apr 19, 2017 08:14 AM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Jed,

This is an interesting way to look at it. I would say, I am a bucket person, because not everyone is a real estate prospect to me. Some are just neighbors or friends from a shared activity.

Apr 18, 2017 07:55 PM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Thanks for getting my brain in gear to spend some time defining for myself what my sphere of influence is or what I feel it needs to be.


Apr 19, 2017 03:37 AM
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

I like the concept of the "bullseye" agent.  The idea of marketing to an outer sphere that captures the interest of a wider group is a great idea.

Apr 19, 2017 10:08 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Some good food for thought here. Thanks.

Apr 19, 2017 12:12 PM
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
Serving Coastal San Diego, Veteran's & Seniors

I suppose I'm the bull's-eye agent, with ranked members of my database. But, my sphere is defined by people who know me well enough to take my call, reply to my email and open my letter I mailed them. They know me well enough to take the time.

Apr 24, 2017 06:48 PM
Kimo Jarrett
Cyber Properties - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Interesting perspective about spheres of influence and lead generation processes, yet, which system or process of the illustrated categories is more productive and best to utilize or should agents employ all of them for maximum efficacy? Great post.

Apr 24, 2017 10:58 PM
Tami Hernandez

Great Post on SOI my issue has always been not reaching out, I'm going to begin with a VIP 25

Apr 25, 2017 04:44 AM
Tom Turner

I thought this was a little to general. It seems to imply that everyone fits into a SOI, when really there are many more that simply in Groups. I have 3 SOI's - people that will promote and refer me, etc. And another 10-15 groups of people that are various levels of contacts. Marketing to contact levels varies significantly, and lumping everyone into 2-3 groups and calling everyone part of an SOI risks alienating lots of contacts with marketing materials they don't need, or flooding them with useless emails, etc.

Apr 25, 2017 08:40 AM
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

I have been in real estate 10 years and very little of my business comes from my sphere (those people I consider my friends). As a matter of fact, I was in the business for 5 years before any of my friends used me for a real estate transaction. (I was new to my area and real estate.) I could have starved waiting for one of my friends to use me. Obviously, many extend that sphere to past clients. And I have done repeat business with past clients but, once again, very little of my business comes from that sphere. The bulk of my business comes from the internet, from people who've never met me. My agent can be quite successful and never do a deal with a friend or family member. If they only focus on those people closest to them, they might end up out of business before they know it.

Apr 25, 2017 09:33 AM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

I like the way you broke down the Sphere of Influence and I think I am a mixture of them ... definitely cannot say just one is me.  I have a variety of SOI but the majority that does the most referring are past clients and I am working on making my contacts with them more consistent. 

Apr 25, 2017 07:20 PM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

I've n ever thought of my sphere this way....interesting concepts.  I keep in touch with mostly everyone through different methods

Apr 26, 2017 09:01 AM
Donna & Larry Johnson
Keller Williams Real Estate - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County

My sphere is always changing. At first it is your family and friends. The longer you are in the business and have had multiple transactions with clients they are also added to the list. People that you can trust to spread your name as often as possible.

May 01, 2017 06:42 AM
Elva Branson-Lee
Best Atlanta - Atlanta, GA
Marketing Specialist, Atlanta Short Sale Pr

I've depended almost solely on internet lead generation for short sales. Now that I am building up the standard sale side of my business I will need to employ some of these suggestions. Thanks for this post.

May 04, 2017 06:36 AM