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Smile and Expand Your Sphere of Influence

Oct 19, 2015

Posted by

Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn

Jennifer Allan Hagedorn was a top producing real estate broker in Denver, Colorado before writing her first book in 2007. Since then, she has written several more books about the business of selling r Read more

We real estate agents agonize over meeting people to add to our sphere of influence (SOI) databases. Should we join a club or volunteer at the homeless shelter or take a class or attend networking events? Should we attend more parties, events or PTA meetings? Should we canvass neighborhoods, hang out at the mall or participate in online meet-up groups?

Sure, if you want to. But you don’t have to force yourself to do things you’d rather not in the name of making new friends. It might be as simple as changing the way you interact with the world on a daily basis…because you know what? Your future clients are out there in that world, looking for someone just like you.  

A few months ago, I had a conversation with an agent about prospecting and business-building. She explained that because she hates to be pushed, she refuses to push others. So far, so good – gotta love the Golden Rule.

But it was what she said next that caught my attention. She said that when she goes shopping at the mall, she does whatever she can to avoid eye contact with the sales clerks who approach her asking if they can help. She just wants to get in, make her purchase and get out, and doesn’t need the help of some commissioned salesperson trying to sell her something.

But…what if…instead of avoiding eye contact and communication in these situations, she changed her paradigm and thought of this clerk as a potential client or referral source? How would her behavior change if she found out the clerk was getting married next month and was going to sell her condo and buy a new home with her new husband, who also had a house to sell?

Guess what? That scenario is entirely possible. Every time you leave the house and encounter other human beings, every single one of them might have a real estate need or know someone who does.

Sure, the majority of people who cross your path on a daily basis have absolutely no use for you as a real estate agent today, tomorrow or next week, whether you’re pleasant to them or not. But you have no idea which ones do…and which ones don’t. And the more pleasant you are to more people, the more likely you are to encounter someone who has a use for you as a real estate agent, right?

So, what does “Be Pleasant” mean?

Well, Being Pleasant can be as simple as making eye contact and smiling. You can step it up a notch by saying good morning or complimenting someone’s leather jacket. You can take it up another notch by looking for opportunities to open doors for other people, or hold the elevator. You can stop to pet a dog and tell the owner how cute he is (the dog, not the owner!).

Where Do You Find Ten People a Day to Be Pleasant to?

Every time you leave the house, it’s likely you’re going places where there are people who will come within Being Pleasant distance.  

For example, when you’re checking out at the grocery store, there are at least four people within three feet of you—the guy behind you, the lady ahead of you, the checkout clerk and the bagger. Maybe the manager wanders by. There you have five people to Be Pleasant to, right there. If you go to the bank, consider going inside instead of driving-thru—you’ll find another three or four or five people there to Be Pleasant to.

What Do You Say to These Ten People You’re Being Pleasant to?

You don’t have to make conversation, aside from basic pleasantries. You won’t be assaulting everyone who comes within three feet of you with an elevator speech, or even to commenting on their attire. No, the concept is really simple—just Be Pleasant.

 How Do You Get Contact Information for the Ten People?

You won’t. You’ll never see the vast majority of the people you’re Pleasant to again. You won’t be adding them to your SOI database, asking them to lunch or sending them a calendar in December.

But if you’re Pleasant to ten people a day, chances are that every few days you’ll Be Pleasant to the “right” person and you’ll start up a conversation that could lead to a friendship or just an acquaintanceship. By the end of the year, you’ve Been Pleasant to over 3,000 people and if only one out of ten of them becomes a friend or acquaintance, that’s over 300 people you’ve added to your sphere. Even if your ratio is one of 20 or one of 30, that’s some pretty serious SOI-building.

But back to the question—how to get contact information from people you meet—you’ll do it only if it’s appropriate. And it’s only appropriate if there’s a mutual rapport and both parties seem interested in continuing the relationship. Do not go out in the world Being Pleasant with the goal of gathering names and numbers. You’ll sabotage yourself.

How Do You Tell These Ten People You Sell Real Estate?

Again, you probably won’t. If you get to the point with someone that you’re talking at the level of “So, what do you do?” then you’ll tell them. But don’t lead with it and don’t insist on fitting it into the conversation if it’s not appropriate.

The Karma of Being Pleasant

Imagine if you have ten positive encounters every day with other human beings as opposed to neutral or even negative ones—what do you reckon that might do for your mood? And have you ever noticed that when you’re in a good mood, good things seem to find you? That you seem to find more and more things to be in a good mood about?