When I was 8 years old my Mom took me and my friend Marisa to the zoo. I really really really wanted to ride the paddle boats on a pond they had there. The paddle boats were not in service at the time. I saw a guy working at the dock and my mom told me that if I was so hellbent on riding one then I would have to ask the guy about it. So, off I ran.
“Excuse me, Mister. I wanna ride the paddleboats.” The precocious me stated. Straight to the point. I flashed him one of my biggest smiles, complete with some very very cute little dimples. I had learned at a very young age that my dimples were a source of incredibly strong power and I must use this power for good… And getting my way.
“We aren’t doing rides right now.” Downfallen. Insta-pout. Sad Jess was sad. BUT as a spoiled, not-quite-rotten, only child, I wasn’t taking no for an answer.
“When will the rides be starting?” I still had the biggest pout on my face that I could possibly manage.
“Well, we’re really not doing rides today.” My lip trembled in disappointment. “But, I tell you what. You come back in like an hour when I’m done fixing this one, have that big smile on your face and you and your friend can take a ride.”
YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!! Score one for me and Marisa! I came back an hour later and we were happily paddling around the pond for a good 20 minutes before we were both exhausted.
“Jess, WTF does this have to do with Real Estate?” It doesn’t really have anything to do with real estate per se, but it does have to do a lot with getting clients. You see, we had a pass to the zoo. It was great summer entertainment for me when I wasn’t involved in whatever camp my parents had me in. Every time I went to the zoo, I would see that same maintenance worker. We would always smile and say hello. This guy probably had a house. If I had been older, I may have either sold his house or I could have helped him find a new house and then sold his old house. This guy was in my sphere of influence.
Sphere of Influence, or SOI (because sphere of influence is a pain in the ass to continue typing), is everyone you know. Here’s a crash course in SOI for Real Estate and how this is probably the number one way you’ll get clients.
- You know Joey. You tell Joey that you’re a real estate agent now. They’re like “Cool!” This information will stick with Joey. You’ll sell houses. It’s awesome.
- Somewhere down the road Joey will want to utilize your services. You will be like “Cool!” You will find Joey the perfect house or sell Joey’s house. Joey will be [hopefully] impressed with your services.
- Joey will recommend you to Dawson. The conversation will be like “I need a realtor. I want to GTFO of Capeside.” Joey will in turn say “Oh hey, [insert your name here] sells real estate! He/She is awesome!” Dawson will contact you for your services and wha-la, your SOI has paid off. You can now take Joey out to dinner, but make sure you take her bf/hubby/whatever-they-are-now [Kevin Williams a little help?] with you because otherwise you have just brought back Dawson’s Creek and I’m thinking a teen drama on the CW won’t work well with all the main characters in their late 30s/early 40s now. I would totally watch that, btw. Just saying.
SO yeah, that’s how SOI works. Unfortunately, YOU are the one that has to build it. This is why you have to TALK TO EVERYONE.
Storytime! (Because I know you guys love that.) I was at the grocery store the other day. I was picking up some necessities, prepping for an incoming snowpacalypse, and there was an elderly gentleman in line ahead of me. He was grumbling about the weather because the day before it had been really lovely. I said “It’s Indiana, wait five minutes. It’ll change.” He replied, “Well, at least I don’t have to work in it!” I laughed and said “I’ll be out, but that’s why I bought my Ugg boots!” and pointed to the giant, fuzzy uggs on my feet. I asked what he did, and he said that he worked in Insurance. He asked what I did and I said: “I’m a Realtor!”
Long story short, the guy was looking to sell his house. He had already met with one realtor but was not impressed at all. We set up an appointment for me to come look at his house and run through my listing presentation for the next morning. I instantly went home and went to work on creating a CMA for his home, putting together a listing presentation and doing my research on the house.
If you hate talking to people, you’re definitely in the wrong business. This business is based on building relationships and trust. If you can’t talk to someone, how are they going to be able to trust you? I have a personal goal that I try and talk to at least 5 new people a day. I don’t have to make friends with them, I don’t even have to like all of them, I just have to talk.
I have this crazy idea. Let’s start a weekly challenge. We’ll start small. You don’t have to instantly go up and talk to everyone you see, but I want you to do this:
YOUR FIRST CHALLENGE: SMILE AT EVERYONE. This is harder than it sounds. We all have days where we’re grumpy or feeling meh or whatever. For ONE FULL DAY, whenever you’re out and about, smile. It doesn’t have to be a giant cheese, a grin is fine. Consciously notice how many people smile back. Make a mental note, or even better- at the end of the day, get out a sheet of paper or a notebook or even open a notebook page on your computer. Write about how you felt smiling at people. Did it take you out of your comfort zone? Did people smile back? What was your reaction, their reaction? How do you feel now? I’ll even do it too and I’ll post about my results on Wednesday, Jan 31.
Now, go forth young padawans, and SMILE!