I love SOI*. It's my thing... it's my passion. I think every self-employed salesperson oughta include a little SOI in their arsenal. Or a lot. During my real estate days, my business was nearly 100% SOI with a few random floor calls, walk-ins and web leads tossed in as gravy.
But if you're gonna SOI, you better do it right! Not everyone does. In fact, most don't. Not because they're stupid or incompetent or insensitive, not at all! Rather, because most salespeople have never been shown the right way to do it. When done right, an SOI business model actually changes the way the salesperson views his business ... and his world.
Most experienced real estate salespeople claim to embrace an SOI philosophy. They support the idea of generating business and referrals from the people they know. But the reality is that the vast majority of real estate agents fail miserably in their SOI efforts. Even worse, they manage to alienate many of their friends and family members along the way!
And then they proclaim that "SOI is a lousy way to run a business!"
Well, they're wrong. And, they're right. They're wrong that an SOI strategy is a poor business model, but they're right that it was a lousy business model for them. Because they didn't understand how to do it right.
If you're gonna SOI, you better do it right. If you're gonna do it wrong, don't do it at all. The personal relationships in your life are far too important to risk!
21 Ways to Blow it with Your SOI
Ask a friend to lunch and give her your sales pitch (every time)
Call your friends on the first Monday of every month and ask if they have any referrals for you.
- If they don't, ask them why not.
- Angrily (or tearfully) confront your friends and family if they use another real estate agent
- Take on business you aren't qualified to handle
- Send your friends weekly emailed newsletters of your listings
- Blow off your friend's housewarming party, but expect her to be loyal to you
- Attend your friend's housewarming party and sales-pitch everyone to death
- Tell everyone you know how lousy the real estate market is
- Tell everyone you know how overwhelmed you are
- Tell everyone you know how depressed you are about your real estate business
- Send out an announcement letter with typo's and misspellings
- Send your friends frequent "forward this on for good luck or else" mass emails
- Pepper your language with four-letter words
- Borrow money or books or tools or whatever and don't return them in a timely manner
- Don't return social phone calls or RSVP's
- Try to hijack referral fees from your family's pre-existing real estate relationships
- Ignore your SOI in favor of mass-advertising projects (then get your feelings hurt when they use someone else)
- Contact your friends only when you're looking for business
- Offer bribes to your friends for referrals
- Sell real estate "on the side"
*An "SOI" (sphere of influence) business strategy means to generate business and referrals from the people who know you.
To Read About "Doing SOI Right", check out these blogs:
The Jake Series
Are You Tired of Pestering Strangers for Business?
What's the Best Way to Ask for Referrals? Don't.
SOI and the Single Gal