Your Sphere of Influence, or SOI, is your most important referral source for new business. These are the people who know you or know of you.

Your SOI is also your most cost-efficient audience to market to– you shouldn’t have to spend much money to grow the circle of people who know and like you!

Your SOI reaches beyond your friends and family. It includes your friends’ and family’s friends and families. It includes the people you do business with every day, your neighborhood, your children’s teachers, coaches, and friends’ families.

It even includes friends, family or acquaintances in other cities or states who may one day refer business to you or ask you for a referral.

The easiest way to grow your SOI is simply to let the people in your life know who you are, what you do, and that you are available for hire.

Here are some ways to grow your SOI:

1. Build a presence on social media. Post regularly about your business and about your life in general. Build your audience by engaging with others: Like, comment, and share others’ posts. Send the message that you have a thriving business but are never too busy to help your audience with their real estate needs.

2. Wear your real estate swag. Wear your name badge when you stop by the store on the way home from work or pick up the kids from practice. Invest in some cute real estate T’s to wear with jeans.

3. Talk to people! Strike up a conversation with the ladies in your gym class, your grocery store cashier, the receptionist at your dentist’s office, the other parents waiting for practice to end. You probably have people in your life that you encounter often, yet they don’t know what you do. The easiest way is to get the ball rolling is to ask them something about themselves.

4. Join a networking group. Get to know other business people in your community by attending networking events. You will probably find groups in your community for young professionals, women’s or men’s professional groups or Business Networking International. If you don’t find one, start one!

5. Leave your card everywhere. One professional real estate trainer speaks of enclosing her card every time she mailed a check to pay her utility bill. She left a lot of cards before someone eventually called her when they needed a real estate agent. Some agents leave their cards every time they pay a restaurant check.

6. Utilize your email contacts. Keep track of email addresses and send a monthly or quarterly email or newsletter reminding your SOI that you are available.

7. Volunteer at community functions. Wear your real estate swag or your name badge and have a pocket full of cards while you man a registration table, help plan a fundraiser, build a Habitat for Humanity home, ring the Salvation Army bell, or collect food for emergency services.

8. Network with other real estate agents. These are your people, get to know them! Agents from your brokerage and other brokerages can be a great source of support, information, referrals, and friendship. They understand your business life better than anyone, so instead of viewing them as competitors, view them as teammates. Watch for our next post for more on marketing to other real estate agents.