Maintaining an Authentic Connection with Your Sphere

Mercedes Santiago

Most people crave connection with others – a trait that became even more clear over the last two years where workforces became remote, clubs and organizations migrated online, and people saw their “friends” on Facebook far more often than they saw their friends in person.

While we’ve never been more connected with the world thanks to social media, video conferencing, smartphones, etc., studies have shown that loneliness continues to grow. In a recent study conducted by Making Caring Common, 36% of respondents reported that in the prior four weeks, they had felt lonely “frequently” or “almost all the time or all the time” vs. 25% pre-pandemic. This was especially present from younger respondents, with 60% of those aged 18-25 reporting high levels of loneliness.

What’s often missing from these “connections” is a feeling of authenticity, and that’s something that should be considered in your professional life as well. When looking at how clients view the people they choose to work with, authenticity is also a key factor. According to the whitepaper “The Path to Happy Customers” from research firm Lithium, 86% of adults in the U.S. say they are willing to spend more on products and services from a provider that they love, and 71% would share a positive experience with other consumers. Clients want to feel that you’re authentic in every interaction, with every message. This poses a problem to those who take a “one size fits all” approach to marketing messages and campaigns.

That fact that clients want to work with agents they know, like, and trust should not be a surprise to anyone reading this – the NAR Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers reports year after year that the majority of the average agent’s business comes from their sphere of influence. As mentioned in the recently released MoxiWorks “Broker’s Guide to Building Robust Pipelines.” the 2021 NAR Profile report showed that 60% of all closed seller transactions resulted from sphere of influence. However, a mistake that many agents make as they scale their database and marketing efforts is not being strategic when it comes to personalization and segmentation. The modern client or potential client expects the information given to them by their agent to be relevant to them.

The ability to segment, prioritize and personalize marketing messaging is critical to maintaining meaningful relationships with your clients. Within MoxiEngage, agents have the ability to utilize both categories and groups to market strategically to their sphere of influence. How the agent chooses to segment their database is ultimately up to their personal preference; however, I often share segmentation practices that I’ve seen from top producers over my career.

Here are five of my favorite tips.

  1. Past buyers and past sellers are two segments that routinely show up in an agent’s database. However, the market is constantly in flux, changing and shifting year by year. Because of this, the message you may send to someone who bought or sold in 2015 is likely to be different than what you send to someone who did the same in 2021. By further grouping past buyers and sellers into sub-groups by year of the transaction allows for more personalized messaging about their property.
  2. Having your client’s address in your database is another basic CRM function. Enhance that by also including additional groups such as “Subdivision”, or educational data such as groups by elementary/secondary/high school. This allows for more local marketing such as when a particular high school team is playing for a state championship, or farming when you have a client that has determined they want to buy a property where their child will be able to attend a certain elementary school and you’re asking your sphere for listing leads.
  3. Don’t forget about other agents! Having a subset within your database of agents that have had multiple transactions with buyers at certain price points can help you make pre-marketing a property more strategic. Whether you have a new listing priced at $1.5 million or $450,000, doesn’t it make sense to market this information to agents who regularly have buyers at that price point?
  4. Consider adding the group “Property Type” to again allow for more personalization in your marketing. I’ll never forget when an agent I knew decided to refocus on staying in touch with their database. They opted to sign up with a third-party company that sent out an e-newsletter each month, along with a friendly message from that agent explaining that they’d created the newsletter with their clients in mind. The first email newsletter’s headline story? “Five Great Gardening Tips For Spring.” The issue? 70% of that agent’s business was listing and selling condominium units (which did not have yards). Situations like that can be avoided by an easy classification of what that client’s property type is.
  5. Last but not least, I’m a firm believer in tracking the “Source” of each of your contacts. Not only can you use this data to fine tune your business plan and prospecting efforts, you can also use this data for further personalization of your own marketing messages. For example, if you have a group of contacts that were from referrals, you can incorporate that into a message where you’re now asking those clients for the same courtesy. Knowing where business came from is essential for knowing where business will likely come from.

If you’ve been neglecting your sphere marketing, the good news is that Autumn is a great time to reach out. Schools are back in session, major college sports seasons begin, and we enter the holiday season with Labor Day, Halloween, and Thanksgiving all coming in rapid succession. Spend the time to perform a database tune-up, update your marketing plans and close out the year strong, positioning yourself for a fantastic 2023.