By Matthew Ferrara, renowned Philosopher & Speaker
What will it take to grow your business this year? Will it be more mailings, longer hours or a social media campaign so outrageous, you finally go viral? Let’s hope not, because none of these ideas are desirable or sustainable, something that thousands of salespeople will realize as they beat their goals this year by doing the opposite of such strategies. They won’t try harder to be successful.
They will try easier.
Trying easier is an idea first introduced to me by Dr. Price Pritchett in his book, The Quantum Leap, and it has helped me create consistent and dramatic growth in my business year after year. It works by challenging ourselves to look away from the common-sense approaches to growth – like making uncomfortable prospecting calls or sending out thousands of generic emails – to the uncommon sense of discovering true paths to growth. For real estate professionals, this contrarian mindset puts our focus back on the most productive source of achievement and encouragement: Our sphere of influence.
Any top salesperson will tell you the same story: They tried the harder approach many times. They doubled down on lead generation schemes, bought more marketing and poured money into mailings. They learned snazzy new scripts and six ways to overcome objections to a free lunch. And for a while, they got busier and handled more emails and chased more leads. Some of these even turned into deals, because with huge volumes, some percentage is bound to pan out. But the effort, the costs and the impact on their overall performance eventually wore off.
Today those same top salespeople will tell you the rest of the story: That one day they just happened to call up a past client to talk. Or they caught up with a friend from college. Maybe they sent an email to a good neighbor or had a long chat with someone in their social club. Simple, easy, comfortable conversations with people they already knew and who already knew them. All of which led to the easiest deals they ever did, the simplest presentations they ever made, and the most profitable growth they ever generated.
When you discover that trying easier leads to better results, you should listen to your uncommon sense. Over the life of your career, or just the next few months, you don’t need to perform crazy, risky, uncomfortable techniques to generate growth. Just make a concerted effort to contact a few friends a day. Reach out to them on social media, or send them a text, or leave them a voicemail to meet for lunch. The technique doesn’t matter – do whatever is easier for you – because the key is that you’re reaching out to people who are most likely to engage in a conversation.
You don’t even have to remind them that you’re in real estate or you love referrals, or you’d like to help them again sometime. Just listen to them; talk casually about how your career is unfolding, and perhaps ask them for a little help or advice. As your friends, they’ll do the rest – easily. Decades of experience bear this out: Most career salespeople confirm than 80% of their growth comes from nurturing relationships they already had, as opposed to prospecting to people they didn’t know. More business will be generated by people who already like you, already trust you, and want to see you be successful. That’s what friends do.
Imagine if you started every day with a friendly conversation or an encouraging text message or an inspirational social media post to someone you already know. Imagine if you told your technology to keep your sphere of influence front and center – in your CRM and on your social media feeds – because you wouldn’t hesitate to engage with them. What would it be like not to have to use stale scripts and bland clichés to convince complete strangers to contact you? How much more fulfilling will it be to add so much value to your sphere of influence, they become bursting with enthusiasm to introduce you to even more people? That’s what happens when you get referred by a client you keep in touch with more than a few holidays a year; or your cadre of peers who share your latest positive message on Facebook with the rest of their social network. Even as simple as looking up the name of a for-sale-by-owner on LinkedIn, to see if you might already know somebody who knows them, so your offer to help can be introduced to them rather than hoping your email interrupts their attention.
There’s a lot of growth to be earned in your career. It’s up to you to decide to win it. You can try hard to get strangers to notice you, trust you, and pay you. Maybe you’ll take the challenge and try easier this year instead and strengthen your contacts with the hearts and minds that are happy to see you grow, too.