Use these methods for agents to rapidly build a real estate COI, or Center of Influence, database that will generate measurable business production results for years into the future. The key to growing a real estate COI quickly is to commit to purposeful activities designed to meet new people and obtain their contact information in order to systematically stay in touch with them over time. Before we look at some of the techniques and scripts top agents use to swiftly develop a real estate COI, watch our panel of top producing experts reveal the activities and strategies they implement to grow their center of influence databases in this video.
Grow Your Real Estate COI Purposefully
Look at a real estate COI like a savings account. Without intentional activities designed to grow the size of it, agents will live paycheck to paycheck out of their checking accounts. Agents that simply add contacts to their database after a closing or when they happen to think of it are no different than people who plan to start saving money once they make enough of it. Similar to how a savings account generates interest over time, a real estate COI provides increased business over time as it is fostered and grown larger. So agents that focus only on prospecting to get business in the short term without saving for the future effectively run a business paycheck to paycheck.
The key is to set a specific and measurable goal to build a real estate COI. For example, agents can commit to purposefully adding the contact information of 5 new people they meet to their database. If they do this 50 weeks out of the year, they will grow their databases by 250 people in just twelve months. By implementing a database contact plan to systematically stay in touch with these people, these 250 contacts should predictably represent over 40 new transactions a year!
Scripts & Methods to Build a Real Estate COI
1. Create a Business Card for Them
Whether be to social gatherings, business events or to the grocery store, carry your business cards wherever you go. As you meet people, offer to give them your card. After they accept it, ask them “Do you have a business card on you?” If they say that they do not, ask them “Can I make one for you?” Then simply pull out another of your cards and pull out a pen while asking “Just give me your contact information and I’ll jot it down on one of mine.” Now it is just a matter of entering their information into a customer relationship manager or CRM and following up to let them know it was good to meet them before initiating your database contact campaign.
2. Obtain Neighborhood & Organization Directories
As real estate agents that practice geographic farming already know, obtaining the contact information of people that live in a particular community is essential for quickly building relationships in a neighborhood. So after a listing sells, try asking your seller clients: “Would you mind if I made a quick copy of your homeowner’s association (or neighborhood) directory? I absolutely love this neighborhood and would like to become the REALTOR of choice for your old neighbors too.”
You can also obtain neighborhood contact information through tax records, or more accurate information by using paid services like Cole Realty Resource. Agents can also acquire directories or rosters for business networking groups, non-profit organizations, community service groups, parent teacher associations, churches, companies, and a variety of other organizations. Once you meet or contact a person from a particular group, just add them to your real estate COI database and start your contact campaign.
3. Business & Vendor Referral Networks
Reach out to business owners and professionals from other industries and offer to refer them business exchange for real estate client referrals. Most people would be happy to refer clients looking to buy or sell a home to a particular real estate agent if the agent sent business their way. Try using a script like the following:
“Hi . . . (business owner), I’m John Smith with ABC Realty and I’m in the process of creating a list of preferred business & service providers to give to my clients and include on my real estate website. Since I frequently have clients ask me for a good . . . (profession), I’m looking for a trusted professional/company to refer them to. I’ve heard good things about your company, would you and your business be interested in being included?”
“Great! I like to establish these professional referral partnerships to help grow each other’s businesses as well. So if I were to refer clients to you, would you be willing to refer your clients that are looking to buy or sell a home to me with the assurance that I will provide them with the high level of customer service that you expect?”
Excellent! How about we exchange each other’s contact information so that we can get started?”
Simply search in a phone book or online for the contact information of local businesses to fill out your preferred vendor list and contact them to grow your real estate COI systematically. You can also use our Preferred Vendor Categories List to help stretch your mind to think of all the industries and businesses you should contact. Just scroll to the bottom of the page behind the link for the complete list.