Are the Right People in Your Sphere of Influence?

By Todd Carpenter, Director of Digital Engagement, National Association of REALTORS®

I had the opportunity to speak last week at the Social Media Club Chicago’s holiday party. Talking to a group of your peers is always great, but the best part is the opportunity to network before and after the presentation. The event went well, but I came away thinking about the dynamics of networking events and how they relate online.

During the event, I talked with seven people I already knew well. It’s always good to bolster the relationships you already have, and frankly, it’s the easiest networking you can do. Six people came up to introduce themselves to me. A benefit to speaking is that everyone in the room knows who you are. Obviously, having people come up and introduce themselves is also pretty easy. What’s hard is being the one who approaches someone else. I introduced myself to three people. Out of those three, one turned into a real connection that could lead to future opportunities.

Looking back, I don’t really remember the people who introduced themselves to me. I know I met them because I have their card. If a relationship grows from the event, it will probably be because they put in the effort. The same is true for the one good connection I made by introducing myself: I will need to make the effort. So, out of an opportunity to meet lots of great people, I only met one. I felt like I was doing a good job networking, but now that I look at it, I’m kind of disappointed. Networking is hard.

Online social networks aren’t really all that different. Just because someone follows me or want to friend me doesn’t mean I will make the same investment in them. I know this applies to me as well. I need to work to develop the relationships that can help me the most.

More importantly, if I take the easy road and let others come to me, then my sphere will be full of people who are likely to be getting more out of their relationship with me than I am getting from them. If you want to be successful, it needs to be the other way around.

It’s so much easier to hang out with your friends (online or off), or let those friend requests come to you. But it’s the hard, uncomfortable work involved with actively prospecting for and developing new relationships that will lead to the greatest opportunities in your career.

Todd Carpenter

Todd Carpenter, Managing Director of the Data Analytics Group at NAR I'm a twenty year veteran of the real estate and mortgage industry, focusing on technology that fosters relationships between professionals and consumers. I am a subject matter expert in data analytics, online consumer trends, enterprise social media strategy, listing data, agent ratings, and public facing MLS portals.

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  1. This is a great tip Todd! Sometimes we get too comfortable with our close circle of friends and can forget about the influencers that are great to make connections with.

  2. nice saying by tod

  3. Great article Todd. My approach to SOI is having 3 different circles. Those who know me, like me and trust me. Casual acquaintances and the last one’s who I wouldn’t know if they walked up to me on the street. People in these circles are always being adjusted. My near and dear friends (about 150 people) I contact monthly via phone call or snail mail. Casual acquaintances get a monthly e-newsletter this is a group of about 350 people. The one’s whom I don’t know receive a discount card from a national retailer every 2 to 3 months. Also keep you SOI growing. Treat it like a living breathing being.

  4. Very good article. I’m a loan officer and my main sphere are Realtors, but I also connect with financial planners, cpas, insurance agents and such. Anyone who deals with clients money is a good source for referrals,

  5. It’s tough when you want to be sincere and not appear pushy at the same time. In perspective, getting 1 lead that you can follow-up on is better than the people who went home with none. 😉