Your sphere of influence is the foundation of your growth as a real estate professional. Your sphere of influence—which can also be thought of as your database for leads—should be increasing all the time, too. If you’re a secret agent who hides from meeting people, your business will be significantly hampered. In fact, it could whither away as past clients and friends get wooed by agents who are putting in face time.

A monthly email or postcard alone will not grow your business. Instead, be purposeful in developing meaningful relationships in the multiple channels of your existing network. Here are some examples of where to start.

Community organizations. Join one or more local organizations that have a mission you genuinely connect with.

Alumni association. Engage in your local college alumni chapter, and if you were a member of a Greek organization, join and get involved in that as well. You have something in common already, so this is a fast track to building influence in these circles.

If there isn’t an association near you, start it yourself! Your college or national fraternity or sorority will welcome your passion to launch an alumni-networking group in your area.

Board of directors. Take your skills and background and serve on a board of directors or advisors for your HOA, a local nonprofit organization, a business, the Chamber of Commerce, school board, city council, your church, and so forth. There are many opportunities if you will simply inquire and volunteer your time.

As you develop these channels of your network, remember to:

  • Give before getting. Come to the group with a contribution.
  • Take time to nurture these relationships.
  • Make attendance a priority. Absenteeism severs the trust that others have in you.
  • Get together with each member for coffee, lunch, and so forth outside of regularly scheduled group events. Don’t use this time to sell; this is about building relationships.
  • Identify your most influential relationship opportunities using the 80/20 Rule: Who composes the 20% of each group who will be true life-changers?

The multichannel network is your go-to resource when your sphere of influence asks you for a referral. It also can be your lifeline in a slow or recessed market when your livelihood may ultimately depend on it. The day you need your network is too late to begin assembling it.