Don’t Think Outside The Box. Think Inside.

Don’t Think Outside The Box. Think Inside.

I am sure you have heard that whenever you are looking for a new idea to “think outside the box”. However, there are many advantages of “thinking inside the box” instead.  Especially when it comes to building a referral based business.

Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg, writers for the Wall Street Journal, define “Thinking Inside The Box” as,

“People are at their most innovative when they work within the constraints of what they already know.”  

In 1983, the owners of a small cookie business sent a box of their cookies to the top radio station in Los Angeles. After trying one on the air, disc jockey Rick Dees asked his listening audience, “How would you like the most delicious fresh cookies delivered right to you?” Back at their store, orders for Snookies Cookies started ringing off the hook … and they’ve never stopped.

Most people will credit the owners for thinking outside the box for their creative marketing ideas; however, I would credit them for thinking inside the box because they used resources that were at their disposal.

I love John Spencer’s take on thinking inside the box,

Ever watched a child play with a refrigerator box? It becomes a car, an airplane, a robot suit, a table, and a tunnel. Think of Minecraft or Legos. They are basically variations on stacking boxes. And yet, the simplicity and lack of options actually unleash the power of creativity. 

This is the idea of creative constraint.

As you are building your client base, the same applies. I often talk to REALTORS® that are looking to online resources like Zillow, Trulia and etc. to build a client database by purchasing leads. However, according to an article by Inman News with data provided by the National Association of Realtors, “Only 9% of buyers find agents online, the same as 10 years ago”. The article states,

…Fewer than 1 in 10 homebuyers and sellers found their agents through a website last year, similar numbers to a decade ago, according to historical survey data shared with Inman by the National Association of Realtors (NAR)from its annual report on homebuyers and sellers. According to the trade group, buyers and sellers were far more likely to pair up with their agents through friends, neighbors and family — over 40 percent of buyers and sellers found their agent using these human referrals…

What the information is telling us that instead of “thinking outside the box” and spending money on online lead generation outlets; it is better to be creative with your Sphere of Influence to learn how to generate more referrals.

In one of my previous articles called, “Lead vs. Referral vs. Connection“, we discussed the importance of building a referral database that sends you referrals vs.leads. When someone purchases a lead, they are often competing against every other person on the internet. However, when you receive a referral it is a direct endorsement from a third party.

For example, I was talking to a new client this week that was referred to me by one of my trusted referral partners and the client said, “Austen, I want you to know that I was talking to 2 other loan officers and mortgage companies. However, after talking with you and the endorsement that my agent gave you, I would like to proceed with you for the financing of my new home.” I truly believe that if I didn’t have the endorsement from my referral partner, the client would have gone with her bank whom, she has a long-standing relationship with. By the way… the REALTOR received the referral from the client’s sister.

In the coming week’s, we will be discussing networking. It’s Net-Working. Not Net-Sitting or Net-Eating.

Until next time, remember, Always Be Connecting!

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