Speed Marketing(TM) for Loan Officers by Geoff Zimpfer

by 25 Nov 2009

Doubling Your REALTOR® Referrals In 90 Days

Did you notice how quickly the halfway point of the year arrived? What a roller coaster it has been.  We have seen a more challenging, shrinking market for refinance originations, overall loan volume down, and the number of originators competing for that shrinking pie greatly reduced.

How are you doing so far?  Are you on track with your production goals?  How many sources of business do you have and what would happen to your income if one of those sources disappeared or suddenly under performed?  By my observation and through non-scientific surveys of originators across the country, it appears that too many originators’ business is still weighted heavily on the refinance side of the scale.  The old “live and die by the refi.”
One of my favorite marketing axioms is that the worst number you can have in marketing is the number one. Meaning, if you rely solely on just one source of business for your production you are like a three-legged stool.  It’s a little shaky and eventually, you wind up sitting on the floor.  So, if you were searching for a reliable source of purchase business, where would you look?  Would you advertise for buyers?  Buy leads?  Do direct mail to renters?  Well, if you’re in search of a profitable source of purchase business, here is some recent facts you should know.
According to the National Association of REALTORS® as many as 40 percent of homebuyers get their mortgage from whoever their agent recommends and 28 percent of homebuyers already have a mortgage person they know or have worked with before.  That means if you are counting on advertising or prospecting to fill your pipeline with purchase money loans, 68 percent of the market is already gone.  So all your advertising is chasing just 32 percent of the market!  Even worse, for every $100 you spend on advertising to attract homebuyers, you are immediately down to just $32,because 68 percent of every dollar spent is skimmed off the top; already spoken for in the marketplace.  Would you put your money in an investment that took 68 percent of your money right off the top?
In short, if you expect to not just survive but to thrive during this transitional market and beyond, a large part of your success will result from how effective you are at generating, capturing and growing your REALTOR® referred purchase business.  Choosing to work with REALTORS® is a of course a choice.  Most of us know working with REALTORS® can be challenging but very rewarding as well.  The challenge for most originators is finding the good ones.  Those REALTORS® who will be loyal, professional and who produce enough transactions per year so the relationship is profitable.  Like most things in sales, it’s purely a numbers game. Just like the Prince Charming fairytale where the princess had to kiss so many toads until she found her prince, originators today have to kiss a lot of REALTORS®.  Ok, no “kissing,” but you do have to sift and sort your way through lots of REALTORS® until you find those who will become reliable referral sources.
Even though this industry is awash in training and motivation, so few loan officers actually experience very little significant success working with REALTORS® because they have no system for quickly sifting and sorting through large groups of REALTORS®. Most of us are taught to cold call, do open houses, network, etc.  In today’s marketplace, that is a recipe for failure because cold calling does not work, open houses are ineffective and networking is hit and miss at best.  What is needed is a turnkey system that puts you, the originator, consistently in front of large numbers of agents, delivering value to their business, building your personal brand and your database for continued marketing to your ever growing database of agents.
Step one indoubling your agent referral business is to simply meet, sift and sort through more agents.  It is similar to speed dating because you speed-up the process of sifting and sorting through your local “eligible” agent population, placing agents into your marketing funnel as A, B, or C level relationships and following up appropriately.  It works better than open houses, cold-calling (ugh!) networking, flyers, and car washes.  You will also finally reach those elusive top producers and break into closed offices with little effort.
Imagine having your first appointment with 146 agents all at once on the same day.  Imagine capturing all of their contact information and getting permission to continually market yourself and your services to them over time.  Now imagine making follow-up warm calls to those same 146 agents and requesting a brief meeting.  Or, just call the ones who requested to meet with you because you have positioned yourself with a compelling offer that attracts agents to you like ants to a picnic lunch.  How long would it normally take you to personally meet and present yourself and your company to 146 agents?  One year?  Two years?  Most originators don’t meet that many agents in their entire career.  How much faster would you find those good agents vs. cold calling, open houses and networking?  How much faster would you develop referrals?  That’s right.  A lot faster!  
The only way to consistently get in front of that many agents at one time is by hosting and conducting what I call ‘WOW’ factor seminars for REALTORS®.  These are not seminars dealing with the latest contract changes, by-laws, committee meetings etc.  These are events that truly add measurable value to the agents business and personal lives, resulting in you boosting your REALTOR® referral partners and your purchase business.  Here is a sample of proven topics that putt agents butts in the seats and loans in your pipeline.
·        Instant Tax Relief for REALTORS®
·        Get More Buyers Approved With FHA Financing
·        Gain the Inside Edge – Secrets of America’s Top Producers
·        The Power of Focus – How to Hit Your Business, Personal and Financial Targets with Absolute Certainty
·        Survival of The Fittest – How to Thrive and Profit In Today’s Real Estate Market
·        Using Creative Financing To Move More Listings Without Dropping Price
When you become a source of valuable information that improves an agent’s business and his or her life, you are becoming an indispensable asset and resource worthy of earning referrals vs . just another person, with cool calendars to giveaway, from whom to originate a loan with some good rates..  With fewer Loan Officers competing for even fewer agent’s attention, it is even more important than ever to A) Differentiate yourself and B) Have a proven system for consistently growing your Realtor® referral partners.
You remember the movie Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner, which has the infamous line “build it and they will come.”  Just because you have a great company, great loan programs, superb operations, the lowest rates (don’t we all?) etc., does NOT guarantee “they” or anyone will come.  The only thing that attracts “them” coming out to see your game is YOU and your marketing systems.  Hosting “WOW factor” seminars for REALTORS® is hands-down, the best, most predictable way to ensure your success at capturing agent business and eliminating the common frustrations many originators struggle with when working to build a Realtor® referral business.

Geoff Zimpfer is a Loan Officer and creator of Speed Marketing™ for Loan Officers - How to Get Maximum REALTORS® in Minimum Time.



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