Mortgage pros talk marketing, networking dos and don'ts

Brokers on the most important parts of building a book of business

Mortgage pros talk marketing, networking dos and don'ts

When it comes to building a book of business and keeping clients coming through the door, marketing and networking are two of the most crucial considerations for mortgage brokers – but what are some of the dos and don’ts associated with both?

April’s Canadian Mortgage Brokers Association – British Columbia (CMBA-BC) annual conference in Vancouver saw a panel of brokers discuss the best ways to optimize networking and marketing efforts, as well as some of the most common missteps to avoid.

For Jamie Ushko (pictured, top left), a Kamloops-based broker with Mortgage Architects, it’s important to avoid a by-the-numbers approach to social media posting and develop an appealing style that draws in online audiences.

“I think some people overthink it and some people underthink it,” she said. “Don’t stress about what you’re going to post and how you’re going to post it. Telling a story is really important – people connect with stories and storytelling.

“So stay away from facts and details about products. [For] the 30-year amortization for first-time homebuyers, a lot of people posted about that or screenshots from the news, which is fine… but what would be better would be to come on and say, ‘I have a first-time homebuyer who was able to increase their purchasing power by X amount because of this new rule… What can I do for you?’”

Consistency a crucial element of success in social media marketing

Dean Lawton (pictured, centre left), of A Better Way Mortgages, said it can sometimes be daunting to get started on social media marketing, particularly without prior experience, but that the key is to take the plunge – and not lose faith.

“For us, once we started, we didn’t look back,” he said. “You just have to start and once you start, don’t stop. The consistency of keeping it going is so important. Social media is almost your business card now. Keep it going.”

On the networking side, a productive way of growing a strong client and referral base for A Better Way was client events, according to Lawton. He said a pumpkin-carving event every Halloween had proven an especially popular venture.

Now in its seventh year, that event is one that the local community eagerly looks forward to, he said, and that’s generated increasing word of mouth over time. “For us, the client community side of things has been huge.”

Rich Ulvid (pictured, right centre), of Verico Xeva Mortgage, said that while he doesn’t necessarily run many of his own events, he’s found community events in the South Surrey-White Rock area to be a strong way of cultivating a network, especially for clients interested in reverse mortgages.

Those have helped develop relationships and rapport with members of the local community. “My goal from that is I want to be seen, I want to be heard, I want to be trusted,” he said.

How brokers can strike the right balance between social media and in-person presence

Indeed, while an effective digital presence is a prerequisite for brokers hoping to succeed in today’s ultra-competitive mortgage market, the panelists also underscored how crucial it was to find a balance – marrying social media marketing with a commitment to getting out there and meeting people in person.

That view was shared by Lee-Ann McEllister, MCAP director of sales for Western Canada, who moderated the discussion. “You have to get out. You have to talk to people,” she said.

Livian Smith (pictured, right), of Dominion Lending Centres, emphasized the importance of forging connections in person, noting that online presence or social media outreach can’t substitute for a strong face-to-face meeting.

She said the recent launch of her own leadership program had proven a cathartic experience, allowing her to develop stronger relationships with lender partners and authentic connections with other industry members.

“I started brokering almost 20 years ago. We didn’t have social media, we didn’t have any of this stuff,” she said. “We had our business card and our face and our personalities and our relationships. The most important thing, I think, still to this day is those personal connections.”

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