Tip of the Month - Follow Up! by Stewart Mednick and Michael Moore

by 01 Sep 2008
Follow Up! I received an email from Michael Moore a couple months ago when he wanted to share some thoughts on one of my articles. I called Michael and we ruminated over the topic. It was obvious to me, in a short time, that Michael could attribute his success to a simple, yet elusive process called, ?follow-up.? When I asked him to contribute to my column, Michael could not hang up fast enough to start writing: Contrary to popular belief, follow-up does not start after the file is closed; it actually starts with initial contact and continues for years to come. In these difficult times, follow-up is more crucial than any other time in the recent history of our industry. The ideas I will give you in this article are basic. But as with anything else, practice the basics and the rest will come. In a lot of ways, follow up is a quality control tool as well. It?s not the amount of follow-up, but the quality of the follow-up. Poor quality follow up will get you no where. The important issue to remember is following-up will make you or break you. It makes no difference how you feel about it?and this is the simple truth. The difference between the successful professional and the unsuccessful professional is, in my opinion, the ?follow-up?. The successful professional has a follow-up system in place and never wavers from it. Files are becoming harder and harder to come by, so when you implement an efficient follow up program, you are insuring your self a greater rate of success. It is a discipline. In the beginning, it can be difficult, but the more you practice, the easier it becomes. Eventually, it is second nature to follow-up. A couple of things to consider when you start your follow-up campaign: Make sure you acquire all the initial information including the name of all parties involved. Nothing is worse than calling up a potential client and not knowing the spouse?s first name. Keep in mind that in the US, over 80 percent of all buying decisions are made by the wife. List phone numbers including cell numbers, fax numbers, and e-mail addresses. Always ask for the best time to call during the day and what days of the week. Nothing is worse than making telephone calls and nobody is available to take your call; it?s a waste of your valuable time. Make sure you acquire the right address including zip code. Moving forward, send Christmas cards, birthday cards, or anniversary cards, etc. to keep your name in front of them. Now that you have the basic information you can start your campaign. I recommend a six touch method; Contact the client a minimum of six times before deciding if you will pursue the business or not. Anything less than six contacts, you are leaving money on the table, guaranteed. Plan to talk to the client twice a week for the next three weeks. Emails and voice mails don?t count. You must show the client you are interested in their business. Each telephone call should contain new information. This helps your client make the right decision, this helps keep everything fresh and exciting. Remember these telephone calls are about the client not you. The client is not really interested in listening to how great you are or how many deals you closed last month etc. Listen to what the client tells you. By not listening, you will frustrate your client and eventually cost you the file. Go to the client?s house to fill out the 1003, [the credit application]. This will give the added advantage of seeing the property. I once gave a potential $500,000 file to a loan originator. This individual was telling me of the frustration the client was feeling. I suggested he go see the client and resolve any issues the client was having. The LO said, ??are you kidding, the client lives over an hour away!? Needless to say, the file went away and so did the commission. As you get close to the closing date, stay on top of the file; make sure there are no last minute surprises. I have heard many horror stories from clients about last minute issues. The file has gone to closing and has been funded. You are on to the next deal, right? Wrong! Your follow up has just begun. After the loan has funded, send them a very nice follow up letter. Write a personal note - not a form letter. Enclose a few business cards, ask for referrals, thank them for the opportunity to earn their business, and include a gift certificate for dinner or something like that. I don?t mean a five dollar booklet to a fast food joint! $50.00 minimum? you have just made several thousand dollars thanks to them. If you are doing commercial lending, you will need to be a little more discrete, maybe pizza for the office, etc. Finally, you have captured their e mail address; add them to your news letter. By staying in touch with them through the years you will get a chance to do business with them again; people in the US move every three to seven years. 30 days after the file has closed, give them a call and ask if everything is alright. This is a great time to bring up any other products you have that they would be interested in. As I said in the beginning, these are basic ideas. You can weave your own campaign for your needs, and follow up by definition is a creative endeavor. For a lot of us, this is the beginning of a new segment in our professional careers. It?s like anything else: the more you do it the better you become. In conclusion, I would like to leave you this thought. Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible. Stewart Mednick is a seasoned mortgage banker and published author. His writing focuses on relationship development, customer satisfaction, marketing and sales techniques. Stewart is available for personal coaching and training sessions. If you have a comment or a question for Stewart, contact him at 651-895-5122 or smednick1@netzero.net Michael Moore has over 30 years experience in business development, and is currently director of business development for several commercial brokerage houses. Moore can be reached at 503-328-9366 or themooregroup@comcast.net


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