At the CMLA Mortgage Show, mortgage coach, trainer, author and former originator Cindy Ertman challenged originators to think broader, deeper, and to expand the vision of what’s possible in 2019.
“We have such an amazing capacity to help people generate wealth through home ownership, to build really deep and meaningful relationships with our clients, our referral partners, and to make a really extraordinary difference in the lives of those people that we touch.”
Ertman was one of the top loan officers in the country, topping $200 million in loan volume. Over time, she has come to consider herself a relationship expert, developing successful ways to build a different quality and depth of relationship with the people within an individual sphere of influence.
It’s hard to build relationships without reaching out to people, and yet, Ertman says that’s one of the biggest hurdles that she sees throughout her coaching practice, even from some of the top originators in the country.
“At least two or three times a week, an originator, usually in the business 25 years or more, continues to tell me that they’re scared to death to pick up the phone to call a realtor,” Ertman said. “Nobody likes it, nobody likes cold calling, really. But at the end of the day, it’s a story that we’re telling ourselves that’s just not true, and it’s a matter of changing our perception of the value that we bring. When we get out of our head [that] we are calling them to ask for something, instead get into the mindset of, we are here to serve you and create value for you and your business, and I want to help you grow, Mr. Realtor, and I want to help you take your business to the next level of success. It’s a different energy.”
As part of her training process, Ertman has developed the 7 Steps to 7 Figure Mortgage Success, and one of those steps is executing a top five realtor referral plan.
The plan involves starting with five current realtor partners who know, like, and trust the originator. Then, ask them for help.
Tell them that their business and partnership is appreciated, share that you’re trying to expand with the expanding purchase market, and you wondered if they knew of anyone who might benefit from the same kind of experience that they’ve encountered with your team.
“The reality is, you then have to call the people that they actually refer you. It doesn’t work unless you take the next step,” Ertman said. “When you’re telling someone that they’re amazing and they got referred by someone that they know I can trust, it’s really hard for them to blow you off. Really, really hard.
The process is repeatable with an expanding business, and even if the prospective partner isn’t receptive initially, an originator can set themselves up to get their foot in the door as a backup option, a rescue lender for those tough-to-close deals. At the very least, there’s a chance to follow up for an in-person meeting to share some information that may be valuable to them, without the expectation of anything in return.
Before going headfirst into that plan, however, Ertman urges originators to do a self-assessment and ask themselves about a number of things both inside and outside of their business: Are you satisfied with your current number of referral partners? Are you satisfied with personal production levels? Have you created a compelling client experience? Are you effectively executing a 12-month marketing plan? Are you busy without being productive? Are you leading a high-impact team? What’s your self-care strategy? Do you have work-life balance? Determining satisfaction in these key areas will determine an originator’s plan for their business, and where to focus their efforts.
Another thing originators should take on before reaching out to grow a realtor referral base is being clear on both their personal greatest strengths as well as that of their company. That doesn’t mean just listing attributes; it’s about determining strengths and then looking at it within the context of how it serves current and potential referral partners. Often when originators court realtors, the conversation is about what the originator can offer and what they do well, instead of what they do well and how they can improve life and business for the originator. When originators are clear about their purpose and its impact on clients and customers, it’s not just the same spiel they’re getting sold by every other originator.
“When you get clear on your why and your greatest strengths and you can convey that to your clients and to your referral partners in every conversation, I promise you, people will start to lean into you. It’s a very different energetic exchange in building relationship,” Ertman said.
Everyone knows that relationships building is important, but there’s often a gap in knowing what to do and figuring out how to do it. Leveraging existing relationships to build new ones is a concrete tool that originators can use to show appreciation for their current partners while expanding their reach to new ones.
Join us at the Power Originator Summit in Anaheim on April 4th for the State of the Industry panel, where influential women in the mortgage industry will discuss some of the most pressing issues facing mortgage professionals today.