How to meet face to face with more referral partners

How to meet face to face with more referral partners

Do in two days what most people do in a whole month.

Michael Mann, a loan officer from Allentown Pennsylvania and faculty member of The Mortgage Marketing Animals, shows you how you can do this, as well as how to never be late for the appointments, spend no gas money, and keep you from wasting your valuable time “in transit,” stuck in traffic … and it is not meeting via webinar, either. 

It all started six months ago, when I was sharing ideas with a loan officer about growing his Realtor referral relationships. I asked him how often was he meeting real estate agents face to face and what was his plan to meet new referral relationships. He said that he didn’t go out and meet with his partners because it costs a lot of money in gas and takes up a lot of his time driving in the car and stuck in traffic.

While this statement may shock some of you, this is unfortunately a mindset for a lot of loan officers and real estate agents in the industry.

Let me say this, there is a better way to do things …. a much better way.

It’s called appointment stacking. Now, this is not putting appointments back to back and doing them in a row, like a “milk run” with you running all around town.  Remember, I said that you would not be driving across town, you wouldn’t be wasting gas, and you would never be late for another appointment.

You stack your appointments where you have “home-court advantage.”

Here is how I do it.

  1. You pick your day or days. My days are Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  2. Pick your restaurant. I do Tuesday in one city and Thursday in the next city.
  3. Pick your list of partners that you want to meet with.
  4. Call them and tell them that you want to meet with them to buy them a cup of coffee or breakfast or lunch.
  5. Go to the place in advance, introduce yourself to the manager. Tell him what you are doing and how long you will be there.  Explain to the waiter/waitress that you will be meeting multiple people and to make sure they come over right away when a new person gets there.
  6. Set up your appointments back to back.
  7. Tip your server well … VERY well.
  8. Do it every week.

Every time I go into the restaurant, the faces of the staff light up. Every time I leave they are always sure to say “See you next week, right?” as if they are already anticipating my next arrival.

Today I met with five Real Estate Agents in a row: 9 to 10 a.m., 11 a.m. to noon, and 1 p.m. Each referral partner meets the other as they show up and before they leave. It works like a charm – they all meet, I talk with agents, some stay and talk, and the agents talk about all their problems and what ails them while I write notes. When the first agent leaves (usually about 10 or 15 minutes) and it is me and the next agent, I already have a list of what to talk about because they just complained to the previous agent about their problems. I am getting a blueprint of exactly what to do to impress the agent and how to win their business.

Here is the kicker: agents are meeting people that they have talked to before but maybe never met. They are seeing people that they haven’t seen in a long time and are rekindling friendships, etc. The next time they see or talk to that person, their brain triggers, “Oh yeah, I met them with Michael Mann at that restaurant a few months back.” This is called “buying brain cells.”

They also see these other agents coming to meet with me so they think,”Michael Mann must be good. If all these other people are hanging with him, I want to hang with him too.”

I do all of these in less than 10 hours a week. I don’t waste gas driving to agents’ offices, I never sit in traffic, and I am never late for an appointment. The bill is usually $50 to $60, and I always tip the server 40% to 50% of the bill. They tell everyone about “the guy who tips big and sits here while people come to meet him.” When I come back the next week, someone always says, “Hey you are that guy Richard told me about, what do you do for a living?”  Most of them call me by name and introduce themselves. They ask me questions like, “I’m thinking about buying a home but I’m renting right now, could you help me?” Cha-ching. Or, “My parents are thinking about refinancing, do you know what they should do?” Cha-ching.

I always end up getting a referral each day from one of the partners I meet with. I always follow up with a handwritten note card and a phone call to each of the agents (asking for referrals of course). About 50% of the new agents I meet with send me a client in the first 30 days. Over 80% of the agents that I meet for the first time will want to meet again, but I meet with less than 50% of them. The reason is I am only looking for like-minded people, and I can usually identify that in 15 minutes or less.

Each week I will identify one or two really great like-minded referral partners that I start working with, and within 45 days we are referring back and forth. The cool part is that when I teach them how to stack their appointments and do the same thing that I am doing, the referrals start flooding in usually within 60 days of the initial meeting.

Additionally, I always get one or two of the managers or employees from each establishment a mortgage, and I am always able to refer people from the restaurant to my referral partners.

In addition to real estate agents, I also mix in appraisers, CPA’s, insurance professionals, attorneys, home inspectors, etc....

I get a lot of questions regarding this method because many of us have trained ourselves to think that this is not possible. The average loan officer tends to focus on the reasons why they can’t pull this off rather than on the reason why this is AWESOME.  So don’t be average!


 Michael Mann is a branch manager at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. The author of the book From For Sale to $old, Michael’s focus is on helping Loan Officers and Real Estate Agents alike to be better business people and to have better business lives. Michael is the most recent addition as a faculty member of The Mortgage Marketing Animals and works hand in hand with Carl White to make better loan officers nationwide.