Any sales professional depends on the loyalty of their clients to stay in business. Keeping clients happy, addressing their needs and keeping in touch leads to those precious referrals on which every sales person relies. The mortgage and real estate industry is more competitive now than ever and it is imperative that past clients are kept in touch, through newsletters, emails, phone calls and face to face opportunities. Affinity partners or Professional Referral Sources are equally as important in generating leads. Affinity partners are those outside your own business sphere services for your client and have the ability to generate leads and referrals for you. For the real estate and mortgage industry some of those potential Professional Referral Sources include CPAs, financial planners, human resource directors, insurance agents, attorneys, credit unions, private bankers, etc. In order to make any affinity partnership work, the partners will expect you to provide impeccable service for the referred clients if you are to become their trusted advisor for the client?s mortgage and real estate needs. Affinity partners are looking for you to go the extra mile for their clients. Create a document of services you will be providing their clients. Include how you will be communicating, the frequency of the communication for both the client and the referral partner. Affinity partners will become an extension of your team and it is critical to keep them in the loop. If they are going to entrust you with their valued clients you have a responsibility to provide guarantees about your services and expectations that will bring added trust to the client and the referral partner. The Affinity Partner will be expecting referrals from you as well. Outline your expectations for the Affinity Partner ensuring that your client referrals will receive the treatment you expect for them. Remember, these clients become an additional source of potential future business for both of you. Credibility lies with you. Your Affinity Partner will expect a knowledgeable partner; one who understands the current market issues, is considered an expert in his or her field, and one who can carefully and thoroughly understand any clients? needs. Send out articles, newsletters and important alerts to let your Referral Sources know you are in touch with what is happening in your market and profession. Take time to build the relationships, learn commonalities, build familiarity and continually look for ways to provide value to the partner. Affinity Partners are your assets. You have to keep your eye on your asset accounts and the same is true with referral partners -- look at them as your ?building relationship capital.? If you haven?t looked or analyze your referral relationships, or started to build professional referral sources, now would be a good time to ask yourself a few questions: 1. Do you consistently follow up with the affinity partners that you?ve established by adding value, building trust and consistently go the extra mile for their clients? 2. Do you make it a weekly habit to build relationships with a variety of professionals and organizations that can play the roles of affinity partners for your business? 3. Do the affinity partnerships that you currently have established refer their clients to you? If not, what actions can you take to develop more referrals? 4. What added value can you provide to your referral sources that would empower them to pass your information to their customer base? 5. Are you satisfied with the affinity partners that you currently have? Where should you upgrade, which professional groups are you missing? 6. If you lost the affinity partners that you currently have, do you have possible relationships waiting in the wings to take their place? Analyze who your Affinity Partners are currently and decide if pursuing them makes sense with your business model. If it does, then put together a list of every one that you know and then proceed to call them and find out who are their CPA, financial planner, attorney, etc. This has become a warm referral because your friend or acquaintance has provided you the potential clients? contact information. You now have a list of possibilities for future Affinity Partners. As you work through the list, keep in mind what will constitute a valuable Professional Referral Source. It takes time to develop relationships that will pay off with a stream of leads and potential business. Add value, build trust and go the extra mile for the Affinity?s clients. The reputation and the success of your business rely on the Affinity Partner entrusting their customer and business relationships to you. They expect flawless execution of your services in return for their client leads. Tom Ninness is Vice President/Regional Production Manager for Cherry Creek Mortgage in Denver, CO. Ninness is also the President of Summit Champions, Inc. and creator of the ?The 90 Day Journey to Your Sales Success?, a powerful 90 day action plan for the sales professional. To learn more about The Journey and what Summit Champions has to offer, go to www.90dayjourney.com, www.summitchampions.com or contact Tom at [email protected] Office: 720-221-4396.