Being in the mortgage business is tough! I thought the real estate industry was hard, but I have to give it to the mortgage brokers out there because it’s a grind. You are constantly looking for your next deal and it’s never ending.
Finding business for Realtors is easier because, EVERYONE is a potential client! We all live somewhere don’t we? Realtors are able to cater to both buyers and sellers, while loan officers are limited to purchase business and refinances. But when rates are up, there’s not many refi’s out there.
In this post I want to share with you the two MOST IMPORTANT skills I think you may want to consider getting loan officer training in. This is coming from a Realtor’s perspective so I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments!
So what’s the best kind of loan officer training to take?
Let’s reverse engineer this and see where a loan officer’s clients ultimately come from. Loan officers get business primarily from two sources. Their own marketing efforts or Realtors. I’m not a loan officer, so I cannot tell you firsthand, but I do know the guys and gals I refer business to heavily rely on Realtor referrals for business.
On this post, I wanted to share what I believe are the 2 more important skills to master in whatever loan officer training you may be taking that are necessary to build a pipeline of Realtor referrals.
(If you are looking on ways to market your business for your own development explore the rest of this site because the marketing plan of a Realtor and loan officer are pretty much the same, but with different messaging)
Loan Officer Training Skill #1
The first skill is in customer service. I know this sounds obvious, but I want to expand a little on this because it’s extremely important. I’ve been in selling houses for over 13 years and have gone through my share of lenders. One of the largest frustrations I have as an agent is when my lender does a crappy job from a customer service perspective.
Earlier this year I stopped referring one of my lenders business because it seemed like every client I referred would always end up shooting me a message 1-2 weeks later telling me my guy sucked. Apparently, he never followed up or when he did, he didn’t keep his word on what he said he was going to do. This was very embarrassing for me so I had no choice, but to stop sending referrals.
When we refer lenders, we expect the greatest service for our clients, friends, and family because we view you as an extension of our brand. I want to surround myself with the best in the industry, not get complaints about you! That means if I refer you someone, I expect that referral to go out of their way to call me thanking me for introducing them to you.
It was only until recently that I finally found a lender with the best service I ever seen. It amazes me that over my 13 years I never worked with a lender that paid attention to the smallest details on every transaction. I was super impressed because no lender I worked with has ever done this before. She follows up once a week with all parties involved to keep them informed of where the file is.
Realtors and our clients notice what you may think are little things.
It’s not about your rate! It’s about the level of service you provide. I would rather have unbelievable service vs. the lowest rate any day and so would many of my clients. Remember, that it’s the small things you do that make a big difference. My new lender has a higher chance of retaining my referral business just because of how good she is with her follow up and education based approach to my clients.
Customer service is the most important form of marketing you can ever do because we survive in a referral dominated business.
Customer service often does not get talked about as much as it should, but it’s the most important component of our business!
Let’s look at the restaurant business. The formula is pretty simple. If you have good food people will come back. You need good service as well, but the taste of their food is what ultimately creates repeat customers.
Look at your barber. People frequent their barber, not because of price, but because of the service and relationship they built.
The loan officer who creates the best client experience has a better chance of retaining their existing Realtor referral base and creating a referral business from the clients we send you!
Get extensive loan officer training in customer service and implement systems in your practice that will create an unmatched client experience.
Loan Officer Training Skill #2
The 2nd most important skill to develop in whatever loan officer training you take is in Relationship Building. If a large part of your business is generated from Realtors who refer you business, then the goal should be to develop as many Realtor relationships as possible. Realtors do not send you business because of some shiny loan product your bank may have, they do it because they have a relationship with you. They trust you will do a good job with their client.
I wanted to share a simple formula that is used by businesses all over the world that works in creating new referring Realtor relationships. It’s based around the concept of taking a content marketing approach to the way you approach Realtors.
This formula is no different than the way any business approaches their marketing.
- Identify a Problem
- Create A Solution
- Own The Solution
When agents first meet you, they don’t want to know about you, your awards, or your programs. They want to know how you can help them. The first step towards “attracting” more Realtors to work with is to recognize their largest problem so you can create a solution for them. This has a much better chance of getting our attention vs. the same old, “I want to take you out for coffee” approach.
1.) Identifying A Realtor’s #1 Problem
(Taken from the Attract & Retain Agent Formula)
The #1 problem all Realtors have is in marketing. Over the last 10 years the Internet has changed everything and the old school marketing tactics that used to work well are now being surpassed by online marketing, Facebook ads, video, and many other technological advancements.
The truth is that the real estate industry has not yet adapted to the digital age as a whole and consumers are beginning to realize that technology today has created a way to buy or sell property without the services of a Realtor. Realtors today need more than just a license to create value for their clients. Sharpening their marketing skills and adapting new processes to their level of service is what the market is asking of them.
There is where your BIG opportunity is because if you can create a solution to what they are struggling with, you now have a way to get their attention and create a value proposition to get them to meet with you in the first place.
You may want to take some loan officer training in generalized marketing concepts of the digital age to find out what marketing problems you may want to help them with. Understanding their problem is key to crafting a solution that grabs their attention.
2.) Creating A Solution
(Taken from the Attract & Retain Agent Formula)
Now that you understand what many Realtors struggle with, it’s time to create the solution so you can attract them. What can you possibly help them with in their business? Many lenders share marketing costs with their referral partners, but it doesn’t ultimately build a relationship.
When you have a solution to one their problems, it’s a lot easier to get their attention. I can tell you first hand that most of us hate the cold call or Linked In request. It’s usually along the lines of “hey Mike, I’d like to take you out for coffee and show you how I can better serve your clients”. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t do much for most Realtors.
Instead what would a value proposition of something along the lines of, “Hey Mike, I have this Facebook ads training that is killing it for another one of my agents. I wasn’t sure if you were in to that at all, but you look pretty marketing savvy and I thought I could create value for you”.
What if you had your own in house video dude to shoot agent videos for you?
The list goes on and on, but if you want more information on marketing topics that attract Realtors, you should check out these articles. Maybe a good loan officer training would be to learn the basics of several marketing systems so you can speak intelligently with Realtors about them.
These articles should give you some more ideas of how to create a value proposition that can grab a Realtor’s attention. Once you have a cool value added proposition, then you can start breaking the ice with Realtors on your hit list.
3.) Own or Host The Solution
(Taken from the Attract & Retain Agent Formula)
The ultimate way to serve your agents is to host the solution to the marketing problem you are solving for them. When you make the focus of your business serving your agents, their business will fall in your lap. This is ultimately how to retain them as well. When you give them what no one else can, you will beat out your competitors.
What do mean marketing dude? What does this have to do with loan officer training?
Let’s go through this example to put this in better context.
Helping Realtors With The Cost Of A Zillow Zip Code- When you help a Realtor financially with a Zillow account, you don’t own the solution. They just have your credit card and are using you to pay for their incoming lead generation. That’s valuable for a Realtor, but not as valuable as owning the solution.
It would be much better to own the follow up sequence or “system” that an agent can use to better increase their conversions from these leads. I would suggest not helping them with their Zillow account, but more with the process on follow up.
You can check out this super awesome personalized autoresponder system called Agent Legend. I would recommend signing up for an account with them and learning the system in and out. It’s simple to use and it’s a value proposition that none of your competitors are doing. If I were a loan officer I would sign up for an account with them, and then let my agents use this autoresponder to increase their online lead conversions.
I would then introduce that system to Realtors who are doing a lot of Zillow, PPC, Realtor.com, or online lead purchases. You will never compete or own a large lead solution like Zillow, but you could own the system that gets them to convert.
Any loan officer can pay for a Zillow account, but I want to work with the dude who shows me how to kill it on Zillow.
This is a system you offer and that’s a value add that would get many agent’s attention! Why not do some lunch and learns for Realtors and show them how to use your follow up system for their online lead conversions. Are you getting the point?
The point is here that you want to own the system associated with marketing success. When you own the system, you wedge your relationship within it.
Some of the highest producing loan officers I have met all have the same thing in common. They all work to help their Realtors develop more business, which in turn ends up coming back to them.
If you take this simple 3 step concept, you will develop an endless stream of Realtors sending you their purchase business referrals, you just need to build it.