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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   April 2017

5 Business-Development Insights

Building relationships provides long-term benefits

Business development is all about building relationships. It’s about who you trust and who you want to do business with. There is a common misconception that business development is the same thing as sales. Although the two are similar in some aspects, there are some key differences that should be understood.

With business development, the end goal is a mutually beneficial long-term relationship. Unlike sales, business development is not specifically focused on revenue and may be targeted toward other important aspects of building your business. With that said, here are a few tips for building business-development relationships culled from more than 40 years of experience in the mortgage industry.

1. Have a great product

The first step to business development is having a great product that you can talk about truthfully and confidently. Actively pursuing partnerships and business relationships can backfire in the long-run if your product isn’t up to snuff.

It may seem obvious, but having a quality product that you believe in is the biggest, most important aspect of effective business development. If you trust your business and products wholeheartedly, that confidence will translate to better relationship building. Having a product and goals that you’re excited to talk about will inspire excitement and interest from others as well.

2. Get active

Become an active part of the community. New information is constantly being passed back and forth on message boards, social media, and at community and industry events. Being a part of that ongoing conversation helps the people around you become familiar with your name and your company’s brand.

It may be time-consuming, and you may not see benefits right away, but taking the time to share what you’ve learned with the community and offer insight to colleagues will help build essential relationships. The mortgage industry is a tight-knit group of knowledgeable people. Unlike other business sectors, mortgage relationships are formed from small-group gatherings, baseball games, dinners, etc.

Brett McCracken, senior vice president of sales and business development at Cloudvirga, has observed this phenomenon. “Over the past several years I’ve seen a shift from online lenders trying to silo and black box their strategies to being much more open with their peers in the industry,” McCracken says. “Over dinner, and perhaps a few drinks, you see a collection of rivals who have become great friends who are willing to share their best practices and thoughts on running a successful business.”

3. Touch base regularly

Another factor of active business development is centered around sharing company updates and milestones. Maintaining this steady flow of communication provides the opportunity for potential partnerships and is an excellent way to keep strong relationships.

If a potential partner is current on your company news, it’s more likely that they will be responsive to your outreach. Staying connected through in-person meetings is best, but if you can’t meet in-person, be sure to reach out any way you can, such as by phone, e-mail or text.

Don’t forget that communication is a two-way street, and it’s not enough to just know about your own business. It is important to stay updated on the industry as a whole and know what your potential partners are up to as well.

4. Know your customers

Take into consideration the goals and objectives of your borrowers, business partners and referral sources. That way you can address the concerns they may have.

Looking at your company with a different perspective can reveal issues you may not have considered otherwise. With complete knowledge of both your business and your customers’ goals and objectives, you often can find win-win solutions that benefit both sides. 

5. Set the big goal

A “Big Hairy Audacious Goal,” or BHAG, is an idea conceptualized in the book, “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras. Your BHAG should be a concrete and compelling long-term — 10- to 30-year — goal that serves as the driving force for your business.

Unlike other goals, your BHAG should incorporate an emotional and compelling aspect that your employees can align themselves with. A BHAG also is an excellent way to share your passion and optimism with customers, business partners and others. 

Make this goal known, and share “how” and “why” you will accomplish it as well. Defining how you will reach your BHAG is paramount because it shows a realistic path to a big goal. Discussing why it’s significant brings a sense of meaning to what you’re trying to accomplish. These large goals are much more inspiring than other short-term milestones, which are still useful, but often are just steps toward the overall BHAG.

•  •  •

Ask yourself if these five points are present in your business-development efforts and what you can do to improve them. Are you taking the time to connect with others — especially your competitors? Are you an active part of the ongoing mortgage conversation?

It’s easy to get caught up in your own business and surround yourself with people who have similar perspectives, but developing business relationships with those who have a different point of view can teach you a lot more. The industry is constantly evolving, and staying connected with others will help paint a picture of where the industry is heading and where you need to be.



 
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