As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, September 2006.
Imagine this scenario: You have worked hard to prove yourself as a valuable resource to a particular Realtor. Some of the work was tedious, but you kept telling yourself that once you were in, the reward would be worth it. This agent closes several transactions per month, and you intend to be the mortgage broker who closes those loans.
What has really happened, however? Even though you did a great job proving yourself and you know the agent trusts you enough to recommend your services, you haven't seen any referrals.
The Realtor is telling you that the referrals are coming, but they never do. What is going on? Do you feel like you wasted your time and effort in developing this relationship?
Let's take a closer look at why you may not be getting the referrals you deserve. Whether the Realtors with whom you work are midlevel producers or high producers doesn't matter. The problem is that even though they may be great salespeople, some Realtors don't necessarily understand the dynamics of giving a referral.
I have seen how most Realtors refer a loan officer, and their process leaves much to be desired. Simply handing a business card to a prospect is not a strong referral. Neither is repeatedly telling a prospect to call a broker because, at some point, the prospect is likely to become annoyed and wonder what sort of under-the-table deal is going on.
Basically, many Realtors really don't know how to refer. If you assume that they do, then you are taking a big risk of never seeing a consistent amount of business in return for all your efforts.
Something can be done, however. It is important to address the issue with your Realtor partners. One strategy that can work well is to talk with Realtors at the start of your relationship about how they like to be referred.
Simply ask them exactly how they like to be referred. Explain that you realize that there are several different ways of referring and that your goal is to set them up in a way that your clients know that they are the best choice to meet their needs.
Ask your Realtor partners to tell you two or three reasons why someone should call them instead of the many other agents in the city. Stress the importance of proper referrals, and explain that simply handing someone a card and telling them to call rarely results in much of anything.
After they tell you how they like to be referred, tell them how you prefer to be referred.
By placing the emphasis on Realtors first, you put them in the right frame of mind. They have an opportunity to tell you how great they are and why they deserve to earn your clients' business. Once you are done stressing the importance of giving proper referrals, you switch roles and tell them why you deserve to earn their clients' business.
You should also occasionally remind Realtors about how much business you are referring to them. For instance, I like to give my partners updates about who may be calling them and what the prospect has been told thus far. Sometimes a little reminder is all that is needed.
This approach helps your referral partners develop the habit of referring business to you in a consistent and effective manner. Once you have done this, your chances of seeing new business come your way are likely to improve exponentially.
Chad Weber is the owner
of Average Joe L.O., a company that provides powerful, unique marketing tools for loan officers. Average Joe also provides a 100-percent free educational conference call for loan officers looking to improve their Realtor marketing. See www.averagejoelo.com or www.loanofficermarketinghelp.com for more information. Weber can be reached at (314) 583-5190.