As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, November 2006.
The best salespeople know that the most important thing in sales is the relationship. For many, though, relationship-building is the most difficult part of the process.
Many brokers excel on the mechanical side of this business but not on the relationship side. Merits alone will not drive the desired levels of business to the door, however.
Membership-based relationship groups, also called referral groups, may be the answer for many mortgage brokers. Open your wallet: Relationships are for sale.
On the surface, this seems to go against the grain. But for brokers who are not out shaking hands and kissing babies, this is money well-spent.
Behind the concept
Referral groups take a great deal of the "courting" out of the relationship-creation process before the sale.
The concept is not new, but its popularity is growing. In fact, your local market probably has several membership-based relationship groups. Membership is open to all -- so long as you pay your monthly or annual dues.
These groups significantly shorten the natural relationship-building process. People join because the giving and receiving of referral business is expected. Inherently -- and in some cases, it's a requirement -- group members do business with one another and give one another referrals.
In addition, these groups are more than just "networking groups." You do not just show up for a buffet lunch, mingle, pass out some business cards and hope somebody will call. These referral groups have structured activities that promote doing business with one another.
Through your association with these groups, you will meet new people from every industry. Plenty of them (e.g., financial advisers, accountants, insurance agents, real estate agents, bankers and more) can benefit your business directly. Members freely bring all of their contacts to the table for everybody's benefit.
For many brokers, these relationship groups are an answer to the relationship part of the sales process.
Relationship groups display a strong loyalty among their members. Members prefer to do business with one another because there is a built-in level of trust.
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