As published in Scotsman Guide's Commercial Edition, May 2007.
To market successfully in the commercial lending industry, you should be a confident expert with a focused niche directed at a target market.
Because commercial lending has such varied and broad products to offer, many people feel overwhelmed and intimidated at the thought of marketing them. Fear of marketing usually comes from a misconception that marketing only involves advertising and promoting. But everyone has experience in marketing on some level.
If you market yourself and your business properly, your clients will be likely to advertise and promote you as well.
The place to begin with marketing is to look inside your most valuable resource: you. To become a confident expert in marketing, the best time to start is the moment you head out the door in the morning. Notice whether you like what you see in the mirror. Are you making the best of yourself? Does your countenance reflect the overall attitude that you want to present throughout the day?
Never underestimate the power of a first impression. Realize you are continuously marketing yourself to everyone who meets you.
Because you cannot know when or where you will meet your next client, it is important to maintain a marketing perspective continually. How you present yourself will reflect in all aspects of your personal and business life.
In addition, how you perceive yourself will be a deciding factor on how others perceive you. Listen to yourself when you are talking and imagine how the other person is interpreting your conversation. Remember commercial clients are looking for experts to fund their projects, so always think "expert" to convey your confidence to them.
Determine your role
Marketing must be focused. Determining your role in the commercial lending business is another step toward becoming a confident expert. Some people might think at first that choosing a niche seems narrow-minded, but in this industry, it is better to be an expert at one thing than a jack-of-all-trades.
Your specialty can be established on the basis of a variety of things such as geography (coastal or mountain properties), property types or loan products. Do not worry about the business you may turn away. Instead, understand that your reputation will precede you.
Whenever clients have a successful and smooth closing, they will be glad to spread this news. When you work within your niche, you gain experience as you go. With each closing, you become more valuable within your field.
Target your market
Once you have established your area of expertise, you have pinpointed a target market. Your target market is the specific group of people who will use your unique services because of their special needs. Your specialty and your target market are like the bull's-eye on a dart board. Without them, you are shooting your darts randomly. Your goal is always to hit the bull's-eye.
Researching your lenders to become familiar with their specific commercial lending products will help you gain expertise and confidence. When talking to lenders, use a questionnaire specifically aimed at garnering information tailored to your potential customers' needs.
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