As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, March 2008.
As mortgage professionals, we're tested in more ways than one. Many of our products have disappeared, a number of our lenders have closed their doors and we've taken quite a beating from the press. We now face one of the most-challenging and competitive markets in at least a decade.
During these tough times, people may ask you if there is anything they can do to help -- and you'd be prudent to take them up on this. But keep in mind that the people who offer this aid -- be they your friends, family or contacts -- can't help you through this difficult period unless you tell them how. You also should be prepared to reciprocate.
First, ready yourself with specific, productive responses. Here are five things you can ask when your friends, family and contacts ask how they can help you keep your business healthy:
1. Ask for referrals: The best assistance that someone could provide is a qualified referral to a borrower who really needs your help. There are two easy requests that you can make of people that may help you earn more business through referrals.
First, you might ask your contacts to carry a small stack of your business cards with them to hand out on your behalf. Similarly, you may also consider asking your family or friends to send an e-mail to their friends, co-workers and associates with your name and number included.
Both methods can connect you with clients. But unless your contacts know exactly how to provide you with referrals, they may not think to do it.
2. Ask to be introduced to people: It's highly unlikely that you know absolutely everybody your contacts know. Even if you're the best of friends with someone, that friend is bound to know dozens of people who you've never met.
Remember that success in the mortgage industry is at least partly a numbers game -- the more people with whom you speak, the better your odds of generating business.
Therefore, the next time you receive an offer of help from someone, you should consider asking that person to introduce you to people you don't know. This could mean attending a networking mixer that you've never gone to, or something as simple as attending an after-work cocktail party with a friend's colleagues.
It's important to be open to meeting as many people as possible. After all, the more people you can meet, the larger your pool of prospects becomes.
3. Ask for endorsements: There are several ways your contacts can publicly endorse your products and services. For one, you can ask them to write a testimonial about you. You can then include it in marketing campaigns or add it to your Web site. If you know people who own small businesses, you can ask them to display your business cards or brochures on their counters or on a bulletin board.
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