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Consider a situation in which you meet a fellow mortgage broker while in line for coffee. Don't shy away from maintaining a conversation even after you find out that, like you, this broker specializes in working with first- time homebuyers.
Although, technically, you work in the same market, if you continue your conversation, you may learn that this broker also specializes in commercial property loans. If you don't have any experience in that area, you may have just met a great contact to whom you can refer your clients for assistance with commercial loans. Moreover, you may find that your new friend is desperate to find a broker with Federal Housing Administration lending experience, a service you would gladly supply to their referrals.
Make your voice heard
Networking at conventions, seminars and conferences helps you get your business message out there. While you can't view every person you meet as a potential client -- as many will be direct competitors -- you should consider every person as a potential public relations agent for your business.
By delivering your core business message, mission or motto, you increase your brand awareness. Each person who receives your message can then share your message with others, acting as a de facto publicist for your business.
Sharpen your skills
The more you network and become comfortable with socializing, the better you'll become at both. You'll learn what works and what methods for striking up conversations are most comfortable for you. Sharpening these skills will make you a better -- and more successful -- mortgage broker.
No matter how you slice it, when you recognize the value of networking in all situations, you'll realize just how many opportunities to do so abound. Understanding that networking, even with competitors, is one of the best ways to further your career as a mortgage broker will help ensure your livelihood in the mortgage industry.
Ed Craine is
CEO of San Francisco-based Smith Craine Finance, an award-winning mortgage brokerage. He was appointed vice president of the California Association of Mortgage Brokers in 2007 and also is an executive director for BNI. Contact Craine at (415) 406-2330 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Ivan Misner is a New York Times best-selling author, founder and chairman of BNI (www.bni.com), and founder of the Referral Institute (www.referralinstitute.com). He can be reached at email@example.com.
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