As published in Scotsman Guide's Commercial Edition, November 2008.
Although brokers still can profit in the commercial lending industry, current market conditions have depleted the average broker's marketing budget. For a number of commercial brokers, it's more difficult to establish themselves as viable professionals quickly and effectively.
For brokers, your goal is threefold: to establish yourself in the commercial marketplace, to garner immediate commercial leads, and to build a qualified database of business-owners who are familiar with you and your company.
By employing the steps below, you will be on your way to success in the commercial market.
Become a student and build a reputation: Before you do anything else, take the time to learn the commercial business. Learn the terms. Make sure you know the difference between net operating income (NOI) and debt-service-coverage ratio (DSCR). There is a great deal of information available, from Web sites to magazines -- read it. Become a student again and learn where to ask the questions. The Internet is a great resource, and so is your lender representative.
Start with the basics: Things as simple as adding a tagline on your e-mail signature will do wonders for establishing your business. Adding "commercial loan specialist" or "commercial loan officer" after your name is instant credibility. Do this to your business cards as well. Along that line, add "We do commercial loans" to all of your e-mails and outgoing correspondence. You never know who will see those words and call. Of course, the same applies to your Web site.
Network: Networking still works. It is a tested method of offering your services to a specific group of like-minded individuals. All communities offer networking opportunities at functions such as after-work mixers and special events. Those who participate in these groups are generally business-owners. Become a vocal member of your local chapter and seek not only business from the other members of the group but also referrals to other business-owners.
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