As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, February 2009.
Despite mortgage-industry changes, people will continue to buy and sell houses. Brokers who remain positive and search tirelessly for success will often be the ones who find it. Developing a market specialty can be the difference.
When it comes to being a specialist, it’s as important to know your area of expertise as it is to share that knowledge with clients and in your marketing materials. Indeed, many loan professionals place generic advertisements in generic publications to solicit generic purchase or refinance business. For some, that works.
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As you think about doing this, however, consider the fact that generalists do little to set themselves apart. Instead, they put themselves in a position where rate and closing costs define them. That’s not a strong position in a world where people often search for whoever is cheapest.
As a specialist, on the other hand, you can establish yourself as an expert whose insights alone are worth your fees. To do so, you must educate yourself about every aspect of your specialty. Don’t call yourself an expert if you’re not. Borrowers will see right through that, and you’ll lose their business.
Upon gaining the necessary knowledge to move into a specialty, you should work tirelessly to build strong relationships. Many real estate agents, insurance agents and financial planners recently lost previous mortgage partners to the market downturn. These professionals still seek solid mortgage insights but don’t know where to turn. Send a query letter to all of the professionals you know. Explain your specialty and ways that a partnership could be mutually beneficial. Follow up with a phone call and work toward setting an in-person meeting.
Developing a specialty in this fashion also creates a competitive advantage that other brokers often can’t match. For example, in today’s market, some brokers position themselves as experts in helping clients improve their credit scores. This can be as easy as developing a relationship with a credit-improvement company. After you help guide clients closer to their homebuying goals, you won’t find many leaving you for a lower rate. Going through this process also will help you reconnect with your database.
If you’ve been neglecting your database of partners and past clients, you’re missing a huge opportunity. The odds of reconnecting with old contacts diminish every month you fail to stay in touch. On the other hand, by maintaining a good database, you can find business. In building your client database, make sure to at least collect your prospects’ name and contact information, including street address, e-mail address and telephone number. You should also keep a short record of what you talk about, including the small things that will show that you were listening and care.
It’s wise to spread your marketing efforts beyond your base, as well. A great and inexpensive way to do this is by writing informative articles in publications that your prospective clients read. The more you do this, the more people will associate your specialty with you. If no one is writing a mortgage column for your local paper, that’s a huge gap that you could be filling.
The more you market yourself as the expert and back up the claim, the more your name will become synonymous with your niche. It’s also a good idea to include specifics in your marketing. For example, if you decide to focus on U.S. Department of Agriculture loans, you should only market to people who live or want to live in an area that qualifies for such loans. Of course, as the expert, you would know exactly who those people were and how to reach them.
With today’s industry changes come new opportunities. Mortgage brokers who develop a specialty, share that knowledge, build new relationships and stay in touch with their database can help put themselves ahead of the pack.
Daryl Spector is a successful originator, founder of Credit Power 911 and developer of the Credit Code Cracker, a system that can improve credit scores quickly using little-known, well-guarded secrets that credit bureaus try to hide and of which most credit-repair companies have never heard. Mortgage professionals throughout the U.S. use Spector’s system.
Reach him at (314) 720-4289 or firstname.lastname@example.org.