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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Commercial Edition   |   July 2009

34 Ways to Grow Your Business

Want to boost your bottom line? Try incorporating these principles into your plan

In this environment, most commercial mortgage brokers must rewrite their business plans and raise their expectations. But it's also easier now to establish your business on an equal playing field with the other businesses in your area.

It's not about how big you are, how long you have been in business, how many employees you have or how much money you have. It's about understanding your clients and how they buy. It's about how you use new technology to get things done faster, better and more efficiently than your competitors.

Here are 34 key elements to creating a business plan that will help make you a successful and profitable mortgage broker.

Advertising and marketing

1. Review your advertising and marketing budget. Reallocate funds to items that will yield more-positive results. Evaluate how much money you spend to advertise. Consider how else you can spend those dollars to get more activity and leads.

2. Allocate 10 percent to 15 percent of your advertising budget toward a proactive public-relations campaign.

3. Create alliances with vendors, suppliers and local businesses.

Sales and networking

4. Create a calendar of activities and events. Use these programs to generate traffic and leads.

5. Conduct property-buying seminars at your place of business and in your area.

6. Using an effective lead-management system, develop your database.

7. Leverage your Web site. It is an essential lead source. Update your site and track and monitor its traffic. Spend some money on search-engine optimization. Include special Web offers to generate activity.

8. Join the social-networking world to expand your business name and brand.

9. Establish a business blog for your company and products.

10. Explore and research the use of pay-per clicks to generate leads.

11. Stay in touch with your clients via e-mail. Track the response and open rates with an e-mail-management system. 

12. Consider conducting educational webinars for potential clients.

13. Work with your existing clients via webinars and through video conferencing.

14. Network within your community. Join local organizations and get involved.

15. Increase outbound calls to prospective clients. Follow through on the sales process. Making one or two follow-up calls isn't enough. If you want to make a sale, stay in touch.

16. Spend more time with clients when they call or visit. Make it more about them. Don't start selling until you know what's important to them.

17. Spend more time selling the next step. The sale will be a natural effect.

18. Sell value rather than price. Sell yourself by finding out about clients.

19. Evaluate the true cost of generating prospects. Once you find the number, you can track, manage and measure the sales process better. Set new standards and expectations.

20. Evaluate your estimating process and your estimate-to-sales ratio.

21. Don't use automated systems for incoming calls to your business. Have a real person answer your phones. It's OK for clients to leave you messages if you are not available.

22. Pay attention to your office details and environment.

Customer satisfaction

23. Remember, increased communications and enhanced customer service increase referrals.

24. When you get a new client, explain the loan process clearly. Better communication likely will increase customer satisfaction.

25. Establish new customer-service guidelines. Make your business about your clients and about doing it right the first time -- and if necessary, the second, third and fourth times. Unsatisfied customers may cost you a lot more than you realize. You can't make it up in advertising dollars.

26. Create a customer-relations budget. Referrals often are the top lead source. If we know that those sales are easier to close and cost the least, why don't you have a customer-relations budget? If you are not getting at least a 30-percent referral rate, you may be doing something wrong. 

27. Set a goal to increase referrals by 20 percent. With this boost in customer referrals, imagine how much you'll save in advertising costs.

Employees

28. Spend more time on training. Set new expectations and require professionalism from your staff.

29. Make sure potential hires have strong motivation and good attitudes. Once that is established, evaluate their skills and experience.

30. Hire employees who want to work with a successful company. Get rid of the rotten apples and problem employees.

31. Remember, a company is first built on people. With good people, you'll have a great product. Great products attract customers. And great customers generate profits.

32. Develop programs that reward dedicated employees, producers, team players and individuals who always suggest how things can be done more efficiently.

33. Listen to employees who are involved with your clients' day-to-day activities.

34. Encourage employees to get involved in various clubs and organizations and to give back to the community.

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Each item listed above can be expanded upon and developed into a separate mini-plan.

By following these tips, you will set the stage for growth, run your business differently and stand out from your competition. This will help you earn more business, as well as loyal clients who may send referrals your way.


 


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