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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   January 2003

The Broker’s Corner: Targeting the Offices

Editor’s Note: The following article is an excerpt from Blair Hanson’s book, The Step By Step Guide to Creating Real Estate Agent Relationships.  It was written to train loan officers in effective techniques for getting home loan referrals from real estate agents.  The ideas and concepts were garnered during Blair’s 15+ years in the business.  Watch for future chapters in your monthly Scotsman Guide.

The basic rules of calling on offices

  • There are good agents in every office.
  • No real estate office is truly “Closed” to you.
  • There is absolutely no reason that you can’t call on any office.
  • No matter how successful and busy you become, always call on at least one office in which you get no business.
  • The primary reason for calling on any office is to establish relationships with agents you don’t work with now.

Let me ask you, how do you call on agents now?  Do you pass out rate sheets?  Ever go to an office and hand out flyers?  Maybe you visit open houses and brokers’ opens?  How well has this worked for you?  Not that great?  Me too.
Calling on offices and open houses, passing out flyers and rate sheets are what most loan officers are told is the way to get business. It won’t surprise you to learn that I strongly disagree. However, those activities are not entirely a waste of time. They can be particularly useful in two ways:

  • They are especially effective ways to maintain your visibility
  • They are virtually the only way you can identify your target

Later in your successful career, you will be constantly working to maintain your agent relationships, and keep your face and name out there where it can be seen. But for now, let’s deal with identifying your target.

If you asked a sharpshooter to hit a bull’s-eye, but didn’t show him a target, what type of success rate would you expect from him? None is the correct answer. And the same applies to you and your business. Before you can approach an agent, you need to identify him/her. I realize that this sounds a little over simplified, and you may think that it’s something you’ve been doing all the time, but you probably haven’t approached it  the way I will soon discuss. So please keep an open mind.

How to choose your target offices

The best way to begin targeting an agent, is to first identify the offices you would like to do business with. You should start with at least five different offices. Set a goal of finding one agent in each office that will consistently send you a deal a month. Working with agents is a numbers game, but choosing the offices that you want to work with isn’t.

The most effective method I have ever found for choosing offices was really the simplest. Start with every office you pass on your way to and from work. Take a pen and paper with you on your way home tonight, and write down the names of the offices you pass. With luck, you’ll pass at least one, and in some areas, five will be no problem.

There is a reason that this is so effective. It works on the same principal that mothers have developed into a fine art. Guilt.

Later in your career you will be making regular visits to the offices in which you do business as part of your maintenance campaigns. Most loan officers have trouble remembering that these calls are critical to next year’s income. It is especially easy to forget when times are good, and you are busy closing today’s loans. It is also the primary reason that LO’s can have large fluctuations in their pipeline.

I call that fluctuation “The Cycle Of Death.” It happens when a Loan Officer fills his pipeline with loans, then spends too much time at the office acting as “Chief Loan Holder Togetherer.” Soon the loans are all closed, and the LO finds them self back at square one, facing the prospect of having to start filling that pipeline again from scratch.

The “Cycle of Death” is a major reason why loan officers leave the business due to lack of income, even after having success in the previous years.

If you don’t make the calls, you can’t get the deals.

If you aren’t calling on them, your competition is.

When I included the offices I passed on the way home, I put myself in a position in which I would actually have to make a conscious decision not to stop at the office. Then whenever I passed by without at least stopping in to say hi, I felt a little pang of guilt. My wife and children will tell you that I am especially susceptible to this phenomenon. And as it turned out, I did stop at those offices regularly, and it worked.

If you don’t have at least five now, another effective way to identify an office is to choose those that are closest to your office. Same principal. If you are like me, you are an expert procrastinator. Anything that can be done today can also be put off until tomorrow. In my case, I needed very little excuse to put off calling on offices. The further away they were, and the more difficult they were to get to, the easier it was to put it off. Sometimes I went weeks, even months without visiting an office. Then I would sit and wonder why I wasn’t making progress with the other agents in the office. So try to find offices that will make it easier to motivate yourself to make the calls.  On my route, I could hit every one of my offices in less than a day.   

Obviously you will want to call on any office in which you currently have an agent you have closed a deal with. They know and trust you.  People tend to do business with those that they can trust. If you have already managed a successful transaction for this office, you have proven that you can be trusted. You have a good reputation at this office. Leverage it!

When you do call on that office, remember that you are there to meet, greet, and begin to target the agents that you aren’t getting business from now. Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of only calling on offices and agents where you already do business. This is a common mistake, which will severely inhibit your career growth, and therefore your income. 

The primary reason to call on any office, at any time, is to establish a relationship with someone you aren’t doing business with now. If you remember this, a day may come when you deal with most, or all of the agents in a particular office.
If you have closed loans already, and especially if you have done a good job, add the offices of the listing agents from your most successful deals. As long as they fit the general rule of being relatively close to you. Offices far away will most likely be ignored.

Finally, if you haven’t been able to make a list of at least five (but no more than ten) offices based on the above suggestions, then move. Just kidding. There are five real estate offices in nearly every town in the country, but if this is a real problem in your area, it’s OK to make due with what you have. By the way, make sure you get the name of the Broker, Owner, or Manager. You’ll need it later.

OK. So now you have your list of offices. Next month it will be time to talk about what to do with them.


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