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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   April 2004

Effectively Marketing the Realtor: It’s Not a Mystery!

“Do you want to increase your earnings? Maybe even double or triple your income? Call on Realtors for business?” We’ve all heard this for decades. If you want to maintain a solid pipeline of business, you must have purchase loans, and you need real estate agents to provide those borrowers. So, if we know this, why does the average loan officer cringe at the thought of calling on real estate agents and brokers for business? Some loan officers have even compared the experience of calling on real estate agents to encountering the serpent-like, drooling beast in Alien. Now I’ve been in many real estate offices and known many agents and brokers, but I have never felt a need for Sigourney Weaver’s mechanical battle suit to combat the Realtor.

The reluctance of loan officers to make the necessary sales calls does not come from the reprisals of the agent, but rather from a lack of understanding on the part of the loan officer. When we take our car in for repair, it’s important that the technicians we select understand the particular workings of our make and model. We select a doctor based on his or her specialty, consistent with our particular ailment. Why does the average loan officer feel that his/her particular product or service is universal in its appeal to all real estate agents? As an auto technician or a physician has specialties, so does the agent. The agent’s customers are as uniquely different as is the variety of automobiles. His/her specialty as an agent conforms to clients’ needs. So too, loan officers need to conform to the specialties of the agents with whom they work.

Few loan officers take the time to understand the particular needs of each agent or broker with whom they do business. They believe their product or service is so good that all agents will want it and benefit from it. In most cases, that’s like trying to sell Ford parts to a Chevrolet technician or selling obstetric implements to a cardiac surgeon. It doesn’t work! As the uniformed loan officer continues to sell their blue shoes, the agents who have no need for them, respond in frustration: “Just leave me alone. You are not providing me with anything!” In disgust, the loan officer refers to the agent as someone “you just can’t do business with” and refrains from any further sales efforts.

A successful real estate transaction requires both the sale and the financing. Agents and loan officers are bound to work with one another for a successful closing. A buyer and seller must rely on the competence of both parties. The top real estate brokers and agents will agree that a good loan officer is important to a smooth and successful transaction. So the reluctance of an agent to work with a particular loan officer isn’t due to a perceived lack of need but rather to the loan officer’s lack of understanding of the agent’s needs.

Effective sales calls to the real estate agents are not based on the brand of donuts you bring or the opulence of your marketing flyers but rather on the understanding of the agent’s needs. The successful loan officer will seek out the particular needs of each agent and market only those products and services consistent with those needs. Agents must view the loan officer as a valuable resource for a successful closing. So, as you begin a marketing effort to real estate agents, seek an understanding of their needs first, and the closings will follow.


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