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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   July 2007

Your File Cabinets are a Gold Mine

Mine your files for profits by staying in touch with past clients

You probably think your work is done once you close clients' loans and place them in your file cabinets. In reality, however, this should be just the beginning. After closing clients' loans, you should input their information into a database program or a spreadsheet. Then you must implement a marketing and client-relationship-retention program.

Marketing experts say that there is no easier client to work with than one who knows and trusts you. The second-easiest client to work with is a referral from someone who knows and trusts you. To gather referrals, you must stay in contact with your past clients.

There are a few simple, quick and cost-effective methods for doing just that.

Client newsletters are one of the most-effective and easiest ways to keep your name in front of past clients. Few people want to put one together, thinking it's too much work. It's not.

A well-put-together newsletter serves as a positioning tool that helps you stand out from the crowd. You will want to personalize your newsletter and tell what is happening in the mortgage business that month. In addition, acknowledge your repeat and new clients and friends, and thank those who have referred their friends and family to you.

Other features you can include in your newsletter are testimonials from past clients and a "client of the month," tips and other helpful news, such as current interest rates.

Lay your newsletter out in an easy-to-read format. Send it in an envelope that has your name and picture on it. Many industry experts will say that you should have a full-color, slick-looking newsletter for it to work, but an "ugly" black-and-white newsletter also can be a winner.

Be sure you send it consistently, as well. Monthly works better than quarterly. A well-put-together newsletter should yield consistent phone calls and loans for you each month from past clients. Your newsletter can help add to your bottom line significantly.

Another way you can use your client's address data is to send them birthday cards, loan-anniversary cards and cards for smaller holidays such as Labor Day or Halloween. This is an often-overlooked but simple gesture that will go a long way toward your clients remembering you when they or their friends need financing. Be sure to include a handwritten note in the card when you send it, and sign the card.

Another contact you can make with your clients is an annual phone call to ask how they are doing. Many brokers don't make these calls because they assume that they fall under Do Not Call Registry guidelines. But if you are calling customers with whom you have a past business relationship who have not requested to be removed from your list, it is generally safe. For questions on the topic, consult an attorney.

Yet another way to keep in touch is to create offers and send them to past clients. Offers can be a simple back-to-school or a post-holiday debt-consolidation special, a winter-weatherization special or a home-improvement special.

You also will want to sprinkle in some informative mail pieces that help you maintain your expert positioning. Be sure not to offer any type of sales pitch in these, so your clients don't get frustrated by your constantly asking for a loan from them.

Above all, remember: Your clients are constantly bombarded in the mail, on television and on the Internet by mortgage companies trying to get them to do a loan. Your only defense is to offer the best customer service you can and to keep your name and face in front of them as often as you can.


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