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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   October 2007

Ratchet Up Your Rapport

Marketing to current clients, rather than potential new ones, usually reaps referral benefits

When asked how they spend their marketing dollars, most mortgage professionals focus on attracting new clients through targeted marketing. Many attempt to recruit first-time homebuyers, people trying to sell their own homes or Realtors. Members of these and other markets are valuable in an overall marketing strategy and essential to building a balanced, integrated marketing plan.

In mortgage brokers’ quest for new customers, however, existing clients are often overlooked or given lower priority. It’s not unusual for some brokers to allocate 90 percent to 100 percent of marketing money, energy and time to prospecting for new business.

Marketing to current clients, however, is an important tool for success. The reason is simple: Dedicating resources to your present customers will increase your chances for repeat business and for referrals.

Any database contains a potential goldmine of repeat business and referrals. The question is if brokers have a plan to exploit these opportunities beyond the occasional calls to refinance candidates.

Referrals as focus

One of the keys to any successful service-based business is referrals. Referrals represent the ultimate marketing tool. Every mortgage broker wants to rely on them, but few brokers have a plan to create them.

Client-based marketing not only allows you to stay in touch with customers but also shows that you care about them. The resulting relationship often establishes you as a mortgage expert, one that people will recommend to their friends and colleagues. This perception can prove critical, delivering you the first chance at new customers.

In addition to providing the basis for repeat business and referrals, actively marketing to your current customers can have help to keep away competitors. Mortgage brokers in today’s marketplace face increasing competition for new clients, often from Today, these can include Realtors and builders who control real estate listings and try to control the entire transaction, eliminating brokers from the process.

Moreover, the advent of Internet mortgage companies and other information sources available to consumers has given them more options when it comes to finding home financing. The result is that customers now control more of the transaction. In fact, many see mortgage brokers as mere “rate peddlers.” One way to counter this is through more productive interaction with current clients.

Here are five simple marketing techniques to help build stronger rapport with your current clients:

  1. Personal letters or e-mails: Be genuinely interested in you clients’ families and hobbies.
  2. Newsletters: Giving clients relevant information about rate changes and industry trends helps brand you as the expert.
  3. Consumer surveys: Provide valuable feedback on ways to improve your service.
  4. Account reviews: Open the door to discussions about refinancing or other product offerings.
  5. Personal updates: Keep a connection alive and show that there is more to you than your job.

•  •  •

There is an adage that says, “Most people do business with people they like.” The chances are good that your clients like you. So why not work to strengthen that relationship? This will help set you apart from your competitors by establishing a strong bond while improving your position as a trusted financial adviser.

Think of client-based marketing as another way to create trust and to establish the emotional bonds necessary to gain repeat business and referrals. The more trusted you become in your clients’ minds, the less susceptible you become to outside competition.



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