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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   September 2010

8 Steps to Building Relationships

Brokers can deliver the personal touches large retail banks can't

Independent mortgage brokers face stiff competition from large retail banks. To win customers and grow your business, you must deliver mortgage prospects something they won't likely find at your much-larger rivals -- a meaningful relationship.

As you build your business relationships, remember: The stronger the bond you create with customers, the more likely they will keep coming back.

Here are eight tips for doing so:

  1. Create systems to store and recall information about each of your clients, including their names and their family members' names. Keep track of their birthdays and send cards each year.
  2. Respect and value everyone you meet. When new prospects come to your office, take time to listen to them. If you're busy, then schedule an appointment that works around their schedule. Greet them by name next time you meet.
  3. Strive to provide the same prices as -- or as close to them as possible to -- the larger banks down the street. You can do this by working with multiple lenders.
  4. Stay flexible. As a broker, you can search for a new loan solution if a deal falls apart by working with multiple lenders that offer various programs. Referral sources and clients should know that you will do everything in your power to deliver a workable loan package that benefits all parties. Your flexibility and product availability should represent a major advantage over banks.
  5. Provide supreme service. Many of the best independent mortgage brokers set themselves apart by providing superior customer service. You can join them by keeping clients up-to-date about their loan applications. Inform them immediately if you need additional paperwork. If a few days pass with no developments, call or e-mail with an update, even if it's just to say the wheels are turning.
  6. Thrive on education and experience. Dedicate your career to knowing everything there is to know about the mortgage business, even in areas you don't participate in directly. Ensure that you are current on your education, and read lenders' underwriting guidelines. Prospects will have all sorts of questions when they call you or come to your office. The more knowledgeable and experienced you are, the more likely they are to use your services. As you gain knowledge and experience, you also can pre-empt potential issues.
  7. Embrace apprenticeship. Newly licensed loan originators should find experienced professionals to work and study under. On-the-job training can help young professionals avoid costly mistakes, including those related to improperly completed good-faith estimates. Seasoned professionals should embrace their role as mentors. They can pass along their knowledge through membership in local real estate and mortgage associations and by serving on these associations' committees.
  8. Work long hours. Retail banks tend to have restrictive hours. By offering your clients appointments in the early morning and late evening and on weekends, you can create convenience that most retail operations can't match. Meet clients and return their calls whenever necessary, and never make them feel as if it were an inconvenience for you.

By focusing on relationships, you can beat the competition from retail banks, provide mortgage borrowers top-notch loan solutions and superior service, and create a loyal network of clients and referral sources that will fuel your business for years to come.


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