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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   September 2010

Ask Yourself: Who Am I?

Build business by marketing your personal connections and demographics

For many mortgage brokers, building a solid business depends on expanding their market audience or developing a deep connection in a niche market. Instead of looking outward for that elusive untapped market, brokers should first look inward and identify their own circles of association.

Ask yourself which niches you belong to as a consumer. You often can translate your personal demographics to find business demographics. The markets in which you live and work can provide intercommunity and cross-marketing opportunities for your business.

If you are a female, veteran or minority business-owner, for example, you're building on and participating in a community to which you already belong. The key is to identify what certifications or associations are available and leverage them when marketing your business and services.

You often can certify and market your business based on any niches or demographics into which you fall. If you own your mortgage business and are seeking government or subcontracting opportunities, for instance, it is imperative to be certified as female-, minority-, disability- or veteran-owned and to use this certification as a marketing tool. 

Set-asides, which are contracts specifically allocated for a type of business, target these and other demographics. If you fall into one, the business you own likely does, too.

There is no one-stop shop for business certification. A business can be certified based on its owner's gender, race or status, as well as its location, through local, state or federal agencies. Finding the right combination of certification for your business can be daunting, but the authenticity it can provide to your customers is invaluable. There are companies that can walk you through the process for each certification and help you ensure that you apply for all designations applicable to your business.

From there, you can partner with, network with and support other businesses in that segment and market yourself to others who may connect to you based on that recognition.

Brokers looking for new marketing angles should identify the communities they are a part of as an individual and incorporate that into their marketing strategy.

Don't just market a loan program. Market yourself. Promote what you care about to property-owners and potential buyers. This can help you meet new people, build relationships and earn repeat business based on shared concerns.

You can translate your personal demographics into marketing tools in the following ways:

  • Partnering with nonprofit organizations that work to achieve local or agenda-specific goals that are either personally important or impact your business. If a disease or an event personally impacts you, you can tell your story to consumers through a partnership, repeat donation or volunteer service.
  • Joining professional associations based on gender, race, ethnicity or other representations. This can help show prospects who you are even if they don't meet you face-to-face during the transaction.
  • Using personal connections, such as hometown, alma mater and support campaigns, to foster locality-based recognition. This can show customers where you come from or what areas your business impacts.

Ask yourself what your big-picture goal is for your business and what you care about personally. Keeping these answers in mind, join, support and even start initiatives that help achieve these goals. Brokers who can identify what is important to them and to their business can use that to market themselves to a broader audience or deepen their existing connections within a niche market. 


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