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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   April 2011

Build Partnerships to Build Business

The best referral relationships may be with people you’d least expect

As a loan originator, you probably realize great partners can help you survive the bad times and thrive in the good. If you find yourself with fewer clients this year as the economic downturn continues, consider seeking new partners. The right ones can make a huge difference to your business.

For loan originators, some of the most-important relationships to form — outside of those with real estate agents, which most of you likely already have — are those with accountants and lawyers, banks and credit unions, and other originators.

With few exceptions, professionals of all types enjoy developing mutually beneficial relationships. Looking at the aforementioned list more closely can help you build new partnerships and strengthen existing ones.

Unrelated industries

It might surprise you to discover many accountants and lawyers also have struggled lately. In many cases, they’re interested in forming new business relationships for the same reason you are: They want access to a list of clients who might have use for their service.

"With few exceptions, professionals of all types enjoy developing mutually beneficial relationships"

In working with professionals outside the mortgage and real estate industry, consider a cross-promotion. One of the best ways to do this is to co-sponsor an educational evening. Invite people from your and your new partner’s contact lists. Market the evening as an opportunity to learn new information. Provide food and drinks — if you feed them, they will come — and spend time working with those who show interest in the mortgage aspect of the presentation. You’ll be amazed at the energy an evening like this can create.

Financial institutions

How much time do you spend reaching out to banks and credit unions? I’m guessing not a lot.

Of course, I realize many brokers consider these institutions competition. But have you really considered whether that’s true? Banks and credit unions also have hurt in the past four years.

To keep clients and members, many banks and credit unions must diversify their product offerings. In many cases, they need some of the loan products you offer and they don’t.

Like all good partnerships, however, there must be benefits for both parties. You can do your share by referring clients back to the bank or credit union that offers products you don’t, such as deposit accounts, credit card debt-consolidation loans and car loans. As an added bonus, when your clients get their debt ratios in order, they will be easier to qualify for a mortgage.

Other originators

Other brokers or mortgage originators might be the last people with whom you would consider partnering. In most cases, they actually are your competition. Rather than partner with them in business, however, why not meet with one or two others each month to talk business?

Seek someone who excels where you don’t. For example, if you need help developing new marketing tactics, partner with someone who markets with ease. In turn, offer them insights about your area of expertise, whatever it may be.

Even if you compete directly, you can benefit from each other’s insights. These relationships can be easier to form if the other originators with whom you meet don’t share the same niche.

Moreover, these relationships can lead to entire books of business if someone changes careers.

•  •  •

Financial professionals inside and outside the mortgage business have experienced dramatic changes in the past four years. Many of those still in business now seek new partnerships to launch the next phase of their career. They need you as much as you need them.

By opening yourself to others, you can build trust and gain the same in return. As you develop a diverse group of trusted partners, your business growth should follow.


 


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