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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   March 2013

Compete for the Spotlight

Promote your niches to prospective clients via various marketing channels

 Over the past few years, changes in the mortgage industry have brought to borrowers’ attention the importance of working with mortgage brokers and originators who know how to navigate today’s lending environment smoothly. Brokers and originators also have come to realize that they must communicate and promote what makes them stand apart from the competition — in terms of their niches, products, customer service, etc.

Although getting the message across may take considerable time and effort, the good news is that there are several ways to do so without breaking the bank. Consider these three channels to promote your niches and to ensure that your services and products are known and accessible by a good portion of potential clients.

1. Social media

One of the most prolific pathways for marketing in the past few years, social media websites can help you reach new customers and keep in touch with existing ones. With numerous social media websites out there, being selective is the key to saving time and effort — and to achieving your goals. To make your pick, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How many people do I want to reach?
  • Do I want to use mass communication? If yes, use a website that allows you to access all users, or a site that will let you reach people in a certain area.
  • Do I want to have a personal type of contact? If yes, use websites that allow you to contact people directly. This can help you reach old customers and remind them about your niches. Their contacts also may see your updates — giving you a wider exposure.

If you’re doing a mass communication through social media, be careful not to spam. Keep in mind that you should allow time to communicate and follow up with your potential customers. In short, send your message in intervals, focusing in each part on one aspect of your knowledge or services.

Many mortgage brokers and originators also completely miss out on the opportunities of using professional networking websites. These websites can help you contact other professionals in your domain, and they can be a gateway to reach your contacts’ networks, which can be, in turn, a source of potential customers.

Aside from social and professional networking, blogging can be a good way to promote your expertise and knowledge. The mortgage industry currently has become saturated with all classes of bloggers, however.

"Customer-relationship management is a crucial part of your networking and promotion."

With that in mind, if you decide to start a blog, ensure that you consistently keep the quality up. If done correctly, a blog will give you exposure to those who like to follow and comment on blogs, and it also may be picked up through Web searches.

2. Customer relationships

Customer-relationship management is a crucial part of your networking and promotion. Your goal should be to clearly communicate the scope of your business, your processes and experience in the best way possible. Take the following steps:

  • Ensure that clients can access you. Ask your clients about their preferred method of communication — e-mail, phone, cellphone, etc. Take note of the answer and ensure you respect their choices. Remember to always verify and add the contact details to your database.
  • Find common ground. Seek information that can help you build rapport. For example, if you know a client enjoys cooking, send a recipe that seems interesting. Similarly, break the ice in phone conversations by relating to your clients’ interests. This can be further reinforced if your company has a customer-centric philosophy, which makes each and every customer feel valued and special. If you’re not sure about attitudes of other staff, keep tabs on any communication with your clients to ensure it is all done in a positive tone.

3. Integrated communications

Integrated communications is the culmination of your use of public relations, sales promotion and personal selling. Volunteering is a big way to help build positive public relations within the community — and get fairly free advertising, too. Although volunteering always should be altruistic, getting positive publicity for your company is also a good thing. 

Sales promotions typically are generic, but they can be a good way to brainstorm ways to promote the company in the mainstream media. For example, if you use radio advertisements, try to link to promotions the radio station engages in. In print, you can come up with creative advertising ideas that emphasize your company name, mission statement and niches. 

Personal selling often offers that extra special touch. You know what your company does well and you also know what the competition doesn’t. Your task is to convey your edge without bad-talking the competition, which may not always be straightforward. 

Your knowledge of the borrower’s personality can help you select the right tone and argument. For example, if you’re speaking with an analytical person, use statistics and facts, and don’t shy away from your points of weakness. After all, analytical people are likely to look at them along with your strengths, and respect your attempts to improve. Clients who appear to be emotional decisionmakers may need to hear assurances regarding your experience, reliability and how your company will be there for them throughout the process. With this type of client, make sure you regularly follow up to make sure they are satisfied with you and your company’s work on their behalf. 

•  •  •

Mortgage brokers and originators can adopt many strategies to stand out from the competition. It is important, however, to promote this edge to clients in clear and attractive terms. By using the latest technologies and techniques that have developed in the past decade, your services and your niches can get the attention of future clients.

A combination of selective use of social media websites coupled with consistent, ongoing customer-relationship management also can establish your position as a resource in the industry. By adding integrated communications, you will make sure that your message is well formulated and received. In short, these three channels can help set yourself apart from the competition and let your clients know it.


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