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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   July 2013

Forge Client Connections for Life

Be the resource for clients’ future business and referrals

Mortgage brokers and originators spend significant time and effort finding new clients and getting their deals to close successfully. Once relationships are forged, brokers and originators should make sure that these clients will return to them for future mortgage loans and think of them if asked for referrals by family and friends.

This sort of customer loyalty only can be achieved by offering clients a uniquely positive lending experience. In many cases, returning clients and referrals can be more cost effective in the long run than acquiring new clients — even though the latter remains vital to growing your business.

Sustaining existing relationships requires work, however. The model of a successful broker-client relationship can be broken into three main phases: establishing, cultivating and maintaining a mutually beneficial partnership. In short, it’s not enough to just form successful client relationships, you also should nurture these relationships to help them last. In addition, to maintain the integrity of these relationships going forward, you should continue to set yourself and your service apart.

Here are some considerations that can help you turn your client relationships into lasting partnerships that bring you future business:

  1. Position yourself. Throughout the loan process, convince your clients that you also can be a valuable resource for future needs. Show your expertise in not only your current transaction, but any future dealings that may arise.
  2. Establish trust. Customers likely will bring their return business to trusted experts. If you already have established that trust, you will be the resource they turn to even if they are unsure of their exact needs. Demonstrating that you respect your clients’ needs and concerns will go a long way toward establishing trust.
  3. Show expertise. Make sure that you stand out from the crowd with your understanding of current industry conditions and market trends. When you show a unique, thorough knowledge of your market, you’ll be able to keep ahead of the competition when new needs arise for your clients. Acquire this knowledge by educating yourself on the latest and top developments in the industry, and distinguish yourself by offering a level of service that your competitors can’t offer.
  4. Demonstrate understanding. The key to understanding is listening. If you listen more than you speak in your early interactions with clients, not only will you show a willingness to thoroughly inform yourself, but you also will be able to understand the nuances of each client’s situation.
  5. Be proactive. Always be on the lookout for ways to further assist your clients. Keeping track of clients’ pertinent information will help you stay on top of their needs. Organize your files to be able to access this information easily when you need a quick refresher about their circumstances. In addition, always meet — or beat — any deadlines.
  6. Offer solutions. If a crisis arises, come up with a solution. Find a way to turn a sticky situation to your — and your clients’ — best advantage. This can be as simple as offering clients’ support and alternatives immediately if deals fall through.
  7. Communicate. Be available and accessible when your client has a concern. Answer phone calls and e-mail messages promptly to show your commitment and your hard work. Deliver information as quickly and concisely as possible.
  8. Make it personal.No client wants to be on the receiving end of generic communication. In addition, bring your personal touch by being warm and human, by which you’re guaranteed to maintain a positive relationship.
  9. Request feedback. Your clients want to know that their concerns are taken seriously. By requesting feedback, you not only will gain valuable insights about your strengths and shortcomings, but you also will invest your clients with the belief that their input makes a difference in how you do business.
  10. Express gratitude. Show that you appreciate the business you have. It can be something as simple as a heartfelt, handwritten note or a small token, but it will speak volumes. Your clients likely will remember that you valued their business.
  11. Follow up. After a successful transaction, keep track of your clients through periodic contact like sending a holiday card. In addition, keep your clients informed, by e-mail, of any developing information that could be of interest to them. By maintaining continued contact, you will remain at the forefront of your clients’ minds for future needs and referrals.

Keeping healthy relationships with clients comes down to customer service. Even though this may seem like a quaint, old-fashioned notion, it never has been more important. When much business has become cumbersome and impersonal today, it’s the small gestures and actions that can set you apart from the competition.

With the right tools and the ability to leverage your current client relationships into lasting, lucrative partnerships, you’ll have continued business for years to come.


 


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