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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   June 2014

Think Outside the Box

Embracing alternative marketing strategies may spell success for new originators

After entering the mortgage business, many new loan officers are given a rate sheet to hand out to Realtors. The industry-standard marketing strategy is to visit Realtors’ offices and hand out these sheets on a consistent basis, effectively asking for business in the process. The theory is that the more you visit an office, the more that office will be familiar with you and the more referrals you’ll receive. Although this strategy may work for seasoned loan officers, it’s often difficult for newer mortgage professionals to develop a presence in well-established Realtors’ offices, as these Realtors may already have established relations with more veteran mortgage professionals.

If you think outside the box, however, you can come up with an alternative marketing plan. For instance, if you know that it’s sometimes difficult to finance loans for condominium  developments in certain areas, you can work with your company to develop a list of condominium projects that your organization would approve mortgages for. So, instead of just handing out rate sheets, you could hand out a list of  all the developments that your company could finance. As you continue to visit offices, you’ll soon see your list posted on bulletin boards or hanging by someone’s desk.

The next phase of this strategy is to send that list to every Realtor who has sold a property from one of these  developments, making them aware that financing is readily available to future customers. It may not take long before you receive calls from Realtors to verify that you can offer mortgages to people wishing to purchase these homes. Soon after, these calls may  become referrals, then applications and then, finally, closed mortgage loans.

Every mortgage banker, credit union and financing company is able to approve a loan for a move-up buyer with 20 percent down, excellent credit and an exemplary debt-to-income ratio. To differentiate yourself from everyone else, it’s a good idea to develop this kind of alternative marketing program and specialize in a specific loan type. There are many to choose from, whether you focus on first-time homebuyer loans, Federal Housing Administration loans, vacation homes or investment properties.

It’s important to remember, however, that your customers are not Realtors or the other referral sources with whom you may connect. Rather, your customers are the closed loans you have originated and are paid a commission on. The biggest mistake that many loan  officers make is not following up with their customers. All this takes is to build up a basic database and then touch base with your customers consistently. Your approach may be as simple as postcards delivered via a mailing list, or it can be as detailed as a computer program designed to send out birthday, anniversary or congratulations messages as personal milestones are reached by your clients.

If at some point in your career you can originate and close 100 loans a year or 3,000 loans total, all you have to do to maintain your success is consistently  follow up with your customers and contacts. In time, it would only require a  3 percent to 5 percent response rate from your prior satisfied clients to originate and close 100 loans a year without visiting or speaking to a single referral source.

Although mortgage professionals may have titles like loan officer or area manager, in reality originators are all just salespeople. To be successful in this business, you must learn some  basic marketing, keep up with new trends, and learn new and alternative marketing strategies to set yourself apart from everyone else.  


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