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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   August 2016

Stop Chasing Business

Providing pre-approved buyers will bring Realtors to you

Twenty years ago, branch managers would tell originators to, “Go out there and meet and greet agents. Get to know them.”

This was probably good advice back then, but it doesn’t work well in today’s market environment. Yes, you can still meet agents for one-on-one sessions, visit their open houses and do in-office training sessions, but many agents no longer spend their days in the office.

With technology today, especially mobile technology, agents can find listings, show homes and even write contracts on their mobile devices. Some larger Realtor companies don’t even maintain more than 300 square feet of office space because all of their agents work from home and use technology to perform their duties. Consumers also are much more savvy now and often have their own relationships in place, so the old ways of growing, or even just maintaining, production levels may not work as well today.

Have an advantage

The best way to grow your business can be summed up in one sentence: “Pick a niche.” More specifically, become the expert in that niche, and let everyone know about it so buyers and Realtors will chase you. Back in the good old days before computers, social media and online search engines, originators commonly chased business by going out to meet new agents, builders and other potential referral sources. Today, if you are chasing, you’re at a disadvantage to those originators who are being chased.

This is true in love, life and business. If you want to succeed, you must be the one being chased in the relationship. It’s human nature. We back away when people are chasing us. It doesn’t matter if the perceived chase is physical, verbal, or through e-mail, the natural reaction is to simply avoid people who are chasing you. So, why continue this cycle with new, creative ways to “chase” business?

The days of saying you provide excellent service and have great rates are over. Those are a given for just showing up. Toss that idea on the heap along with showing up at a Realtor office with donuts or food, providing open-house spread sheets, or paying for desk space or joint marketing.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t invest in a close partner, but do so only after you have a good relationship. You shouldn’t invest to create the relationship. Instead, offer what agents really want — pre-approved buyers. Yes, you must be able to refer buyers to Realtors. Here are a few techniques you can use.

  • Pick a niche: It all starts with picking a niche and making sure Realtors know about your area of expertise. Some common niches are reverse mortgages, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Back to Work program, construction loans, 203(k) loans, jumbo programs and no-PMI programs. Find a product or program, master it, and let everyone know about your expertise.
  • Teach: Offer advice and information on your niche to the local board of Realtors. You will instantly be seen by Realtors as an expert. Classes should be no more than 90 minutes long and should provide specific details about your particular program.
  • Tap into local media: Local newspaper, television and radio stations are always looking for experts. That expert can be you. Simply set up a relationship with the editors or producers.
  • Start a radio program: Many radio stations will sell you airtime. You can even find sponsors to pay for the show. This makes you an instant celebrity in your area and can generate new clients that you can pre-approve and refer to a Realtor.

Get buyers to seek you

Once you become a local mortgage expert, and possibly even a local celebrity, potential clients will begin to seek you out. Everyone wants to work with a celebrity and expert. This is all about positioning yourself and promoting your expertise. Then, you can use targeted and consistent direct mailings to put your name in front of prospective buyers.

For example, send targeted mailings to apartment complexes to get your name in front of renters who may be looking to buy. Identify complexes within several miles of your workplace where rents are comparable to a mortgage payment in the area.

Work your expertise by sending direct mailings to prospects who qualify for your chosen niche. If you’re focusing on the FHA Back to Work program — which reduces the waiting time for purchasing a home after a bankruptcy — then contact people who were discharged from a bankruptcy one to two years ago. If your niche is U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans, send mailings to veterans or offer educational sessions at your local VA or military reserve office.

Working with other professionals, like estate planners or attorneys, also can bring buyers to you through referrals. If you work with divorce buyouts, for example, you could offer your expertise to divorce attorneys. You can refinance the house for the remaining spouse and originate a mortgage for the spouse who moved out.

• • •

Growing your business is all about controlling the buyers. In the old days, you had to chase Realtors because they controlled the buyers. By turning yourself into the local expert in a particular niche, you can gain control of buyers and make Realtors start chasing you. 


 


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