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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   September 2016

The Recipe for Professional Success

Marketing yourself requires purpose, passion, people, process and homemade sauce

Italian cooks are known for eating “in” more often than they eat “out” because they do not always trust that someone else can make their favorite dish as well as they can. Whether they call it sauce or gravy — a heated debate for a different day — most Italian cooks believe their own recipe is the best in the world.

Chances are, all versions are great, just different. What happens when they want something different, like sushi, however? It can’t be that hard to roll raw fish inside some rice, right? Often, it really isn’t that easy, so sometimes it is best to dine out at a restaurant.

Many loan originators are natural-born promoters who know how to create relationships. Because of their gift of gab and like-ability, they also may believe they are masters of marketing. Some are, some aren’t, and many should consider “dining out” when it comes to their marketing. With that being said, it always makes sense to know what’s in the sauce, so you don’t end up with a marketing recipe that doesn’t work for your business needs. 

Anyone who has ever taken a marketing class has been quizzed about the four “P’s” — product, placement, pricing and promotions — which are at the core of all marketing. For high-volume loan originators, however, a revamped version of the classic four “P’s” — purpose, passion, people and process — can better define their specific marketing recipe. Whether you are creating your own marketing plan or using a cookie-cutter plan from an external source, you should consider each of these points before proceeding.

Purpose

What makes you different? It’s no secret that the common professional ground all mortgage lenders share is their purpose, which is to deliver mortgages. To differentiate yourself from other loan originators, however, you need to better define that purpose for yourself.

Why did you start in the business? What’s the most rewarding part of your job? After asking questions such as these, you can explain your individual purpose more completely.

Today’s tech-savvy customers can see through most marketing ploys. Differentiation can no longer be just what people say; it needs to be what they do and who they are. Being different is quite different than making a difference. The former is relatively easy; the latter is infinitely valuable.

Ask the question, “Why?” Embody the answer daily. Distinctiveness is determined by purpose. Everyone has a unique story — so share it.

Passion

Do you want to be interesting? Be interested. A loan originator’s goal should be to create a lasting relationship, but it’s important to understand the difference between a relationship and a transaction. It’s unlikely for two people to get married after just one date, for instance. Many people don’t even start a relationship after a first date. If the date goes well, however, the couple may begin to envision a future relationship and how they would like it to go.

Similarly, successful business relationships have visions for partnerships. Loan originators should cultivate relationships with service providers, referral sources and clients with interest, care and a vision. Asking about your borrower’s background, interests and ideas is one thing. Actually caring about them is another.

Once again, consider a first date. Your companion may ask you questions over dinner, but if he or she doesn’t actively listen or pay attention to your answers, that inattentiveness will hinder any potential for a strong relationship.

Loan originators who prove they are attentive and committed for the long haul become more than just a commodity in their clients’ eyes. Don’t simply convince clients and referral partners that the relationship will last. Prove it with vision, patience and passion. Become a partner in their lives, and they will grow to value you today, tomorrow and for many years to come.

People

What’s at the intersection between a fountain pen and a customer-relationship manager (CRM)? The answer is you. Marketing has changed more in the past two years than it has in the last 15, and there are more ways to reach customers than ever before.

Social media alone has made it possible to reach hundreds or thousands with just a few keyboard clicks. Companywide CRM systems help you show interest in customers by keeping track of milestones and important dates, like birthdays and anniversaries. They also help you automate communication throughout the homebuying or refinancing process and beyond.

The speed and ease of social media and digital connectivity, however, has made it easy to forget the importance of more traditional communication methods. In this pixilated world of e-mails, texts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more, the simple act of handwriting a note or an expression of gratitude can go a long way toward personalizing your interactions and putting people back into your marketing mix.

Balancing both traditional and digital strategies has become the best way to engage clients. Give a gift basket or spend time talking face to face while also utilizing a CRM system to learn more about your customers. Taking extra steps to engage customers leads to better service, higher quality and more productivity while also increasing customer satisfaction. Give clients the personal touch and appreciation they deserve through a lending process that requires guidance and effective conversation.

Process

Wearing too many hats can get cumbersome. Many loan originators are so ready for a challenge that they feel obligated to build their own technology rather than integrating current systems or delegating to other professionals. Instead of being a marketing director, chief technology officer and loan originator at the same time, stay focused on just being a great loan originator.

Instead of making your mark by reinventing processes with your own recipe, distinguish yourself by matching the right programs to the right clients. Go above and beyond by creating the ultimate customer experience. Find nuances in typical routines, so you can specialize and collaborate.

Every employee has certain expectations of what success looks like, and it is normally tailored around their specific skills and strengths. You can’t simply copy and paste someone else’s processes onto your own. Define your own individual process, and put it to work. Once you can execute the process confidently, excel at making it unique by using tips from the other three P’s. A repeatable process is the first step toward repeatable success

• • •

Create your own recipe for success, perfect it, share it, enjoy it with everyone — but don’t be afraid to eat out every once in a while. Sometimes the best sauce is someone else’s gravy.


 


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