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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   May 2017

You Must Give to Receive

Adding value for Realtor partners helps build relationships and referrals

Albert Einstein once offered the following advice: “Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.”

Here is a funny and true story: A scientist who studied ants learned that when ants die, their fellow ants carry them away and dump them because of the smell. The scientist tried an experiment and put that same smell on a live ant. The ant’s buddies didn’t hesitate. They carried that ant away and buried it — even though it was alive and kicking.

The moral of this story is: “Pay attention!”

The question for mortgage originators is this: If you’re not getting referrals from Realtors, why is that? If you’re reading this, no doubt, you’re alive. But are you alive to potential life-changing business — the kind of business that lands in your lap because of good relationships with Realtors?  

If you’re not getting referrals, it is probably not because you have a certain smell. Most originators will agree, however, that if they can get a few more referrals in 2017, their business will grow and their lives will be that much easier. How do you get more referrals from Realtors? Well, sometimes the answers are so blatantly obvious — like the smell that leads fellow ants to carry a live ant to its grave — that, frankly, it is ridiculous.

Inman, the real estate news giant, recently surveyed Realtors specifically about what they want from mortgage originators — what the survey called “lending partners.” If you’re willing to pay attention to the survey results and do some work, you can essentially build a rock-solid foundation for future business through a flood of referrals from Realtors.

Inman’s findings came at a perfect time as well. Realtors and mortgage originators need each other more than ever. Realtors are strapped with dwindling margins and originators need borrowers.

Consider the following survey results: Realtors prefer to work with mortgage originators (47 percent) over banks (31 percent) and nonbank lenders (22 percent). Plus, Realtors want to work with partners who are a good cultural fit, have a variety of products and a proven track record (someone they can trust) and who can get loans to closing on time.

More telling are the following two results: More than three-fourths of Realtors (77 percent) said they only have one lending partner they refer clients to. And, 79 percent of Realtors don’t currently get leads from their lending partners, but 74 percent want leads from originators they know and trust.

Let these items percolate as you ponder the following tips that can add value to and increase your relationships with Realtors.

  1. Get buyers approved. It was one of the smartest businesspeople ever who said these words: “Give customers what they want.” To improve your relationships with Realtors and add value to those relationships, you must view Realtors as customers. And those customers want qualified buyers — it’s as simple as that. Make it your mission to stick with unqualified borrowers until they become qualified and then hand them off to your favorite Realtors. If that means creating your own credit-repair operations, by all means do exactly that. Realtors understand the work involved in getting buyers qualified and, more than that, they will appreciate your work and often return the favor.
  2. Think speed, product variety, reputation and ease of communication. What you need to focus on is no longer a secret. Inman found that Realtors want lending partners who are fast, have a variety of products and a good reputation and, finally, who are easy to reach. These are your talking points with all Realtors laid out for you on a silver platter. In addition, make sure when anyone calls your 800 number that a real person answers the phone. This can increase your conversion rate by 50 percent. That is a huge difference that is worth the cost. You can’t throw money at lead generation and then make borrowers wade through a frustrating robotic maze.
  3. Give leads. Remember the final stat listed earlier from Inman: A whopping 79 percent of Realtors aren’t getting leads from their lending partners, but 74 percent would like them. There it is, straight from the horse’s mouth. That means you need to get serious about your own leads, and even think about investing in lead-generation and lead-management services. Both HIBU, a digital advertising company, and TigerLead, a provider of lead-generation products, can help you prioritize, nurture and cultivate leads, which could increase your website clicks five-fold or more.

Now it’s up to you. You have to go out and market yourself. Let Realtors know you’re alive, or face an ugly demise by getting carried out of the mortgage industry kicking and screaming. 


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