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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   October 2017

Relationships Are Marketing Gold

Increase your connections with high-tech, high-touch marketing

Most industries rely on relationships as the cornerstone for success, and mortgage-loan origination is no exception. In a world with constant pressure on rates and prices, solid relationships are more important than ever.

Relationships do not happen overnight, however. They need to be fostered. Great relationships are built over the long term and are based on mutual respect. But, although it takes time to build relationships, they can be lost all too quickly.

Much like the dreaded saying, “You’re only as good as your last loan,” there are referral sources who may drop you the first time you hit a bump. Those probably are people you don’t want to have a long-term relationship with anyway. Instead, focus on the relationships that can withstand the invariable hiccups.

Technology is an integral part of our business and can help you build connections, but keep in mind that relationships are with humans, so it is best to use a combination of high-tech and old-fashioned face-to-face strategies. With this in mind, here are four tips for combining high-tech and high-touch marketing strategies that’ll make your relationships last and stand out.

Get with the system

If you are not yet using a solid customer relationship management (CRM) system, you are missing out on a better way to keep in touch with clients. As the industry becomes more digital, savvy originators use every tool at their disposal to be more involved and invested with clients — with less effort.

Although forgetting your partner’s birthday can be a deal-breaker in a personal relationship, remembering their favorite kind of flowers can earn you bonus points. That’s what a CRM system does: It serves as a memory bank of the big and little facts about clients that help you become more integrated into their lives.

Use your CRM’s survey function to collect feedback at a variety of borrower touchpoints to help you hone your own performance, while showing clients you care. If you’re not using a CRM to its full advantage, learn what it can do and put it to use to help you enhance your relationships.

Get social

No conversation about the combination of high-touch and high-tech tools would be complete without discussing social strategy — one that combines the best of both worlds.

First off, you have to actually be social — “in-person” social — by getting out of the office as much as you can. Attend networking events. Invite a former customer to lunch. Do some “sweatworking” at a spin class with a referral partner. There is no substitute for those face-to-face communications.

Or is there?

Even though in-person networking is still the gold standard, social media is an excellent catalyst for relationship building. The key is in creating a two-way conversation, however. If you’re constantly using a megaphone to shout content, it will start to get ignored. Instead, be thoughtful about what you share. Before you post, ask yourself, “What’s in it for my reader?”

Whether you’re a fan of Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, stay connected with customers and referral partners by consistently sharing great content or inviting conversation. Then, return the favor. Make a point to spend 10 minutes a day — seriously, schedule it on your calendar — visiting the pages of borrowers and potential clients. While you are there, like, share or comment on their content. They will notice.

Listen actively

When a customer takes the time to offer feedback, what do you do with it? If you just read and delete, you’re missing a golden opportunity to use that communication as an invitation to add another layer to your relationship.

Having a dialogue with your clients can create
additional opportunities to surprise and delight them.

 If you use your CRM to send a survey and a customer replies with an awesome love letter, don’t just smile and move on. Take the time to respond with a handwritten note or a small gift. In today’s digital age, the personal touch can really make you stand out.

When you get negative feedback, try not to take it personally. Be accountable and follow up. Pick up the phone to apologize and ask for more details about the experience. You’ll be amazed at how many people actually end up apologizing for writing a bad survey. At the very least, they may be pleasantly surprised that you cared enough to seek their input and correct the situation.

Of course, listening to surveys is only one component. Having a dialogue with your clients can create additional opportunities to surprise and delight them by offering ideas for the perfect, personalized add-on, or a window into a mutual hobby or other point of connection.

Give a lot to get a lot

As you can see, relationship building is not about giving money. It is about giving effort and careful thought to each relationship and transaction. When you’ve been actively listening, the details on how you can make an impact become crystal clear.

The more you learn about someone, the more genuinely personal your relationship can become. Borrowers appreciate it when you show up at their closing with something personal as opposed to a generic gift. High-quality notecards with a borrower’s new return address make a great closing gift. Creating a personal connection makes the whole process feel more like a relationship rather than a transaction.

In a business consumed by volume, quality over quantity can be a differentiator that will set you apart from other originators. While they’re churning out applications, you’re taking the time to get to know your clients and what matters to them. And that quality extends to the service you provide.

• • •

The fact is, that no matter how great your relationship-building skills, customers still want what they came for — a smooth, successful transaction. By combining those elements, you’re on your way to building your business on a solid foundation. In our highly competitive, commoditized marketplace, set yourself apart by building long-standing relationships with your clients and other referral partners that will last for years to come.


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