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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   November 2017

Cultivating Realtor Relationships

Take the steps necessary to make yourself an attractive referral partner

r_2017-11_kent_spotAll originators know that working on purchase loans can be tough. The buyer, seller and respective Realtors are relying on the originator to come through and to be on time.

This means lots of e-mails, texts and after-hours phone calls to update all parties on the loan progression. One wrong move can cause the deal to fall apart, so the stakes are high.

Because of the high stakes, Realtors will, of course, only trust certain originators to handle their transactions. It’s those originators who end up getting the referrals, and it’s those originators who have long-term career stability, regardless of what’s happening with interest rates.

So, what should originators do to make sure Realtors have the confidence to refer deals to them? 

Sell yourself

The top quality a Realtor looks for in an originator actually often has little to do with the originator. It’s the originator’s processor that is key. So, the first step an originator must take is selecting an elite processor.

Realtors must know the originator has a solid processor with an efficient and accurate tracking system so purchase files move smoothly through the system, from origination to funding. The processor must be knowledgeable and proactive to deal with speedbumps that arise during the transition.

While speedbumps will always arise, Realtors know they can be mitigated by working with an originator who knows industry guidelines frontward and backward. Therefore, it also is critical that originators demonstrate they are A+ students of the mortgage business.

If originators aren’t on top of procedures, rules and regulations, they are unlikely to win an argument with the underwriter, and that could be the difference between funding and fall-out. The best originators can get on the phone with an underwriter and clear that speedbump the majority of the time. Realtors want an originator of this caliber in their corner if they are to be successful.

Showing Realtors your depth of knowledge first-hand is very powerful, but you still need to constantly reinforce your reputation. How is this done? Follow these five steps to reinforce your reputation when meeting with Realtors:

  • Compile a list of testimonials from past clients and Realtors. 
  • Give Realtors the list of questions asked during your “fact-finding” interview with the client. This helps avoid surprises later on that can derail a loan.
  • Show Realtors your system for keeping all parties up to date. These days, many originators use systems like Floify.com or HiMaxwell.com.
  • Include material and flyers about your company and what you provide that other companies do not.
  • Display any awards or recognition your company has received.

Establish a routine

To stay on top of purchase transactions, originators must not get bogged down with unnecessary meetings and tasks. The most effective originators set up daily, weekly and monthly routines to prevent them from getting sidetracked. 

The last originator a Realtor wants to work with is someone who is not committed to their business. 

Your morning routine, for example, might consist of the following:

  • 9 a.m.: Hold a 15-minute “pipeline” meeting with your processor. 
  • 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.: Make calls to prospective borrowers. 
  • 11 a.m. to noon: Set up appointments with Realtors in your area.

As part of your weekly routine, you might set up a caravan with Realtors every Tuesday. Meeting with prospective Realtor partners is a key part of a weekly routine. Top originators say they meet three new Realtors (or other potential referral partners) per week.

For your monthly routine, you should plan to run your monthly production reports on the first of the month to monitor your progress. Print up these routines, and put them on your bathroom mirror so you see them every morning.

When meeting with Realtors, never come empty handed. You don’t want them to think you’re only there because you want their business. Bring something of value that can be discussed over lunch — an article, resource, book, website, lead source, etc. — something they can benefit from. Then show them your typical client presentation.

In addition, take a good look around their office while you are there. Some Realtors may have the perfect office or cubicle you can rent. It can be tough to break in, but once you do — and you prove you are better than their in-house, big-bank lender — Realtors won’t be able to get enough of you.

Of course, this works the opposite way as well. One screw-up gets around the office fast, which is, of course, why you should not rent desk space until you are 100 percent ready to roll. And, of course, when doing Realtor business, only use account executives who you know are reliable to get the deal closed.

If you will be in the office, show Realtors and potential clients that you’re a professional by dressing the part in a properly fitted suit. There’s nothing worse than an outdated, tight, or baggy suit. Like it or not, people judge you from the second you step in the door. Of course, if you’re meeting with a client who surfs, perhaps showing up in board shorts is the way to go.

Demonstrate commitment

Being part of a Realtor’s office can be a real game changer for your business. Top originators, however, never forget that the key to marketing themselves — whether in print, online, at seminars or in person — is consistency. Giving a flyer to a Realtor once won’t do much. In fact, that’s likely a waste of money. You must commit to presenting a consistent series of flyers.

When business is good, set aside money to continue doing marketing when business is bad. It’s particularly important to market yourself when business is slow because that’s when others are pulling back. It must be a consistent and concerted effort day in and day out. This concerted marketing effort is key to ensuring a steady stream of incoming referrals.

Consistent marketing also creates exposure that shows current and prospective Realtors that you’re in the business for the long term. The last originator a Realtor wants to work with is someone who is not committed to their business. 

If you’re not the best self-promoter/marketer, you should take action immediately because this is critical for generating new business from Realtors. If you don’t have the budget to hire a marketing consultant, get a business-savvy friend to help you put together a plan to promote and market yourself, attend a webinar or seminar about marketing or read a book, like “Guerilla Marketing,” to get some ideas or inspiration.

A college student studying marketing also might be able to provide some good advice at a good price. Young people are probably the best resource for social media know-how. Perhaps you can even be some marketing student’s school project. Many schools allow professionals to post jobs on their online job boards.

Do whatever it takes to get the job done. If you’re not promoting yourself, by default, you’re demoting yourself.


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