Real estate agents are often distracted. They get bombarded with calls from mortgage originators as well as home inspectors, insurance agents, title companies and many other professionals seeking their business. Stop trying to get these agents on the phone for a few minutes here and there. There’s a better way.
Many mortgage companies use the same toolkit when connecting with real estate agents, which can include everything from printed handouts to lunches purchased in exchange for brief presentations. These strategies often become less effective over time. Real estate agents can see these individuals as pushy and sales driven, instead of valued and knowledgeable.
Referral marketing through education is a more powerful tool. Teach these agents something of value to help their business. This allows you to focus more on what you can do for real estate agents instead of what they can do for you.
You are the expert. You have a wealth of useful, relevant information about the mortgage process that can assist real estate agents in helping their clients. The more knowledgeable an agent is, the more likely they will be able to navigate difficult situations during the real estate transaction. You have the ability to be their trusted source of knowledge and, in return, you will be their first thought when a client asks about a lender.
Providing education can be the secret to getting time in front of agents while continuing to grow these relationships. Every time that you teach an agent or a group of agents a new part of the business, you earn a little more of their trust. Eventually, you will be the person they turn to instead of the stranger who showed up in the lobby with a box of doughnuts and some brochures.
To start teaching, you need to develop some topics that you feel passionate about and are beneficial to real estate agents. These topics can range from the mortgage process and loan programs to how credit scores affect real estate transactions. The sky is the limit, and as long as these topics are relevant and interesting, you will have agents begging for you to come back and teach.
Once you have some topics in mind, you will need to build the presentations. Each presentation represents another opportunity to connect and reconnect with more agents, so you will want to make sure they look professional.
You can approach this in several ways. With your existing knowledge about loan programs and the mortgage process, you have a strong base to build a custom presentation. This will take some time, but it’s well worth the effort. Another option is to find an existing course online and modify it for yourself. Mix in your humor, personality and some anecdotes to keep the presentation lively.
These types of presentations make a great marketing tool, yet they are often hard to schedule and may be a low priority for agents. The secret to booking more of these types of presentations is to offer continuing education credits to agents.
Real estate agents and brokers must complete a specified number of continuing education (CE) credits each year or in a recurring time period. The number of credits, as well as the deadlines, vary from state to state. State laws establish the requirements, which are usually administered by state real estate commissions.
You will offer great value to real estate agencies and their employees if you’re an approved and certified continuing education instructor in your state. By offering to give presentations that include CE credits, you will set yourself apart from your competitors. Mortgage originators who become state-certified CE instructors have a much easier time scheduling appointments with local agencies because they can offer CE credits for their presentations. Most originators are not approved instructors, so those who are become highly regarded as the trusted experts.
In light of the global pandemic, real estate agents have become accustomed to doing everything on-line, from virtual showings to closings. The continuing education world is no different, and although one of the best methods for gaining the trust and respect of agents is to get in a room with them face to face, it is no longer the only available method for teaching continuing education. The ability to teach in person or online gives you the freedom to fit classes into your schedule and expand your reach across your local region.
Becoming a certified instructor is only the first step to offering a continuing education program. Requirements vary by state but often include approval of your school and course topics. This can be overwhelming when added to the typical workload of a mortgage originator, and for this reason, many choose not to pursue it. You can seek help to implement a CE program by finding a company that will manage it. This can save you the time you need to teach and build relationships with agents. ●
Megan L. Stevenson is vice president of Preferred Systems Inc. and is responsible for managing its national education programs. The company’s LendingInstructors program is a turnkey service that enables mortgage lenders throughout the U.S. to establish and manage a continuing education program. Preferred Systems handles all paperwork and administrative tasks, including instructor and course filings, course offerings notifications, credit filings for agents and ongoing customer support. Learn more at lendinginstructors.com. Reach Stevenson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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