Do you want to know the easiest, fastest, cheapest and best-ever way to ramp up your mortgage business? Ask for the business. It’s as simple as asking, “Do you have any friends, family or co-workers looking to buy, sell or refinance?”
Guess how much this strategy costs? Nothing. If you get a referral and it winds up in a closed loan, you implemented a strategy that was nothing but words and walked away with a nice commission. The worst-case scenario when you ask for business is that someone says no. The best-case scenario: You close a loan and pad your bank account a little.
In this business, you’ll run into mortgage originators who say, “I don’t ask for business. I generate my own. I don’t want to be dependent on Realtors for business. I’ll refer business to them, then they pay me back by sending me potential buyers.” That’s great, but it’s not the only way to do things.
If agents will only work with you if you send them leads, they’re probably what you could call ‘struggle bunnies.’ They haven’t built up business and they’re counting on you to help them.
If a real estate agent will only refer leads to you if you do the same for them, that’s an uneven playing field. A real estate agent has an advantage because they already have listings. When someone is looking to buy a house, do they call a Realtor first or a mortgage originator? A Realtor.
Why would you go through all the effort and expense to get a Realtor what they already have? A good mantra is this: What’s the least you have to do to get the desired end result? Without manipulation or being unethical, what’s the easiest way to get to where you want to be? Anytime you step into a process and try to paddle against the current, it’s a lot of extra work. Why wouldn’t you just paddle downstream?
Sure, you can generate your own leads, but running ads can be expensive and the advertising platform (Facebook, Google, etc.) has complete control. You want to be careful about entrusting all your business to one place. These companies can make decisions overnight that can affect your entire business — and that’s a scary place to be. On the other hand, let’s look at real estate agents — a much less risky situation, especially if you have a pool of Realtors to choose from.
Consider creating a “Focus 40” — a list of 40 real estate agents, each of whom send you at least one deal per month. That’s not one source of business; it’s 40 sources. When one agent is unhappy, retires or moves to a different state, you’ve got another 39. No big deal. It doesn’t take as long as you might think to build up your Focus 40 list. And once you have 40 agents referring a deal per month to you, you’ll likely be earning a seven-figure W-2 income.
Working with jerks can be unpleasant. So, why do it? You can afford to be picky because of the sheer volume of real estate agents out there. Conversely, if you only have two agents referring leads to you, and you lose one, you just lost half of your referral sources. That’s not cool.
High-level, high-producing real estate agents are just regular people. When you ask them for business, you’re honoring them.
If you have a Focus 40 list, then one Realtor acting a little funky is no big deal. Let them go. People tend to have a scarcity mindset, but it’s rooted in fear, not facts. As a general rule of thumb, for every 1 million people in your population, there are a thousand agents.
One thousand agents and one you. If you live in a small town, draw a bigger circle. Include more of the surrounding towns and do your meetings over Zoom instead of driving for an hour. You can literally get referrals from agents all over the country — a virtually unlimited source.
If agents will only work with you if you send them leads, they’re probably what you could call “struggle bunnies.” They haven’t built up business and they’re counting on you to help them. When you work with successful agents, they don’t need your help building their business.
Not long ago, Mortgage Marketing Animals sent out a survey that asked real estate agents to list their three biggest complaints with loan officers. More than 10,000 agents responded and the most common complaints were:
- Doesn’t close on time
- Doesn’t update me on files in progress
- Doesn’t follow up on leads I send them
“Doesn’t send me leads” wasn’t even on the radar. Agents already have the leads; they just need to convert them to closed sales. That’s where you come in. You leverage real estate agents to get the leads and they leverage you to get them to close. It’s a 100% team effort.
That’s not to say you can’t refer leads to real estate agents. You can and should, but here’s the best way to do it. Let’s say an agent refers a deal to you. Within a few days, call them back with an update on what’s going on.
Also, call the borrower and co-borrower. On this call say, “Everything looks good. We’re on time for a smooth and flawless closing. And by the way, do you have any friends, family or co-workers looking to buy, sell or refinance? I’d love to help them out.” You’ll get referrals from a good percentage of these people. Then pass the new referral on to the agent who gave you the initial deal.
You also can call your past database three or four times a year using a script that asks for referrals. And when you get leads that way, pass them on to a Realtor. Another suggestion is to make calls once a week to your preapproved buyers and “just-looking” list to ask how the house hunting is going. Ask for referrals at the end of these calls. If they give you a name, pass it on to the Realtor. Win, win, win.
So, you can refer leads to agents, but it’s all based on them sending you referrals first. In the end, it turns out to be a pretty sweet deal for them. According to the Mortgage Marketing Animals survey, Realtors want to close on time, and they want great communication and follow-up. Give them that and the referrals are just a bonus.
Much of the time, people are afraid to ask for business. They’re operating from a fear-based mindset. They don’t think they’re worthy. They think they have to earn it.
The truth is, you are worthy. High-level, high-producing real estate agents are just regular people. When you ask them for business, you’re honoring them. It’s totally cool to ask for the business. And once a Realtor refers to you, you’ll be able to refer back to them.
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So, ask for the business, get the referrals, and you’ll be paying it back down the line (and then some). Just take a deep breath and take the first step. It’s so worth any discomfort you might feel. ●