Residential Magazine

Supercharge Your Realtor Referral Business

Utilize technology and prove your value to these business partners

By Dan Harrington

It’s a busy time to be a mortgage originator, to say the least — especially because record-low interest rates have fueled a veritable refinancing frenzy in recent months. Amid this massive spike in origination volume, strategic loan officers and brokers are continuing to keep their sights on the long game. Market trends ebb and flow, and boom times don’t last forever. Once this refinance surge settles, purchase referrals from Realtors will rise again as a crucial driver of business.

That’s why continuing to cultivate your professional network remains as important as ever. Although it may feel overwhelming right now for busy originators to actively work on building and maintaining these networks, relationship- engagement technology makes it easier than ever to future-proof your referral business by providing value to your real estate partners.

Once this refinance surge settles, purchase referrals from Realtors will rise again as a crucial driver of business.

Beneficial relationships

In the relationship-driven mortgage industry, much emphasis is placed on originators engaging their clients after loans are closed. Although this is obviously a sensible strategy, teaming up with your real estate partners is equally as important for generating referral business.

The thing is, when the real estate market heats up, Realtors are inundated with referral requests from loan officers and mortgage brokers, as well as marketing gimmicks from lenders. Indeed, too many originators only reach out to agents in their professional network to ask for buyers to prequalify. Far fewer originators go out of their way to provide true value to agents. 

This type of one-way request can be really off-putting, especially for successful agents who are constantly fielding such referral requests. Nobody likes feeling that they’re being used without getting anything in return.

There’s a strategic way to turn around this one-sided paradigm, however. Originators can better support the agents they work with by tapping into technology and more effectively utilizing their client database. Now is the opportune time for originators to provide value to real estate professionals.

Particularly in areas hit hard by the novel coronavirus, the pandemic has thrown a wrench into home sales. Realtors have had to work quickly and creatively to match buyers with the right homes while facilitating seamless, timely closings. Working with a trusted originator helps ease the stress on all sides.  

Originators who can pass along actionable information to help agents connect with buyers — while serving up data-driven opportunities for the agent to shine throughout the customer life cycle — will differentiate themselves as collaborative partners. These originators engender exactly the type of goodwill that inspires agents to become a teammate. This mutually beneficial relationship can be powered with minimal effort by the originator through a customer relationship management (CRM) system.

Responsive communication

CRM platforms built around relationship engagement are not only invaluable for maintaining client connections and gaining repeat business. When used strategically, they are equally valuable for cultivating professional relationships that lead to referral business. 

When originators have a CRM system in their digital toolbox, its ability to track and sort client data provides an array of benefits. The CRM system’s data intelligence not only helps originators communicate with the buyer and agent during the loan approval process, it empowers originators to share actionable data that agents can use to grow their own business. 

Whether they are in a challenging local housing market or a hot one, Realtors appreciate all the help they can get. The help that real estate agents seek from an originator has little to do with mortgage rate sheets or intel about changing loan products. Nearly 80% of real estate professionals consider efficient and responsive communications most important when working with an originator, according to a survey by TD Bank.

CRM tech never sleeps as its authentic intelligence combs your borrower database and keeps track of clients wherever they are in the buying cycle — just looking, actively applying, in processing or post-closing. Your technology is able to present you with opportunities to help your referral partners. 

When the originator receives their daily notification from the CRM platform along with a client’s information, loan details, etc., they can easily touch base with a professional connection. They also can share useful client intel with a Realtor, making it easier for the agent associated with that buyer to maintain their own strong customer relationships with thoughtful, tactful outreach. 

This capability fosters trust and camaraderie between the originator and the agent, in addition to making clients feel valued. When the agent doesn’t have to worry about their client’s loan status and can focus on all the other details of inspections, disclosures and appraisals, they’re more likely to send future referral business to that originator.

Personal connections

Fostering personal connections is one of a CRM system’s many benefits that bolster the originator-agent relationship. When originators receive automatic client updates from their CRM technology — such as closing anniversaries, birthdays and relevant financial updates — agents also can use this data intelligence to connect with their past clients. 

Providing value to agents by helping them to succeed will establish rock-solid referral pipelines to shore up their post-pandemic livelihoods. Helping an agent engage with former clients, as well as new prospects, positions originators at a significant strategic advantage since 90% of buyers say they’d use their agent again or recommend them to others, according to the National Association of Realtors. 

When you are able to help Realtors stay connected with mutual clients, more of that 90% share will come back to that Realtor (and you) because you have continued to communicate with them. It’s a positive path toward referrals, particularly as signs point to a lot of turnover in the U.S. housing market in the coming months. ●


  • Dan Harrington

    Dan Harrington is CEO and co-founder of Usherpa, a customer relationship management-relationship engagement platform that empowers mortgage lending and real estate professionals with intuitive automated marketing, engagement tools and customized content. He has more than 25 years of experience in integrated fintech relationship management, developing state-of-the-art CRM platforms combined with automated content marketing services.

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