Residential Magazine

These Tips Will Energize Your Marketing Plan

Generate referrals with these commonly known but uncommonly practiced techniques

By Jeffrey Nelson

Is traditional marketing not bringing the stream of referrals you’ve come to expect? The draw-back to traditional marketing is that it’s something your competitors are most likely doing, too, so it’s harder to stand out.

There are always other ways for mortgage originators to attract referrals. Let’s review some commonly known but uncommonly practiced techniques and see if you can take away an idea that energizes you.

Realtor connections

One way to get referrals is to target recent real estate school graduates. Why newbies? Why not. Many originators ignore new real estate agents because they don’t believe it’s worthwhile. Just because they are recently licensed doesn’t mean there isn’t opportunity.

Offering to help real estate graduates announce their new career to their sphere of influence can lead to a quick referral — and gratitude from the agent. That could lead to a lifelong relationship.

Another way to go is to develop a course that offers continuing-education credit to real estate agents. This may take some effort to organize your curriculum and get approved for your state’s continuing-education requirements, but it can be rewarding because it puts you in direct contact with real estate agents.

More importantly is the position you occupy in the minds of these students. If you are talented at instructing, they will perceive you as an authority and that could lead them to refer buyers to you because of it.

Professional network

Mortgage originators should consider co-branding with local remodelers. Small construction companies that specialize in remodeling can present a unique opportunity. Chances are you’ll find many that don’t stay in touch with past clients, so they’re missing their own easy referrals.

This can be solved by co-branding a monthly newsletter that is sent electronically. If it proves successful, you may suggest printing the newsletter and sending it as direct mail. Depending on your arrangement, you may get them to agree to covering the cost of printing and postage if you supply the content of the newsletter.

This is especially easy if you already are regularly sending newsletters to your client database. You already have the content and are simply repackaging it for the benefit of reaching more people.

Another option is to network with divorce attorneys. They are good resources because their clients will likely be looking for new living arrangements, or at least redoing the financing of an existing residence. This strategy can work well but you must stick with it. You can’t expect referrals overnight just because you contacted some lawyers.

Find ways to bring added value to these relationships by organizing a quarterly meeting and invite a guest speaker the attorneys would find meaningful. When you do get a referral and deliver superior service, ask the borrower to tell the attorney about their experience so it reinforces the smart decision by that attorney for referring them.

Borrower advocates

If you deliver exceptional service during the loan-application process, there are opportunities to solicit referrals before the loan closes during moments of gratitude. A moment of gratitude is when your client expresses satisfaction and you leverage the moment by asking about their family, friends and co-workers who may benefit from a similar experience.

The key to leveraging moments of gratitude begins with setting expectations with borrowers in an initial meeting by explaining that your goal is to deliver superior service, so they’ll refer family, friends and co-workers. Rather than waiting until the loan closes, if they express a moment of gratitude, it can be your chance to extract referrals more quickly.

Another way to connect with borrowers and gain referrals from them is to send video messages to clients on holidays ignored by most marketers. Thanksgiving and Independence Day are examples of when you can surprise clients. While everyone sends a card during the Christmas holiday season, you won’t get lost in the shuffle with other holidays.

And let’s not forget the most important holiday — your client’s “anniversary” when they purchased their home. Imagine the look on their faces when they receive your congratulatory video message.

Community goodwill

A great opportunity to build goodwill within your local community is to sponsor a youth sports team. The sponsorship promotes your brand across the league, but with just a little effort you can do more to impact the team itself and you get more recognition.

For example, custom print your logo and contact info on cool advertising specialties, like sports towels or water bottles, and hand them out to the team. Post the team photo on your social media accounts and share photos from the parents’ accounts after each game.

Another opportunity is to volunteer at local schools. You have a natural entry point if you participate in certain programs, such as Homes for Heroes — a non-profit organization that helps teachers, firefighters, law enforcement, military and others get into homes. You could seek to hold an after-school meeting with faculty, students and parents to explain how your program works, as well as other related topics about mortgages, credit and homebuying.

“ These reviews can shape perceptions about your services as your digital footprint grows. People believe what others say aboutyou before they believe what you say about yourself. ”

Online reach

Social media is an excellent way to connect with potential referral partners and prospects. And here’s an easy trick: You can get people to follow you by simply adding local hashtags when posting to accounts such as Instagram.

A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#) to identify messages on a specific topic, so it’s easier for people to find. For instance, adding your local area to the hashtag, i.e. #phoenixrealestate, can attract people who are specifically searching for that term on Instagram to your profile. If they follow you, then you can use direct messaging to reach out and start a relationship.

Also, always ask clients to post reviews on their favorite social network. Online reviews have become second nature in many industries, so it’s not difficult to ask your clients to post a review to their favorite network about their experience working with you.

These reviews can shape perceptions about your services as your digital footprint grows. People believe what others say about you before they believe what you say about yourself.

Strategy execution

Did at least one of these ideas trigger any excitement, or did one spark another idea? If you want more referrals, then the next step is to take action because doing nothing doesn’t count.

The worst mistake is falling back into old habits or assuming the results from what you’ve been doing are going to change. Isn’t that practicing insanity? Take out a sheet of paper right now while this is fresh in your mind and write down your idea. Next, write down the first three steps you need to take for it to happen and you’re halfway there.

Imagine how you’ll feel when you follow through and make it happen. Think about the impact it will have on your business and personal psyche. Focus on those feelings during moments of frustration or when you’re struggling to overcome the minutiae of executing a new strategy. With just a little effort and patience, you could be creating a future stream of referrals, so go for it. 


  • Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson is the founder of Salesachievers Inc. He teaches real estate and mortgage professionals how to grow their personal brands, become recognized as local celebrity experts and attract referrals. He is the author of “Atomic Leads: Fix the Broken Process and Start Attracting Referrals Like a Magnet.” Nelson spent six years promoting Tom Hopkins sales-training seminars nationwide before starting a media agency to help real estate agents and mortgage originators convert clients into promoters, rather than wasting money on cold leads.

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