Continuing to grow your financial institution’s mortgage business requires more than simply showing up to work each day. To expand your audience – and in turn, your customer base – you will need to step away from your desk and reach out to other industry professionals, such as real estate agents and builders, in your local community. As we move further into 2018 and complete the shift from a refinance to a purchase market, building meaningful relationships in the real estate industry will be the ticket to boosting your mortgage business.
The Purpose of Prospecting
How do you reach these industry professionals and encourage them to work with you? It requires prospecting – the act of seeking out, building and maintaining new relationships that will help you reach, and exceed, your business goals. Prospecting is critical to your growth, but if you are only focusing on building your business-to-consumer/homebuyer (B2C) relationships, you are missing out on a key player – your business-to-business (B2B) audience.
You could spend all your time and money marketing directly to homebuyers – or you can set aside some of your resources to cultivate relationships with others in the real estate industry who can spread the word about your business to an even broader group of potential homebuyers. According to Brian Buffini’s 2018 Biannual Real Estate Report, 87% of all homebuyers work with a real estate agent and 82% of real estate sales are a result of agent contact with referral sources. If you take the time to build relationships with agents in your area, they could send a high volume of homebuyers your way to obtain a mortgage loan and boost your business significantly. On the flip side, collaborating with agents also provides value to their real estate business, since they’ll have access to your financial institution’s client base – truly a win-win scenario for you both.
However, avoid limiting your network to only real estate agents – also consider builders, attorneys, accountants, financial advisors, remodelers and others within the industry – these are all great high-quality sources from which you can grow your customer base.
What does it take to begin building these B2B relationships? When it comes to reaching your prospects, do not limit yourself to one method – broaden your horizons and use a number of strategies to grow your B2B audience.
Strategy 1: Review Your Current Member or Customer List
Take a look at your current membership or customer list – you may already be doing business with someone in the real estate industry who could help you expand your audience to reach more potential homebuyers. Set aside time to meet with these industry professionals and discuss how you could work together to develop a relationship for each other’s businesses.
Consider asking these contacts to introduce you to their peers or bring you along to their professional meetings. Don’t be shy – meeting other real estate professionals through a personal introduction is one of the best ways to gain credibility. Builders often have their own associations; ask around your professional network to see how you can join the group.
And finally, be involved. Nothing highlights your commitment to professional excellence more than your involvement in the organization’s associations, projects, committees, and PACs.
Strategy 2: Get Out and About
One of the best things you can do for your business is to step away from your office and show your face by popping in at local businesses. Your local Chamber of Commerce or a business referral group may also be great resources for meeting other local business leaders. Not only are these great ways to get your foot in the door, but it also shows your willingness to go the extra mile in building a meaningful relationship. Your primary goal is to get your name in front of them but bringing along a small treat is a great way to break the ice and start a conversation that can lead to the creation of a powerful relationship.
Strategy 3: Host Informative Events
A wonderful way to network with other professionals within the real estate industry is by hosting events that provide them with valuable information. Positioning your business as the industry expert and offering knowledge to other pros within the field can help you build long-lasting relationships and the likelihood they will feel comfortable recommending you to potential homebuyers. Consider the following events for expanding your B2B audience:
- An open house "how-to" for real estate agents
- An in-depth look at low down payment lender options
- A safety course for real estate agents
- A construction loan solutions presentation for builders
Consider incentivizing attendance by offering something fun in addition to the educational aspect of the event. Examples include offering on-site headshots or a charity car wash since an agent’s personal vehicle is their primary client transportation. These are just a few ideas, but the opportunity is endless when it comes to engaging with professionals in your local area.
Strategy 4: Implement Communication Strategies
Have you taken a hard look at your communication strategy lately? If you do not have a customer relationship management (CRM) plan in place, now is the time to create one. Start building your list of contacts in the industry and make an effort to cultivate a relationship by keeping in touch regularly, whether that is via email or direct mail. These are both excellent ways to reach a large audience without spending an extensive amount of time; however, this strategy is best used in conjunction with another that requires face time. Do not let them forget who you are – one day, they may be seeking to join forces with a mortgage professional, and you will be top of mind!
From a Prospect to a Client
Say you have implemented the strategies above; now you are wondering how long it will take to turn your prospects into clients. Consider this: how long does it typically take to cultivate a friendship? It could take minutes, days, weeks, months or even years – you have to look at what you are doing as an investment into building a long-term relationship. Start small by engaging with others in the real estate industry, find those who value your advice and keep them close by – they are the ones who you want in your corner.