All loan officers know that the best way to get new clients is by referral. But are you finding that easier said than done? Read on for five simple but effective ways to build up your referral network.
1.) Real Estate Agents
Partnering up with other real estate professionals is a great way to drive referrals. Build relationships with the real estate agents in your community, and ask your existing real estate referral partners to introduce you to other agents in their office. These days, many real estate agents have large social media presences, meaning a massive network of potential connections to draw referrals from.
Building these relationships can be mutually beneficial; for one, referrals are a two-way street. Additionally, you could attend an open house with fellow real estate professionals, and offer to pre-approve potential homeowners for their loan. This puts both you and the real estate agent in a good position to pick up a client for the whole process.
2.) Social Media
Don’t leave all the social media to the real estate agents – savvy loan officers are definitely developing an online presence as well! Build your brand and increase your connections by posting regularly on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Social media isn’t the place to go sales-heavy; instead, post helpful content (i.e. tips for first-time home-buyers). Valuable information is likely to be shared, helping you reach new audiences. You can also use social media as a place to interact with clients in a more casual environment. Answer customers’ questions, introduce them to other real estate professionals in your community, or simply show support by liking and commenting on their posts.
3.) Email Newsletters
Another great way to share valuable content is through an e-newsletter. Send one out to a list that includes all current and former clients, your referral partners, and other members of the community. Along with providing valuable content, the email will simply serve as a monthly or biweekly reminder that you’re around – keeping you top of mind for referrals! Just be careful not to get into spam territory – don’t make your entire newsletter one big advertisement, and keep the frequency to weekly at absolute max (we recommend monthly).
4.) Community Events
Attending events in your community is a great way to meet potential customers. Better yet, get together with your referral partners and jointly host an event yourselves geared towards new homeowners! Any event that would appeal to first-time homebuyers, particularly millennials, can bring in lucrative future clients.
Your event can introduce new community members, highlight local businesses, and will be a good chance to strengthen your relationships with your existing referral partners as well. And don’t forget to get digital — use the event as a way collect email addresses for your newsletter and connect on social media with all attendees! You can even create a specific hashtag for your event to capture all the fun.
We’ve saved the most important resource for last. When it comes to referrals, satisfied customers are your greatest assets! The majority of homebuyers, particularly first-timers, say they found their loan officer or mortgage broker via friends or word of mouth in the community.
Since current and past customers are such an important referral resource, you’ll want to develop and maintain strong relationships with them. Clients are more likely to refer your services to others if they consider you a friend. For example, loan officers who show up at their closings are really demonstrating that they care about the clients’ future happiness in their new home.
Plus, by attending the closing, you get one last face-to-face meeting. This is a good time to give your clients a handful of business cards, and, of course, connect on social media!
An easy trick: take a selfie with your clients and the real estate agent at the closing, post it to social media, and be sure to tag everyone in the photo. Tagging the picture means it will show up on their feeds, meaning you just got introduced to a whole network of new connections!
For more on strengthening your referral relationships with real estate agents, check out our wildly popular eBook “Winning Agent Business”.