Optimizing referrals

We know the usual referral sources for loan officers — real estate professionals, schools, financial planners, etc. The question then becomes, how do you effectively develop these partnerships to increase referral business?

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1. Real Estate Specialists

There are approximately 2 million actively licensed real estate professionals in the current market. Often they have a large network of valuable connections.

To find local agents, consider the use of mortgage apps which allow you to receive email notifications whenever a new listing becomes available in your area. Having this information allows you the opportunity to reach out to the listing agent to find ways to collaborate.

One way to cultivate this connection is by attending an open house with real estate professionals. Provide education and insights to hopeful home buyers about possible lending programs; and offer to pre-approve them for a loan.

2. Schools

Offer to volunteer your time at local colleges or high schools to talk about the value of smart financial planning: saving money, building, and protecting credit. Giving handouts including your contact information can put your name in front of parents and expands your reach to a larger number of young potential home buyers.

The professors and teachers you interact with at these educational institutions will become referral sources. They may need support or know somebody who needs help in the home-buying process. Your contact with them through earlier speaking engagements keeps you on their mind.

3. Financial Planners

If potential customers are aligned with a financial planner, they are probably more likely to have their finances in order. If they need to refinance a home or upgrade to a new home, there is less work to be done on your end for the deal to close.

Leads that come to you through a credit counselor typically need a bit of hand-holding and, will be in need of a financial planner to guarantee their assets and money are kept on track. Being able to refer to these types of customers to your financial planner is a great selling point and an opportunity for your financial planner referral partner.

4. Builders

Offer to cooperate with builders in a way that removes the need for them to vet qualified buyers on their end. Think about running the pre-approval process for those interested buyers. This assures the builder is working with a sound home buyer plus it is an added convenience to the customer.

Building this connection works to keep you top-of-mind and creates an opportunity to share valuable information about the mortgage industry with likely homeowners.

5. Community Relationships

Bonds built around a commonality can be some of the strongest. This could be an alma mater, hobbies, interests groups, Churches, or even high-school, and colleges.

Think about volunteering to educate and talk on topics like; how to secure a loan, the value of a strong credit score, why owning a home is important, etc. You are not selling to any of these group members; rather, you are providing the thoughts and knowledge that make you a trusted agent to those with whom you wish to work. Giving handouts including your contact information can put your name in front of a larger number of potential home buyers.

6. Current/Past Customers

In business, it’s not the first sale that counts, it’s the repeat business. Keeping relationships with past customers is crucial to this prosperous model.

Going to closing is an easy way to show that you care about your clients. This display gives you additional opportunities to remain connected in a customer’s life after the loan has closed. Consider bringing handouts or easy literature about being a new homeowner. Easy-to-digest material that provides value is what’s key here.

Take the chance to trade information that allows you to stay in contact after they leave the closing. Based on your approach, this could be email or social media information. Obtaining this relationship allows you to follow up with information about refinancing opportunities or canceling mortgage insurance, if relevant. These re-engagement efforts prove you are looking out for what’s best for them and encouraging them to succeed.

Referral sources for loan officers are numerous. The key to success is discovering how you leverage and employ these opportunities.