Mortgage professionals often try to hand off their lead generation and follow-up conversations because of the time and energy required for these tasks. The downside? This is when you start seeing relationships and deals break down because of congruency and trust issues. Every time you outsource your conversation with a prospect or referral partner, you’re outsourcing your ability to build connections, which weakens the foundations of your relationships.
Relationships are the crux of your business. Prospects are making some of their most important buying decisions with you, and referral partners have standards for how you treat the client they send your way. If your prospects or referral partners don’t feel like you care, have their best interest at heart or aren’t taking an interest in them, then you’re going to lose deals (and many thousands of dollars). Luckily, there are clear and simple ways to build strong relationships without spending 24/7 attached to your phone.
Let’s clearly define what relationship activities are so that you can identify which tasks are great for outsourcing and which you’ll want to play close to your chest. Relationship activities are unique touchpoints that build your connection with one person (or a small group of people) at a time. They can’t be duplicated. Relationship-building activities are not automated email drips or procedural tasks.
Some examples of relationship-building activities are genuine comments on posts, acts of gratitude, authentic handwritten cards, intimate events, shared meals and phone conversations. Each of these activities require your energy, consideration and care. Outsourcing these activities is like trying to outsource your parenting or romantic intimacy — even if the other person is good at taking care of your people, there’s no replacement for you.
If you want to hire someone to help you build your nurture campaigns or your mass lead-generation tools, great. That can save you a lot of time and help you attract more leads than ever before. You need to take over, however, once these people go from leads to those who are making homebuying decisions or are looking for referral relationships.
Business relationships usually have little to do with business. So long as you’re seen as competent by your prospects and referral partners, the rest of the relationship is about who you are as a person and the value you bring to the relationship. Think about it this way: How often are you going to have the lowest rates, the fastest approvals or any of the other things that loan officers and mortgage brokers are using to market to the same prospects?
Low rates and speedy approvals are about commodity positioning, but they aren’t actually the things your audience cares about. What these people care about is how you treat them, how considerate you are and how you make their experience better.
You can make a better experience for prospects by doing such things as hosting virtual or in-person meetings where they can learn important information for their homebuying journey. You can send follow-up texts or emails that have nothing to do with the transaction. Ask them how they’re doing, how their weekend event was, or if their son’s team won their last game. Touch base as a genuinely interested person.
You also can connect with them based on their interests. Do you mainly serve families with young kids who are looking to buy their first home? Maybe you can host a monthly family movie night and encourage your guests to bring other families with them. Whatever activities you choose to do, base it around the interests of your ideal prospects.
How many more coffee or lunch dates can you go on before you flinch every time they ask if they can buy you a drink and pick your brain? Instead, have an adventure both of you can enjoy.
For referral partners, do something fun. How many more coffee or lunch dates can you go on before you flinch every time they ask if they can buy you a drink and pick your brain? Instead, have an adventure both of you can enjoy. Go ziplining, check out a basketball game, head to the theater or go to an arcade and bond over air hockey. Whatever you do, make it something fun and different.
Recognize and thank them personally. Good referral partners are something special and, like most people, they want to be recognized and praised for their efforts. Recognition is one of the strongest ways to build a connection, so take time out to show your partners how special they are to you. Get interested in their life. Go beyond business. Your conversations and interactions shouldn’t be relegated to business-only topics. Talk more about family, friends and interests to truly connect.
One of the biggest differences between making a real connection and holding people at arm’s length is getting them to think of you as more than your title. Yes, you’re a mortgage originator, and that’s a great hat that you wear. But being a loan officer or a mortgage broker isn’t who you are — it’s not a piece of your core.
No, my friend, you are so much more than a title. You have a life, interests, family and causes that you believe in. In today’s marketplace, there’s a demand for seeing what makes you different and these are the things your prospects want to see.
Of course, you’re going to share industry-related knowledge with your prospects, but what else are you bringing to the table to show them who you are? Maybe you have a cool story about that time you worked for Six Flags and saved a guest from choking. Maybe you learned some important lessons from your first horseback-riding experience that translate into buying a home. Or maybe you’re all about giving back and sharing pictures of the charity drives you run every Saturday. Whatever you choose to share, let it show your audience that you’re more than your title.
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Delegating is a vital part of scaling your business and closing more deals. You need help. Choosing which activities that you need support for is just as important as getting support itself. Make sure you’re delegating the activities that don’t require your time, presence and attention, especially when it comes to relationship building. When in doubt, ask yourself this one question: “Is this action something that could make or break a closing for me?”
Personal conversations and follow-ups are always make-or-break situations. Referral relationships require effort and personal attention to flourish. Outsource the administrative pieces, the automation and mass lead generation, but hold onto your conversations with your audience, prospects and referral partners.