Every agent in the business today is looking for ways to attract and retain more clientele, right? If you’re not, I’m glad to hear you’re full up on new clients, but for most of us agents, we’re always on the hunt for more business. Almost every agent I know has a “preferred lender”. Sometimes it’s the lender that their company has pushed on them, and sometimes it’s someone you’ve done business with in the past, you know them, like them, trust them, etc.
Hopefully, it’s the latter, and your preferred lender is someone that you love. Every agent in the business today should ask themselves this question: Does your lender love you? Sure they spend lots of time and money to get business FROM you, but how many are giving business TO you? If your preferred lenders aren’t sending you business, it may be time to re-evaluate your relationship!
How Do Leads Come and Go?
In many ways, a lender’s method of lead generation is much simpler than a Realtor’s. As a Realtor we advertise anywhere and everywhere possible, hoping our name and image is seen by the client and they’re inspired to call us. For a lender, the primary method of lead generation is usually marketing directly to agents who are working with buyers rather than the buyer themselves.
Because the Realtor is often the first point of contact, it makes sense for lenders to do so. For many lenders, the typical marketing involves:
- Send flyers to agents
- Send blast emails to agents
- Send pens, notepads, calendars, etc. to agents
- Hope agents call
Most lenders don’t market to the end client, and thus they rely primarily on agents for their business. Keep in mind however, that some lenders DO generate their own business and they DO get to clients before a Realtor does. Odds are they’re going to refer that business to a Realtor, and that Realtor should be you!
Create a Partnership
If you want to establish more business, create a reciprocal partnership with the lender you are going to refer business to. If you’re handing them clients, they should be doing the same for you! Look at where a lender is getting their business from. Keep in mind that a great lender can generate both referrals from their past clients as well as new first-time business. If you see a lender advertising to the general public rather than other Realtors, they may be a good source to help you grow your own business.
This isn’t a new concept, but it’s embarrassing how often agents overlook this. If you’re trying to create a mutually beneficial partnership with a lender, consider offering them a value-added proposition. Do you have a blog? Offer them a chance to write a weekly column on it (this is good because it also generates additional traffic to your website). Offer to include their contact info in your marketing. There’s a ton of things you can do that will be mutually beneficial, RESPA compliant, and increase your sales volume.
Think about it this way: As part of RESPA’s guidelines, we can’t/don’t take a payday for lenders for referring clients to them. RESPA, however, does not PROHIBIT a lender from referring business to an agent, so shouldn’t your lenders be providing you with a lead stream like you do for them?
(I am not suggesting, encouraging, or implying that any actions should be taken that would be a potential violation of current Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). Please consult current RESPA guidelines to avoid any conflict)
(image courtesy of cquarles via Flickr cc)