The Art of Asking for Business...Is there a right way?

Mortgage and Lending with Luminate Home Loans, Inc. - NMLS# 150953 NMLS# 274125

So, here I am...8 years in the business of being a mortgage loan officer.  To this day, I continue to visit real estate offices in hopes that there is at least one realtor there for me to chat with.  On the good days I can find 2 or 3 (if I'm lucky).  Now, I'm also lucky to be in the Cambridge area where it's a little more laid back and I can actually make it past the front desk. 

We start up the "How are you....Good....How 'bout you?" conversation and get the generals out of the way.  Some people will have time for a 20 second chat and others a 45 minute life story.  But, then there comes the point where I need to "ask for the business."  Now, after 8 years, this is still the hard part for me.  I feel like I've been asking the same question the same way forever.  

The question is:  What can I do differently?  I mean, if I am sick of doing the same old thing, I'm sure the agents have gotten me figured out by now.  I need a new approach!  Are there any loan officers out there who have some tips for me?  Or any realtors who can tell me how they'd like to be asked? 

Is there a right way to ask for business?  I'm not necessarily asking for business per say, just asking for a business relationship where I can prove my worth so that they want to send their clients to me.  I mean, I know I do a great job, but it's getting the agent to know it, which is the hard part, when I first have to get a referral.

Comments are VERY welcome!!! 

Comments (11)

June Piper-Brandon
Houwzer Inc - Baltimore, MD
Piecing Dreams One Home at a Time

Maybe you should go at it from another angle and take an office manager out for lunch and ask them how you can help them grow their agents businesses.  Maybe offer to comarket or provide flyers for open houses for the agents, offer to co-host open houses.  Just showing up at their office shows them you aren't busy enough and makes you appear like you need their help when actually you can let them know what you can do to help them.


Jun 27, 2007 04:45 AM
Toby Riley
American Home Mortgage - Ann Arbor, MI
For me, its just ALWAYS having a reason to stop by an agents office.  Don't waste their time with the usual.  HAVE something different for them.  If you don't have something different, get something different.  If your company offers the FHA 203k program, look into it.  It will give you something that most other people are not offering and can really help them sell homes.
Jun 27, 2007 04:59 AM
Lisa Spalding
Casa Latino Four Corners, REALTOR, CDPE - Longwood, FL

Hello, Angie-

I'm sure you're sick of bringing cookies/doughnuts to the agents' offices.  Plus, it's hit or miss because many agents already have strong relationships with a few other lenders.  Have you thought about or already tried calling all of your past, elated customers, building up THOSE relationships, and asking THEM for business? 

I'm a real estate agent, so I have never hit up a mortgage person for their business.  But I can say that we agents and mortgage people have a sometimes untapped world of business just sitting there for the taking from past satisfied customers. 

I truly hope you've tried it and, if not, it may be worth taking a look at.  Good luck! 

Jun 27, 2007 05:13 AM
Nick and Joslyn Solomon
Century 21 Moline Realty - Cambridge, MN
The Solomon Team - Century 21 Moline Realty, Inc.

Okay, first I have to say, I'm very impressed at your blog, your Meez, and your link to HBSR!!!! 

I choose to believe you did it yourself, because I have a hard time picturing Shawn trying to teach you how.  I'm still teaching him how!

I like some of the ideas I see here.  I don't really have a NEW idea (I don't think) but I will definitely give you my input.

First, June has a good thought with the whole open house thing.  I would take a slightly different (and more Minnesotan!) approach.  Help host an AGENT open.  Find an agent who you trust and who sends you business.  Offer to help them provide lunch and host an agent open.  Not only will you get to meet other agents you may not have met yet, (WE ALL LOVE FREE LUNCH!!!) but you are showing that you do work with someone locally, and that someone trusts you.

Something different is good, but I'm not sure what that something different is.  This is the hard part.  Although I haven't dealt with you, I have dealt with Shawn, and I can tell you what sold me there.  He comes up here (nearly) every week to hand out his flyers looking for business.  He has energy, and personality.  That's what I like about you, too!  To me, a young agent, these are great qualities.  And like I always say - I want someone who is going to work as hard as I do, and I know you two will!  (I gave your card to someone today, in fact!!!)

Cookies and doughnuts, that's a no.  I had a loan officer from Hinckley come in and bring cookies.  They didn't last long, and neither did the impression.  I have a couple of her cards on my desk, I think, and I haven't handed any of them out.   So what does that tell you?   (Other than I prefer you and Shawn??)

However, I have to say, I was very impressed with the book you have put together of thank you cards and testimonials.  Perhaps (this is just me...) take that book with you next time.  Then mention casually how clients, etc, have really loved looking at this book you keep in the office (or with you, however you want to put it) when they are waiting for a meeting, or if you are first meeting them.  Mention that you have it with you, and if they are interested, offer to show it to them.  I think that book is a GREAT testimonial to the work both you and Shawn do!   (Mostly you!!!)

Okay, so there are some thoughts from me.  Like I said, I am nothing close to the average agent (40+ and male) but maybe, just maybe, these ideas will help.

PS. Don't share them with Shawn!  LOL 


Jun 27, 2007 09:07 AM
Frank Harris
Keller Williams Realty Centre - Columbia, MD

Hello Angie, 

I would pick ten agents that I would like to work with on a consistent basis and ask to meet with them. Tell the agent that you are looking for a long time mutual relationship.

Contact agent by looking in the local Home-buyers journal or advertisement section of your local paper. Formulate some sort of marketing plan together and become partners, find out what each agent would like from a LO, create a quick survey, etc. You will foster more loyalty with the real estate agent. Create business together.

The agent just needs guidance and focus. Find a way to build a solid relationship with your agents.

I hope this helps.

Jun 27, 2007 10:59 AM
Jun 27, 2007 09:16 PM
Jun 27, 2007 09:16 PM
Angie Gerhardson
Luminate Home Loans, Inc. - NMLS# 150953 - Isanti, MN
Helping YOU Realize your Dream of Homeownership!

Thank you everyone for your responses.  You have given me a few new ideas to work with or at least revisit.  It gets hard sometimes.  So, coming up with new and fresh ideas is something I always strive for.

June - I appreciate your comment about meeting with the office manager or broker and I will add that to my new portfolio.  I am familiar with many of the brokers that I call on, but there are a couple that I need a stronger relationship with.  I already bring flyers for open houses, etc... and I offer many ways for agents to get more business and keep it.  It's just a matter of getting the word out there.  Thanks again.

Toby - That is a good point.  I always bring by a flyer with market news and realtor marketing tips when I visit.  But, having something specific to talk about would bring more to the table.

Lisa - Great idea!  I do the usual monthly mailings and stuff to my past clients and I get a good number of referrals.  But, in my business plan for 2007 I added that I would send out 5 notecards a week to random past clients just to check in and send them a personal note.  However, I forgot all about it until I read your comment.  Thanks!!

Joslyn - I'm all over your Agent Open Idea.  I've never thought of co-hosting one of those and I know there are many opportunities here for that.  So, thank you for that piece of information.

Frank - I think I will create a survey and ask some agents to fill it out.  It will only better my services and hopefully help with the relationships.

Again, I appreciate all of your comments!  Thanks everyone!


Jun 28, 2007 02:18 AM
"The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL


How about bringing donuts with you when you visit the offices? Chocolate can be an enticing marketing tool :)

You may also want to check George Soto's Blog. He has some great ideas in there that may help you.


Jun 30, 2007 03:21 AM
"The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL

What's with the m98ok?

Jun 30, 2007 03:21 AM
Nick and Joslyn Solomon
Century 21 Moline Realty - Cambridge, MN
The Solomon Team - Century 21 Moline Realty, Inc.
I think it's spammers.  They did that to my site, too.  Crazy spammers!
Jun 30, 2007 06:02 AM