Because I teach real estate agents how build a business based on their Sphere of Influence (SOI = the people they know and the people they meet) as opposed to marketing-to-strangers, I'm often approached by new or newer lenders asking how they can successfully persuade US (the REALTOR community) to give them a shot.
Frankly, I'm always stumped by the question. Traditional lender prospecting techniques simply don't work - at least in my experience. Offering daily rate sheets or open house brochures won't do it. Nor will weekly newsletters - printed or emailed. Sure, I appreciate (and will use) the information, but it's not going to get a lender on my preferred vendor list.
Even lender-modified SOI techniques probably won't work. Take me to lunch or coffee? Great! But I can't promise you a return on your investment. Pop-by my office to chat? Eh, please don't. Especially if your "chat" has anything to do with "earning" my business.
How about sending me buyers? Well, that sounds fabulous, but I've yet to have a lender do that, so I can't speak to the effectiveness of it. Hmmmmm... well, stay tuned - I'll share my thoughts on that in a sec.
So, how do I find my favorite lenders? Ah, that's an easy question. There are two ways I've found my lenders-of-choice:
- My buyer brought his lender to the deal and the lender impressed the heck out of me.
- The lender on the other side of the deal (when I'm the listing agent) impressed the heck out of me.
So, I guess my not-so-helpful answer to lenders seeking REALTOR loyalty is to... well... impress the heck out of the REALTORS you have the opportunity to get in front of. Do your job, do it exceptionally well and then stay in touch with the agent without ever pestering her for business or referrals. Once you have an impressed REALTOR, then you're free to implement your other loyalty-inspiring activities - newsletters, lunch dates, rate sheets, etc., but without that first step - proving your competence - it's probably wasted effort.
Speaking of lender-to-REALTOR referrals... I don't expect my lender to send me referrals and I certainly don't make it a requirement of my loyalty. A great lender (who is what I want on my team) probably has dozens of REALTORS he works with and it's far more important to me that he take care of my business than that he send me business. However, I will say that if a fledgling lender does send me a referral and then impresses the heck out of me with his handling of the deal, well, then, he has a good shot at making my preferred list!
SOMEWHAT RELATED BLOG: Dear SOI, Thanks, but I don't want your loyalty!