We’ve talked a lot about co-marketing here on the Jungo blog, but are you familiar with the key elements to successfully developing loan officer referral sources?
We’re not talking about co-marketing, or remaining compliant in your professional partnerships. Even though those are critical parts of working closely with another professional, today we’re talking about the values that drive these loan officer referral sources.
Whether you work with real estate agents, other loan officers, financial planners, or builders, there are many valuable loan officer referral sources available to you. It’s important to treat these other professionals the way you’d like to be treated. Even though developing partnerships is a critical step to being a successful loan officer, it’s even more important to create relationships.
The foundations of creating relationships with your loan officer referral sources:
Recognize That You’re On The Same Team
Yes, this may seem like a cliche. In the ultra competitive mortgage industry, it can be easy to consider all interactions with other professionals be at least a little bit cutthroat. We’re all for some healthy competition and loan officers setting themselves apart as top producers. However, you may need to set some of this mindset aside in your dealings with professional partners.
Whether you’re working with a real estate agent, a financial planner, or a builder, ultimately, your goals are the same. To help your customers move into their dream home, and help them make sound financial decisions.
With this in mind, it becomes much easier to create a game plan for how to interact with your loan officer referral sources.
Partnerships With Other Loan Officers
And how about working with other loan officers? This may feel like an oxymoron: after all, you might be asking yourself, “But, aren’t we all competing for the same customer’s loan business?” Although this may generally hold true, there are many circumstances when having close relationships with other loan officers could greatly benefit you and your customers.
For example, what if a customer comes to you who is in a unique set of circumstances? Perhaps they require a special type of financing or will require credit score improvement before they will qualify for a loan. Or maybe, you just happen to have one too many loans in your pipeline this month, and won’t be able to give this customer the attention they deserve.
No matter what the reason, you probably will need to refer a customer to a fellow mortgage professional at some point in your career. Then, in those circumstances, you want to have a developed relationship with a skilled loan officer you trust already in place. That way, you can recommend that loan officer to your customer, with confidence that they will have a great experience.
Not only will your customers appreciate that you recommend a loan officer to them who was perfectly qualified for their unique circumstances, you will probably see benefit in the long term as well! The loan officer you referred that customer too will be much more likely to return the favor down the road. This may feel like an extremely long term strategy, and you may not see benefits immediately. However, putting the time and energy into developing loan officer referral sources will have long-term benefits.
People can spot inauthenticity from a mile away, and loan officer referral sources are no exception. However you decide to market to and with professional partners, being authentic will make your relationship valuable to everyone.
So, how do you authentically interact with your professional partners? The first step feels like a given, but it does bear repeating. Treat all your professional partners the way you’d like to be treated. After all, people respond best to honesty and kindness in all their interactions, so hold to these standards.
What does authenticity look like?
It can be hard to define exactly what it means to be authentic in your relationships. When it comes right down to it, being authentic requires a decision on your part to treat your partners with respect and honesty. At every step of the partnership building process, ask yourself: “Does this truly reflect my feelings on this subject?” Whether you’re writing an email, asking for a mortgage referral, or co-marketing with a realtor partner, take the time to make sure that your message is a true reflection of you. This will be noticed and deeply appreciated by both professional contacts and customers.
Nurturing Open Dialogue
Encouraging an open dialogue is also a great way to develop amazing relationships with your loan officer referral sources. Help the professionals you work with in parallel industries understand the mortgage realm better. Do they have questions about the loan process, mortgage rates, or refinancing a mortgage? Offer to meet them for a cup of coffee to discuss the ins and outs of the industry. They will enjoy gaining a deeper understanding of the world of home loans. And, you’ll have had the chance to meet them face to face, and show your value and knowledge.
Set Yourself Apart
Next, it’s important to think about what sets you apart from your loan officer competition. Perhaps you have special certifications that qualify you to work with unique types of customers and loans. Or, maybe you are an expert with social media marketing, and can showcase that as a benefit to potential partners.
Once you determine what makes you special as a loan officer, don’t be shy on sharing that with potential referral partners. Being upfront with your special skills will help them determine what customers they should refer to you.
Not Sure What Makes You Unique?
If something doesn’t come to mind immediately, don’t give up! You have capabilities that set you apart from your peers, and it’s important to figure out what those are.
If you want to continue to invest in your professional development, there are many options for you to pursue. You can choose to boost your resume with certifications from The Mortgage Bankers Association or the American Bankers Association.
Set Realistic Expectations
Although it can seem counterintuitive, it’s important to set realistic expectations as you’re interacting with loan officer referral sources. However, this doesn’t mean that you should sell yourself short! Instead, be candid about what you can and cannot do to help your referral partners. Then, be up front with them about any limiting factors that may come into play.
For instance, if you know that you are not taking any new mortgage customers for the next three months, tell your partners! They will appreciate being updated on your situation, and will treat you with similar respect when similar situations arise once again.
Overdeliver On Your Promises
In this same way, don’t make promises you cannot keep. The old adage to underpromise and overdeliver holds true when working with your professional partners and referral sources. If you know that you generally close loans in 45 days, don’t promise closing in a month!
One way to hold yourself accountable to this and prove your value to potential partners is to back up your claims with facts. Show them your data: how many loans did you close per month over the last year? How quickly did you close them? By putting hard numbers in front of referral sources, you’ll prove that your claims are based on facts, and set realistic expectations about what it’s like to work with you.
Open communication goes hand in hand with everything we’ve talked about up until this point, and for good reason! Communicating with your loan officer referral sources is the foundational way to ensure that these relationships stay strong!
If you want to automate your updates to your referral partners, there are software solutions that will keep you efficient and consistent.
Reffinity, a part of Jungo’s Mortgage CRM, is one such solution. This unique Jungo feature was created specifically for our mortgage clients to stay connected to their referral partners. You’ll be able to keep your referral partners up-to-date by sending automated pipeline reports.
You can customize what these pipeline reports look like, and how often your partners will receive them. You can even automate the emails to send the most recent information to your referral partners every week for up to five years! In addition, with Reffinity, you can easily track which referral relationships are bringing in the most closed loans.
So, there are many ways to develop mutually beneficial relationships with professional partners. However, determining your core values for working with referral sources will help you create a truly delightful experience for all parties involved. After all, loan officer referral sources don’t need to be a source of pain for you! Instead, look at them as fellow team members all in it for the same reason. Then, you’ll begin to build truly valuable relationships with the people you work with every day.