Loan Officer Marketing: Realtors 101
When deciding which system to use so you can work with real estate agents to get purchase referrals, make sure the system you choose understands the real estate industry. You may think I'm a little biased about "how hard this can be"... but it's the little nuances that make the big differences.
Let's start with a story:
There's a 20 year veteran real estate agent, lets call her... oh I don't know... my wife Deanna since that's the truth.
In the hay days back in the early 2000's, she always had 3 to 6 escrows open (homes under contract for you back East people). Now lets say you wanted to whoo her to work with her to get her purchase refferals so you approach her and tell her you'll help her promote her listings and automate her virtual tours, property websites... yadda yadda yadda. Sounds like a good deal? Ah... no. She would roll her eyes at you and say "Don't call me, I'll call you."
Okay... that was weird, she must just be a one of those "B" words. Actually no (well... sometimes...), she really is a very nice person, but YOU didn't take the time to understand her business, yet you wanted to "partner" with her. How did she know you didn't understand her business? It was simple. You asked to automate her property websites and work with her to promote her listings. Seemed harmless enough, so why the cold shoulder?
Here's a tip, from a company that was (and is) built and run by real estate agents... she's a BUYERS agent. If that statement confused you, then you are the majority. In the real estate world, it really breaks down into 2 types of agents. Listing agents and buyers agents. Almost every real estate transaction involves 2 agents. One agent that listed the property, and one agent that brought the buyer. Deanna did and does not like taking a listing... she avoids them and will usually refer a listing out to a listing agent in her office (for a referral fee of course).
So... what does all this mean?
When choosing a system to work with agents, make SURE the system understands (and works with) the 2 types of agents. Make SURE the system works for both types of agents. Make SURE you're not exclusivly going after the half (smaller half) of the market that doesn't really bring the purchase referrals (and the purchase referrals should be your main goal). The agent that brings the buyer brings the loan. Let's say that again... THE AGENT THAT BRINGS THE BUYER BRINGS THE PURCHASE LOAN TO THE DEAL. Most buyers sadly start their home search without actually pre-qualifying for a loan. In my wifes case, in the get-to-know-you-meeting, in person or on the phone, she brings up the question how much they are pre-qualified for, and more than 75% of the time, she gets a response, "huh?". Now the referral kicks in... "Let me have my loan officer (in her case "Dave Malleg with Countrywide call you.") (the company name tells when Deanna was in her hay-days, doesn't it?)
So let's wrap this up and summerize... Make sure the system you choose is of interest and benefit to both listing and buyers agents. Finding and getting with listing agents is easier, but the buyers agents bring more purchase referrals, and that is where the gravey is. (Here's a little hint: You find most buyers agents through listing agents, so don't stop going after listing agents, but also make sure the system you choose doesn't MAKE you stop there.)