Watch Your Step: The Perils of Falling Into the Technology Gap
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Watch Your Step: The Perils of Falling Into the Technology Gap

December 5, 2004

Target financial planners as a new referral sourceSteve Brewerfinancial planners, referrals, lead generation
Loan officers traditionally rely on real estate agents for the
bulk of their referrals. If you have 20 years in the business and a
proven network of real estate agents, this method works very well.
However, what do you do if you're new to the business and find that
all the real estate agents are already working with someone else?
What if your current efforts are not generating enough
referrals?
If you are in this situation, consider targeting financial
planners. Their numbers are growing, and many do not have a current
outlet for referrals. With some tenacity and follow-up, you can
build a network of financial planners that generates a steady
stream of high-quality referrals.
The number of financial planners is growing all the time
targeting the 75 million baby boomers and their upcoming retirement
needs. There is also a low barrier to entry in this field, which
helps fuel the growth. Some financial planners establish their own
small companies, while others work with large companies.
What all planners have in common is that they offer advice and
recommendations for the financial needs of their clients, who are
typically middle class or upper class families. In the course of
these discussions, planners are often in a position to recommend
mortgage loan officers to their clients.
In recent discussions with financial planners, I have been
surprised by how many do not have an outlet for mortgage
recommendations. One successful planner told me that many just tell
their clients to "look in the phone book under 'mortgage.'" I would
estimate that between one-fourth and one-half of all planners dont
have a mortgage loan officer they consistently recommend to
clients. Large national companies have approved mortgage programs
for their planners to use. They often work with national lenders to
establish turnkey programs backed by call centers.
However, financial planners are not typically required to refer
clients to these approved programs. This is because most planners
are not employees, but independent businesspeople who work
with a national company, not for one. In this
respect, they are similar to real estate agents. As a result,
planners can generally refer clients elsewhere if they like someone
else better-someone like you.
Develop a list of those planners you will contact. You can't
target everybody, so decide what type of financial planner you will
go after. You might target all planners in a certain city or
independent planners operating their own companies. Ask everyone
you know for names. Check your Chamber of Commerce and other
professional associations-even the phone book!
Decide on your sales message and then contact the planners on
your list to set up in-person appointments so you can introduce
yourself. You might simply call everyone, or you might want to warm
them up with a creative mailing first.
The follow-up is probably the most important step. Follow up
your initial contact with helpful information: a simple rate sheet
or more reasons to work with you. Don't be annoying, but be sure to
follow up tenaciously and professionally.
Once you have established a working relationship with a
financial planner, you should start to receive high-quality leads.
Upper-income consumers are more likely to work with a planner, so
the majority of referrals should be A-quality borrowers, and many
might be jumbo borrowers.
Establishing a financial-planner network is not easy, but it can
be rewarding. If you can help the planner help his or her clients,
everyone wins. The client saves money and receives good service,
the planner has a happy client, and you have a loan.
If your current efforts aren't producing enough referrals,
consider working with financial planners. Their numbers are
growing, and their clients need what you offer.
Steve Brewer is the owner of Eureka Marketing Services.
Contact him at (612) 417-9594 or skbrewer@uswest.net.

Technology