Having the wisdom to seize opportunityRyan Floriogame of life, success, making connections, creating alliances, people
Recently, I was playing the board game "Life" with my nephews,
and it got me thinking a lot about the notions of luck and fate,
and how they pertained to the development of one's career and
personal success. We've all met people for whom it seems the road
to success was paved before they were even born--those with a
silver spoon. These people were already waiting at the finish line
before we even began. Still, in my observation, their opportunity
doesn't always guarantee success. Some end up on millionaire's row
and, sadly, others end up in the poor house. But I'm not addressing
people who are born with this type of luck. I'm addressing the
people who were right next to us where we began at the starting
line, waiting anxiously for our turn to spin the wheel and see if
our number was truly lucky and if our advances would direct us
toward the prize.
I began to wonder if our progress in the real game of life
relied solely upon luck or if we played any role in creating chance
and helping ourselves win the game.
This question motivated me to think about the factors that
guided people down the path in the direction of success. For me,
these would be attributed to getting into a great school, making
connections with people I would later do business with, creating
alliances with other professionals and always striving to make
noticeable contributions in my work commitments. However, when it
all comes down to it, the real driving force in the direction of my
career has been the people that I have met--the high school teacher
or coach who influenced my education, the business owner who gave
me a job, the friend with whom I started a business, the client who
inspired new business opportunities and so on. A seasoned business
professional once told me, "Business is about people," and in
retrospect, I see that to be true.
Today's mortgage arena is recognizing the value of people more
than ever before, as the crackdown on sub-prime lenders is
consolidating opportunity in the local markets. Consequently, many
mortgage firms are becoming licensed in multiple states in order to
remain competitive and field greater sales opportunity. This
positioning also helps to build a regional or national corporate
brand and alleviate some of the fear that predatory lenders have
caused. The challenge arises in maintaining these people as clients
when dealing with them at a great distance. But herein lies the
great opportunity, as well.
Mortgage brokers who can bridge the distance by creating
consistent and meaningful contact with their clients after making a
sale will always surpass the individual who focuses exclusively on
new sales opportunities. This is because brokers who develop
customer loyalty from their clients will earn repeat and referral
business simply on the basis of relationship. Statistics from top
business schools show that if an effort is made is this area, sales
revenue will increase by 300-400 percent in just a few years, and
this, coupled with new sales opportunities stemming from
prospecting, makes the growth rate exponential.
Consider the following key ways to develop relationships with
clients who live at a distance:
-Create a steady rhythm of communication with your client that
highlights your name and professional services. Sending them
written communication every six weeks will prevent opportunity from
slipping through the cracks.
-Avoid standard newsletters or generic postcards that will show a
lack of sincerity in your communications. Instead, include a
personal note or handwritten signature to show they are in your
thoughts and worthy of your time.
-Remember your clients' important dates, such as birthdays and
anniversaries. Highlighting their meaningful days will help create
a positive anchor and build their commitment toward working with
you in the future.
-Call them regularly to discuss their personal developments and
progress. These conversations may provide ideas for new business
-Don't hesitate to ask for referrals by reminding them that their
business is important to your career success. By planting the seed
of referral request from the beginning, they will feel a sense of
responsibility in supporting your career.
By implementing a successful strategy of follow-up or hiring a
third-party company to facilitate the development of your client
relationships, you are harnessing the ability to create business
success that does not rely on pure chance. In my opinion, the fate
of success is not about the lucky spin of the wheel; it's about
receiving opportunity and having the wisdom to recognize it. Step
up today and recognize the opportunity before you to create success
on the solid foundation of people who want you to succeed.
Ryan Florio is president and CEO of Cleveland-based SpecialClient.com, a
Web-based company that offers automated client relationship
programs as a vehicle for client retention. He may be reached at
(216) 598-0934 or e-mail [email protected]