Six steps to generate unlimited real estate agent referralsOliver Maldonadoreal estate agents, referrals, leads
Mortgage professionals around the country have begun to face the
challenging times ahead with the refinance boom coming to an end.
Now that the boom's over and rates are continuing to rise,
originators are wondering if they'll ever be able to duplicate the
success they saw during the boom or if they'll just have to learn
how to make do with less income.
When rates hit 40-year lows, it was easy for most originators to
switch their focus to the low-hanging fruit of the boom market.
Even those who generally didn't focus or target the refinance
market got caught up with refinances and put everything else on
hold. Now, the time has come to start targeting other markets and
find the new low-hanging fruit, although it may feel as if it's all
been picked away. There's really more business out there than you
can handle. You just need to know where it is and how to get
Managers and industry experts are all saying that to make money
in this market, you'll have to recruit and work with real estate
agents. You'll have to go out there and start building
relationships with real estate agents and get them to refer to you
their purchase clients. They're right! But as many are learning,
most of them don't have a good enough system to make this
Even though the refinance boom is over, there are still millions
of consumers who are purchasing new homes for the first time, while
many others are upgrading or downsizing their current homes.
The purchase business will always be booming! This leaves a
tremendous amount of opportunity for originators. Although the
rates have been dramatically rising and will, most likely, continue
to rise for quite some time, there will always be a market for
Many of you might have already tried to work with real estate
agents, with no success, by dropping off rate sheets, promising
better service and even buying them pizza and doughnuts, and they
didn't even give you the time of day. Because of this, most
originators are starting to believe that they're just not going to
be able to work with real estate agents.
The best way to work with real estate agents is if they need
you, instead of you needing them. Then they'd call you, instead of
you having to beg them for business.
Imagine having more mortgage applications and leads than you
could handle and not having to worry about where rates are today.
Better yet, imagine all of your new business being referred to you
by established real estate agents who are anxiously waiting to
refer their clients to you.
There are six steps that you can follow to make this happen for
yourself. Within 30 days, all of your business could be coming in
from real estate agents. The reason most originators haven't tapped
into this real estate agent-based referral lead source is simply
because they don't know how.
We've all heard the horror stories of how difficult real estate
agents can be. It's scary to think that we'd have to depend on real
estate agents that are difficult to work with and who also have a
tendency to be verbally abusive. The reality is that you don't have
to work under those circumstances and with people like that. I've
also dealt with many real estate agents who weren't pleasant to
work with, and I've learned that I should never work with anyone
that I don't enjoy working with and who doesn't appreciate working
This is one reason why most mortgage originators have come to
think of real estate agents as being difficult. Think about it.
Imagine you were a real estate agent who received between four
and six calls on average per week from mortgage originators
claiming to have the best service and products. If that weren't
enough, you would have these other mortgage originators coming in
weekly to drop off rate sheets to add to your already large stack,
asking you for something of value because theyre so special.
Although you're onto them and know that they're desperate and
begging for business, they continue.
So when the rate sheets, mailers and faxes don't work, they'll
get an even brighter idea and start bribing you with doughnuts. But
since they brought doughnuts, they feel as if you owe them.
How would you feel if this were you?
Would you feel that excited about seeing or even hearing from
another mortgage originator? And when they catch you off guard and
reach you, will you be pleasant? Of course not!
If this is the case, how in the world are you going to be able
to generate real estate agent referral business? You might even be
wondering why any good real estate agent would send you business,
since most real estate agents already have established
relationships with mortgage originators. There's only one reason
real estate agents are going to send you business. Think about
If they send you referrals, they're giving you something of
monetary value. That's why no real estate agent is going to just
give away referrals. So if they're going to give you something of
value, shouldn't you give them something of value as well? I mean
something tangible - something other than rate sheets, promises and
doughnuts. They already expect those things when they make
referrals to other originators.
So if you're expecting to create relationships with real estate
agents without giving them anything of value, then you're right -
they're not going to refer you any business, and you'd better be
prepared for a lot of rejection.
The fact is that real estate agents would rather create new
relationships with those who have something that they need, instead
of staying with those they know, merely because they've worked with
them in the past.
So what is it that you can bring to the table that's valuable to
get real estate agents to come to you? It's the same thing that
you're looking for - referred business in the form of listing and
comparable market analysis (CMA) leads. But first, there are six
steps you'll need to follow in order to generate an unlimited
amount of real estate agent-referred purchase business.
Follow these six steps to start creating real estate agent
Step 1: The first step is that you must get the
real estate agents to call you. In other words, they must first
want to work with you. This is very important. As I've mentioned
before, they've been bombarded by this person and that company, and
they've all said the same thing. The reality is that the real
estate agent market is saturated by that method, so you must now
get them to come to you. This way, they'll have trust, since they
made the choice to come to you, which you actually facilitated.
The first step seems easy enough; but again, how are you going
to get them to call you? You'll do that with Step 2.
Step 2: The way you get real estate agents to
come to you is by also giving them something of value, by referring
them listing and CMA business. This is the only way to really
generate and create business with real estate agents. Remember, the
good real estate agents are already working with other mortgage
originators. Even though they're working with these other
originators, they're definitely not going to turn down new leads
and new business.
As I've traveled the country training real estate agents and
originators alike, I've come to know that most of the relationships
real estate agents have with other originators aren't because the
originators help their businesses or provide anything of value, but
because the real estate agents are comfortable with those theyve
already been sending business to.
In almost all of the real estate agent/originator partnerships
I've seen, most are not based on the mortgage originator generating
the real estate agent new listing and CMA business; so it should be
relatively easy to start a new partnership with a real estate
Listing and CMA leads are very important to real estate agents.
If you peruse several real estate agents' sites, you'll soon get
the idea, as almost every single one of them talks about a CMA or
asks if a homeowner would like to know the value of his home - and
for good reason.
Most homeowners, regardless of whether they're in the market to
sell or buy a new home, are interested in what the values of their
homes are and what other homes in their areas are worth.
Almost every homeowner will someday need the services of a real
estate agent to list and sell his current home and help him buy a
new one. Although there will be many homeowners not looking to sell
their homes, they will be good future prospects for the real estate
agent, and the real estate agent will have already established a
relationship with the prospect. So generating listing and CMA leads
from homeowners is a fairly easy thing to do if you use a proven
Now you must be thinking, "How am I going to generate new
listing and CMA business for a real estate agent?" You'll find out
how to generate the listing and CMA leads in Step 3.
Step 3: There are a couple of ways to generate
these leads, such as cold calling or even having canvassers go door
to door generating CMAs, but one of the most successful and easiest
ways I've developed is with a direct mail piece, which generates an
The mail piece is a copy of the first page of each homeowner's
deed, with a return postcard requesting a CMA that he'll fill out
and send back to you. The piece is so successful that out of every
100 pieces mailed, I'll typically get eight to 12 returned, each
asking for a CMA on the home and a call back from a real estate
At a cost of about $40 dollars, I generate between eight and 12
real estate agent leads. The cost per lead is between $3 and $5.
This is a very inexpensive and effective way to generate business
that you're going to use to create new real estate agent
Now that you have a successful way to generate a consistent flow
of new listing and CMA leads, you're ready to start meeting with
real estate agents.
Step 4: Once you've got some listing and CMA
leads that you need to refer to real estate agents, the next step
is to find the real estate agents who you would like to work with
who you know will also be able to refer you mortgage business.
There are criteria that you're going to use in selecting the right
real estate agents for you. You must remember that you now have
something of value for them, and you should be very selective in
selecting whom you'll be referring your leads to. Part of your
selection will be real estate agents who work in the areas you want
to work in. It is also important to find real estate agents that
have only been in the business for two to three years and are new
enough to need more business, but not new enough to not know what
they're doing. Real estate agents in the business for two to three
years are established enough to have some business to refer to you,
yet new enough to have a necessity for you and the ways you can
help their businesses grow.
This is the step where you're going to create a database of the
real estate agents you want to work with and call them to let them
know that you have a couple of clients you'd like to refer to them.
You see, most likely, you won't have a chance to speak with them.
They're going to screen your call, and you'll get their voicemail
systems. So each message you leave should not ask for business or a
meeting. Each message you leave should make it clear you have some
referrals available. This is when almost all of the agents who you
leave a message for will call you back. Once again, this is part of
the game plan, and they'll be calling you back because they want
something from you. Remember, this system is based on this primary
principle of getting them to call you for something that they want
In the past, you may have had difficulties getting real estate
agents to return your calls or even meet with you, but once you
have some referrals for them, you'll see how easy it is to get them
to return your calls and set appointments to meet with you. Now,
they'll want something from you.
Step 5: Agree to meet with the agents who you
want to meet with that want something from you. These meetings are
where you're going to let them know you'd like to refer them two to
three listing and CMA leads per week! Now, you're helping their
businesses and putting money in their pockets! In return for your
referrals to them, let them know you'd like them to refer to you
their clients who are looking to get pre-approved for new home
Step 6: Enter into a partnership with each real
estate agent where you both agree to do business together. I've
always had each real estate agent sign an agreement with me,
stating what he can expect from me and what I expect from him. To
this day, I've never had a real estate agent not sign the agreement
with me. I created the agreement so that both parties can be secure
in knowing what we could expect from each other, and also so we
both know how serious we are about our new partnership. Neither
party wants to waste the other's time, and through the agreement,
we both have a clear understanding of what we're looking for.
Now you'll be able to call the shots and decide which real
estate agents you'd like to work with. Once word gets around that
you're generating leads for real estate agents, they're going to
start calling you to get in on it. In some cases, you'll be able to
set up real estate agent partnerships with several real estate
agent branches, where entire offices of real estate agents will use
you for their mortgage needs.
Now you have a successful system to generate new real estate
Oliver Maldonado is the author of "The Greatest Sales Book
in the World," "The Mortgage Book" and "The Ten Sales
Commandments," and is a national sales trainer for RealtorPartnershipSystem.com.
He may be reached at (720) 364-1884 or e-mail [email protected]