Schnurman's sales success: Plan to succeedMark Schnurmanreferral source, relationships, consistent, mass customization Getting business from a new referral source is difficult. Any referral source (real estate agent, attorney, accountant, financial advisor, etc.) worth anything already has a relationship with a loan officer. They may not be thrilled with their current loan officer, but why should they change? The devil you know is often better than the devil you don't. Change is hard. Therefore, to successfully create new relationships, you must make a compelling case as to why they should give you their business. Industry research demonstrates that it can take up to 30 contacts to turn a prospect into a client. Most loan officers are not willing to commit to the time and effort necessary to develop new referral relationships. Recently, a real estate agent told me that if she had a penny for every loan officer who visited her office once or twice, never to return, she would be retired. Consistent, repeatable, predictable and planned behavior is necessary to succeed. By implementing a process of mass customization, you can easily stay in contact and deliver white glove experience with very little effort. A systematic follow-up campaign, or drip campaign, simplifies your job by enabling you to execute on a systematic approach, which positions you as an expert and assists you in acquiring referrals. The first call on a potential referral source is important, but it is rare to get business committed the first time, as there are no magic bullets. The top loan officers I work with create follow-up processes that give their prospects a Copernican complex - the referral sources think the world revolves around them. Goals of drip marketing campaign should include: -Building rapport and trust -Displaying and establishing expertise, professionalism and resources -Modeling service-oriented behavior -Committing to the referral source's best interest -Comparing favorably to other loan officers -Frequent contacting - more than current provider You should make your initial contact by interactive means (e.g. face-to-face or over the phone). After you make the contact, send an informal e-mail. The same e-mail script can be used after all first contacts and customized simply by referencing your meeting in the opening line. Send the e-mail the same day as the meeting, include a photo (makes you memorable) and some collateral material on your firm. Sample: It was great meeting with you today. I enjoyed learning about the success you have had in Soho, and believe I can help you build on that success. GFI Mortgage Bankers has been in business for 25 years, and we have all the programs, products and services to customize solutions and meet your clients' needs. As a direct lender, we control the process that ensures your deals will close on time. Finally, my approach focuses on making you look good. Attached, you will find some information on my firm, my service commitments and personal bio. Look forward to speaking with you soon. -Mark The same day, send out a handwritten note. Handwritten notes are more formal and have greater impact than e-mails. Your note should be simple and to the point: Nice meeting you. I understand the critical importance of a loan officer to your business and look forward to the opportunity to serve you in the future. Sincerely, Mark The note should be accompanied by your business card. Within three or four business days, call the referral source to set up a formal meeting and send an e-mail out the same day. Your goal must be a minimum of two contacts (drips) a week, one being face to face. Drop by the real estate agent's office once or twice a week. Send an e-mail every week, drop materials or a note in the mail, and make a call. Persistent? Aggressive? Perhaps, but it's necessary for success. You need to differentiate yourself from the competition and shorten the time it takes to make the 30 contacts necessary to get business. Success is simple. Create and implement your drip marketing campaign and see your business grow to success! Mark Schnurman is the director of business development for New York-based GFI Mortgage Bankers. His writing draws upon his experience recruiting, training, managing and coaching thousands of salespeople. He may be contacted at (212) 837-4645 or e-mail [email protected].