Get creative in a challenging marketJoe Amorosomarketing, reaching more clients
If I were to ask a few brokers around the country to free
associate about the nature of our business, I'm pretty sure I'd
hear terms like "staggering change," "cutthroat competition,"
"contractions" and "roller coaster."
The business of buying and financing homes is and has always
been cyclical in nature. Among other economic factors, our industry
tends to be affected by rising and falling rates. Often, a period
of gangbuster business is followed by a squeeze before business
picks up again. It's just the nature of the beast.
I know from personal experience that when the phones are ringing
like crazy and business is booming, people tend to forget that. But
when things start to quiet down on the retail side, there tends to
be a rather obvious domino effect on business.
Since none of us can avoid the natural ebb and flow of the
mortgage marketplace, the best strategy and defense is to always
remain in long-term survival mode. When the economy gets
challenging and sales volume goes down, you'll be in the best
position possible. The mantra for our industry should be: "Get
creative with marketing and stay focused on building a powerful
Make it your lifestyle, not your
One of the most effective and simple ways for you to build business
as a loan officer, regardless of industry economics, is to adopt
the attitude that it's your lifestyle, not your occupation. Your
job doesn't end at five o'clock. Without going too far, think about
every aspect of your life as being part of your career.
Think of every social interaction as a potential opportunity to
let people know you're in the mortgage business. When you go to the
gym or the doctor, get your car serviced or pick up your dry
cleaning, make a point of handing out business cards. I never leave
home without them.
But don't tell people you just sell loan products. Present
yourself as a loan consultant, not just a loan officer, and you
will automatically have more value to your potential clients.
Position yourself as a problem solver and wealth builder, rather
than someone who simply sells loan products. Practice your
Build a good, solid reputation as an expert who is known for
counseling your clients about the products that are best for their
situations. That way, your clients will be more willing to refer
you, and you'll be better positioned to maintain your momentum
during slow times.
Create a niche market for yourself
Another successful way to buoy business is to find your own market
niche and cultivate partnerships with others in related fields.
Partner with financial advisors and help their clients understand
how the right mortgages can help them reach their investment goals.
Others may choose to work directly with real estate and divorce
attorneys and specialize in settlements or refinancings. After a
divorce, one partner will likely need to purchase a new home.
One loan officer I know has been able to build a solid business
by attending large boat and RV trade shows to introduce himself to
unlikely mortgage customers. Since financing tends to be somewhat
limited, more expensive and not tax-deductible on these kinds of
large ticket items, he targets borrowers who could use funds from
home equity loans or home refinancing toward their new boat/RV
Get back to basics
It may be "Networking 101," but it still works. When you focus your
efforts on continuous networking and self-promotion, you take some
of the volatility out of having to rely solely on other lead
Be generous with handing out cards - and asking for them, too.
Set a goal of handing out 10 cards a day to people you do not know
for the next month. It's more than likely you'll generate at least
one or two good leads from this approach, and it's free.
One of my favorite stories is when a loan officer friend of mine
went to a hockey game and threw a box of his business cards in the
air at the arena. To this day, he can trace referrals and loans
back to that one exuberant gesture. Another creative way to market
yourself is to insert a business card with your bill payment. Call
it six degrees of separation, but you never know who might need to
refinance or take out a loan.
Work your referrals
It goes without saying that a good work ethic, diligence and a
consultative approach to selling will help buffer you from a
sluggish market. But don't forget that youve already established a
rich network of referrals that can help you maintain your
A good database of past customers and other existing referral
sources will always prove more fruitful than purchased leads.
You've worked with this group in the past and have established
credibility with them. Plus, I've found that people naturally like
to do favors for others, especially those with whom they've had
positive experiences. All you have to do is ask. Send your past
customers your business cards to share with their friends. Above
all, everyone you interact with on a daily basis should know that
you are the person to talk to if he needs a mortgage.
The financial marketplace will always have its peaks and
valleys. It's part of our reality in this industry. If you remain
dedicated to this industry and actively market yourself, the
results will speak for themselves.
Joe Amoroso is senior vice president of Opteum Financial Services. He may
be reached by e-mail at [email protected]