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RamQuest interfaces with Calyx Point

National Mortgage Professional
Jun 14, 2006

The commercial corner: Sourcing commercial business: Top tips for finding commercial deals once you've decided to diversifyMike BoggianoCommercial mortgage originations The Mortgage Press is pleased to present "The Commercial Corner," a monthly column by Mike Boggiano of Silver Hill Financial LLC, dedicated to answering your questions about the commercial mortgage marketplace. If you have a question that you would like answered in a future installment of "The Commercial Corner," please e-mail commercialcorner@mortgagepress.com. This column has touted many of the benefits of expanding your business and increasing your income by offering commercial products, particularly small-balance commercial programs. This month's Q&A will be of interest whether you've made a commitment to diversify or are still considering just how to make it happen. Q: I've decided to diversify my business by adding commercial products and have identified the commercial lenders and programs I will begin to offer. Where do I start, in terms of sourcing customers, and how do I get the word out? A: Start with the basics. First, develop your brand to include commercial. Add commercial mortgage messaging to your marketing and advertising materials. For example, business cards, voicemail, an e-mail signature block, on-hold messages and advertising in any other medium should reflect your commercial offerings. If you have a Web site, add informative content that commercial prospects will find valuable, such as when to consider a commercial purchase or refinance, how the process works, what types of documentation are necessary and appraisal information. Finally, create a flyer or similar handout for distribution at events or directly to commercial property owners, real estate agents and other referral sources. Q: How can I leverage existing client relationships for commercial opportunities? A: Here's an important point that you don't want to miss. The borrowers you know and do business with are oftentimes the very same borrowers in need of commercial financing. Look no further than your closed loan files, reviewing them for information that may indicate a commercial need. For example, take careful note of professional profiles; keep an eye out for doctors, lawyers, dentists and other individuals who may be interested in purchasing space for their practices. In fact, any business owner may benefit from purchasing office space, and those who already own their locations may need or want to refinance. Another good source of information about commercial property owners is the real estate-owned section of the 1003 Uniform Residential Loan Application. Your commercial lending partners may also be good resources in helping to identify other techniques for uncovering commercial business within your existing client base. Q: What are the best referral sources for commercial business? A: Not unlike residential, your alliances with related professionals can provide a mutually beneficial system for leads and referral business. Build on your strategic partnerships with professionals, such as real estate agents, property appraisers, CPAs/accountants and financial advisors. Let them know that you are now offering commercial products, and identify opportunities to leverage referral business. In addition, consider forming new relationships that align with a commercial need, including, but not limited to, commercial contractors/developers, banks, credit unions, investment clubs and related associations (apartment owners, small-business owners, etc.). Q: Aside from existing clients and referral sources, do you have additional advice for finding new commercial customers? A: Yes! Create a plan of action to seek out commercial prospects. Suggested tactics include searching real estate listings online and in newspapers, listing your business in local online directories, developing relationships with area chambers of commerce and researching small-business owners in your market for a targeted list of leads. Engage in marketing to promote your commercial offerings. After you've handled the basics (as discussed in the first answer), map out a plan to actively reach prime prospects. Direct mail, such as postcards, letters and informational flyers, can be effective; work with a list vendor who can recommend a list that fits with your goals. E-mail marketing is another viable option; just be sure to comply with federal regulations. Purchase print advertising in classified sections and the real estate portions of area newspapers or business journals. Check with your commercial lending partners about the tools that they might have available to you, as well. An innovative lender, for instance, may provide marketing support in the form of phone scripts, sample letters and e-mails and templates for flyers, ads and postcards. Some may even offer customized options. Don't overlook these resources and tools. Finally, if you've decided to specialize in a particular commercial niche, be sure to tout the key messages that apply based on the program features, property types, loan limits and borrower profiles specific to your offerings. Commercial opportunities exist in small towns and big cities across the country. With a smart plan and follow-through on your part, it won't be long before you're closing deals. Mike Boggiano is senior vice president, national sales manager for Silver Hill Financial LLC. He may be reached by phone at (877) 676-1562 or e-mail mikeb@silverhillfinancial.com.
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