California industry appointments update - 06/28/2006

California industry appointments update - 06/28/2006

June 27, 2006

Correctly marketing to real estate agentsJoe CornoReal estate agents,mortgage brokers
Real estate agents are popular targets when marketing for
purchase business. Everyone wants to be part of their transactions,
including home inspectors, appraisers, title companies,
construction workers, insurance agents, carpet cleaners and many
more. As loan originators, our goal is to have real estate agents
to team up with us, and we develop skills and tools that benefit
and assist them. We can help them print flyers, hold training
seminars and advertise. These are good ideas, but have you actually
asked a real estate agent what he wants from an originator? In the
real world, real estate agents want service for their clients and
support for their net bottom lines. They want an aggressive
facilitator to have a positive impact on their profits and their
client's needs. Real estate agents want an originator to exceed
expectations. Instead of leaving cute gizmos and promotional
assistance, we must find new ways to show them that we out-serve
any and all competition. We need to prove that they need us because
of the exceptional service we provide.
In order to get a real estate agent's attention, you need to
create a strategic plan to get a loan from him. For example, you
could bring him a lead or referral that you have. A good way of
marketing for a real estate agent's business leads and referrals is
to bring him some business—bring him value that will benefit
him. You can obtain leads through the atypical marketing process
(see "Market atypically for extraordinary results," The
Mortgage Press, December 2005). This system generates leads
that the real estate agent is prohibited from performing himself
because of real estate laws and regulations. In most states,
however, real estate laws do not pertain to originators; thus, you
have value to offer the agents.
There is a better way to market to agents for business than
going in with trinkets. It works when you have a buyer and agents
who are part of the transaction, or, if you're part of the
transaction. In either scenario, it is not necessary to call, visit
or meet the agent. In fact, you want to be at his office when he is
not there. Do not waste his time by marketing to him personally.
Leave items on his desk and chair when he is away. Show him with
service that you are the best originator that he can find. The
following is a schedule for leaving useful items for real estate
agents that will produce more results than you can get from just
leaving gizmos and rate sheets:
Day 1: Deliver an introductory letter.
Let the agent know of your logistics, duties, what you expect of
him and by when. Reference the property address for listing agents
and the borrower's name for sales agents. Inform him that he will
be the contact with their clients, and it is not your role to
replace him in this task. Read the real estate purchase agreement
early on to be ahead of any deadlines referenced. This first
delivery to the transaction will get immediate attention. If the
agent calls and wants to meet, by all means do so. It is the agent
requesting the meeting and deciding on using his time to do so. He
is initiating the contact, and you should welcome the
invitation.
Day 3: Provide a document that you can present that
legally cites the borrower's credit worthiness.
I am not referring to a pre-qualifying letter. Provide the actual
credit history of the borrower to the real estate agent. The credit
history can be given out and does not represent a credit report.
Most credit bureaus now have a borrower copy, which is legal for
the originator to distribute. It lets the real estate agent know if
the buyer's credit is acceptable. Of course, it is necessary to
secure authorization from the borrower to release their data to a
third party. Modify your origination authorization form to
authorize releasing such data to third parties involved in the
transaction. The real estate agent will then have more than just
your word on the borrower's creditworthiness. He will have an
actual document, and you will have satisfied his concerns on the
matter.
Day 9: Deliver a copy of the appraisal to the real
estate agents.
Remember to always deliver all items when the agent is away from
his office. While hand delivering the various items, you can
observe the lifestyle and interests of each individual agent. What
he has in his office will let you know about his family, hobbies
and other interests. With the appraisal in hand, the real estate
agent knows whether the property qualifies or not. Be sure to
review the appraisal prior to delivering it, attaching any
corrections and comments. The real estate agent has never
experienced such service from any past originators, and you are now
becoming known to him for exceptional service. He will tell the
story about the faceless originator in his weekly office meetings.
Your name is getting spread around as a trustworthy and dependable
person. The other agents are thinking, "My originator has never
given me a credit record or appraisal," and you are creating a
reputation for superior service.
Days 15-20: Hand deliver a thank you
letter
Hand deliver a thank you letter, expressing in words how
professional the real estate agent was and that you enjoyed working
with him. Attach a token, a gift of something that the real estate
agent likes. You know what this is because it is the fourth time
that you have been in his office while he has been away. Inform him
that the loan documents for the buyer/seller are in title, at
escrow or delivered to the attorney. The documents are ready for
him to contact his respective clients and to schedule a time for
them to sign. You have just out-served anyone that the real estate
agent has ever encountered. The real estate agent will want to do
future business with you. He will call and request a meeting.
Service is a major marketing tool. Knowing how to correctly
market to real estate agents will make your phone ring. Once this
relationship is established, you can mail or courier the items to
the real estate agents. However, I highly recommend that you
deliver the token and thank you letter personally and when he is in
the office.
Pitfalls to avoid
Here are three mistakes that are common in our industry that you
need to be aware of and avoid:
1. Do not take the glory away from the
agents.
Let agents inform their respective clients of credit approval,
appraised value, loan documents, etc. As the originator, you are
not the buyer's agent, so why are you performing the agent's
role?
2. Do not use automated underwriting approvals as
approval notices.
Automated underwriting systems are preliminary status notices and
are based on data entered and nothing more. You need supporting
documentation to make the preliminary entry become a real approval.
Otherwise, you will not be able to respond to the agent's question,
"Now that we have approval, when will the loan documents be
delivered?"
3. Do not waste the real estate agent's
time.
By delivering items required in any sales transaction, you can
observe other real estate agents in the office. The delivery of
items reduces the need for the agent to call and inquire on how the
loan is progressing. You have been communicating with him from day
one.
Joe Corno is president of Utah-based We Be Consulting and
Seminars. He can be reached at (801) 836-2077 or e-mail at joecorno@hotmail.com.

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