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2007 predictions for the mortgage lending industry

National Mortgage Professional
Mar 23, 2007

Three quick ways to get more business in 2007Brian Hilliardbusiness growth, networking The snow is falling, the birds are migrating and it's time for another new year. I always love January, and not just because it's my birthday month. It's also a great time to re-evaluate what's working in your business and & well, what could use a little help. So if you're tired of doing the same old, same old, why not take a fresh new approach with your business and see what you can do to kick-start its growth in 2007? Quick way #3: Ask the "right" questions. Question: What do we know all people want to talk the most about? Hint: It's not you but & them. That's right; most people, when given a choice, would rather talk about themselves. So if that's the case, how can you break the ice and turn a complete stranger into a business-generating referral partner? You got it & by asking the right questions. In other words, getting them to talk about themselves (and their business) and you following along. Here are a few of my favorite questions when meeting someone for the first time while networking: 1. "Where else do you normally network?" This is a great conversation starter just after you've handed each other your business cards and you're searching for something to say. Most of the time, people will give you a couple of networking spots you might not have heard of and you can do the same. Either way, you're starting to get comfortable having a discussion. 2. "What do you like best about what you do?" The most popular question at a networking event is "What do you do?" And while I don't have a problem with that, it can sometimes paint you in a corner as to what to say next. Except now, you can ask, "What do you like best about [his occupation]?" This is a great way to learn more about that person without sounding too nosy. Watch out though: 40 percent of the time, when you ask that question, they'll ask it right back to you. So don't say I didn't warn you! 3. "What got you started in that direction?" Now, as the conversation is winding down, you've learned a little bit about this person and what he's all about. Your last question should be, "Boy, that sounds like some good stuff. What started you off in that direction?" And now, you're learning more about his background and what motivated him to do whatever it is he's doing today. Now when you meet someone who can give or refer you business, you're building a rapport by asking questions about his business and spending time learning about his situation. This, of course, sets the stage for you getting more business from him later on. Quick way #2: Please, get out of the house and network! For those who might not know, meeting new people and networking around town really is your secret weapon when competing against other loan officers. Why? Because they're so busy running ads, waiting by the phone and talking about how bad the market's been lately that they don't realize that the path to more business is right under their noses. Conversely, smart people like you recognize that the refi boom is over and that people just aren't responding as much to ads and telemarketing as they used to. That means if we expect to get some more purchase money business, we're going to have to do it the old fashioned wayby meeting people and winning their trust. That means doing a lot more networking. I'm talking about networking events such as Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, Kiwanis Clubs and maybe even your local area chamber of commerce. These organizations usually meet in the mornings, have anywhere from 35-70 attendees and you're done by 8:30 a.m. Not only will you meet more potential prospects, but if you play your cards right, you might even be able to cultivate a few (non-real estate agent?) referral partners who can send business your way. Quick way #1: Develop a sphere of influence. Quite simply, a sphere of influence is a market niche or target audience for whom your services are best suited. Now before you say, "But everyone needs financing for their home! Why can't I market myself to all of them?" let me just say that in the world of marketing, one size does not fit all. For example, the message you use with first-time homebuyers is going to be much different than someone with bruised credit. Same house and same financing, but your prospects are coming from two different perspectives. In other words, the hot buttons of a first-time homebuyer are not the same of someone in a credit repair situation. And if we already know that the mark of a good sales interaction is positioning your service in the context of your prospects' hot buttons, then how is that possible with an "everyone needs financing," one-size-fits-all mentality? The short answerit isn't. That's why developing one or two target markets is so important. It allows you to really figure out what's important to them, and then everything you say and do can be tailored around those issues. As a motivational speaker and author of the book "Networking Like a Pro!" Brian Hilliard is recognized as an authority on showing busy originators how to get more business from everyone they meet. He may be reached at (404) 434-2826, e-mail or visit
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