An open house means an open door to loan officersJeffrey NelsonReal estate agents,mortgage brokers
Imagine passing up a great opportunity to market to real estate
agents—or even worse, blowing that opportunity with a bad
approach. Can't believe it happens? It happens every time you drive
past an open house.
Open houses offer a great chance to meet real estate agents and
set up a foundation for a working relationship. But, it can go in
the exact opposite direction, if not approached correctly. What
happens? Too often, loan officers approach every meeting with
agents as a high-powered sales pitch instead of a chance to start a
relationship. Before they know it, they've been kicked to the
Maybe you are not aware of your sales pitch. Or maybe you think
it is the only way to market yourself. If you spend your time
trying to convince real estate agents to work with you, you are
soliciting. Every day, real estate agents are faced with
solicitations from loan officers. That's why they automatically
switch to the "off" position.
Open houses are the perfect opportunity to talk with real estate
agents. Most of the time, the agent is waiting for someone to walk
in the door—visitors may be few and far between. They welcome
a break from the monotony, and that is where you come in. When you
stop at open houses, you have a perfect occasion to talk to the
agent—usually undisturbed, without phone calls or other
interruptions. But you need to be ready to talk—not
Engage the agent
Instead of walking into the open house intending to win a new
client, start with a goal of building a relationship. You should be
attempting to engage the real estate agent in conversation, take
the opportunity to develop a better understanding of the challenges
he faces and discover his problems.
Take some time to find out details about the agent's
• How long has he been in business?
• Is he a buyer or seller agent?
• What are his business goals?
• What is his number one challenge?
• What is stressing him out the most?
• What is necessary to fix the problems?
When you engage the agent in uncovering his problems, you
present a prime opportunity to establish an appointment for future
discussions. Schedule time to meet again and continue your
discussion before leaving the open house. Lots of agents will
wiggle out of a standard sales presentation appointment; so
instead, you demonstrate how much you want to understand their
business before you try convincing them of anything.
Your next step is easy, but almost always overlooked. You've got
that important appointment scheduled—most people walk away,
perhaps call a couple of days before to confirm. What a great
opportunity for the agent to cancel the appointment!
A far better strategy is to take time immediately following the
appointment to send a handwritten thank you note. Thank the agent
for taking time to speak with you, and announce you are looking
forward to meeting with him on the scheduled appointment date.
Not only does the handwritten note provide the confirmation of
the appointment, it also reinforces the impression of your
graciousness, as well as confirms how excited you are to meet with
Make the call
Instead of calling to confirm the appointment, giving the agent an
opportunity to cancel, follow up with additional questions. Again,
as part of your commitment to building this relationship, you
merely want to find out more information about the issues facing
the agent and how you could possibly help him in his future.
Remember, do not make this a sales call. This is an information
gathering call only.
Arm yourself with information
The open house gave you a great opportunity to gather information
and lay the foundation of a relationship. With your next meeting,
take as many supporting documents as possible. Don't worry about
bringing along glossy brochures or marketing pieces. Instead, take
some time to do some research. Find supporting articles or tips
that help solve the problems faced by the agent. By doing so, you
are positioning yourself as a critical resource in the agent's
Use actions to show your unique approach
If you have followed these steps, you have already set yourself
apart from other loan officers. You have taken an opportunity that
many people pass up and made the most of it. Instead of forcing a
sales call, you created a new pattern for a successful
Imagine the opportunities you have been passing up. Never look
at an open house in the same way—instead of seeing a property
desperate for sale, picture an agent desperate for help with
problems. Then, picture yourself as the answer to their problems.
Open houses can truly open doors to a bright future
Jeffrey Nelson is founder and president of Salesachievers
Inc., a consulting firm that trains loan officers how to earn more
referrals from real estate agents, as well as the author of "Become
an Agent Magnet." He may be reached at (480) 367-8350 or through
his company's Web site at www.soarinsales.com.