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Live in the now

Aug 17, 2008

A system that is just rightPaul WylieHome Buyers Marketing, Home Buyers Marketing II Inc., relationship-based system, The story "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" begins with three bowls of porridge: One too hot, one too cold and one just right. The story continues with chairs that are either too big or too small and beds that are either too hard or too soft. Finding that sweet spot is not easy. Just a few short years ago, most mortgage professionals had more business than they ever imagined. These days, most have considerable capacity and desire more business. Many are finding it harder and harder to control the volume of qualified buyer leads and loans coming through the pipeline. Despite the market dip, those willing to commit to a systematic and comprehensive business development system can continue to give and receive qualified buyer leads. Originators often ask me how it is possible to keep a steady stream of clients in an industry that is so cyclical. In today's market, now more than ever, success is contingent upon commitment to a business development system such as Home Buyers Marketing (HBM). When implemented with full force, the business development system, combined with the separate real estate brokerage service provided by Home Buyers Marketing II Inc. (HBM2), assures a significant increase in qualified leads and clients. To be sure, following any system with passion and consistency can bring more than a 50 percent increase in business, but following this system can bring more than a 100 percent increase. Minneapolis-based HBM2 is a national real estate brokerage services company operating in 400 major cites around the country. Buyers who use the real estate service provided by HBM2 log in an average of 53 times each month, as compared to 15 times a month for other online real estate experience. The real estate sales platform is customized for every homebuyer, who is granted access only after communicating his financial ability to buy with a loan officer working with HBM. The system recognizes several important facts about the current lending environment: •The real estate home search has moved to the Internet. According to the National Association of Realtors 2006 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 86 percent of homebuyers actively used the Internet to find their most recent home purchase. To position themselves for success, mortgage originators must become a part of the point of entry for a homebuyer's Internet search. •The mortgage industry is largely relationship-based, with the head of the economic chain being the real estate agent. Mortgage originators typically receive most of their business from real estate agents, and the system creates a pipeline, whereby leads from real estate agents will increase. Historically, about 70 percent of all real estate agents introduce buyers to mortgage originators. These buyers then go on to close loans through the mortgage originator about 70 percent of the time. That means that approximately 50 percent of all the country's buyer transactions close through the mortgage originator introduced by the real estate agent. By integrating into the HBM2 real estate sales system, mortgage originators can significantly solidify meaningful, long-term relationships with real estate agents who will direct traffic their way. •More than 50 percent of people who are "just looking" will buy in the next 12 months. Knowing that 80 percent of people are just looking, most real estate agents focus most of their energy on those clients they believe are most likely to buy. However, more than 50 percent of those just looking will buy within 12 months from someone! If real estate agents do not have a system in place to handle these leads with the mortgage professional of their choice, the real estate agents miss future opportunities and income. HBM2 catches the "just lookers" and places them on the real estate agent's and originator's radar, allowing both to connect with the potential buyer and strike when the time is right. It works like this: Originators and real estate agents work with HBM2, which gives potential homebuyers a unique login name and password to access its online listing of homes for sale. The homebuyer is given a detailed listing of homes matching his personal search criteria. In addition to the usual bedroom, square footage and lot size information, the Web site also provides homebuyers with notifications about price reductions and new listings. Full details of neighborhoods, school districts, voter districts and anything else a consumer might need to know are also available. Want to know how close the local Starbucks is to the home? With HBM2, you've got it! Best of all, the real estate selling system features an electronic business card, including the picture and full contact details, exclusively of the originator and real estate agent team who are working with the buyer. Since buyers who use the system log in about 53 times a month, mortgage originators have 636 opportunities to put their name and face in front of a buyer over the course of a year. As well, the system generates reports that tell mortgage originators and real estate agents how often a potential buyer is logging in and which houses they are following. In this way, the system incubates the "just lookers," alerting both the mortgage originator and real estate agent when buyers are getting warm and then hot to buy. This information then feeds into the mortgage originator's sales calls and e-mail marketing efforts, allowing the originator to make smarter, more focused connections with potential buyers. This relationship-based system relies on an informal partnership between a real estate agent and an originator, acting as an accountability buddy. The teammates check in with each other weekly, making sure the other teammate is aggressively entering and following up with leads. HBM has been in business for 15 years and is extremely particular and passionate about its clients and preferred mortgage lenders. In addition to the training, the system generally requires a mortgage originator to spend 90 minutes a day following up on existing and prospective new buyers (about 50 a week), and meeting with their real estate partners. Originators are given extensive training materials, which include activation meetings, manuals, scripts, checklists and executive management training. Those originators who have immersed themselves in this system see increased loan activity and greater personal income. They form deeper, more lasting relationships with real estate agents, which encourages a real estate agent to make a specific mortgage originator a critical point of contact for their clients. The HBM system provides originators at participating companies a rare opportunity to create long-term real estate agent relationships, initiate relationships with buyers prior to the point of sale and increase their income. Paul Wylie is the founder and former chief executive officer of Metrocities Mortgage. He may be reached at (818) 878-9581 or e-mail [email protected].
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