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Fraud: The mortgage broker as the gatekeeper

National Mortgage Professional
Aug 22, 2008

Where busy originators can find the elusive retail clientBrian Hilliardretail clients, sales tips, sales training, motivation I was conducting a workshop about networking and which groups gave originators the best chance to find more retail clients (individuals looking to buy or sell their homes) before they've contacted an agent. Make no mistake about itno matter how many agent alliances you have set up, it's always a good idea to have a strategy for finding a retail client or two yourself. Not only is it a more direct route towards closing a loan (you don't have to hope and pray that an agent gives you business), but it also gives you leverage with those very agents you're working with (now you have something to bring to the table for them). And keeping in mind that people do business with others they know and trust, networking is one of the best options out there for a busy originator looking to get more business. So, let's take a look at a couple of options for finding the right networking group. The chamber of commerce The chamber of commerce is considered to be the bedrock of the local networking community and is located in just about every county throughout the country. You'll generally find a wide range of entrepreneurs attending each event, from consultants and coaches all the way through to bankers and interior designers. Generally speaking, most of the people in attendance will be in the 35-45 age range and have been in business for themselves for less than three years. So as an originator, if you specialize in working with first-time homebuyers, this might not be the best venue in which to networkmost people in attendance will have already bought their first homes. The same can be said of those who want to work with corporate relocations, since a majority of those in attendance have started their own businesseliminating the relocation option. However, if you're looking to get into the for-sale-by-owner market or focus on a specific geographic area (say the north part of town versus the south), then the chamber of commerce might be a good fit. People tend to gravitate toward the chamber of commerce closest to their place of work (or home), making it an easy place to find folks who are in close proximity. The other good thing about the chamber of commerce is the sheer number of people you'll meet. Just to give you an idea, I was asked to speak at one of our Atlanta area chambers of commerce the other day, and we had close to 130 attendees. And while that might not be a huge number when compared to state association-run mortgage conferences, for a local networking event, that's a pretty good number. Obviously, attendance will vary based on your particular city; but generally speaking, you won't see a chamber of commerce event with less than 20 people in attendance. Business associations A business association is a close cousin to the chamber of commerce event for the simple reason that they too are set up along geographic lines. Down in Atlanta, we have the Sandy Springs Business Association, the Buckhead Business Association and everything else in between. Business associations are generally set up along city lines (as opposed to counties with the chambers of commerce), and as a result have less folks there. In terms of the type of people you'll find in attendance, it's pretty much the same as the chamber of commerce crowd, except for one major difference: business associations tend to have more retail establishments present. In other words, the chamber of commerce might have a higher concentration of insurance agents, bankers and consultants, while your local business association will usually draw out restaurant owners, fitness club providers and people like that. Again, it depends on whom you're trying to meet; but if you're an originator who's just getting his feet wet with this whole networking thing, then I'd recommend starting off with a business association event. Generally speaking, you're looking at a smaller crowd (20-70 people), and as I said before, it's also a great way to get plugged into your local retail business community (gyms, movie theaters and places like that). Who knows? Maybe you'll hit it off with an owner or two, and they'll allow you to put your cards on the counter of the local gym or coffee shop. Not a bad start for someone trying to get the word out about his business. The bottom line Remember, finding more retail clients is all about getting out of the office and meeting new people. I know it's a lot easier to sit back and wait for the phone to ring, but that's not happening anymore. The refinance boom is over and telemarketing is getting too expensive, which leaves us with the one cost-effective option for meeting more prospects: networking. So, I'd encourage you to find an event or two that sounds good and put it on your calendar today. Then start putting some of these good techniques we've talked about into use. Because believe me, when it's all said and done, it'll be your business that thanks you for it. Brian Hilliard is a motivational speaker and author of the book, "Networking Like a Pro!" He may be reached at (404) 434-2826 or e-mail [email protected]
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