One of the most common questions loan officers ask is, “How do I get in front of more Realtors?” One answer in today’s market is by doing Federal Housing Administration (FHA) presentations. According to a Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) survey conducted this past October, FHA mortgage applications jumped 17.2 percent, and given the changes to our industry, FHA is likely to remain a significant percentage of loan production in the coming years.
In the last three years alone, there have been approximately 650 changes to FHA programs. It’s hard enough for mortgage loan originators (MLOs) to keep up with the changes, so you can imagine how much real estate agents actually know about FHA. And yet, many of these FHA changes are really important for real estate agents to know about. This creates a wonderful opportunity for you to take this information into real estate offices throughout your area!
One of the greatest challenges a real estate broker has is providing quality training to their agents. I have always found great success in getting into real estate offices and putting myself in front of many agents to generate loans. When I think of why I was able to get in front of more agents than your average MLO, I think it comes down to two fundamental reasons: Knowledge and passion. It’s one thing to have the knowledge, but if the passion is not present, you will not be able to inspire others to take action.
The “Three P Strategy”
Over the course of my career as an MLO, I developed a simple strategy that I have used to build great relationships with real estate agents through short FHA presentations. I call it “The Three P Strategy,” which stands for “Prepare, Promote, and Present” (FHA guidelines can be really boring so I make these little strategies to give more meaning to what I do). Use this strategy as a means to get yourself in the habit of taking FHA updates and turning them into relationship-building opportunities. Please note that I used the word “habit,” because when lead generating actions become habitual, then you know it will get done on a consistent basis. The greatest challenge of an MLO (or any salesperson, for that matter) is to make the most productive behaviors habitual. How much time is wasted doing what I call “spin tasks,” that don’t do anything to move you closer to your goal? For example, how much time do you spend checking unnecessary e-mails or visiting Web sites that are time-killers? The most valuable thing you have is time, so how do you use it?
The 30-day challenge
Over the next 30 days, make a commitment to prepare a recent FHA update that is relevant to real estate agents. Give the presentation a catchy title like “How FHA Has Become Even More Affordable for Your Clients and More Profitable for Realtors” and promote the presentation until you get appointments with 10 real estate offices. You’ll likely need to make about five calls to get one appointment, so be prepared to make a total of 50 calls. Make sure you speak with authority and passion about the topic in order to get them excited about bringing the information to their agents. Now you are ready to present. The goal of your presentation is not only to give them the valuable information, but to present your content in a way that engages them and elicits questions from the audience. I recommend just using a simple flyer as the presentation tool, since this will force you to connect with the audience. As a public speaker, I have to work much harder to engage the audience when I use a PowerPoint presentation, because people sit and watch the screen, creating a barrier between you and the audience.
At the time of the presentation, be sure to have everyone sign a registration form that collects their e-mail addresses, and let them know that you will keep them updated on news that affects their business (make sure you respect this and do not spam them). After the presentation, stick around to answer questions and build rapport with the agents. During this time, you will connect to certain agents and it’s these agents with whom you will want to make follow-up appointments to get to know them better and establish a more meaningful personal relationship. After about 10 presentations, you should have increased your core of solid potential referral sources by at least 15 agents. From here on out, you have to maintain the relationship and grow it; new referral sources take time to develop. A goal of closing two transactions per year with each of these agents will give you an extra 30 loans per year. If your average commission is $1,000 per loan, that’s an extra $30,000 from a simple FHA update. Prepare, Promote and Present, and make it a habit.
Jeff Mifsud is founder of Michigan-based Mortgage Seminars LLC, a former FHA underwriter with 15-plus years of experience originating FHA loans, an FHA expert for LoanToolbox.com and creator of The FHA Originator, a monthly FHA newsletter. Jeff may be reached by phone at (248) 403-8181 or visit www.MortgageSeminars.com.