I usually find Halloween to be the “Two Minute Warning” of the year, reminding my clients and I that once Thanksgiving arrives, the opportunity to write new business significantly diminishes. Of course, I’ll get a number of calls I didn’t expect, and transactions I’ve been working on for months will come to fruition, but overall, it’s the slow period of the year. While my business is technology, I know it's the same for the mortgage business.
While many use this time to kick back and relax, or even worry about the slowdown, the producers are using this time to review their goals and assess if their business is in a position to reach these goals. Since referrals are such a large part of my business, I examine my current referral sources, as well as my efforts to obtain new referral sources.
Set your goals
Did you set goals last year? If you didn’t, take this slow period to put together some real simple plans. Work backwards with the most important question: How many loans do you want to close per month? Once you have that answered, how many referrals will you need to get there? How many real estate agents and/or real estate attorneys will you need in your referral network to receive those referrals?
Assess your referral sources
Take a long, hard look at the people in your referral network who you are putting time and resources toward helping grow their business. Are you getting a return on this investment?
For example, an originator friend of mine shares ShortSaleSpeedway with his real estate agents. The agents close more short sales, and he gets more mortgage referrals. In one office, he shares ShortSaleSpeedway with seven agents, but only gets referrals from five. Why aren’t the other two referring? It turns out that one of the agents has a family member in the mortgage business. With that knowledge, he can focus his efforts elsewhere, knowing that agent is not in his referral network. By weeding out those who aren’t reciprocating the referral relationship, my friend is able to better help agents who are referring business, and also put more time into gaining fresh sources of referrals.
Attract new referral sources
Now is probably not the time to be introducing yourself to real estate agents, unless you like walking into empty offices, but it’s a great time to start list-building. Put together a list of potential real estate offices and agents who you want to meet. Write out a marketing plan that involves getting in front of them along with a compelling offer as to why they should do business with you.
Once again, my friend reaches out to each agent/office multiple times by mail, e-mail, phone or even stopping by until he gets to introduce himself properly. When he does gain that introduction, he’s ready. In a no BS approach, he explains how he can help the agent close more short sales and how he can be a reliable go-to person for the agent’s mortgage needs.
Get your list, plan and offer ready now, so when 2012 rolls around, you’ll be ready. With a combination of reflecting inward on your current referral network and outward toward new relationships, 2012 can be an amazing year for you and anyone you choose to do business with.
Erik Wind is co-founder of ShortSaleSpeedway. He may be reached by phone at (516) 882-6930 or e-mail [email protected]