Imagine for a moment you are a farmer. Year after year, the same specific acre of your farm bears your best produce. Can you even conceive of a scenario in which you would purposefully decide to neglect that acre one year? Of course you can’t, as that would be nothing short of foolish. Yet, to a certain degree, that is what many mortgage professionals tend to do with their strongest “crops.” In this case, I’m talking about those clients in your database who already like, love and trust you. These clients are those who are the most likely to yield new business for you, but for some reason, you’ve decided to stop nurturing, cultivating and fertilizing that relationship, perhaps because you think that it has already been “picked over.”
Consider that most experts say that, at any given time, 20 percent of your clients, friends and neighbors are looking to buy, sell or refinance. To illustrate, this means that out of 200 clients, friends and neighbors, 40 of them are in need of your help right now. So what are you doing to cultivate that relationship?
The trouble that most sales professionals run into is in thinking that just because a client recently refinanced their home, or bought a home, they no longer need you. Nothing could be further from the truth. Granted, they likely don’t need another refinance, but that’s about the only thing you know for certain. Fortunately, you’re in a terrific position to cultivate that relationship with that client even further, merely by being helpful. They may need a trust set up, they may need a new tax professional or may want to remodel and need a trusted contractor. You likely have the referrals they need.
Part of nurturing and fertilizing an existing relationship, so that it ends up being one of your most fruitful relationships will involve genuinely trying to help your clients. To do that, you will have to get to the root of their financial goals. This means, of course, that you’re going to have to pick up that phone, and call your clients.
The opportunity to help your clients never wanes, despite what is happening with home prices, interest rates and even a rocky economy. Use benchmarks such as the year anniversary of their closing or their birthday to reach out and find out how you can be of help to them. Ask what their financial goals are; ask if they are happy with their CPA or their financial planner. For that matter, ask if they even have a financial planner!
The beauty in helping others, without regard for financial reward, lies in the fact that in business, as in all things in life, you truly do reap what you sow. If you’re not convinced, think about the person in your life who gives back more than anyone else. Think of those who are actively involved in community causes, who volunteer their time, who know they can’t save the world, but they can start by helping just one person, animal or cause at a time. Isn’t that person one of the most fulfilled people you know? That’s because in giving of themselves, they are getting a great deal in return.
By trying to help our clients in all the ways we can, we are in fact retooling the soil and are adding nutrients to help that relationship to flourish. These are people who have already entrusted us with one of the biggest investments of their lives, so the onus is now on us to show them that they did so for a good reason. Perhaps we can refer their cousin to a terrific real estate agent who will work tirelessly to get them the home they want for the price they love. Perhaps their aging mother needs help setting up a trust and we happen to know the local area’s most reputable trust and estate attorney.
There’s no limit to the ways you can be of assistance to your clients, which means there is also no limit to the business and referrals that they can give to you. So before you ignore those clients who like, love and trust you just because they may not need your current assistance with a mortgage loan, remember that nurturing and cultivating existing relationships is always as important as sowing new seeds.
Fred Arnold, CMC is past president of the California Association of Mortgage Professionals and a mortgage professional at American Family Funding in Southern California. Fred hosts the radio show SCV Chamber and Business Spotlight on AM 1220 KHTS, as well as the televised program “Out of the Rough” on SCVTV.com, Channel 20. He may be reached by phone at (661) 284-1150, ext. 109 or e-mail email@example.com.