Previously, I discussed how to go about setting up that first interview with a prospective real estate agent. OK, now you have his attention. You are sitting there face to face and you are paying close attention to what motivates him and how he is interested in doing business with a loan officer who can utilize today's modern technology. So far, it has all been potentially a lot of flash. Your initial video e-mail got his attention, you are serious about working hard for him and your actions of taking notes in your BlackBerry or Treo were certainly impressive. Now what?
I have two words for youcall capture. Instead of simply having that real estate agent list his homes with a yard sign, Multiple Listing Services exposure and a number to call him, you propose a sign be placed below his yard signs with an additional toll-free number and extension. The prospective buyer would be able to sit in front of the house, dial this number and listen to an audio description of the listing (I know you want to call the above number and listen ... go ahead and callI have recorded an example). This audio description can be as detailed as he wishes it to be. Quite often, a prospective customer is not interested in having a lengthy conversation with a real estate agent right then and there. He just wants the information. It is similar to the foot traffic you can often see at car dealerships on Sundays when no salespeople are available to constantly badger customers.
It is important to tell the real estate agent that your mortgage company's information will not appear during this audio description. The audio description should end with information on how to contact the real estate agent directly for a personal tour of the property. Also, at the end of the recording you should have a short message that more or less says, "If you wish to be approved for up to 100 percent financing and/or alternative financing options, press zero." That borrower will then immediately be transferred to your office.
With every call that is made to your toll-free number, the system captures the caller's name, phone number and address of the property that he is calling on. From the mortgage broker's standpoint, these are real leads that have taken the extra step to inquire about financing options. At this point, you have a referral to send to your agent.
Your first step with this first success story may be to jump on the phone and call the agent. This is the wrong thing to do. Remember, you are the mortgage broker who utilizes technology to take sales to the next level. Hit the real estate agent from a couple of different angles. Send a text message stating, "I have a pre-approved buyer for you. Call me for details." Then you can go in and send another video e-mail stating you have spoken to this client, he has been approved for financing already and is in a position to tour the house and potentially make an offer. Make sure you touch on the buyers hot buttons and offer some advice on how he also needs to sell his existing home. These referrals are gold to a real estate agent. If you have done your homework up front on your real estate agent, he should be the one dropping what he has on his desk and calling you.
The cost for this service is minimal, with most companies charging a flat rate for the service and then billing by the minute after that. One Web site I visited stated that the average monthly bill for their clients was under $70 per month. If you are in a market where the average home sells for $200,000 and a real estate agent's commission is six percent, a single phone call from a single viable lead can mean $12,000 for that real estate agent. Now that is a great way to build some loyalty from a real estate agent. Remember that to be RESPA compliant, you need to share in the expense of all of your marketing material. You will need to split the costs of the signs and the call capture system, and if the real estate agent runs it in his marketing materials, you need to share in that expense for your portion of the advertisement. For details on this topic, feel free to contact me at your convenience.
Mike Vernon is Technology Committee co-chair for the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, vice president of the Pennsylvania Association of Mortgage Brokers and president of FollowYourCustomer Inc. He may be reached at (877) 365-5692 or e-mail [email protected].