Top of Mind Networks

Sales Tips and Follow Up Requirements for Realtors and Loan Officers

May 22, 2011 by · 9 Comments 

Are you gaining new prospects, referral sources and market share?  Are you focused long term on gaining relationships and the actions for success?

Lucretius said, “Constant dripping hollows out a stone”

Are you hollowing out the stone for new referrals and prospects?

Better yet, do you follow through and follow up?

A huge majority of sales people don’t follow-up with their most recent customers let alone new prospects. In fact over 48% of sales people never follow-up with customers what-so-ever.

But the statistics tell us sales are made just:

  • 2% of the time on the first visit.
  • 3% of the time on the second visit.
  • 5% of the time on the third visit.
  • 10% of the time on the fourth contact.

A full 80% of sales are made on or after the fifth contact.

How many times are you visiting or contacting your potential prospects before you give up?

Think about this in your business.  Think about the last person to ask YOU for business.  It might be an insurance agent wanting referrals for your purchase clients or a home inspector looking to be suggested during the inspection period.   It might even be the local mortgage loan officer.  Do they expect your business the first time you meet just because they showed up at your door?

How many times would you want to talk to them before you trusted them with YOUR business?  How many times did they contact YOU before they either gave up and quit contacting you or they won your business?

How many times do you call or market to a new potential clients before you stop?

So how are salespeople doing?  Sadly 90% of salespeople make 3 or fewer contacts which is interesting since it has been proven that 80% of sales are completed after the 5th call or contact.

How do you compare?

If you REALLY want the business do not take no for an answer.  Take your prospects NO or indifference as a NOT YET because you have not built up enough trust and leverage to earn their business.  So what can you do?

Commit today to:

  • Send——–1 more hand written card
  • Set———-1 more coffee appointment
  • Deliver—–1 more letter of interest or personally memorable item
  • Make——–1 more phone call

Your prospects should trust that you follow up diligently and consistently with them to earn their business so they can feel confident that you will work that hard “ON” their business.  They should realize that you did the same to GET their business and stand out from the crowd.

Remember, “Constant dripping hollows out a stone.”

Start today and break through to new prospects.

Derek R. Egeberg

Branch Manager

Academy Mortgage Corporation

Be Where The Buyers Are – Write On High Traffic Real Estate Blogs

January 5, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

Diver-in-Middle-of-School-of-Fish-Bali-Indonesia-Photographic-Print-C13481597.jpegMost borrowers starting their home buying related research online generally end up landing on a real estate agent’s top ranking blog or web site.

If you’re in the purchase business game, it makes perfect sense to partner with agents that have high traffic sites which attract your target audience (Buyers).

My Las Vegas mortgage relationship-based business model had a slight set back in 2007 when the local market took a small turn for the worse.

Basically, all of my loyal agents ended up having to find new jobs, and the equity in my past clients’ properties disappeared.

While struggling to research new options, I realized that one of my close friends and Las Vegas agents was actually thriving as a result of his online presence.

Since we had already been working together on his sites for a couple of years, I decided to put all of my eggs in the online basket and go where the buyers were…. The Internet.

Over the course of several years, we chased shiny objects, built a real estate social network, launched some niche FHA and Property Management blogs and scraped our knees along the way.

However, the one thing we could always count on was that thousands of potential buyers were finding us in the search engines every month.

In our online evolution, we realized that the key to our success was getting found in the search engines at the precise moment our target audience was ready to make a buying decision.

In order to maintain those high traffic search rankings we have to invest several hours writing content and building links.

The Result

Thousands of unique visitors a month searching for homes and reading about the mortgage or real estate process on our blogs.

How Does That Traffic Convert?

Well, it depends on how soon these buyers need to close on a property.  Our typical sales cycle is about 4-8 months from the time someone lands on a real estate blog and then closes on a property.

Either way, the agents are busy closing transactions every month that are 100% generated from web traffic.

Keep in mind, these buyers aren’t typical Internet leads that get duped into filling out an online web form which generates hundreds of solicitation calls.

Instead, the people contacting us as a result of finding us online and reading our blogs are more informed and feel a sense of trust.

In essence, by providing valuable educational content on your agent’s site, potential buyers build a relationship with you before they’ve even made that initial phone call.

Main Point:

If you’re in the purchase money game, then the most efficient use of your time online is to contribute some mortgage related content to a local high traffic real estate blog.

Benefit To Contributing Loan Officer:

Get in front of the agent and their clients on a regular basis.

Benefit To Real Estate Agent:

Targeted content, and a lot of it, will attract buyers online that are in their final stages of making a decision to move forward with a home purchase.

Content, Traffic and Links are the three things that a social media savvy agent care more about than anything else.

Benefit To Client:

Education and empowerment.  You may say that you’ve got great service and you’re a consumer advocate, but borrowers expect us to earn their trust and respect these days.

_______

I have the replay of a 60 minute webinar / interview about this strategy posted here:

Partnering With Social Media Savvy Agents Online

This isn’t a secret system with some hidden agenda we’re selling.  The reality is that very few originators will actually follow through with this.

The few that do will make powerful online networking partners.

As my friend Eric Blackwell says: Search Engine Marketing is a team sport.

Either way, it’s gonna take a strong army of mortgage professionals working together for a common goal if we want to bring some honor back to our industry in 2010.

Become an expert . . . and LISTING Agent's new best friend!!

December 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Yes, that’s right.  I said LISTING Agent in the title!  For years the mantra for most originators has been to seek out Realtors who work primarily with buyers.  The reasoning behind this is obvious.  Buyers need mortgages and are looking to purchase a home – easy!

As the market starts to contract and loan officers seek other opportunities for revenue – I truly believe one of the untapped gems will be listing agents.  Here are a few reasons:

1.  If someone is selling their home, there is a good chance they will be buying another one.  Sellers often become buyers.  Opportunity for business!!

2.  A good listing agent will get sign calls and leads from their listings.  If you develop a strong relationship with these agents you can work as a team to turn that listing into a lead factory.  Opportunity for more business!!

3.  By helping to support the marketing of a property – open houses, financing flyers, etc. you are developing a bond and proving useful to the Realtor and showing them that you are interested in THEIR income.  That means a lot to the right partners.  Opportunity for more business!!

4.  Listings give you the opportunity to market creative financing options and programs.  Even if a buyer doesn’t make an offer on that property you should have marketing materials at each listing.  Some will take that home and some will call you.  Opportunity for more business!!

5.  Ladies and Gentlemen – although I am listing this one last, I have found this to be THE single most profitable reason to work closely with Listing Agents in the current market . . .

Over the past 3 months I have gotten 6 applications from Listing Agents because the mortgage company that was providing the financing did not do their job correctly and the LOANS WERE DECLINED!!!! 

I work hard to let the Realtors in my area know that I am an expert in the field.  I am thorough and I try to stay on top of all of the regulatory and guideline changes.  Most importantly, I communicate industry changes to the agents.  They know that I know what I’m doing.

In 5 of the 6 examples above, I was able to get the loans approved and closed (or I am scrambling to do so by year’s end as we speak).  One of them was a gonner.  Very poor upfront application process by the original loan officer and a VERY large car payment that needed to be sold in order for the borrowers to qualify.  Why that was never communicated to anyone is a mystery to me.  The sellers, the agents, title company, etc. etc. were all moving forward under the idea that the clients were approved and no one knew that the lynch pin of their approval wasn’t even disclosed.  Since they were unable to sell their car the deal fell through. (P.S. I really tried with this one and worked for a week to see if I could find a car dealer that would buy the car from them but no one was interested).

A few key points for anyone looking to swoop in and save the day:

a.  Make sure you know what you’re doing!  It does no good to market to this type of emergency client if you aren’t able to articulate and quickly dissect the reasons that a loan did not go through.  Being able to identify the issues quickly will help you and the agents avoid a lot of wasted time if there is no hope of a loan going through for obvious reasons. Prolonging the agony does no good for anyone.

b. Make sure that you set up a system to deal with these last minute rushes.  Is your processing and underwriting in place for quick turnarounds?  If you want to be known as the ‘go-to’ loan officer for these types of clients then you have to have great communication with your support staff.  The secret is to get the rest of your loans submitted and approved well in advance of closing dates.  If you claim to have a ‘rush’ on every file you will be known as the LO that cries wolf and you won’t get the attention you need when you need it.  Become known as the loan officer whose files are a pleasure to work with – then you’ll get the special favors when needed.

c.  Be thorough and quick.  Typically a borrower that loses a house in this situation is desperate to get approved and there is a short window of opportunity where you will get extreme cooperation.  You need to take advantage of that.  Meet with them right away, have them bring all of their documents (they have them from their recent application anyway!) like paystubs, W-2s, etc.  Get all of the facts from them about the reason for decline of the loan with the other mortgage company. Get as much information as you can as quickly as you can.  Don’t assume anything – the loan was declined for a reason.  Your job is to find out why and to see if there is another, legitimate way to make it work. You should be able to tell if there is hope of getting a loan approved early and then get to work!

d.  Set correct expectations.   With the new disclosure laws a 3 days turnaround just isn’t realistic.  Frankly, getting a loan done in 8 days takes a mini-miracle so set the expectations upfront that this may take a while.  Under promise and over perform.  Please never, ever, ever say that something is ‘guranteed’ or ‘100%’ (ever, but especially in situations like this).  Everyone’s stress level is super high in these situations so trying to calm nerves by over promising can often backfire and no one truly believes those guarantees anyway.  I start with a 50/50 shot and move up to 99% slowly – I change my message delivery from ‘not sure’ to ‘optimistic’ to ‘extremely comfortable but we need to see what else the underwriter may call for’.  People appreciate the honesty and you are doing much more for them in the long run.

e.  Hone your communication skills.  I often find that I am able to speak with the loan officer or processor at the company that declined the loan.  They are usually upset initially and willing to help.  That starts to diminish over a few days so get that assistance while you can.  Get permission from the buyers to get copies of the loan package if you can.  I always try to call the loan officer and, without blame or finger pointing I simply explain that I’m trying to help and I was hoping he/she could as well.  I have been surprised at the cooperation once they realize I’m not calling to yell at them.

f.  Be fair!!!  I strive to provide the  same rate and fee structure that a borrower has with their previous mortgage company.  I know I am doing a lot more work and I could charge a premium for this type of effort but I feel that the borrowers are going through enough.  If rates go up then there is nothing I can do but I strive to keep things as close to their original expectations as possible.  Incidentally – this is a great bragging point to both Realtors in the transaction as they are very appreciative that it helps ease the transaction along.

g.  Be honest, creative and honest!!  When I try to put these loans together, I am never, ever trying to manipulate documents, white anything out or do ANYTHING inappropriate.  I just know the guidelines and I work hard to figure out how to legitimately make a loan work.  I’m often surprised that some loan officers give up so easily when a simple tweak could make the difference between their buyer getting a home or not.  If it can’t work then it shouldn’t.  If there is a way to help a borrower buy a home within the guidelines and law then they deserve to have that opportunity.  I just work harder at doing the right things right!

These are not the easiest loans to get done but the rewards are significant.  You make customers for life with the borrowers.  You are truly helping people (remember when we all thought that was the most important part of our jobs?) a LOT of people.  Hopefully this will help you build and strengthen Realtor relationships and meet new Agents for future business. I’ve even had Loan Officers call me for assistance because they had a loan declined and know that I can get these things done.

There is no doubt that the stress level in these situations is high.  This process is not for the faint of heart.  They take a lot more work than your average loan and they tax your staff.  However, it is very rewarding to help people and that makes a lot of the stress melt away.  Plus, I just view all of that work and stress as a marketing investment.  You will never believe how supportive your Listing Agent partners become when you work that hard for their buyers and their income.  Opportunity for more business!!

Now go help some people!!

Jason Klaskin

Supporting My Referral Based Networking with Online Activities: One Man's Plan

November 4, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

So I was thinking about the value of the personal connection I have with all of my referral based networking partners.  The lunches, the phone calls, the weekly networking meetings and the excited phone calls when you have a referral to share with them.

Over the past year Mark Madsen and Mark Green have opened my eyes to the world of blogs and social networking and I’ve started to look at ways to integrate these ‘new’ tools into the very personal relationships I take great pride in building with my referral partners. 

At first glance it would appear that the lack of that personal touch with referral partners would be detrimental to a strong referral based relationship.  While I agree that the building of those relationships has typically been an ‘in-person’ process I am looking at ways to supplement those relationships, and leverage my time to develop more of them.

With everyone’s lives being so hectic I am finding that short, more frequent interactions with my referral partners is preferred to taking large chunks out of their day for what they may view as a sales call.  I am also finding that most of my referral partners are extremely interested in getting up to date information on a regular basis that will help them to better serve their clients and grow their own businesses.

One of my primary goals for the next year will be to develop my online interactions via blogging, social networking and other endeavors to achieve the following four goals:

1.  Enhance the relationships I currently have with my strong referral partners.  I will provide timely and accurate information that will save them time researching important items and help them build their businesses by identifying new clients and new opportunities to serve current clients.

2.  Offer opportunities for joint marketing and online presence to bring more business to my strongest referral sources.  I love to give back and I’m always looking for ways to do this.  I see an improvement in my online presence as a great way to do just that!

3.  Enhance relationships with my current and past clients.  We always try to create such a great experience that they become referral sources themselves.

4.  Become a known expert in the field and develop ways to create new business from borrowers and new referral sources so that they seek me out when they have mortgage needs.  Wouldn’t it be great to have people seeking you out instead of having to ask them to give you some of their time?

Being new to the online scene I am, of course, a bit nervous about not doing this correctly.  Luckily I have some great mentors and a thirst for wanting to do this correctly.  As we all know – in Real Estate there are only 3 things that matter: location, location, location.

My mantra for my  new approach will be 6 things:

Quality, Quality, Quality 

and

Content, Content, Content

I’m looking forward to learning more from all of the masters in this field.  I am especially excited to meet everyone in person at The Mortgage Revolution!  (Hmmm, I believe many of the masters have already achieved goal #4 – they’ve become experts and they’ve been sought out.  Now I’M excited to meet THEM!  Now that’s what I’m going for with new referral partners!!!)  Imagine if we could get referral partners to find us online and get excited about meeting us .  .  .

So now comes the hard part – getting over the anxiety and just doing it.  I always want to do things ‘right’ from the start but I’m learning that there really isn’t a ‘right’ way to do this.  There are definitely some wrong ways but if I stay on track I don’t need the perfection, I just need to get going!

 I’ll leave you with a thought from an interview with Linked In founder Reid Hoffman.  When asked about starting Linked In and getting something out instead of waiting until they had achieved perfection out of the gate he remarks:

“I frequently tell Internet entrepreneurs, “If you’re not somewhat embarrassed by your 1.0 product launch, then you’ve released too late.” There’s value in launching early, getting engaged with customers, and learning from them. That can direct your progress.”

VERY transferable advice!

See you online!!

500 Leads in August!

July 16, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

BHAG, Big Hairy (Fill in the Blank) Goals! You gotta have some BHAG in your business plan because if you shoot for the Moon and miss you may just end up in the STARS. One of my BHAG is for the month of August 2009 and it is to generate 500 home buyer leads.

WHY?

Of course for the obvious reason, to close more loans, create a security blanket around my business, and because I can. For the life of me I can not remember who I heard this from so any help would be appreciated; ‘it is the person with the largest database that wins’. The more people who want to buy a home that knows me and listens to me the more business I will close.

I feel that to be truly successful as a loan officer and/or real estate agent you have to master two things and two things only, Lead Generation and Database Management. If you can generate and capture a relevant number of people who have raised their hands and told you that they are considering buying a new home in the foreseeable future and you communicate to them consistently providing worthwhile information and valuable call to actions you will have a steady stream of renewing business.

In his book; “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent’, Gary Keller goes into great depth regarding this subject, to paraphrase, he tells his audience, ‘if you don’t believe you are in the lead generation business….then today is a good day to quit’. I take some literary license in what I just quoted but that it is what I got out of it. He also talks about lead conversion ratios, for leads similar to what I am generating Mr. Keller states I should expect a 1 in 50 monthly conversion ratio. If I want to close 10 loans every month from my pool of leads I need to stay in touch with at least 500 people who will be buying a new home in the near future. These are people who contacted me, who asked for information, who asked I pre-qualify or pre-approve them for a loan, these are future home buyers who have invited me into their home buying process.

HOW?

I place myself where the greatest number of potential home buyers gather, on the Internet and at the homes they are interested in. I think we have all heard that 87% of all home buyers start and maintain their search for information and to view homes on the Internet. But, did you also know that 68% of all Internet home buyers once they find a house they like on the internet will drive by that house? 

I put myself on the Internet in the most used Internet sites for listings and information, Realtor.com, Craigslist.com, ActiveRain, and many of the other most used listing web sites, blog sites, and social networking sites. I also put myself at about 100 to 150 listed homes, a small but significant portion of all listed homes in my area.

Through what I refer to as a joint venture lead generation and marketing program I maintain a decent number of real estate agents and their listings to create a synergy that produces significant volumes of leads for both of us. In fact, I have a title for my program, RSVP which stands for Reciprocal Success Valued Partnership.

Using listings as bait to draw out potential home buyers I offer a call to action that drives home buyers to contact me, contact the real estate agent, call into a message center to request additional information, or go to my web site to fill out a pre-qualification questionnaire.

For every 50 listings I have within the system I average about 4.5 leads every day, convert that to a monthly number and it is 135 leads per month for every 50 listings. I also do a few other lead generation programs that produce far lesser numbers, added all together about 1.3 per day, but its having the ability to partner with a real estate agent and utilize their listings that creates the most leads.

My List of Tools

  • Real Estate Agents with Listings
  • Valued Call to Actions
  • Website, Landing Page, Squeeze Page
  • Call Capture and a call back system
  • Individual Listing Web Site creator
  • Auto Responder and Contact Management System

In upcoming blog posts I will discuss each tool, how I use them, specifics and generalizations.

500 Leads in August!

To reach 500 leads in August using the ratios mention earlier I estimate I need about 186 listings, as I write this blog I have a current inventory of 112 listings that are using my individual listing web site program. I am also recruiting several new real estate agents, agents in certain areas of town where I want a better presence and who have a large portion of their listings in the sweet spot of our home buying market, the First Time Home Buyer price range. This week alone I have interviewed 10 real estate agents and next week I have 8 interviews set up, so far.

I want to carry an inventory of 2o0 to 250 listings which if statistics hold true will easily produce 500 leads in the month of August. If I can’t hit these numbers, at least I tried to reach the moon and at worse will need to settle for being among the stars. There’s always next month.

Always Have a Contingency!

June 11, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

 

A few years ago, when the market was red-hot, real estate agents were forced to present their contact in the strongest light possible. Often times this included “no contingency contracts“. Of course, this is not always the best thing to do, but that was the way the market was back then.

Today is different. Much different. But, unfortunately, a lot of agents are still operating as if the market is still 2005. It amazes me at how many contracts we are seeing in our loan files without financing contingencies! This is crazy! The year 2009 is much different than 2005. Not only have the credit and lending markets severely tightened up the availability of funds, but we also have had many regulatory changes. The largest and dumbest change affecting everyone in the industry is the new HVCC appraisal rules. Not only does it affect lenders, but it affects agents, buyers, and sellers.

The HVCC dictates a hands-off policy for lenders and brokers. Thus, we can no longer choose the best appraiser for the neighborhood, talk to the appraiser, or even discuss comps with the appraiser. Because of this ridiculous HVCC rule, we are seeing a lot of bad appraisals. And one of the worst results can be a lower value when the market actually still supports the higher value.

Just this week, I have seen the following deals blow up and need to be re-worked:

1. Refinance – original appraisal was $560,000. We had to order new appraisal under HVCC rules. New appraisal value, $450,000!

2. Purchase – Purchase price: $440,000. Appraisal value: $410,000 – after waiting 12 days, the appraisal finally came in one day before the proposed settlement date!

3. Purchase – Purchase Price: $280,000. Appraised value: $265,000.

Agents, please do not exclude financing contingencies. It does not matter what any lender tells you – we all have to work under the same rules for conventional loans (and some lenders are starting to require HVCC for FHA now too!). This is a reality that is affecting all of us everyday. This is a reality that will affect you too!

Under the new rules, it is imperative that you put the financing contingencies back into contracts. To not have a financing contingency is gross negligence in your implied duties of care  with your written agency contracts. Please remember to protect your client!

And while we are talking about this subject, please go here, and let your voice be heard!  http://www.hvccpetition.com/

Real Estate Agents and The Pareto Principle

June 10, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

When joining with real estate agents to become mutual success partners it becomes apparent that it is a numbers game. I liken the process to a frog kissing contest, you need to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your princess and/or prince. You can avoid chapped lips from kissing too many frogs that never poof into something worthwhile if you apply the Pareto Principle to your efforts.

The Pareto Principle also known as the 80/20 rule, the ‘law of the vital few’ as well as ‘the principle of factor sparsity’ states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. It is a very common rule of thumb in business that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients. This principle certainly holds true in the real estate world.

A recent stat that I saw attributed to the National Association of Realtors was that 22% of the real estate agents do 90% of the business, now I’m not too sure about this stat because I really do not believe anything coming from NAR but in my town the 80/20 rule is very accurate. There are just over 10,000 real estate agents in what makes up the St. Louis area, of those it seems that about 20 percent of these agents close at least 6 transactions a year.

I have no idea where I picked up this next factoid but I always say that the average real estate agent has the ability to refer 6 transactions annually to a loan officer, the average real estate agent is NOT the 80 percenters! The lower end real estate agents are to be avoided at all costs, it is the upper 20 percent that is mine and should be your target.

I divide the 20 percent into two catagories, the upper 5% and the remaining 15 percent of the top producer. The upper 5% I refer to as Elephants and in another post I will discuss how to go Elephant Hunting, these heavy hitters are completely different than the majority not only in their production but how to attract them to you.

So why concentrate on the remaining 15 percenters? It is a simple numbers game, we have 10,000 real estate agents in my town, throw away the bottom 80% and you have 2,000 real estate agents who produce great to decent numbers. We are going to take and place to the side the top 5% of producing agents or 500 elephants, you are now left with 1500 frogs that need to be kissed.

If the average agent in this group can send you 6 transactions annually, which is extremely low but I use this number to build my business plan, then how many agents do you need to recruit to become your success partner? Say you want to close 100 mortgages via your real estate partners, that would translate into 16 real estate agent partners or in my case about 1% of the total frogs I am willing to kiss should be in my pond.

This is great news, only 1 percent of the total base of top real estate agents in your area can be sending you enough business to make a very comfortable living in our industry. Real estate agents can and do still control buyers, they have an influence within the transactions that can not be ignored. Best, is that every one of these top real estate agents recognizes that they need a solid lender partner in their business if they are to continue to be successful, it may as well be you.

Eventually, once you have built a reliable base of partners you will determine that these real estate agents will be able to refer directly and indirectly many more than 6 transactions per year to you, which means you will not need a large number of agents. Personally, I like having a large stable of good agents, the more I have the more I get. But, it is also reassuring that I have a small representative sampling of available producing real estate agents. Knowing that there is a large pool of frogs to replace a prince/princess that has reverted back to a frog allows me to work among my partners without fear. No fear is the key to your success in partnering with a real estate agent for mutual succss.

My advice is that you partner with with real estate agents who share your views, that you have commonalities with, that are willing to work your programs and systems, and who recognize your value. Remember you are looking to partner with a small number of available top producers, you must be selective in who you partner with. Find them, ask for the appointment and then interview them just as if they were a job applicant, because that is exactly what they are. You are looking to partner with a professional who will work with you and for you, does this not sound like a partner.

The mistake most loan officers make is that they want and go kiss all the frogs and think they will all turn into their needed prince/princess, huge mistake. This is your business; only partner with those that fit your business.

Use Audio Interviews To Market To REALTORs

June 10, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

I talked about how to use the principles of the Millionaire Real Estate Agent, when soliciting business from REALTOR partners, over on the Mortgage Cicerone.   I suggested that originators implement a 33-touch program for REALTOR partners so that you stay in front of them.  The Top of Mind Surefire system does an excellent job of co-marketing yourself, to both the REALTOR and the customer, post-closing.

What can you do, prior to closing a transaction, to demonstrate value to potential REALTOR partners?

I swiped the Loan Toolbox “Gift of Knowledge” idea and found a way to make it more relevant to your local market (and a helluva lot cheaper).

I like to conduct a 30-minute interview with a working, full-time REALTOR and distribute a CD of that interview it to my REALTOR referral base .   It’s much more effective than the Loan Toolbox Gift of Knowledge idea because it positions you as the interviewer.  Here’s how I do it:

1- Find interesting, successful real estate agents.  This is quite simple because so many of them are online now.  I belong the Cyber Professionals, Active Rain, and Wanna Network; many agents are sharing good ideas there.

2- Call the REALTOR and ask her if she’ll perform the interview.  It helps if that agents is not in your local market because she’ll feel comfortable that you arent’ “training her competition”.  Furthermore, “out-of-town experts” carry weight with local agents.

3- Prepare for the interview by sending the Agent-Star a list of 5-7 questions.  Explain that you’d like her have a 3-5 minute answer for each question.

4- Start off the interview with a brief background about how the Agent-Star got into the business and have her describe her success thus far.

5- Conclude the interview by asking the Agent-Star for an “actionable item” which agents could perform daily, that would dramtically improve their business.

6- I use Talk Shoe to record the interview (it’s free and pushes the interview out to iTunes).  Download and save the MP3 of the interview.

7- I use Disc Makers to produce the CDs.  It’s  simple to order and costs about $200 for 100 CDs (or $100 for 25 of them).  Expect a one week turnaround time.

8- Mail those CDs in a package with a “testimonial page” from other real estate agents.  You can solicit testimonials from your LinkedIn account (learn how to do that here).

Bulky packages are ALWAYS opened by real estate agents.  They love the interviews and will listen to them in their car.  The best thing about this idea is that they hardly ever throw those CDs away; they stay in the trunk of the car or on their desks.  It becomes a perpetual business card for you.

PS:  The more tech-savvy among us will suggest that you can just produce a podcast and email the link to everyone.  That’s not as effective as the CD.  Agents know that CDs cost money to produce so they won’t throw it away.  CDs are something they can share with other agents, too. (That’s called viral marketing)

Is This Your Business Plan?

June 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Is your business plan to go capture, maintain and increase business, or in today’s market has your thought process started to resemble this?

 

images3See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

In digging really deep with several colleagues about what was driving their business the common theme with everyone was simple.  It is the same actionable items that every leader in every industry talks about.

 1.  Are your customers, partners and past client databases hearing from you or about you?

2.  Are your customers, partners and past client databases reading about you or learning about your business?

3.  Are your customers, partners and past client databases seeing you either in scheduled visits or the simple drop-in?

If the answer to any of these is “NO” then the question is this. 

Why would anyone do business “WITH” you if they do not know “ABOUT” you? 

As a trusted advisor in an industry your clients need your information when it is convenient and needed for them, not when needed or convenient for you.  How many times have you seen someone call partners when they need business, but not at other times?  After a few repeated events of this call for business and then no call for 6 months or so, might that partner feel somewhat used?

A systematic plan must be put into place where you are seen, heard, and spoken about.  Do you have a repeatable system that puts printed material in front of partners?  Do you have a repeatable system to call your needed partners?  Do you have a system that gets you in front of partners?

Monkey

If the answer to any of these is NO, are you

 leaving your business to these three monkeys ?

Would you do business with someone like this?

 

In truth, we all get tied up in the day to day business of putting out the loudest or longest scream, we focus on the fires, in short we put effort working “IN” our business instead of “ON” our business.

I challenge you to take a moment to find the systems, plans and methods in which your clients can connect with you.  There is no time like the present to implement actionable items into your daily routine.

~To Your Success!

Dial Out to Bring Business In

May 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

 

 

When I tell people, “Dial Out to Bring Business In”, I am often asked, “Are you serious?”

 

And the answer is simple….if you are not on the phone already and you are in your office, you need to pick up the phone and talk to SOMEONE!!!! So in short, YES!!!

 

–The Challenge–

 

Take 1 hour per day and call current and prospective referral partners. If you don’t, someone else will!  The calls should genarally be between 8:30-9:30.  Most people are more energetic in the morning and the daily fires have not blown up yet.

 

You should be able to do a minimum of 8 per hour if done properly.  That leaves 7.5 minutes per call which really is a LONG time to talk.  That little hour means you can/should talk to 40 referal partners per week.  

 

–THE CALL–

 

 

Hi _(referral partner name)_, this is Derek from Territorial Mortgage do you have a minute for business? (ask this so as not to interrupt their schedule…they may have clients. Also this will intrigue them.)

 

Great, I’m actually prospecting and wanted to follow up with you to see if you have any clients or transactions you may need help with or anyone you know that may need a second opinion.  (You have now been completely honest. You are calling for business and if you are honest ABOUT your business my estimate is your service can IMPROVE their business.)

 

—let them respond with Yes/No/maybe….

 

If yes, take it from there, if NO then…(Drop a value add here such as)

 

–THE VALUE ADD–

 Great, I have some flyers for the new $8000 FTHB tax credit. If you have any questions just let me know and I will be happy to answer them for you and your clients. I will drop them off by _(be specific so you can BEAT the expectation)_.

  

–SETTING EXPECTATIONS–

Would it be ok if I followed up with you in about a month?  (Why a month? My guess is if you REALLY look at your potential partners you can come up with a list of 150-200.  It will take you a month to get back around to the first call.)

 

–THE CLOSE–

 

_(insert partner name)_, is there anything else i can help YOU with right now.

You ask this to show that you care, but also they may have other questions and you open the door to THEIR conversation.

Then end with.

 

Thanks (insert partner name), have a great day!

 

THIS STUFF WORKS!!!!!

 

Now, should you get their VM I leave the following message.

 

Hi (insert name), this is Derek from Territorial Mortgage.  I was calling with a business question.  Please give me a call when you have a moment. 

 

That will get their curiosity up but not give away your intent. 

 

There are the two forms I use to track my calls, both are easy spreadsheets.  Feel free to drop me an email and I will be happy to share.

 

The old saying, “build it and they will come” should be “CALL AND THEY WILL ANSWER!”

 

To your success!

Next Page »