Broker Banker asked several originators to highlight their current marketing strategies. To tell us the things that are working best right now…today!
BB: What is your most successful marketing strategy so far in 2011?
David Kuiper, First Place Bank, Holland, MI: “After a couple of great years of refinancing most people who could, and the market shifting to a purchase market, I’ve found that re-connecting with and meeting new Realtors has been very powerful. With so many people leaving the mortgage industry, a lot of agents no longer have their ‘go-to’ preferred lending partner and are desperate to associate themselves with a lending professional. A few ideas (that have worked well for me) include: attending open houses, joining the local Realtor association and serving on a committee, conducting ‘lunch and learn’ sessions for real estate agents, getting a personal introduction to someone else in a real estate office and preparing open house flyers. We need to remember to make the conversation about the agents, their challenges, opportunities and goals and not about how wonderful we are. It’s also important to know your market, and to have done a little research on the people and companies you call on. Remember, one good, loyal agent relationship can result in a steady stream of business over the course of many years.”
Linda Davidson, Service First Mortgage, Garland, Texas: “In July 2007, we started sending a weekly In the Trenches First News that I personally write (it goes out every Sunday evening and takes me about three hours to write). We started with around 100 Realtors that received it and this has grown to over 2,000. Although we do not get referred by all 2000, it has solidified us as the local expert. This is by far my most successful marketing tool. On Wednesdays, we also send a Trivia Quiz to our referring agents just to keep our name in front of them. One other thing that I think sets us apart is our FHA certification and knowledge (every person on my team has their DE underwriting certification). We market that quite heavily.”
Lloyd J. Streisand, CPA, Sterling National Mortgage, Great Neck, NY: “I would say our most important strategy for marketing has been placing emphasis on our relationships. Using our annual review calls as a means to foster relationships with our clients we may not have previously had time to tend to has helped us reconnect with our clients, and remind them that we truly care about them and want to be of service to them in any way we can. This has helped us get our name out to those who may have forgotten that we helped them in the past. The best way to market your services is to find out what your client’s needs are, and then deliver them the solutions.”
Louise Thaxton, Fairway Independent Mortgage, Many, LA: “For the last 18 months, I and my team have focused our marketing activities exclusively on purchase transactions with Realtors. In 2010, while many LO’s were focused on refinances, we were actively seeking Realtors who felt they were being neglected because of the refi boom. We were looking for the ‘orphan Realtor.’ We have focused our marketing to Realtors on education – whether it be on changing guidelines, blogging and social media, or having a business plan. We planned several Realtor ‘lunch and learn’ sessions – either at the Realtor’s office or our office. We have taught:
*Blogging – The benefits of blogging and how it would help to brand them as the real estate experts.
*Social Media in general (Face book, Twitter, Active Rain, etc.)
*VA Loans–since we are in a military town
*Expanding Their Business—We had a speaker, Bliss Sawyer, who spoke to about 40 Realtors from several different companies about how to increase their business.
*Business Plan – We provide a very simple business plan that they can use.
After the events, we follow up with a card thanking them for coming and then weekly e-mails with information and tips about the specific topic.
I started this focus in 2010 – and began to really reap the benefits in 2011. In fact, I believe my production was down in 2010 because I did not focus on refinances – but my energy and time and money were spent on Realtors. As a result of this program, our agent relationships that we began in 2010 have been strengthened in 2011. Last year, we ended up with 80 percent purchase transactions and year-to-date (2011) we are up to 85 percent purchase transactions.