Enhancing Referral Relationships (One in an ongoing series of marketing strategy articles)

By S. John Murray (Mortgage Financial Inc., Danvers, Mass.)

I have set a goal in 2016 to double my origination volume from last year. To help keep focused, I have added this quote from Thomas Jefferson to my desktop computer display: “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”

This is my 30th year originating and I cannot even attempt to count how many seminars and conventions I have attended over the last three decades.  Every one of those top loan producer’s presentations was based on the premise of getting out from behind our desks and prospecting. I would listen and take awesome notes, but the one thing I learned all these years is that I am a master at procrastination. So I made a commitment at the end of last year to start implementing just a few of the best ideas from those stacks of notebooks. My goal is to make small improvements every day, moving that needle just one degree.

So the first baby step was identifying my top 30 business referral partners. I compiled a list of my best financial planners, CPA’s, attorneys, clients and of course, real estate agents.

I then hired what I call my Business Development manager; some may call this person a “dialer.”  He not only calls to set up mortgage reviews on the anniversary date of my clients’ loan closings, but is in constant contact with these top 30. He sets up lunch appointments or as our appointment reminder reads: “high trust referral partner meetings.” I realize this is not rocket science, but I could count on one hand the amount of lunches and face-to-face appointments I had set up over the previous three years; so I knew I needed someone to actually hold my feet to the fire and book these appointments for me.

Much to my amazement, I found out that I actually enjoyed meeting with my real estate agents, CPAs, financial planners and others. At the meetings I ask them why they got into their profession and how they would like to be introduced.  I explain the law of edification and how I can make them look like a hero much easier than if they tried doing this on their own. I ask them who they would recommend to clients if asked for a CPA, financial planner or estate attorney. I ask if they know a great closing attorney or better yet a divorce attorney, which works really well if they are divorced. And if they have someone they rave about, I ask for an e-mail introduction and try to set up a follow-up appointment with both of them.

This has turned out to be a win/win strategy, as not only am I having a blast actually connecting with my best referral partners, but I am adding to that top 30 with an entirely new group of quality professionals. I am already having a record start to 2016 and it is all because I made the decision to implement instead of finding reasons to procrastinate.


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