Most loan originators are always looking for new marketing strategies to test, such as those discussed at industry conferences.
“I have been attending self-improvement seminars of one type or another since the early 70’s,” said Greg Frost, Frost Lending Group (and VP National Training-Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc.), Albuquerque, N.M. “In addition, I train at 30-40 a year myself and always sit in on the other speakers at my events in order to catch a new idea or two.”
Of course, there is a challenge involved: actually implementing these strategies. You return to the office, get busy and despite your best intentions, take very little action. You may get started on one or two ideas, but then get sidetracked by the primary goal of closing loans.
“The key is to implement the ideas when you get home,” said S. John Murray, Mortgage Financial, Danvers, Mass., who often finds proven tips at the industry conferences he attends. “It’s easy for people to get overwhelmed if they try to do it all.”
“If you’re able to develop two or three ideas and actually implement them, you’re doing better than most other originators,” said Dave King, SCBW Mortgage, Englewood, Colo.
Plan of Action
In order to ensure that he actually makes uses of marketing ideas, Frost prepares ahead of time. “I schedule de-brief time on my calendar, before I leave town, to make certain that I come back and immediately review and re-write my notes,” he explained. “This helps to make sure that I expose myself to the ideas I felt important enough to make note of.”
Murray has a simple way of identifying the strategies he feels have the most potential. “During an industry meeting I’ll usually put a gold star next to ideas that I think will be most effective,” he said. “Then on the plane trip home I will chart out the five things I want to do right away.”
King agrees that being organized makes a major difference. “I make extensive notes in my Outlook calendar and keep handwritten notes of what I’d like to implement that I review constantly until I actually get it done,” he said.
Frost adds that once the conference is over, it’s essential to establish a schedule. “I establish development and implementation timelines for each idea that I decide to adopt. I find that time blocking for implementation ensures that things will get initiated and that I don’t bite off more than I can chew.”
It is also essential to keep an ongoing focus on your marketing idea bank. Murray has found that adding subtle reminders can be effective. “I’ll put reminders on my desk, starting with a ‘to do’ list with the first five action items already highlighted in green and a dollar sign next to them,” he said. “These are my top clients or action items that I need to attend to that day and having that sheet on my desk helps keep me focused.”
If you attend a conference with an assistant or other originator, Frost suggests you make it a team effort. “I try to take my appropriate assistant or department head with me to seminars so they can plug into the same stimuli as I and be on the same track with me when we return,” he explained. “I found that if I took the person I felt would be supporting my efforts to implement (ideas); following the seminar they would be as motivated as me to move the ball.”
Here are a few other tips:
*Create a list of the top 15 ideas and organize them by short-, mid- and long-term potential. Your considerations can include: cost and other resources needed, time required to initiate the strategy and the potential benefits.
*Evaluate each idea carefully to make sure it is right for your market. A presenter may get you excited about a new niche, e-mail program or other concept that for one reason or another might not be appropriate for your customer base.
*Talk to other conference attendees to see if they’ve had success with specific strategies.
*Create an online database of marketing ideas that you have gathered from workshops and conferences. Organized by categories—such as referrals, Realtors, social media and cost-effective advertising—this can be an easily accessible resource for your future marketing campaigns.
One of the major benefits of attending an industry or other conference is obtaining fresh marketing tactics that you can adapt for your own programs. However, the real return on your conference investment is actually taking the time to put a few of them into practice.
David Robinson is associate editor of Broker Banker.