We all know that quality leads are the lifeblood of any business. In the Real Estate and Mortgage Industries, generating high-quality leads is the bane of our existence. It is no secret that both lender and real estate agents alike struggle with having a consistent and predictable source of leads.
How Do I Attract Realtors As A Loan Officer?
Loan originators looking to form lasting relationships with Realtors can do the one thing that agents value more than anything: Help them generate buyer and sellers leads which they can use to fill their pipeline.
There are many areas in which Real Estate agents could use a power lending partner to grow their book of clients and thereby creating a mutually benefiting business ecosystem. Let’s take a look at some of the simplest and most effective areas of opportunity where a lender and a Real Estate agent can make a difference in their business; Mining their existing Sphere or Influence (SOI) and selecting a strategic geographic or demographic group of prospects to target for new business using paid ads.
Mining Their Sphere of Influence
One of the things that Real Estate Agents struggle with the most, is a consistent process for staying top of mind with their current customers to generate referrals. As we all have experienced, referrals are the best source of business. How can a lender help agents maximize the potential of their existing book of business?
Leverage Your CRM
If you poll your agent partners you will likely find that 90% of them do not use a CRM (Client Relationship Manager) or EMS (Email Marketing System). At best, agents will have an excel spreadsheet or client list on their Outlook email system. Helping those agents on-board their customer list into a CRM or EMS will significantly raise your stock with them. As a lender, you probably already use a CRM such as Surefire, Velocify or BNtouch. You are likely to be considerably more accustomed to using a follow-up system than your agent partners.
Develop Co-Marketing Strategies
Join forces with them by offering co-marketing strategies where they share their database with you and you jointly market to that list. Let’s start with your current business with them. Make sure they understand that your current loans for their buyers are being followed up with using a co-branded strategy. If you have the right CRM in place such as BNTouch, this should be a breeze for you. Every milestone on their purchase loan is communicated to both buyer and agent partner. The content of the email updates should put their agent in a good light so that the buyer will refer, both the agent and you as their lender, to their friends and family. Make sure you have strategic and appropriate CTAs (Calls To Action) reminding them to refer you and the agent to anyone they know who could benefit from the top-notch service you are both providing. Post-closing follow-up campaigns should also be an integral part of that co-marketing effort.
Use Lists From Open Houses
Make sure to have your agents provide you with the list of buyers at open houses. The majority of agents throw away a lot of opportunities for business because most of them rarely do anything with the list they gather at their open houses. Be strategic and follow up the day after the open house is held and ask for the list. Offer to make that initial follow up call for them. Prospects are more likely to engage in conversation with a lender than they are with a Real Estate agent. There is that stigma that agents have of being overly persistent and pushy. As a lender, you are much less threatening to them. You will like also be of more value to them since getting financing in place should be the first step in the home buying process.
Did you know BNTouch has a tool specifically designed for collecting leads from open houses?
Agents will appreciate the value you bring by taking this task off their hands. Few loan officers go to these lengths with their agent partners. Adopting this strategy and being relentless with the process should produce significant results for you and your agents.
Strategic Targeting & Paid Ads
The vast majority of Lenders and Real Estate agents struggle to generate quality leads from cold traffic. Yet, there has never been a time in which getting leads has been simpler. Using methods such as Social Media and Paid Search are super effective ways to start the marketing funnel.
Blue Ocean Strategy
The majority of lenders and agents alike focus on working in that “Red Ocean” where everyone is fighting tooth and nail to work that small percentage of buyers, the 3-5% that are “now business”. The competition is fierce, and it usually turns into a “race to the bottom”. There is, however, a “blue ocean” – that huge pool of buyers and sellers that at some point in the future will be selling and buying a home. Fortunately, hardly anyone is focusing on marketing to that group, leaving it wide open for the savvy marketer. The key element to successfully marketing to this highly profitable group is a great follow up and lead nurturing system.
Facebook paid ads is one of the most effective tools for starting that top of the funnel marketing. This is the first step in the triangle of trust: Know, Like, Trust (KLT). Ad costs are still considerably undervalued and using the right approach, lender and agent can grow a healthy book of new business using the right strategy on Facebook.
New to advertising with Facebook? Check out our post on creating Facebook ads for mortgage leads.
Google AdWords / PPC is another area of huge opportunity right now. 90%+ of agents have given up on trying to generate leads through their own websites. In fact, most agents have no useful website with IDX (Home Searching Capabilities) that a buyer would want to use. They have ceded that space to ZTR (Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com). Those large advertisers are focused on the big search terms such as “Homes for sale Los Angeles”, “Homes for sale Denver”, etc. But there is a huge opportunity for agents at the micro level.
When people have narrowed down on an area where they want to live, they start searching differently. If they like homes by a particular builder in a favorite area of their city, they will search for terms such as “Lennar Homes for sale in the west village” or “homes for sale in Maybury Ranch in Houston”. The big lead aggregators are not focusing at that granular level. PPC campaigns for those keywords can run around $1-2 dollars a click. Keep in mind that these are “High Buying Intent” searches. The likelihood of conversion with a great landing page is excellent.
The Bottom Line
Be a valuable resource to your agents. Work together to put a strategic co-marketing plan in place to capitalize on these “Blue Ocean” opportunities. Take the initiative, most agents have no clue about these strategies, neither do most lenders. Educate yourself in these areas or align yourself with professionals who already work the space and hire them.
When you become the catalyst for lead generation, the linchpin for new business with your agents, you will have a secure place in the partnership. You can turn the tables and instead of you chasing them with your hand out for a loan from them, you now will hold the keys. Real Estate agents will be chasing you to partner up with you and bring their business to you as well.