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By Rich Randall
How to Grow Your Network
Asking clients for referrals is the first step toward harvesting new business
For a number of people, their first sales experience comes as a Boy Scout or Girl Scout. It often
includes selling greeting cards, coupon
books or cookies — and the top salespeople typically receive prizes. When
selling their wares, most children go
door to door in their neighborhoods.
Many of these first sales experiences
include awkward moments, like fumbling over a sales script or forgetting
what’s being sold. They also open
many children’s eyes to the importance
Children with parents who sit on the
school board or other government organization or who volunteer with local
groups, churches and clubs often find
that sales come easily. Their parents’
community involvement allows these
budding salespeople to connect easily with people they’re meeting for the
first time. Whether they realize it or
not, these children are selling to their
Similarly, sales also can come easily
for mortgage brokers who understand
the importance of networking. One of
the best ways to do this is to harvest
referrals from current and past clients.
The following tips, each implemented at
a different time during or after the loan
process, can help.
Detail the loan process
When customers apply and sign their
loan disclosures, explain what the loan
process entails and show them a copy
of a customer-service survey you will
ask them to complete after closing.
Also ask them to tell you if they have
any questions or concerns at any time
during the process, and let them know
it’s your business to help everything
Tell clients what they can expect from
you and what is expected of them. Express to them how important referrals
are to your business and let them know
that you’ll be asking them for referrals
as the loan process unfolds.
Also ask if they have a certified public accountant, financial planner, attorney or insurance agent. If they do, ask if
they’d be willing to share these professionals’ names and contact information.
If clients pass along such information,
reach out to these new contacts with
phone calls and e-mails or send some of
your marketing materials.
As soon as clients leave your office,
call them at home and leave a message. Let them know you appreciate
their trust and business. Remind them
that your job is to help in any way possible. Tell them you’re looking for ward to
seeing their loan through to closing and
to doing future business with them.
Illustration: Dennis Wunsch
Send something of value
Do this about three days after receiving each loan application. The gift you
send could be a letter that explains the
next steps in the process or that details answers to some commonly asked
questions. Restate your commitment to
making the loan process as simple as
Let your clients know that you look
for ward to an easy closing and to forming a long-lasting business relationship
with them. Tell them you’d appreciate
learning about any of their acquaintances who might be looking to buy or
refinance a home. Finally, thank them
for their business.
enjoy helping their friends and acquaintances, as well.
If it’s a sales transaction, also call
the sellers. Introduce yourself and tell
them that you’re helping the buyer of
their home. Offer to answer any questions they might have. Ask if they’re
buying another home and if they need
Explain the approval
When the buyers receive conditional
loan approval, let them know you’ve
been working hard to get them approved. If you needed to call multiple
lenders, tell your clients that. After they
thank you, ask for a referral. Be specific
and ask something like, “By the way,
who is the next person you know moving from an apartment to a house?”
In the case of sales transactions, you
also can help your clients’ transition to
their new house. Consider providing
things such as a U.S. Postal Service
change-of-address packet and contact
information for establishing phone and
utility services. Also consider making
postcards with a photo of the house
on the front and the message “We’ve
moved” printed on back. Clients will
find these useful for letting friends and
family know about their move.
Again, remind your clients that your
business thrives on referrals.
continued on page 41 »
Review the contract
At the point of contract acceptance,
ask your clients if they have any
questions about the contract or the
next steps. Tell them to keep in mind
that most of your business comes
from referrals and that you would
Do this around the time of the appraisal. Your goal should be to make
everything as smooth as possible.
Rich Randall is a freelance writer, successful originator and a founding partner in
RichRandall.com. RichRandall.com develops
a suite of custom marketing systems for loan
officers, Realtors, appraisers, builders and
credit representatives for the real estate
industry. Reach Randall at rrandall@rich
randall.com or check out the free marketing
blog at richrandall.com.