Follow simple strategies
to get more business
from real estate agents
It’s no secret that real estate agents often are the key to building a stream of business for mortgage
brokers and originators. Nonetheless,
successfully reaching this group can
prove to be hard at times.
This feat doesn’t have to be difficult,
however. Consider the following tips for
forging long-term, mutually beneficial
relationships with top-tier agents.
1. invest in them
If you’re expecting real estate agents
to invest in your business, you have to
invest in them, as well. Take them to
lunch, cater their open houses and find
innovative ways to support their business endeavors.
Supporting a real estate agent’s marketing efforts means more than simply
splitting the cost of an advertisement.
Good agents will expect you to bring
value to their operations. With that
in mind, consider hosting a first-time
homebuyer seminar and asking an
agent to join you. If you’re a frequent
speaker at industry events, you also
could ask certain agents to join you
as fellow panelists, showing them that
you’ll market the event and, in turn,
2. Stay on call
A lot of real estate agents are surprised
at how many mortgage brokers turn
off their phones at 5 p.m. Real estate
agents work all day, and they need their
industry partners to be available, too.
Don’t underestimate the value of
staying on call all day. Being con-
stantly ready to help your partners
via text, e-mail or phone will help you
grow your business — and theirs. If
you can’t help your real estate part-
ners when they need it, they’ll find
someone who will.
3. Follow up
Sometimes, adequately expressing your
professional objectives is enough to get
a real estate agent’s attention. Finding
ways to help your partners’ business is
great, but you also must determine ways
to truly express your desire for long-term
Even in cases when you send clients to real estate agents and never
receive so much as a thank-you note,
you still should follow up and thank
them for their partnership. More specifically, thank them for taking care of
your clients and express your intent to
send them more customers, as well,
if they’re open to that. you also can
take this opportunity to set up a lunch
meeting to discuss other professional
This will put you in the driver’s seat
and allow you to set the relationship’s
expectations. If you still receive no response, don’t be hesitant to move on,
as there are many agents who would be
thrilled to receive such messages.
By Jim lowenstern
4. Know their interests
Finally, be sure to learn about the real
estate agents with whom you want to
network. For instance, take careful note
of their personalities, communication
styles and the ways in which they conduct their businesses.
• • •
At the very least, know this much: you
shouldn’t rely on rate sheets to entice
potential real estate partners. Sim-
ply put, they’re not concerned about
these rates because they know that
such figures fluctuate widely. Be hon-
est and upfront with them about why
they should work with you, and do your
best to approach them in the style that
they’re most comfortable with. •
Jim lowenstern is CEO of Castles Unlimited,
a boutique firm in Newton, Mass. He’s been
in the real estate industry for almost three
decades, having sold luxury real estate in Palm
Beach, Fla., at the start of his career and being
the owner and operator of Castles Unlimited for
the past 27 years. Lowenstern also is the creator of NewEnglandProsperity.org, a website
dedicated to helping charitable organizations
during real estate transactions. Reach him at
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underwriting decisions and timing of
the loan process. If you provide them
the clarity they seek, they will be happy
customers — which may help you avoid
« WEIGHING continued from page 52
an 8-step plan
If a customer does have an issue with
the way a situation is handled, being
proactive in the resolution of the situation can prevent it from escalating.
The following eight steps can help
you evaluate and improve your customer service.
1. Survey your customers to determine where changes should occur to
improve the process.
2. collect internal operational data on
customer-service efforts. Accountability is key.
3. Set scorecards or grades for
so they are aware of what is ex-
pected and required.
4. report progress to determine suc-cesses and areas for improvement.
5. compensate employees who take
leadership in the effort.
6. reinforce that customer care is the
primary focus and that immediate
attention should be given to any and
all issues that arise.
7. Provide monthly training for employees to ensure they are aware
of and understand all regulatory updates and changes.
8. enlist the expertise of a third-party to provide additional services
and educational resources.
Determine how to manage issues
that may require action. For example, if
your surveys reveal a lack of information
throughout the process or constant delays, then these are areas to focus on for
improvement. Either adjust the system or
reset customer expectations, but correct
the issue to make your clients happy.
“in today’s environment,
cannot afford to be
In today’s environment, mortgage professionals cannot afford to be passive
regarding customer service. Regulators
and consumers have made it virtually
impossible to ignore the importance of
getting clear customer feedback. Being
able to adjust internal procedures accordingly is paramount to success. Don’t
let the idea of extra expenses prevent
you from investing in building a true customer-service department if that is what
your company needs. The cost of hiring
extra people to focus on customer service is far less than the cost of litigation
and the damage that could be done to
With a proactive approach to customer service, mortgage professionals
can mitigate the risk of litigation and
concentrate on originating loans and
building their businesses. •