How to build
n Meet Realtors and builders face to face.
n Have a plan for your initial meeting.
n Know what you can offer to help them.
n Follow up consistently after the initial meeting.
n Communicate personally as well as electronically.
n Take advantage of new opportunities.
n Leverage your company’s marketing support.
Great business partners, like Realtors and builders, are the Holy Grail of loan orig- ination because they can provide a con- tinual source of new borrowers. Whether
you’re a new mortgage originator looking to establish
yourself or a veteran trying to expand your business,
the best way to establish new relationships is to take a
methodical approach to marketing yourself.
Successful marketing programs are based on consistency. Some originators expect one marketing effort to build their career. It is important to keep your
expectations in check, or you can get discouraged and
disappointed with the results. Marketing takes effort,
so make it a regular, mandatory part of your business.
Even loan originators who have achieved success
from past marketing efforts need to make the effort to
stay consistent, especially as they become busy. One
good way to maintain consistency is to work with your
company’s marketing team, which can help you create
— and maintain — a long-term program.
Now that you’re mentally set for the long haul, it’s
time to get going.
Human interaction matters
There’s no replacement for face-to-face meetings. In
today’s busy world, many originators think connecting
electronically is enough. It’s not. You are the most important part of your brand, and you will have to work
10 times harder to distinguish yourself electronically
as you will in person. Get out there.
A lot of real estate offices don’t accept drop-ins,
however, so you will need another way to meet these
prospects. The same often goes for real estate developers and builders.
One of the easiest ways to meet real estate agents is
through open houses. Search online to find out when
and where to show up. Many agents use social media
to share their listings and open houses. In addition to
weekend open houses, some markets have brokers’
open houses during the week specifically for the real
estate community. Call a local real estate office and ask
if your area has brokers’ open houses.
Another way to build rapport with agents is to initiate relationships before they start doing business.
Offer your time as a mortgage expert at a local real
estate school. You can gather contact info when you
make your presentation — or afterward with a text
campaign — and provide your presentation materials
after students submit their contact info.
Make sure to send a personal note of congratulations to graduates. Ask for a meeting and offer to be
a source of experience as they begin their careers. Be
the catalyst that helps launch their careers by providing their clients with top-notch mortgage services.
Builders can be more difficult to locate because
they don’t often use social media to announce their
housing developments. They do, however, host
events similar to open houses to showcase model
homes. Most new residential developments will have
a sign that names the builder. Jot down this info and
call the builder to find out when they’re showing their
model homes. Another option is to conduct a public
records search on new construction and development
permits or requested residential zoning changes.
Don’t arrive empty handed
The key to a successful first meeting is planning. Know
what you can do for a prospective partner before you
show up. Do not simply go in and ask prospects to give
you their business. You are there to help them and
their customers — your mutual clients.
Help can come in many forms, but be mindful of
Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, or RESPA,
guidelines and your company’s policies if you plan to
bring a gift to a meeting. Don’t give anything too extravagant. Better yet, check with your company before
giving anything out.
Some loan originators bring care packages for the
Realtor or builder’s representative when they arrive at
an open house or model home. This can be a cold bottle of water in the summer, snacks or other amenities
like a cell phone charger.
Providing an item or two that ties into the local
area is a nice touch. Maybe there’s a shop famous for
its chocolate chip cookies, or a local brand of iced tea.
Make sure to include a few branded items as well, like
a pen or pad of paper with your company’s name. And
never forget your business cards.
Many originators like to bring information that is
focused more directly on business, such as samples
of cobranded flyers or handouts your company has
provided to partners in the past. Another great option is your e-guide, which is an online booklet telling your story. Electronic marketing materials make
it easy for the Realtor or builder to share your information with clients in a format that isn’t easily lost
Finally, be aware that real estate agents and builders
have different motivations for wanting to sell homes.
Although both want to generate revenue quickly,
builders have their own funds in each home. Every day
without a sale is an expense, so speed is going to be
their No. 1 priority.
When you talk about your team’s speed, be specific
and quantify everything. The difference between saying you’re fast and showing exactly how fast you are
can be the difference between winning the relationship and getting brushed off.
Heather Keith is director of marketing for Supreme
Lending, a full-service mortgage lender with branches
throughout the U.S. Keith’s personal passion is to motivate
others to achieve their personal, professional and business
potential. With experience as an originator, company
executive and mortgage division manager, she now puts
her passion and experience to work to help others grow.
Engage with Keith on Twitter at @MarketingGirlHK, on
LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/heatherakeith. Reach Keith at
Convert Prospects to Partners
Building relationships with Realtors and builders requires consistency
By Heather Keith
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