The ideal relationship between a real estate agent and a lender is symbiotic: the agent gains the trust of his borrowers by connecting them with a large loan resource, while the lender receives a steady stream of business from the agent. It’s simple, right? Unfortunately, these dynamics get worse all too often. Common causes of poor relationships include insecurity, lack of communication, failure to formulate realistic expectations, and poor lending process resolution.
However, lenders are wise when building rapport with real estate agents. For many, referral of real estate agents is vital to ensure a stable business in the face of changing market cycles. And this is not just an anecdotal case – in different industries, successful business by direction is well documented. According to Hubspot Research Released This Year:
- 92% of consumers trust the recommendations of their friends
- Referred customers have a 30% higher conversion rate.
- Referrals make up an average of 65% of a company’s new business.
The evidence is compelling: If an agent directs a borrower to your lending services, he is likely to believe the offer. Then, once the borrower finds out more about your offerings, they are more likely to become your client. It’s a powerful lead funnel.
So what can lenders do to ensure consistent referrals from real estate agents in their market? To find out, I interviewed Longmont, Colorado agent Mindy Jensen, at Maxwell’s podcast “Clear to Close” to discuss her relationship with John, the lender who transfers her clients’ loans. In the course of this conversation, we delved deeper into the specific day-to-day habits and actions of creditors that earn them the coveted title of creditors.
Chat, chat, chat
Any relationship of trust is based on good, clear communication. The agent-creditor relationship is no different. Proactive communication is vital in order to surprise real estate agents and their borrower clients.
Yet despite the importance of this practice, most lenders fail. In fact, as we talked about in our recent e-book Winning agency businessWhile nearly 80% of agents believe effective communication and responsiveness are more important than any other issue, most creditors’ calls and emails go unanswered for days or weeks. This is unacceptable at any time, but it is especially important in today’s hot market where homes are selling at very low prices. a record low of 19 days on average…
Referring to her lender, Mindy said, “I could have written to him at 7:00 am, and he answered me before 7:30. I had a lender for 11 years before I met John. He’s not my lender anymore because he only works from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. Well, now the property is being sold on Saturday and Sunday. “
While good communication may seem intuitive, there are a few specific steps lenders can take to differentiate themselves from their peers:
- Provide open lines of communication. This means that you have to give the real estate agency your mobile phone number, not just your office number, and respond to text messages. This gives agents expanded access to you and makes it clear that you are ready to do whatever it takes to close the loans.
- Send updates even if there are no updates. If you want to be a regular lender in your market, simply reacting is not enough. Instead, communicate actively. Make quick emails or text messages once a week, even if it’s just to tell you that things are going as expected.
- Let the agents know when you will be unavailable. As a lender, there are times when it might seem like your work is spilling over into your personal life. However, for a leading loan officer, this is part of the job. If you are out of town for a few days and the agent is waiting for, for example, a check on a particular loan, let them know exactly when you will be out of touch.
You won’t earn the trust of a real estate agent in a week or even a month of good communication. But with consistent practice, proactive communication will build you a reputation that snowballs into a reliable referral business. Don’t take it as one-off actions or bursts of effort designed to impress. Instead, make regular communication a habit that you practice day in and day out. Your efforts will pay dividends.
Hone your craft
As a lender, you know that most lending institutions actually charge roughly the same rates. They have similar loan products and the results are comparable for most borrowers.
Given this parity, lenders can differentiate the most in the mortgage lending process in that they close quickly, ensure a smooth transaction, and simply offer great services. The best lenders spend time learning from mistakes, anticipating problems, and actively addressing them. In other words, good lenders are stable.
“Anyone can be a great lender,” Mindy said. “John gives me what everyone else can give me. All rates we receive now are within one eighth [point] each other. Is that 20 dollars a month? It’s not about the rates. If you want to partner with an agent who makes deals all the time, you just have to be great. ”
While the lending experience comes over time to some extent, there are still ways to hone your ability to impress agents and borrowers and get to the closing table faster with less disruption:
- Educate your borrowers. About 20% of millennials report that they don’t understand a single step of buying a home. When borrowers do not know what to expect from the lending process, they are more likely to spend more time and make mistakes in providing the necessary documentation and information. By offering resources and knowledge of what the future holds, you increase the chances of a smooth process and build trust with the borrower.
- Check your processes. If you are constantly faced with certain problems, it’s time to see how they arise. Work with your management team to address delays and extraneous touchpoints, from loan applications to closure and brainstorming. By working on the business, not in it, you can solve recurring problems and streamline the process for your borrowers.
- Supporter of updated technologies and tools. Ellie Mae Borrower Review found that 50% of borrowers in the past five years have chosen their lender based on whether they offer an online portal. Online filing has become a real bet, but beyond this functionality, tech-enabled platforms are increasingly vital to lender performance. If you find yourself lagging behind the competition because you are still doing routine tasks, consider upgrading your technology. Digital mortgage platforms like Maxwell Help lending groups streamline their lending process by surprising agents and borrowers by closing loans 45% faster than the industry average.
By setting expectations ahead of time, using your resources wisely, and learning from the obstacles you face, you will hone your lending process. Real estate agents will quickly recognize your reliability and recommend to borrowers as the surest option for smooth loan repayment.
Ask for direction
Let’s say you’ve done all the hard work of communicating regularly, smoothing your processes, and building a name for yourself. At this stage, you will begin to build a reputation among the real estate agents in your market. This is where you can let your referral business grow organically or leverage your industry recognition.
As a lending professional, you are your own marketing team. Yes, you work under the name of a company, but your job is to act like an entrepreneur and build a business that attracts and converts leads. This is why you need to protect yourself.
If you are consistently communicating positively with an agent, use this understanding:
- Request feedback for posting on social media feed
- A review request that will appear to potential customers who search for your name on Google
- Please guide you in future situations when a lender is needed
If you come and provide an exceptional experience in your day to day work, over time you will be noticed. And if you are good at your job, real estate agents and borrowers will have no problem spreading the word about your services.
“Every time I talk to a new agent, I ask, ‘Hey, do you have a great lender? Because I have a great lender. Do you want me to introduce you to him? “Mindy said.
Marketing is sometimes tricky. Other times, it’s as easy as asking a few well-connected people to share your name. Who knows – maybe soon you will have your own Mindy, who will praise everyone who listens to her.