HOW TO – Give Your Origination Business A Shot in the ARM

Some mortgage brokers and bankers search endlessly for a single, new way to generate more closed loans each month. The bottom line, however, is that there isn’t a single best way to generate business. In fact, thinking that there is can be problematic and will ultimately lead to a massive decline in your originations.

Simply put, business models built on a single marketing technique or referral stream put your business at major risk. Taking this a step further, if your referrals all comes from one Realtor or one builder, then your business is not built on a strong foundation. You need to plug into multiple marketing strategies and referral streams to maintain a consistent flow of new clients and keep your business healthy.

The problem with trying to find the “single best way to generate new loans” is that it encourages originators to embrace the latest “shiny object,” which never seems to deliver what was hoped. Think back a number of years and you may recall the popularity of massive telemarketing rooms. Entire business models were created based on this technique, but when do-not-call lists were enacted many large telemarketing operations ceased to exist. Those that did remain were not as successful as they had been in the past.

Four-legged business

Although there may not be any one way to generate a hundred loans, there are a hundred ways to generate one loan, but in reality you only need about four. Think of your business as a chair with four legs. If you take away one leg, you can still sit, but the chair is now a bit wobbly. Take away two legs, however, and your chair will fall over.

If a particular strategy isn’t working well, take the time to learn why.
Can it be fixed? Can it be tweaked?

Good marketing and referral generation should be built with a similar concept in mind. The more strategies you use, the more stable your business will become. Obviously pursuing too many strategies can become redundant and may bury you in increased costs, but having too few will cause your business to topple.

So, where can you find these hundred ideas for generating more business consistently? Let’s dive in and look at a few to give you some ideas. Pick any four of the following strategies — or generate your own — and make a plan to implement them as your new four-legged business strategy.

  1. Send direct mail. Target a list of prospects and offer them a specific solution to their issues. This could be direct mail to buyers who would be appropriate for reverse mortgages, apartment renters who might purchase, homeowners who could lower their rates through refinancing, or any other specific need you can solve. With fewer people using direct mail, your piece will have a better chance of being read and acted on.

  2. Use social media. YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn can all connect you to potential referral sources, past clients and future prospects through posts, advertisements or both. You can even create a YouTube channel, a professional Facebook page or a LinkedIn group as a space where you can provide valuable, consistent content that attracts business.

  3. Create a newsletter. Online and print newsletters sent directly to your contact list allow you to contact past clients and other referral sources, as well as prospects you have already spoken to.

  4. Get builder business. Many builders use in-house companies, but your bank or broker-age may have a program those companies don’t offer. Do some research and reach out with specific solutions you can provide.

  5. Work with Realtors. Success in this endeavor is all about forging personal relationships. Focus on just 10 to 15 agents you would like to get consistent business from. A dozen or so Realtor connections are manageable for almost any loan officer.

  6. Teach courses or webinars. Local homebuilders’ associations or boards of Realtors often are eager to have local professionals provide seminars for their members. The more technically savvy can conduct online webinars targeted at prospects appropriate for the programs they offer. By teaching classes, you automatically position yourself as a subject-matter expert, which will help you forge new relationships.

  7. Host a radio show. Going on-the-air will position you as an expert in your area. Many radio stations will actually sell you 30-minute or 60-minute weekly spots. You can then go out and get sponsors to help you pay for the cost of the show and possibly even make a profit while marketing yourself to a large audience.

  8. Become a resource. Local newspapers, talk radio stations, and even TV news outlets all rely on local experts for a variety of topics. Make connections with producers and editors and offer your services as an expert on the topic of mortgage financing.

  9. Create referral target lists. Attorneys, certified public accountants and financial planners are all wonderful referral sources. Build a list of financial professionals to contact in your area and work to forge mutually profitable referral models.

  10. Write a book or free PDF. Identify a problem shared by a particular set of prospects, use your knowledge to create a document that provides a solution and make this book available online. This is another way to position yourself as a subject-matter expert, and the book becomes an effective lead-generation tool.

Monitor and modify

The key to finding success in the mortgage industry — or building on the success you already have — lies in finding multiple ways to generate new business. Just finding new lead-generation strategies isn’t enough, however. You must be able to track and monitor these strategies to know which ones are working and which are not. With that in mind, take the time once a month to review your prior month’s activities and results.

If one of your four strategies is doing well, think of ways to expand and improve upon that stream. If a particular strategy isn’t working, take the time to learn why. Can it be fixed? Can it be tweaked? If it can, try that for a month or two and monitor the progress.  If not, replace that failed strategy with a different one.

There may not be one, single, best way to get a hundred loans, but there are hundreds of ways to get one new loan every month. If you find at least four that work, you’ll have a consistent and predictable marketing and referral program that brings in a stream of reliable business so your company doesn’t topple over.

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Brian Sacks – Top Originator


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