In a world where home buyers start their search online, watch streamed home tours on Facebook Live, and attend open houses through VR, the power of a personal relationship with realtors and their clients might seem like an afterthought.
While it’s true that the home buying process is more empowered by technology today than ever before, that doesn’t mean that the relationship loan officers have with real estate agents is no longer important. On the contrary, co-marketing has become more key to success than ever.
What Makes This Relationship So Important?
Even today, most loan officers receive the vast majority of their business referrals from real estate agents. When potential buyers set out to buy a property, they aren’t going to search for a loan officer first. They are going to search for a real estate agent.
This is partly because of the priorities of most potential home buyers: the home or property itself is their number one priority when beginning the search. Real estate agents are typically also much more invested in marketing themselves in their communities and online than the average loan officer.
A potential buyer might have seen Facebook ads, bulletin board flyers at local coffee shops and grocery stores, or even received a mailer with a real estate agent or firm advertised on it. It’s unlikely that they experienced the same level of marketing from a local loan officer.
Trying to out-market real estate agents is not a sensible strategy, particularly because time and familiarity are on their side. As the first person a potential home buyer calls, the real estate agent has great influence over the choices that client makes going forward, and if your name isn’t on their list of trusted loan officers, it’s less likely that the client is going to seek you out for themselves.
What Realtors Look for in a Loan Officer
Now that we’ve established why it’s important to build close relationships with realtors, let’s dive in to what a realtor really wants from the relationship. Offering the lowest rates and a free lunch simply isn’t enough anymore – panelists at a real estate conference admitted that only 1% of realtors choose a loan officer to refer clients to based on the lowest rates.
Take time to understand what real estate agents look for in a loan officer, and offer them exactly the right set of skills and values for maximum appeal:
Clear Communication. Surveys show that almost 80% of realtors list efficient communication and responsiveness as their top concerns in finding a loan officer to refer to their clients. Disclosures can be many pages full of financial and legal jargon that the average person will have some difficulty digesting. Realtors want a loan officer who can easily break down the complicated process of mortgage lending and give borrowers a solid understanding of their mortgage rate and home loan. Consider adding customized rates to your website through software like BankingBridge so potential clients know exactly what they are getting when they work with you.
Transparency. Being clear about your rates is only half of the kind of transparency agents are looking for in today’s market. The process of mortgage lending can be confusing, and realtors want a loan officer who can bring clarity and honesty to their client’s situation – even if the truth is not what they want to hear.
Availability & Responsiveness. Realtors pride themselves on being available to their clients at all hours of the day, and they appreciate a loan officer who goes out of their way to respond to emails, calls, and texts quickly and efficiently.
Accountability. Realtors don’t want to worry whether their clients will be approved for a loan in time – they want to partner with a loan officer who always lives up to their promises.
How to Build Solid Realtor Relationships
Aside from striving to embody the values listed above in each and every transaction, there are a few steps you can take to truly make an impression.
Reach Out and Make Real Connections. Search social media, ask around town – find real estate agents near you that you would like to work with and contact them. It’s even better if you can find a common acquaintance to introduce you! Check out this list of the best ways to make real connections using LinkedIn!
Personalize Your Sales Pitch. Realtors are salespeople. They will see through a copy and paste email or response in an instant. Instead, set yourself apart from the pack by personalizing the message to that particular agent.
Practice Your Sales Pitch. Even if you aren’t at a networking event, there will be times that you organically run into realtors out and about in the world. Be ready! Rehearse your sales pitch with friends and family so that, when you do run into the star realtor at a community event, you know just what to say.
Proactive Updates. Agents don’t always want to have to log in to a portal and check on the status of their client’s loan. Make it easy for them by proactively contacting them to let them know each update on their client’s loan status.
Effective Email Marketing. Cold-call email drip campaigns are only as effective as the content within them. Ask yourself: does this email contain useful information for my target audience?
Invest in a Social Media Presence. Real estate agents are already doing this. They understand that cultivating a meaningful, educational, useful internet presence with a consistent branding message is incredibly useful to drawing in new clients.
Modern Print Marketing. Despite the prevalence of online marketing, print marketing still has a time and place! Your mortgage payment flyers and open house flyers need to do more than just list mortgage rates, though. All of your mortgage co-marketing needs to be well designed, easy to read, and show off your personal brand.
Have Your Own “Open House.” Nothing beats face-to-face contact, so why not make yourself available by offering office hours? This can be in the conference room of your bank, the realtor’s office, or even in a public space that’s centrally located so that agents can come to you.
Show Up When It Matters. Closing on time is obviously going to make your clients and realtor partners happy, but what about being there for the big event? Closing is a special moment, especially for first-time home buyers. By taking part in this emotional moment, either by showing up in person if possible, or by giving the agent a congratulatory call, you are forging a powerful bond.
Technology that Empowers Buyers. Mortgage lending looks different in today’s technologically advanced world, and any loan officer or mortgage lender that wants to keep up with online lending services like Lendra, Quicken Loans, and Better.com needs to embrace a new, technologically-empowered toolkit.
How BankingBridge Helps Strengthen Realtor Relationships
BankingBridge is software that helps loan officers and mortgage lenders maximize their relationships with both realtors and clients. It works within your existing website to passively and actively increase lead capture and build connections to both realtors and potential clients. BankingBridge will change the way you do business for the better.
- Bring a new level of transparency to your business with flexible tools that make it easy to share your rates and loan programs with realtors and clients on your website, social media platforms, and even realtors’ websites
- Make realtor loan officer marketing easy with our modern open house and mortgage payment flyers
- Integration with the leading pricing engines allows you to send automated price quotes straight from your website
- Grow your online presence on social media platforms faster and more efficiently
- Create customizable drip campaigns and develop effective email marketing strategies with ease
- Communicate more clearly, with infographics and market updates that clients will understand
- Ensure accountability with custom compliance tools
Co-marketing with your realtor partners doesn’t need to be hard.
Request a demo at https://bankingbridge.com/products/ and bring real value to your realtor relationships!