According to NAR’s annual research report on the real estate industry, nearly 75% of home buyers selected a real estate agent after interviewing only one person. The study also found that for the vast majority of customers, the agent was referred by the buyer’s family and friends. While this is no surprise, it confirms the importance of being a prospect’s initial contact if an agent wants to succeed.
I would argue that the same is true for mortgage originators where being referred by a trusted member of a customer’s sphere of influence is a significant competitive advantage. Furthermore, sales professionals, mortgage originators included, rarely have a second chance to make a great impression.
That said, staying top of mind among prospects and customers is not easy to achieve. Being the first call the customer makes does not happen by chance but requires consistent, frequent marketing outreach that is customized for the originator’s target audience.
While lenders can provide marketing support to the sales force, generic corporate messaging is not enough to distinguish an originator from the rest of the pack. Consumers want personalized, relevant content that helps them navigate the home loan process. No lender’s marketing department can determine what matters most to potential customers better than the originator.
Increasing Visibility in the Marketplace
The challenge for originators is that the loan process starts earlier than ever as most consumers research their options online before contacting a sales professional. One way for producers to increase their visibility and remain relevant among their target audience is by positioning themselves as industry experts using an educational approach. By keeping prospects and former customers up-to-date on how the loan process works, providing tips for a seamless home loan transaction and other need-to-know topics, originators can deliver valuable information while building meaningful relationships. Thanks to technological advances, producers have countless options to connect with their target audience. Regular blog posts, video tutorials or Facebook live events on hot home loan issues are just a few of the ways originators can share their expertise.
Creating messaging that resonates with potential customers takes time and commitment. But originators who get this part of the equation right will be rewarded with repeat and referral business in the future.
As we move into the second half of the year, now is a great time for originators to focus on what they need to do to be the first call when prospects and former customers need a home loan.