If you want to build a relationship with a Real Estate Agent, you might want to rethink your approach. Gone are the days of offering a rate sheet and a co-branded flyer. No one cares about those anymore. The “I’ll buy you lunch in return for your clients” is almost an insult to Realtors.
What do Realtors want? They want you to help bring in the clients. You have to be able to give a deal to get a deal. Bring clients to a Realtor and you’ll be able to attract any Realtor you want.
Realtors are looking for loan officers that have the ability to get a deal done quickly and they want their loan officer to be responsive and provide value to their clients.
A loan officer that can help a Realtor’s business by personalizing the message and the branding has a better shot of getting their attention. You have to understand that you’re not the only loan officer who is marketing to them. They’re getting the same boring sales pitch from 10-20 loan officers all the time. That isn’t relationship marketing and it isn’t how you build business with agents today.
How are you setting yourself apart from other loan officers?
The biggest question is, “How are you going to differentiate yourself?” It starts with personalization. Use technology to send push notifications, text messages, and touch points that are thoughtful and personal. They’ll respond to those things more than they will with automated drips.
How do you provide value for the client in a way that goes above and beyond the expectations of everyone involved in the deal? A great touch point to offer to the consumer and the Realtor is gift marketing. Gift giving is a powerful way to connect with consumers. It strengthens relationships and provides unexpected value.
Retailers have known the secret of gift giving for years. Just about every grocery store gives discounts for being a member. Many retailers give gift cards with no strings attached. It brings customers back into their stores. Gifting is 10 times more effective at driving customers in the door and creating loyalty to the brand than any other promotional activity.
The power of gift marketing
So, what can you offer through gift marketing to build those relationships as a loan officer? Start with a pre-approval box. When a consumer is pre-qualified for a home loan, send them a personalized gift to start the relationship building process.
At the NuHome Team, we send a pre-approval gift, a personalized letter that is sent with the gift, and we send out a box of assorted cookies from a premiere bakery to start showing our appreciation of the client. We also send an email with a detailed list of valuable information they will need during the home buying journey.
Our Realtors begin to receive the same type of treatment. They are sent out a Thank you card with a lottery ticket or a random personalized gift. We want to spoil the Realtor, so they receive the same type of experience as the client. Remember, you’re building relationships with both the client and the Realtor. And your Realtor will receive this type of treatment every time you work together with a client.
Create a Lifetime Relationship with client and Realtor
The gifting and touch points don’t stop there. Begin to create a lifetime relationship with the client. Stay in touch with the client by sending monthly personalized letters that speak from the heart, not just thanking them, but building a relationship the same way you would with a new friend or significant other.
Send your realtors monthly gifts to keep them top of mind with your brand. Remember them on their birthday and send a gift that you know they will appreciate. Again, you don’t have to break the bank, just send something personal and thoughtful. These continued touch points will help set you apart from other loan officers.
When the loan is funded, send the client a closing gift. Put some money and thought into it. Nothing too expensive, but also nothing that is a cheap throwaway gift. You can even brand the gift with your logo to keep the experience in their memory.
We also send them a one-year anniversary gift and at the same time send out a marketing email that encourages them to call back to see if refinancing would be a good option to help lower their monthly payments and save them money. Who doesn’t want to save money? This helps create a client for life and it’s a win-win for the client and the loan officer.
Win over Realtors and clients with special events
Offer special events throughout the year for your clients and Realtors. Something simple like treating them to a meal and drinks to mingle with other clients and your team of mortgage professionals. It continues the process of relationship building.
You can invite them to your home for a pool party or get together with a unique theme that makes the event more interesting. Always make the events family friendly. And make sure to hold separate events for your clients and realtors. It makes the event more personalized for the type of relationships you are building.
Offer lunch and learn presentations or some type of educational training for your Realtors. Remember, not everyone is a seasoned professional. New agents enter the industry every month and are desperate for information and tactics to help build their brand and their business.
Take them out for a monthly happy hour or networking event that helps them learn and create business relationships by networking with others in the industry. As a loan officer, be able to provide insights into the industry, and how the Realtor can benefit by working with you on a deal.
Provide value with content marketing
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, co-branded flyers don’t cut it anymore. If you can afford to hire a marketing professional for your team, have that person create personalized content that the Realtor can post on their social media channels or website.
Create images that the Realtor can use in their email campaigns. And yes, the occasional co-branded flyer can be useful. Record some video together to educate the public on the process of buying a home, credit tips, or other related topics. Don’t become the Realtors personal marketing assistant but provide marketing assets once in a while to help grow the agent’s brand. This will benefit both of you.
Provide useful information to the client and Realtor
Don’t’ overwhelm the client with too many emails or newsletters. Once a month is a great approach. You can send the client updates on their home’s value. How much they can pull out from a cash out refinance, or home equity line of credit for home upgrades, repairs, or extra spending money for vacations or personal needs. Information on their community and how it’s affecting home values. Get creative and provide content that you think will bring value to the client.
If there is important industry news such as interest rate changes, new government programs, or information related to the Realtors job, share that news. You can use video or written content to reach out to the Realtor and continue to provide value in the relationship.
Step up your review and referral game
Realtors love loan officers that have a ton of positive reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp. When consumers search the internet to begin to choose who they want to work with, reviews are one of the top deciding factors.
Set up some type of review reward program. When you close a loan for a client, offer a gift card or something of value in return for their review on the referral sites your use. If you can get the client to take a quick video with their phone giving you a positive review is a bonus, because you can use that content for marketing purposes.
People love to share their experiences with others. And when you provide continuous value through relationship building, they will be more likely to refer you to their friends, families, or coworkers who are interested in purchasing or refinancing a home.
There are so many more ways to create relationships with a new or existing Realtor. It’s up to you decide what type of budget you’re going to set aside and how you want to personalize your message to bring value to the Realtor.
Showing them that you actually care about the client not just the deal, and that you’re willing to go above and beyond for that mutual client will build a loyal and trusting relationship between the loan officer and the Realtor. And in the long run, word of mouth will spread throughout the Real Estate industry that you’re the type of loan officer that every Realtor dreams of working with.