Building TRUST First
The perfect real estate agent-lender connection is cooperative: the agent creates trust with their borrowers by linking them with a terrific lending resource, while the lender obtains a consistent stream of business from the representative.
Build Winning Relationships with Your Referral Partners
The perfect real estate agent-lender connection is cooperative: the agent creates trust with their borrowers by linking them with a terrific lending resource, while the lender obtains a consistent stream of business from the representative. Simple, right? Sadly, this dynamic breaks down all too frequently. Some common reasons for a deteriorating relationship include unreliability, lack of communication, failure to set realistic goals, and poor care during the duration of the lending process.
Still, lenders need to create relationships with real estate agents. For most individuals, real estate agent referrals are essential in bringing consistent business through all market cycles. And that’s not just true in the mortgage industry—the success of the referral business is well documented and proven true. Hubspot recently released a study that documented these findings:
- 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know
- Referred customers have a 30% higher conversion rate
- Referrals account for 65% of a company’s new business on average
The evidence really does say it all. If an agent refers a borrower to your lending services, they’ll probably move forward with the suggestion. Then, once the borrower has the opportunity to head more about your value proposition, they’ll most likely work with you. That’s a powerful lead funnel and truly creates the circle of cash flow.
So, Let’s review what exactly lenders can do to create consistent referrals from real estate agents:
Communication is Key
Trust begins and ends with solid and clear communication. The agent-lender connection is no different. Proactive communication is essential to build a prosperous relationship with real estate agents and their borrower clients.
And yet, still, despite this available information and the importance of this practice, most lenders don’t follow through. In fact, according to Housing Wire, nearly 80% of agents report valuing efficient communication and responsiveness over all other concerns. That’s unacceptable at any time, but it’s especially deal-breaking in today’s hot market.
While good communication might seem like a no brainer to most, there are a few specific actions lenders still need to take to differentiate themselves from their competition:
- Open lines of communication. Provide your personal contact information, not just your office number to real estate agents and utilize text messaging more frequently. This gives agents increased access to you and sends the message that you’re willing to go above and beyond to get loans closed.
- Give a follow-up even when there is no update. If you want to be a top-producing lender in the industry you can’t rely simply on being responsive. You need to take action and be proactive even with quick communication styles like a short email or text once a week, even if it’s just to say that things are still progressing as expected
Building the relationship with the agent will take time and nurturing. But practiced consistently, communication will build you a reputation that opens up a circle of returning referral cycles. Make regular communication a habit of your daily routine and your effort will eventually pay dividends.
Showcase Your Value
Most lending institutions actually charge around the same rates and offer similar loan programs, so it’s even more important to differentiate yourself from the competition. So how can this be accomplished?
Provide an effective process is in closing quickly, providing a smooth transaction, and simply offering great service. The best lenders put in the time to learn from mistakes, anticipate issues, and proactively tackle problems while eliminating the stress on the other end consistently.
Here are a few ways to impress agents and borrowers and to get to the closing table faster:
- Educate your borrowers. Many millennials say they don’t understand any step involved in buying a house. If borrowers aren’t in tune with the lending process, how can they be expected to make a decision confidently and in a timely manner? By supplying valuable resources and expertise in the process, you’ll increase the chances of building trust with the borrower.
- Continue to innovate. Build efficient systems that remove breakdowns from potential borrow and lender processes. Work with your team to establish touchpoints from loan application to closing and mindmap fixes and take action
- Stay in touch with tools. Create a borrower portal with personalization to create a more engaging experience throughout. The ability to apply online has become standard, and tech-empowered platforms are increasingly vital to lender productivity. If you’re behind on the competition because you’re still performing specific rote tasks that can be automated it’s time to upgrade your technology.
With all that being said, setting expectations up-front, using your resources wisely, and learning from roadblocks you’ve experienced, you’ll hone your lending process. Real estate agents will quickly recognize your reliability, efficiency and recommend you to borrowers.
Ask For Referrals
As a lending professional, you’re your own marketing team. Yes, you work under a company name, but it’s your job to create the business.
If you have consistent positive interactions with an agent, leverage that connection and gain value from them to utilize:
- testimonials to post on your social media
- reviews that will show up for Google prospects
If you do this consistently, you’ll eventually be noticed over time and used more frequently. And if you’re truly great at doing this, real estate agents and borrowers will refer you more often.