Originators will talk about the importance of referral partners until they’re blue in the face. Industry experts will tell you how to meet them and how to win them over with a combination of direct style and smooth strategies.
Once you’ve met referral partners and earned enough of their trust to send you business, however, is that where the story ends? What does it take to keep them as trusted partners for the rest of your career?
Advice from top originators and mortgage coaching experts includes finding ways to bring value to your referral partners, and that doesn’t always mean bringing them clients. Top originator Danny Horanyi and his team at Gaylord Hansen have a business that’s built primarily on realtor referral partnerships, but he says that value extends beyond the immediate clientele.
“We have to focus on what’s important for them and how we can facilitate their business and support their customers, as specific as that may be,” Horanyi said. “I know originators who [have] 100% of their referrals come from relocations of doctors by hospitals. So they have to support the HR department of the hospitals. That’s their referral partner. So if you know what you’re really good at, and you can provide value to another group of influencers, people who have a shared customer [as] you, we’re all just looking to intersect with somebody.”
The biggest challenge that top originator Houtan Hormozian hears from most realtors specifically, is that there is a lack of communication on the originator’s side, which leads to overpromising and under-delivering. If you and your realtor partners aren’t on the same page with shared goals, it can be even more difficult to provide value to each other.
“There are some realtors where the money is a priority and then there are a certain type of realtors where, first they want to provide the service and then the by-product of providing that service is the compensation they receive,” said top originator Houtan Hormozian. “My type of realtors that I work with . . . are the type of realtors that actually care about making sure the client gets the best deal, they’re not being sold a dream that cannot come to fruition, and more than anything else, to make it a hassle-free, stress-free process for them.”
Just because you make a connection with a realtor and get business from them doesn’t mean that you get to rest on your laurels. Over time their needs change, so it’s always good to touch base periodically to make sure that your current offerings hold value.
You may also need to educate your referral partners on changes on your side of the industry. Changes in certain mortgage products and offerings can affect their clients and can mean the difference between buying a home and not buying a home. For example, a realtor who doesn’t know the details of a 203(k) FHA loan might not show clients a home that needs serious rehabilitation, and a client may not be able to afford a home in their desired area that’s already been renovated.
Your real estate agents, financial planners, and CPAs are the bread and butter of your referring partners, and there are different levels of realtors, said Paul Volpe, vice president and senior loan officer at Nova Home Loans. At the top are core loyal agents that you know that they look out for you and you look out for them.
“You’ve [also] got those agents that really only use you to use you in a pinch, you’re their third option. You want to try to work your way into being their first option, but you also need to know where you’re spending your resources in terms of people you should be working with and make sure you have your core set of agents and those core set of agents want to introduce you do other agents in the office and stuff like that, set up a group lunch or weekend get together, or stuff like that. It’s all about building that business with your core people.”
When trying to work your way up to be the first choice of your referral partners, take a look at the situation from their perspective. Yes, they’re the ones who are sending you clients, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t help in other ways. You don’t want them to see you or float your name around and think, in the words of Ms. Jackson – ‘what have you done for me lately?’
“Keeping any partnership happy is very, very simple,” Horyani said. “You set expectations, line up what you know you can deliver on, identify that that aligns with what they need, and then just do that. Every time.”
Maximum referrals for minimum outlay
Have you tapped into all of your referral sources?