Mortgage lead generation can be a real challenge for both new loan officers as well as seasoned veterans in the industry. While technology and new marketing tools have changed how loan officers market themselves and bring in new leads, it is still easier to convert a warm referral than a cold lead. A realtor referral program allows loan officers a way to nurture industry relationships that can provide a steady stream of warm leads and increased closings. Here we look closer at a realtor referral program and what it can mean for your business.
- Realtors want to work with trusted lenders, and creating a solid realtor relationship helps set the foundation for a powerful realtor referral program.
- Working with your realtor referral program partners opens the door for cost-effective marketing that can benefit your business and your referral partner’s business.
- Having a realtor referral program in place helps you share your industry knowledge, building trust as an industry expert in your community.
- Incentives in a realtor referral program should benefit the loan officer and the referral partner. It is important to communicate and educate the referral network to establish trust and build genuine relationships.
What is a realtor referral program?
A realtor referral program is a tool or system put in place by a loan officer that is designed to help build and nurture relationships with real estate professionals they can partner with to generate warm leads and referrals from trusted partners. A realtor referral program is not just something you set up and forget about. This program requires the investment of your time to regularly connect with your realtor partners and establish a solid relationship so your realtor partner can feel confident in sending their clients your way.
Importance of a realtor referral program
Successful lead generation is essential for any loan officer’s success and establishing a successful realtor referral program is one way to help generate warm leads that are more likely to move through the sales pipeline and close on their loan. Here we look at some ways implementing a realtor referral program can help your business.
Build trust and credibility
When it comes to choosing a loan officer, borrowers are looking for lenders that they can trust. In most cases, these borrowers have established a relationship with their realtor. A referral from this trusted professional is more likely to be open to working with the lender they recommend. A referral from a trusted source, such as a real estate agent, shows that you are already credible and trusted by someone they trust, making it easier to build a relationship with the potential lead.
Increases lead generation
Lead generation is essential for your business’s success and ensuring your funnel is always full of potential clients. Marketing plans that include traditional forms of marketing and digital marketing can be successful but often brings in cold leads that require more time and commitment to convert. Realtor referrals, in contrast, typically start out as warm leads. These leads have an established relationship with their realtor, and everyone knows that people are more likely to choose a company based on a personal recommendation.
Partnering with a real estate agent allows for more cost-effective marketing opportunities. For example, if you partner with a real estate agent for an open house, you share the costs of the open house flyers that include the information on the home as well as information about the real estate agent and you, the loan officer.
Strengthens relationships with other professionals
As you work to grow your realtor referral program, it is important to take the time to nurture and strengthen these relationships. Building solid relationships with your core referral team will show other business professionals – from real estate agents to homebuilders – that you are a credible and trustworthy loan officer. They can feel comfortable sending clients, thus growing your referral network.
How to set up a realtor referral program
Here we take a look at some important steps to consider when working to implement your realtor referral program.
1. Define goals and objectives
When creating a realtor referral program, you must start by identifying your referral goals. Who is your ideal client? Being able to identify your ideal referral can help give your referral partners a clear idea of the clients you are looking for. For example, if you specialize in first-time home loans, you are looking for young, first-time buyers from your referral network and not those looking to refinance.
2. Identify potential referral sources
Not all potential referral partners are created equal. Before approaching or marketing to a potential referral partner, it is important to identify referral partners that you believe will be beneficial to your business.
3. Set up an incentive program
Incentives are a great way to increase referrals from your partners. While you can offer things like coffee gift cards for every referral or some other item, the fact is your realtor partners are often looking for something that will also benefit their business. Creating a partnership that benefits them is a bonus. For example, when you have new clients come in to get a pre-approval or determine how much home they can afford, you can refer them to your real estate partners, making a referral relationship beneficial for both members.
4. Communicate and educate your network
Referral partners, such as real estate agents, are looking for loan officers that they can trust, have a deep understanding of the industry, and can offer them and their clients a benefit. Sharing your knowledge with your referral partners is a great way to offer them benefits while also strengthening your relationships. For example, say you have created a Facebook group for your referral partners. Each month, go live with an event that offers them a deeper look into the industry, such as bringing in an underwriter to explain common challenges of underwriting a loan.
5. Develop a tracking system
As with any marketing campaign, you want to be able to track the success of your realtor referral program. Establishing a tracking system allows you to see which partnerships are working and which ones are not. Utilizing a CRM gives you a way to segment your realtor referral partners and track every step of each referral process. You are able to connect everything from when a referral first made contact all the way through to closing.
Best practices for running a successful realtor referral program
Earning referrals takes time and effort on your part. Realtors are constantly being approached by loan officers and other professionals looking to add them to their referral network, so it is essential that you create ways to make yourself and your business stand out. Here are some tips that can help you establish yourself as an industry and community leader while also nurturing realtor relationships.
- Share your industry knowledge.
- Grow your social media presence and engage with followers. Consider creating group pages for your referral network.
- Follow through on what you say. Do not promise something you or your business are unable to deliver.
- Become active in the community. Realtors often have an active role in their local community and they often look for referral partners that have the same. This connection to the community is a great way to make your business stand out, not only to potential referral partners but to potential clients.
- Regular communication. Talking with your realtor referral partners on a weekly basis not only keeps your name on their minds but also shows the value you offer to them and their clients. For example, if they have already sent clients, regular updates on where they are in the loan process are beneficial. If you are waiting for documents from the client, oftentimes the realtor can connect and help speed up the process.
- Focus on building a genuine relationship. While building a realtor referral program is essential for lead generation, building genuine relationships with your partners is more likely to deliver real success for both you and your network.
Creating a successful realtor referral program
A realtor referral program is a necessary marketing tool for any loan officer looking to be successful. However, creating genuine relationships with your referral partners allows you to highlight your business and what you can offer to your referral partners and develop connections that benefit both your business and your referral’s business.
Helping you boost your referral network
Lead generation is essential for the success of any business in the mortgage industry, including the loan officer. At Good Vibe Squad, we are committed to helping loan officers generate the qualified leads they need to achieve success. Book a strategy call today to learn how we can help your business nurture your referral program and generate leads who are ready to close.