How to Do a VA Home Buyer Event
One of the keys to success in the mortgage industry is having the ability to think of ideas outside the box—and then implement them.
My friend Sarah Cox is doing just that with her VA home buyer event.
Sarah has been in the mortgage business since 2002. She’s done a lot within the industry—servicing, processing, compliance, training, and being a sales assistant. In 2010, she decided to get her license and become an originator. She found her “why” and that’s to help support the Hispanic community. Her family is from Mexico and she’s bilingual, so it’s the perfect fit.
She left originating full-time in 2021 because of an opportunity to work for a lender who was a preferred lender for a builder. It felt like a natural progression in her career, but then she realized just how much she liked origination. The company she worked for filed for bankruptcy, and she jumped off the path she was on and went back to originating full-time in July 2022.
She says it’s good to be back. Living off a commission can be scary, but there’s no ceiling. There’s truly no limit to what we can make.
Where the Idea of a VA Home Buyer Event Came From
Sarah was introduced to the Mortgage Marketing Animals in July 2022. She joined the Loan Officer Breakfast Club and started to get more and more out-of-the-box ideas, different creative ways to network and build relationships. She’s an extrovert and this comes naturally to her.
She started honing her skill set and began identifying the little guys. There’s so much value and potential in the smaller-producing agents, she says. She met an agent who just started selling this year and had six buy-side closes, which is very impressive in this market. Sarah asked her where she was getting her clients, and the agent said she and her husband are in the military, and she just started talking to people on base. That’s her niche clientele.
This agent has a mentor who has a lot of experience. Sarah wanted to build a relationship with this other agent as well, because she knows she brings a lot of value. She set up a meeting with both of them and they all began partnering together.
One of the cool things about partnering with agents that are newer, Sarah says, is that they typically don’t have a lot of established relationships already. So it’s all about getting those relationships and figuring out how to connect all the dots.
Then one of Sarah’s neighbors invited her to a self-defense class for agents. She met the escrow officer who was putting the event on. She’s a great networker who is really knowledgeable and has a lot of resources at her fingertips. She has access to a title company’s software that can access public data and get a list of whatever they need—like non-owner-occupied homes in a specific zip code.
So they all sat down to figure out who they wanted to target for this VA home buyer event and how they’re going to invite them.
Inviting Potential Clients to the Event
First, they designed mailers in Canva for free. They did a postcard with the information on one side and a coloring page for kids on the other side. The title company is doing them for 17 cents each (what a great deal!).
Then they set up an Eventbrite, so people could register using a QR code. And they hired a local company that does birthday parties to entertain the kids on a Saturday from 11am to 1pm. This company does face painting, crafts, stories, superheroes, princesses, and they occupy the kids for two hours. Sarah said it’s very affordable.
The title company is providing the facility and inviting people as well. They got an insurance agent involved who is providing a Chick-Fil-A lunch. And Sarah and her business partners are putting on the event. Her company has a lot of resources for the VA buyer, so they’re going to lean on those resources to come up with some niche things most people don’t know about being a VA buyer.
As far as getting the word out, they’re doing targeted ads on Facebook. Then, when people register, Sarah’s team will follow up with a phone call and email. They’ll get it in the mail, see it on Facebook, and get a follow up—a triple whammy.
Why This Plan Is So Brilliant
I told Sarah she’s a beast. The kid portion of the event is absolutely brilliant. Hell, people will come just to have a place where they can have some peace and quiet while someone watches their kids for a couple hours. And she leverages the help of a bunch of other people too—brilliant.
One thing that’s key for people wanting to do a VA event is to realize that the VA client is very nomadic. They might not have the support group, the friends, or the network. They might be introverted. It might be hard for them to really get out there and build a community of people that they can connect with. What better opportunity than something like this. Nobody’s asking anything from them. It’s just a great way to connect with others.
Sarah and her team always start their presentations by saying that their goal is to honor people’s time and their commitment to be there. She has participants hold all the questions until the end, so the presentation doesn’t get hijacked by persistent people who just want to keep asking things. If she doesn’t have the answers, she’ll get their contact information and get those answers for them. “Just be sure to partner with someone who does have answers,” she advises.
What’s the Follow-Up Plan After the Event Is Over?
I asked Sarah about her follow-up plan. We all know that if you do a class and do nothing after, then nothing will happen.
She and her team have the follow-up plan all thought out. They’re sending this mailer to 500 people in the neighborhood, and for anyone who doesn’t come up, they’ll continue to send them mailers, because the cost is nominal. And the value is in the follow-up.
They’ll continue sending a monthly mailer reminding them that they want to do these events once or twice a month. They have a QR code at the event that allows folks to get text messages with updates. They use a program from a company called Whisp. This software is currently being used by large online lenders in Super Bowl commercials, so people will be familiar with it.
They’re also going to use another QR code at the actual event for folks to fill out a short form where you collect their name, address, email address, spouse’s name, date of birth, kids, how quickly are you looking to make a move, etc. They collect that data, and then the best way to communicate with them immediately is a phone call. The realtor is the one who makes that first contact. Sarah and the realtor have a shared spreadsheet in Google. The realtor makes notes in the spreadsheet, and Sarah follows up with her notes as well. Then they add them to their CRM, with the goal of doing an application, getting them in their loan platform, and eventually getting them closed.
Sarah has never paid for leads. She’s all about doing things that will touch more people on a personal level. She sees this industry as a prism with so many facets. It’s all about relationships, and you can’t just focus on one thing. There are so many layers. And she’s touching individuals, thanking them for coming, and following up with them.
Don’t Let the Market Affect You
Sarah just started originating again three months ago. She joined her company 30 days ago. She’s getting 15-20 leads a week, has locked in six loans, and closed two. In less than 30 days. Those are remarkable numbers.
“It’s unreal,” she says. “Like every day, I can’t wait to wake up. I wake up before my alarm clock. I’m excited every day. I have a newfound energy. Don’t listen to anyone who’s speaking negativity. When someone tells you no, say, ‘Watch me do it. Hold my beer.’”
If the market’s up or the market’s down, that’s not going to affect people like me and Sarah and so many of you reading this right now. We’re going to climb and claw, keep going, and we’ll make it happen. If there are less loans, we’ll just get a bigger market share. I don’t tie my success to the market.
Sarah told me that she wishes the Mortgage Marketing Animals had existed years ago when she needed it. And I told her, “I wish it would have existed earlier in my career too.”
If you’d like some help thinking outside the box, we’d love to help you do that. Click HERE to set up your FREE call where we’ll help you map out a plan that will take you exactly where you want to go.