My referral partners are almost all real estate agents. As a loan officer, I recommend you devote your time to realtors. It’s hard to beat somebody where virtually all their clients need your services. For me, it’s always been the real estate agent.
Mary Carroll is a local real estate agent I’ve known for 20 years. She’s what we call a whale in the industry, a top producer in the area in the real estate community. She took me under her wing all those years ago and showed me the ropes. She was one of the first people to send me referrals. She knew I was brand new in the business and said she could see the fire in my eyes. She remembered what it was like when she was getting started, and she took the time to mentor me and pay it forward.
What do real estate agents want from us loan officers in order to trust us with their leads and give us referrals? If anyone knows the answer to that, it’s Mary.
Realtors Look for Loan Officers Who Are a Cultural Fit
When we say “cultural fit,” we’re not talking about someone’s gender or ethnicity or any of that; we’re talking about people who value the same things we do. Mary and I both work hard and with integrity, and we attract people like ourselves. We both seek out people in our industry who come from a place of contribution.
As a loan officer, if you’re going to be working with a realtor on an ongoing basis, you’re going to be together a lot. You’ll be in the trenches together. You want to make sure this is a person you like hanging out with. If you start talking to this person, and you just don’t click, then they’re probably not a good fit.
How do you find out if someone is a good fit? You just start having conversations with them. Know ahead of time what you’re looking for, what your perfect realtor avatar is, and ask them questions to that end. Get to know them.
Looking back to the early years of our friendship, Mary remembers me bringing coffee to meetings for her and protecting her time as a single mom with young sons. She says I taught her things too, like the fact that she needed someone to partner with her in the business, someone she could trust. A lot of lenders treated her like she had an ATM on her forehead, but I treated her like a human being, a friend.
Realtors Want Loan Officers Who Follow Up with Leads
If a realtor sends a client your way, they want to know you’re taking care of their client. Agents are looking for speed of response. If you’re a loan officer who’s a one-person band, you’re not going to be able to respond to everyone quickly. This is one more reason (in a long list of many) why you can’t afford not to hire help.
If Mary gives Carl a lead, somebody from Carl’s team better call that lead back. It doesn’t have to be Carl or a loan officer. It can be someone from Carl’s office calling on his behalf. That person says, “Hi, I’m Claire from XYZ Mortgage. Carl wanted to move you right to the top of the line. Let me direct you to our online application. I’m going to help you get all the documents together, and I’m going to get you on the schedule for the loan consultation.”
We don’t care who talks to them as long as it’s a quick follow-up response and they know how to get the job done.
When Mary would do an open house for clients, I’d call her the next day and follow up. I’d ask if she met anyone at the open house who I could help her with or vet for her. Then I’d call those people and say, “Hi. Mary asked me to thank you so much for coming to the open house. I help Mary find money for people. Let’s get you pre-approved so she can meet you for an appointment.”
There was another thing I’d do for Mary’s clients to help them feel taken care of. I’d ask, “Mary, when are your clients moving into their new home? How many people are going to be with the moving truck? I’m going to send pizzas over, but don’t be surprised. It’s coming from you. And a little bit from me too.”
Mary said she loved that, because it made her look good. I mean, she already looked good to her clients, but the pizza gesture made her look even better. And they remembered it long after their move-in day.
Realtors Want Loan Officers Who Listen and Care
A lot of loan officers think they need to bring something to the table in their relationship—namely that they need to help real estate agents get leads. Mary says, as a whale in her industry, she doesn’t need help from a loan officer to build her business. She wants a relationship first, then she’ll take leads from that person.
With a smile, Mary admits to being very egotistical, “which a lot of us top-producing agents are.” And of course they are. There’s no sense in being falsely humble about their enormous success. She says she loves talking about how she built her business.
When I met Mary, I genuinely enjoyed asking her questions about her success. How did you build this incredible business? Were you born with this talent? How did you know you wanted to be a realtor? How do you balance work and life? What do you love most about what you do? Mary said she’d never been asked those questions before, and they were refreshing. They set me apart from other loan officers.
Realtors Want Loan Officers Who Communicate
Our friend Steve Kyles has this thing called “touch the lead, touch the partner.” Every time someone in my office talks to Mr. and Mrs. Jones, they also give Mary a call for an update. There’s no such thing as too much communication. That’s her paycheck. She wants to know what’s happening.
If she gave me someone’s name and phone number, she wants to know what’s going on with them. It’s scary to hand that over and then not know what’s going on. Are they in credit repair? Did they go somewhere else? Did something else happen? Do you need help collecting the documents?
When we were first getting to know each other, I called her four weeks in a row and asked her how I could help her. She says my persistence turned into impeccable timing. I call my realtor referral partners every Monday morning and have for years. Does this ever get annoying? Mary says no, of course not. We have a friendship/business relationship, and who doesn’t want to hear from their friends?
In summary, form relationships with top-producing realtors who are a cultural fit and share your values. Follow up immediately with leads they give you. Ask them good questions, listen to them, show them you care—in whatever creative ways you can. Come from a place of curiosity and communicate with them frequently. Make them look good. We’re all human beings and would love a new friend. I’m thankful to have a longtime friend in Mary.
If you’d like to map out some of the ways we talk to agents and get free loan officer scripts and strategies for each day of the week, schedule a FREE call with us TODAY.