darren-nolander-leadingLead generation can often be one of the hardest parts of our jobs. Most of us are great salespeople and closers when we already have one on the hook, but baiting that hook and knowing where to fish are the challenging parts.

Referral programs with real estate agents, interior designers and building contractors are obvious lead sources. While these can be mutually beneficial partnerships, many housing industry veterans already have a deep pool of trusted loan officers. I hope you’re already in a few of these pools. These referral programs, combined with positive online reviews and a rolodex full of satisfied customers, can yield some results. But they can’t typically fill a pipeline.

Cold calling and direct mailers can be additional ways to generate leads but, again, they’re one vein within a larger organ that needs multiple active streams to remain viable. That leaves you with your organic prospecting efforts. And this starts with thinking outside the box.

Sure, professions associated with the single-family home industry may already have LO contacts, but what about financial advisors, accountants/CPAs and life insurance agents? Think about it. These professionals are privy to their clients’ inner workings, including income, expenses, and, oftentimes, long- and short-term goals.

Another natural funnel of business is – wait for it – other lending professionals! Hear me out. There are plenty of smaller banks and local credit unions that don’t offer in-house mortgage origination services. Your customers may need their services, particularly if they’re moving to a new area, so this is a natural path to creating new synergies and shared business.

I have one last route (aside from your own network of family, friends and organizations) that can yield business, but I want to emphasize the sensitive nature of this referral first. Unfortunately, many of us will have to deal with the loss of a loved one, be it a parent, grandparent, spouse or other deeply cherished individual. After the initial timeframe passes, many people are left to sort through their loved one’s affairs. This may include assets like a home – which may include unexpected costs like a mortgage. Others must address mortgages in other unpleasant situations, such as divorce.

You can help these individuals by presenting yourself as a compassionate, trusted, consummate professional to the other experts hired to help sort out these messy situations. These experts typically include estate planners, attorneys and paralegals.

Sometimes the most obvious path is the one jammed with the most bodies jockeying for position. Take the road less traveled every now and then, and see what might come of it.

Regional Vice President - Southwest

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.