You’re In The Relationship Business

darren-nolander-relationshipsI’m going to drop a truth bomb on you that you may or may not already know. You’re not in the mortgage business, you’re in the relationship business. Good businesses – and business people – are built through repeat patronage.

If a healthy portion of the people who know about your business continue to buy from you, you’re successful. If a handful of people make one-time purchases from you, your business will live to see another day, but will need to continue to find those one-time purchasers to keep you afloat. If your business doesn’t have any customers…well, you know what happens. 

That’s why relationships are key to any successful endeavor. And I don’t just mean relationships with clients. Referrals can come from the soccer mom on the sidelines, the aunt you reconnected with at a family reunion or a realtor who recently held an open house. 

Relationships make the world go round, which is why you need to make sure you’re fostering yours. 

Prospective customers – don’t leave them waiting for a response or a meeting. Respect their time and their investment by communicating regularly and providing responses that make them feel confident they’re in capable, trustworthy hands. 

One of the easiest ways to show a customer you respect them is to listen. That’s right. Turn off the sales pitch and open your ears. Ask them about their goals, both short- and long-term, and give them an opportunity to air their questions, comments and concerns. 

As always, be diligent on the follow up after the meeting ends. Get them any materials or research you promised right away. Send them a thank-you email that says it was nice to meet them, and add a few personalized touches if possible (“You’re going to love Aruba. Perfect choice for an anniversary. Enjoy!”). 

Current customers – you’ve made enough of an impression in the early stages to garner some business, which is awesome! But this is no time to let your guard down (another truth bomb: it’s never time to let your guard down). Helping a client successfully navigate the mortgage application process is a great step, but you want to stay in touch. 

Kindly let them know that you would be honored if they left you a review, as you’re always interested in feedback and strive to be the best loan officer you can be. Mention that you look forward to working with them again, and that you’re always here if they have any further questions – or if anyone else they know may require similar assistance. 

I’m also a big believer in keeping small notes on clients that can bolster our relationship in the future. Small things like birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, favorite sports team, go-to vacation spots, all of these little tidbits should be noted in their file. Things like birthday notes can be sent out on a scheduled basis, while reminders like high school graduations can be used as talking points in further conversations. Some parents, for example, consider cash-out refinances to help with college tuition, while others may look to trade in their homes once the kids have fled the nest. Whatever decision they make, you want to be there offering your support and reminding them how easy and enjoyable it was to work with you. 

Referral partners – you’re not the only one with skin in the game when it comes to homebuyers. The housing industry is a small world, which can be a great thing if you’ve got some stellar referral partners. These connections tend to remain “stellar” when there’s a two-way street. 

So check in with your connections. Grab a coffee or schedule a Zoom happy hour. Ask them about their listings, their family and any other notable happenings. Be sure to also ask if there are any additional ways you can support them. Could they use a social media boost? A couple more open house visitors? The name of a new photographer?

This business is built on loyalty. Letting your partners know you’re in their corner, willing to support them however you can, goes a long way. 

Random connections – I’m including random connections here because there is a plethora of people you’ll encounter – from your daily life, on social media, on the street, etc. – who could end up being clients. Of course, you won’t know that if you don’t treat them as such. 

Now, not every person you meet is going to need a mortgage. You don’t need to stand ready to pounce with your elevator pitch at all times. However, if you treat everyone as a potential client, then the door is wide open when they do require these services…or when they know someone who does. 

This is particularly important on social media. It’s not just about the number of followers you have. It’s about the quality of your interactions. Are you posting engaging, compelling, relevant content? Are you acknowledging comments and joining the conversation when appropriate? Most important of all, are you leaving anyone hanging when they leave you a question or feedback that requires a response? I sure hope not. 

The entire world can see your online interactions. A glance at your page, posts and comments is essentially a fly-on-the-wall perspective of how you conduct business in your office. Keep it clean, keep it professional and make sure there’s something in it for your followers. An online relationship is no less valuable than a person-to-person encounter nowadays.

Regional Vice President - Southwest

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