Developing strategic partnerships

Mortgage originators and loan officers lead the list of strategic partners who can help you get real estate deals done. These people play an essential role in securing your clients' loans. They can help you expand your business through several avenues:

l They can help you serve lower-credit clients. Mortgage originators who are skilled and have a broad line of loan products are open to loan requests from a broadly diverse economic segment, which increases your pool of prospects.

i Some mortgage originators invest in joint marketing efforts. These programs may consist of sending mailers to your sphere of past clients or to prospects in your geographic area, buying e-mail lists and responding with e-mail marketing messages, buying Web site ads, or paying for a banner along the bottom of your real estate magazine ads. Depending on the arrangement, the mortgage originator may pay for some or all of the costs involved.

i Mortgage originators can help convert leads. Most agents make the mistake of getting the mortgage originator involved in a transaction too late. They wait until after they've secured the client relationship to introduce their loan partner. Make the introduction earlier in the lead conversion process. Tandem lead conversion is a powerful strategic partnering technique.

The odds of lead conversion rise significantly when two strategic partners are working the same contact. Once one of you achieves a face-to-face meeting, you both win, because either of you can cross-sell the services of the other.

l The mortgage originator can play the role of a prospect's professional advisor. While most prospects view agents as salespeople, their psychology toward mortgage originators is quite different. They tend to see and trust mortgage originators as consultants rather than as the salespeople that they truly are. By forming strategic partnerships with your mortgage originator, you can put that psychology to work and secure more clients more quickly. I've seen agents increase their closed transactions by over 25 percent through this simple tandem lead conversion approach.

Also form a strategic partnership with your title company. Title representatives can help you conduct research and establish geographic mailing lists. They also can provide statistics that help you see what homes have sold and at what prices over past years, including which areas and neighborhoods have seen the highest number of sales.

Each state and province has different rules regarding how much information they can share. Check with a title representative or your broker to find out the possibilities in your market area.

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