Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lenders and realty agents are both faced with the same challenge, which right now is survival for many individuals and offices. Even those who have been savvy enough to continue to budget a portion of income toward advertising and marketing (instead of waiting until it's too late to spend) are running into obstacles while riding the storm out.

You have to have a plan of attack. I personally communicate with at least 300 potential clients by phone or e-mail every week whether the market is good, bad, or indifferent. I have products and services to market just as you do. Yet I hear the "business is bad so I'm not going spend anything right now" line at least once a day.

But the question remains, what are you doing to generate new or additional business, whether you are spending or not? Just as important, who out there is watching out for you?

For example, the mortgage broker I use knew my "magic number" even though I had not spoken with him for more than a year. During first quarter of this year when there was a 2 week "teaser" period where mortgage rates dropped enough to notice, I got an e-mail from him about my "magic number". The end result is that my wife and I refinanced our mortgage and the lowest rate we have seen available (including since we locked in), and saved just over $200 per month on our mortgage. The closing for this refinance was arranged at a title company closer to home than his office. Not only do I have the savings to show for this, but I only missed one hour of valuable work day "sales time" to get the papers signed. And my mortgage lender didn't even show at the closing. While I haven't seen him in person in somewhere around 2 years, he got the job done.

How many "magic numbers" do you have on file from your past and potential customers? That doesn't cost you any advertising dollars, but I'm here to tell you can make a difference.Real estate agents should be checking with their clients to find their "magic number" just like lenders should. Why? Let's say you call John Q. Public and he says he would refinance once he could save $200 per month. With today's buyer's market, and your knowledge of your client's property, you might be able to find him a nearby property with the amenities he is seeking that would automatically lead to a lower mortgage.

If you can get a buyer for their current property, you wind up with 2 commissions. And the mortgage broker(s) you work with are brought more business due to your efforts, and should reciprocate in order to keep your business.

Mortgage lenders should likewise know the "magic number" of their current and potential clients. If they are having difficulty affording their present mortgage and rates don't justify a refinance, perhaps a move to a more affordable property is the ticket. What a perfect "lead" for the realty agent(s) you work with.Direct communication is such a key. Knowing what information you can get and who you need to give it to. I can show you how to get past the conventional "send this to everybody out there" thinking that has some mortgage brokers and realty agents closing their doors this week.

Your best information might only go to a handful of people, maybe even to one or two people. The more specialized you target, the more of a quality lead or tip you deliver. People notice when they are the only or primary target. Think of it as if you have a hot stock or a hot investment tip and you are only going to share it with the one person who could best take advantage. In a sense, you are. Use your personal pipeline to your advantage.

For example, a colleague representing an export company asked me if I knew someone who operates a plumbing or commercial contractor business. My colleague's source could save a business thousands of dollars by purchasing water sprinkler pipe from a very reputable overseas source. Well, some mornings operating my shower at home can be a struggle. But a residential lender client of mine has a colleague who does commerical and business loans. Within 3 days, a connection was made. I only told one person, but now I have at least 2 more people that will refer business to me at some point.

And that business owner who gained from this just e-mailed me this morning about being able to save Fire Sprinkler Dealers at least 50% on steel and galvanized pipe by purchasing from his new source in China. I wouldn't know galvanized pipe if it was in the room, but I'll certainly mention it to a few people. (If you know of someone, please e-mail me, even if you are not a client. I'll get the referral ball rolling your way, and at no cost.)

These are a couple of the "lead sources" I get on a regular basis from my personal contacts, because I can generate business and revenue for all concerned" line. I have actually started conversations at networking functions asking "so how can I get you more business". It is sort of a business twist of John Kennedy's "Ask not what your country can do for you........" quote. And it works.This is methodology for a down market, and how I can benefit my clients who don't have more to spend on outside advertising. If I can help them increase their revenue, I'll benefit right along with them because they will be able to spend to increase their business and revenue.To me, it is only a "down" market when my idea and "feed" lists are too low.

How can I get YOU more business?