Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Keep Marketing During Challenging Times !!

I continue to contact at least 300 potential clients every week, regardless of market conditions. Realty agents on mortgage brokers should continue to market their individual ideas and capabilities to as many potential clients as possible, and not fall victim to the statistics game.

Keep in mind the old joke that "38% of statistics are meaningless". It's how you use them. Coke & Pepsi both have plenty of geographic and demographic places to tout themselves as "#1". CNN and Fox News both claim to be the most watched, and in certain age groups, they each are. It is not what you advertise and market - it is HOW you advertise and market.

Last week a read the statistics for May 2008 about the drop in home sales in the Dallas area since one year ago. I went past them, actually, and saw that 5,088 homes sold just in the Dallas Metroplex within the month of May. To my way of thinking, that was cause to call 100 mortgage lenders in the Dallas area to let them know that "more than 5,000 homes in the area have sold within the past 60 days, and that is over 5,000 mortgages". Yet, many of the lenders I spoke with continue to tell me to "call when the market picks up because I don't have any money now". Obviously, they stopped reading after the "home sales are down...." part of the story.

You need to use information to your advantage, along with some creativity. This week started with IndyMac Bank in the headlines, and not good ones. Another large bank in serious trouble.

For as much as outside advertising and marketing helps, you can use news such as the above to your advantage in your weekly or monthly contacts. Realty agents should be calling their investor type clients to remind them that with more banks now in trouble (you) could help them find the best deal on a bank owned property. Mortgage lenders should be calling past and potential clients to let them know they have more funding options than the bigger banks that are being shut down, even with so many great deals out there right now.

Desperate times call for creative measures. (That's my personal saying!) Let's use builders and developers as an example. Many builders continue to force their internal mortgage company on buyers. Some of those same ones have not been Realtor friendly. That was then. Now that buyers aren't lining the streets to enter a model home, the time is right to make contact.

Centex is now offering "special bonuses" for realty agents. And what does a builder's own mortgage company do if a potential buyer doesn't qualify? They could lose a much sought after sale. What if you could bring them and/or qualify a buyer they can't?

It also amazes me that I am not seeing advertising or marketing from realty offices and lenders to encourage downsizing. Gas prices are now the biggest concern for most of us. Some people live in fear of making their mortgage for the coming month.

Instead of sitting there waiting for rates to drop so you can think about advertising for refinance clients, your time could be used to seek and find more viable options for current and open potential clients. Don't forget that for your sales and refinance clients, you have their information about where they work and what their payments are.

Let's say you handled the purchase for John & Mary 3 years ago on a 2 bedroom $300,000 house 20 miles from where John works. John & Mary aren't likely to refinance at today's rates, as it wouldn't make sense. So instead of saying "next!" do a little research.

What if you found a $225,000 house with 2 bedrooms and similar amenities that was 5 miles from John's work? (And don't think it would not be as good of a property - given the home buyer's market in many areas!) John would save 30 miles per day (over 1 gallon of gas each day - and around $100 per month at today's outrageous gas prices). And the lower mortgage on the "new" house would save them at least $200 per month additional. Presto! There is a way to save John & Mary at least $300 per month and take advantage of the buyer's market. Even if John & Mary tell you "no thanks", you will have impressed them with your creativity and knowledge of the market. They won't forget that when they are ready to say "YES!" in the future.

It is your creativity that can win you more business. One of my most creative clients within the past couple of years include a mortgage lender advertising a loan program benefitting public service professionals. That is hitting a niche market, both for now and the future. Another set up a separate loan office down the street from a new development, advertised himself as the lender specialist for that plot, and got the most loans of any mortgage broker when the development finally sold out.

It is a big country out there. The more creative ideas you share with me, the more business we can all generate.