[caption id="attachment_9654" align="alignright" width="150"] Dave Hershman[/caption]
As a reminder, here is Cheryl's question: "I read the forecast by the MBA which says there will be less refinances [in 2021]. I have been doing mostly refinances and I have no idea how to get back to focusing on purchases. What do you recommend?"
In my last column, I wrote about the importance of diversification in any market. There will be refinances in 2021 and every year, though the balance will change from year-to-year.
Going back to focusing on the purchase market, the next question is: are you rekindling agent relationships you have neglected or expanding by developing new relationships? Again, in this regard I am going to recommend diversification. That means that you need to work in both directions.
If you have ignored your agents during the refinance boom, I will quote Martin Luther King, Jr.: "The time is always right to do what is right."
You may feel uncomfortable calling someone you have not called in 18 months, but you must do so anyway. However, doing what is right is not calling and asking for their business--"Hey, I know we have not talked in 18 months, but do you have any deals for me?"
But, it is always the right time to call and get caught up. Reestablish the relationship first. Find out how they are doing and what their challenges are. That conversation may lead to business or it may build a foundation for the future.
Regarding meeting new agents, this is where you leverage your sphere. Everyone you know also knows a real estate agent or two. Your neighbors, your family, the professionals you use and more. You should not be cold calling agents if your next-door neighbor knows an agent and can introduce you. You have a sphere. Leverage that sphere. This is networking at its highest level.
Moving to the last point, establishing agent relationships is not enough, you must have a value proposition. And to get to that we must first define the term value. In order to be labeled valuable, your offering must be different.
If you are offering the same things your competition is offering, then there is no inherent value. Think of a rare coin. The value is in the rarity. If a million of the same coins were discovered tomorrow, the value of that coin will fall. If your offer is great rates, service or products, the offering will not be different. How many loan officers approach an agent and say "use me, but keep in mind I deliver lousy service?"
Secondly, value must be in line with the interests or goals of your target. It can't be what you are interested in. For example, your clients are not interested in mortgages. They are interested in real estate. No one gets up in the morning on Saturday and says to their spouse "let's go look at mortgages today."
And your agents are not interested in loans either. They are interested in bringing in more business. Just like you. It is all about increasing their income.
How might you help your agents increase their income? There are a multitude of ways and, in a future article, I will give an example that illustrates a common loan officer offering and making it unique, as well as being more on target with regard what your agents are really interested in.