As the purchase market heats up, mortgage companies are hyper-focusing efforts to drive Realtor referrals. How can you position your company to ensure your brand is recognized as a leader?
There are many mortgage companies out there that have reaped the rewards of the refinance market at the expense of developing or maintaining relationships with Realtors. Therefore, due to the resulting lack or depreciation of your brand awareness with Realtors, other relationships have been built to take your place. So how do you go about penetrating this market, ensuring your brand is a recognized leader?
For some who have a small level of brand awareness that can be built upon, a good communications strategy may do the trick. If you are in this group, jump to No. 3 below.
For others who feel they have a complete lack of awareness, the challenge is a bit broader.
Here are some tips to get you started in the right direction:
1. Make sure your brand is understood by your internal and external audiences. You want to avoid any chance of brand confusion internally or externally as you venture into this market. Your competition will be intense, so if you want to win you need to be clear on what you stand for.
Begin with a Brand Insight Assessment. This exercise can be completed in fairly short order by developing key questions that uncover awareness of your brand compared to others and what it stands for. Then, send off the questionnaire through SurveyMonkey to enable quick response.
Once the results come in, you’ll be able to recognize how well your brand is understood and aligned with your intentions. You now have the intelligence necessary to bring your brand back into alignment or even reassess it as necessary.
2. Make sure your brand’s unique selling points are clear and convincing. Realtors need to understand why they should consider doing business with you, especially since they already have their trusted sources in place. If you feel your USPs lack strength for any reason, the time to reevaluate them and/or take steps to make them stronger is now.
Many struggle with this piece because differentiation among mortgage companies is difficult to accomplish. Accordingly, you may consider enlisting a brand development consultant that understands the industry to help you work through this piece. A brand development consultant can also help you properly communicate your USPs for maximum impact.
3. Develop a communications strategy that targets Realtors. This is much different from your strategy for obtaining refinance business.
Your strategy for driving referral business from Realtors will be much more robust and include home buyer seminars, speaking engagements, networking events, agent-specific sales materials, video/written testimonials from Realtors and borrowers, media relations activities, social media, blogging and much more.
The overall goal of your strategy needs to be expert positioning in the Realtor community.
4. Make sure that you have the speed, efficiency and way of doing business that both Realtors and homebuyers need. For example, how easy is it for all parties to the transaction to get file status updates? Can they get them online or through a mobile app or do they need to call and leave a voice mail message? Does your company have a streamlined process in place that allows for expeditious processing, underwriting and closing times?
This is not an area where you can afford to mess up. If you do, word will spread far and fast.
5. Make sure you have a team of true brand ambassadors. Not everyone you work with today should necessarily be with you tomorrow. As you move into a purchase environment, your company will change and some may lack the desire, skills and attitudes to change with you. This is especially true for LOs who’ve built their recent careers on refinance business, as they may not have the skill or desire to build the relationships necessary to succeed in a purchase environment.
Your brand must clearly communicate your focus on working with realtors and the capabilities you have to ensure success!