Referral partners are an invaluable asset for any business, but especially for loan officers looking to grow. My business consists of 95% referrals, so nurturing all my referral relationships is extremely important. I try to have at minimum one meeting a week with either a new or current referral partner.
By forming relationships with other businesses, you can increase your customer base while you gain access to new markets and resources. Referral partners can be a cost-effective way to acquire new customers since they are already familiar with you, your brand and your work ethic and can help establish trust with potential customers, as they offer a reliable endorsement of your credibility.
Your bread and butter will almost always be real estate agents, but don’t limit yourself to just one kind of referral partner.
Working with referral partners can also be a great way to increase your brand's visibility, build business connections and generate even more referral partners. To get started, be sure to research potential partners and make sure their target audience is compatible with yours. Your bread and butter will almost always be real estate agents, but don’t limit yourself to just one kind of referral partner. We’ve seen success from having relationships with insurance agents, financial advisors, title companies, and even photographers and videographers. Reach out and introduce yourself, explain why you think it could be a beneficial partnership, and set up a meeting. Maintain a good relationship with them by following up regularly and providing helpful resources to help them succeed.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your referral partners:
- Establish clear expectations: Be sure to communicate your expectations up front and make sure your partners are aware of their responsibilities and what you will provide in return. Take this time to organize your working relationship. What contact method does this partner prefer? How will leads be given?
- Measure success: Have a way to track the success of your referral program to make sure it's meeting your goals. Use analytic tools to measure things like conversion rates, volume, etc. We use a system called Trello to track our clients, who referred them, and where they are at in the process. We provide weekly referral updates to verify that no leads are slipping through the cracks.
- Monitor performance: Monitor your referral partners' performance to ensure they're meeting their goals. Regular check-ins can help you make sure they're on the right track. Offer valuable tools to help them stay on target, like assisting with their database, providing social media content, or helping plan client appreciation events. If you feel like their production is lacking, discuss what value you can provide to help them reach their goals.
- Show appreciation: Show your appreciation for your referral partners by thanking them regularly and providing them with feedback and support. You can help support their endeavors to gain more leads. Investing in them is investing in your own business. Of course, while providing assistance or appreciation to your partners, always make sure you are both complying with the RESPA referral provisions.
I hope these tips help you make the most of your referral program! Being transparent and open with your referral partners will translate to the same relationship you share with your clients and create stronger and more credible leads. Referrals, regardless of who they are from, are the best way to create an ongoing pipeline. If you keep a strong relationship with your referral partners, you will maintain a well-built pipeline!
The opinions and insights expressed in this blog are solely those of its author, Ravi Patel, and do not necessarily represent the views of either Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation or any of its parent, affiliates, or subsidiaries (collectively, “MGIC”). Neither MGIC nor any of its officers, directors, employees or agents makes any representations or warranties of any kind regarding the soundness, reliability, accuracy or completeness of any opinion, insight, recommendation, data, or other information contained in this blog, or its suitability for any intended purpose.