Karen Maierle, Marketing Program Manager
Several years ago, a colleague of mine met with top loan officers from around the country to find out how they achieved their coveted status.
Turns out, all top loan officers have one thing in common: vast networks of referral partners that allow them to maximize their opportunities and generate more business. But beyond that, top loan officers know that they need to do something different in order to stand out and differentiate themselves from the competition. After many conversations with loan officers and lots of additional research, I believe I’ve uncovered the secret to their success: Top loan officers plan events with their referral partners.
“I’ve uncovered the secret to their success: Top loan officers plan events with their referral partners.”
Sounds simple, right? Well, it’s simple in theory, but it doesn’t just happen. It takes work. To help increase the odds of your success, here are 8 tips you can use to plan an event with a referral partner.
1. Invite your referral partner to meet for lunch.
Referral partners could be real estate agents, financial planners, homeowners insurance agents – anyone who has a relationship with potential homeowners.
2. Brainstorm ideas for a jointly hosted social event.
– Hold an open house at a yoga studio
– Show a movie at a local theater
– Get moving at a rock climbing gym
– Rent out a bowling alley
– Organize games at a volleyball court
– Host a tasting session at a wine bar
– Sample beer at a local brewery
Your imagination is the limit! Remember, the event should be something fun that will appeal to prospective first-time homebuyers (i.e., Millennials).
3. Approach venue owners.
Explore potential costs for half- or full-day rentals. Venue owners will likely see your event as an opportunity to expose their businesses to new customers. Position your event as a win-win situation to help negotiate costs.
4. Strategize with referral partners.
Agree that you and your referral partner will each invite x number of people to the event, such as past clients, friends or prospects.
5. Invite local businesses.
Entice local businesses with complementary or related interests to attend your event and showcase their services. For example, if you rent a yoga studio for the day, consider inviting a massage therapist or acupuncturist to set up a booth. The businesses will gain exposure, and the attendees at your event will gain knowledge of local products and services.
At a minimum, offer “goodie bags” with coupons, samples, giveaways, etc.
6. Require registration for the event.
Capturing contact information like mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses are important for future follow up. Be prepared to have attendees complete Release of Liability forms if your event is physical in nature.
7. Plan a carnival-like set up with booths.
Loan officers can showcase upcoming first-time homebuyer education opportunities or information on various loan programs. Real estate agent partners can showcase access to MLS and talk about homes for sale in the area. Local businesses can give away samples or hold drawings for free goods and services. These are all options if the venue permits it.
The bottom line of this idea is to make the event fun and memorable, with branding geared toward potential homeowners.
8. Provide each host with a attendee registration list.
Allowing hosts access to attendee registration lists containing email addresses provides value to them for future marketing opportunities.
There you have it – the secret to creating more referral business that will help you reach the status of a top loan officer. Of course, MGIC has other tools and collateral to help you as well. Contact your local Account Manager to learn more about how you can connect with first-time homebuyers.
Marketing Program Manager
Karen manages MGIC's Credit Union Channel. She works with MGIC's Account Managers across the country to help their credit union clients create homeownership opportunities for their members. In addition, she is on the leadership team of a credit union industry group formed in 2014, CU:REALM (Credit Union Real Estate Lending Masters).