As mortgage brokers we are always in jeopardy of losing our customers to the lenders we work with.
We deal with our clients for a short amount of time, but the lender is in constant communication with them for years. And whenever your customers are asked who their mortgage company is, they will usually answer the name of their lender.
Some lenders are better at stealing our clients then others.
As a real estate investor I have had loans with several different lenders. One of my properties had a loan from a lender called JB Nutter. This was a small bank that did a very poor job of marketing itself to its customers. I would hear from them 3 times a year. Once to send me a coupon book for the year, another to tell me how much interest I paid that year for my taxes, and another to tell me about how much money was in my escrow account.
They never once tried to offer me a refinance.
My current mortgage for my residence is with Countrywide. These guys know their stuff. They mail me a statement every month. And in every statement is an offer to refinance or get a line of credit, or insurance. They are always politely selling something. And if that weren’t enough, they mail me every couple months or so more offers to refinance or tap some equity. But at least they are not as sneaky as World Savings Bank.
One of my investment properties had one of their loans. They now have hooked up with the credit bureaus so that whenever someone with one of their loans gets their credit checked by a mortgage company or lender, they get notified. I like getting my credit checked every 3 months, and with my own mortgage company all it takes is a couple keystrokes of my computer. Imagine my surprise when I got a call at home from a World Savings rep asking me if I was thinking about refinancing. He told me he knew I had my credit checked by a mortgage company and that they were ready to give me a better offer then whatever I was getting,
They have a whole division of telemarketers who do nothing but call their loan holders who are getting their credit checked by other mortgage companies. So even if you get a client a World Savings loan, and that client comes back to you later for a refi, you are now going to have to compete with World Savings for this customer.
Pisses you off doesn’t it?
And you can bet that now that one lender is doing this, others will follow suit,.
So what do we as mortgage brokers do about this?
Simple, we form close relationships with our clients, that basically makes them immune to any sales pitch by any other lender or mortgage company. I call it the “silent force field”. We need to use every tool at our disposal to make sure that once a person becomes a client we never let them go.
I outline the “silent force field’ completely in our Referrals on Demand product, but I will lay out some guidelines for you here.
1. You must stay in contact with them on a regular basis. Once a month minimum The easiest way to do this is through a monthly newsletter. Outsource this to a newsletter company and they will handle the production, printing, and mailing of the newsletter to your clients every month.
2. WOW your clients as soon as you can. Come up with a creative way to make a great impression on your clients. Here’s an example. There is dentist in Australia who was tired of having customers be afraid to see him. So he completely changed his office. Now instead of a regular dentist office, it looks more like someone’s living room. There is the aroma of fresh baked cinnamon buns in the air, (sugar free) that can be enjoyed with coffee or tea. There is no receptionist sitting there with the little window that they keep closing on you. This dentist now has a referral only practice, where the only way to work with him, is if you know someone who already works with him, and they give you a referral.
3. Get to know your clients and let them get to know you. Show your personality. Let them know about your family. Keep them informed about how your kids are doing in school. Remember, you do not want to seem like their bank. You want to seem like a family friend that happens to do mortgages. Have customer appreciation parties. Have house warming parties. Have a grand birthday party for yourself every year. Give yourself excuses to call your clients and get to know them socially.
4. Start a blog and write about whatever you want. Invite your clients to visit often and provide feedback.
5. Become a customer of your clients. If one of your clients owns a dry cleaners, get your clothes cleaned there. Reward them for doing business with you by doing business with them.
6. Get your clients to network amongst themselves. Create a referral club. Your dry cleaner client can go to your dentist client when his teeth hurt. And if you make the referral you look even better.
These are just a few ideas to help you keep your customers. People do business with people they like. By forming relationships with your past clients you can make sure they keep coming back to you.