Keeping your finger on the pulse of your referral partners in order to earn new business is always a priority. However, with the current turbulent market, the purchase market is not as strong as it normally is.
Although your ReFi pipeline is probably bursting right now, the reality is that that boom won’t last forever. On a recent episode of Top Producer Hacks for Getting it All Done, guest and expert coach, Todd Duncan said, “We need to figure out how to connect with our referral partners in deeper ways to help stimulate future business.”
Part of the urgency here is that the mortgage landscape is moving very quickly, and loan officers need to be prepared. Todd says, “120 days from now is going to be here before you know it, and what nobody wants is to wait 120 days to figure out what to do. So the only thing we can count on is connection.”
Here’s how to deepen your referral partner relationships, right now:
- Choose 10 core agents to nurture
- Consider their pain points
- 3x your normal communication
- Do something of value together
- Set a 12-week meeting schedule with your referral partners
Choose 10 Core Agents to Nurture
Todd suggests a very in-depth approach to building referral partnerships. Because of this, you have to narrow your list of partners. You can’t focus your attention on a hundred different partners. Not only is this impossible with only 24 hours in a day, the relationships you build will be stronger and more lasting if you have just a few people to focus on.
Decide who you want your 10 or 15 core agents to be, and then give them more attention than you ever have.
Consider Their Pain Points
It’s critical to try to put yourself in your partners’ shoes. If you work mostly with real estate agents, think about how their jobs have changed since the Coronavirus began. Most of your partners are probably dealing with limited in-person meetings and showings. Instead, they are relying on technology to sell homes.
Additionally, many major companies are laying off or furloughing employees, which may have affected your referral market. Todd points out that, “The people who were going to buy a home 70 days ago are not going to buy a home now.”
Thinking about the challenges facing your referral partners will help you better consider how to support them during this time.
3x Your Normal Communication
Now that you’ve decided who you are going to focus on, it’s time to put in the work. You need to really up your communication with your chosen partners. For instance, if you normally call your partners once a week to check-in and update them on any loans from their clients in your pipeline, up that to two or three times a week. Same goes for emails!
These communications do not need to be lengthy–after all, they are busy too. Instead, focus on asking questions to see how you can help them.
Do Something of Value Together – Maybe Co-Host A Virtual Happy Hour?
Since you’re chatting with your referral partners on a regular basis, you have the information you need to support them. Perhaps you can create co-marketing materials with them. Or host a virtual happy hour with your mutual clients.
However you can, support your partners–they will appreciate the extra help, and they will consider you a trusted resource for whatever they may need.
Set a 12-Week Meeting Schedule with Referral Partners
One way to both stay in touch with your partners, and provide them value, is to schedule business planning meetings.
Todd suggests giving your core group of partners a call and suggesting meeting every two weeks for business planning meetings. By doing so, you’ll be able to help your referral partners plan for the future, during COVID-19 and beyond.
How to set a referral partner meeting schedule you’ll actually keep:
- Set a schedule for 12 weeks out
- Meet every other week
- Meet at the same time
- Make meetings short: 20 minutes or less
These meetings can be short, about 20 minutes. Meet with your partners every other week, and schedule for 12 weeks out. You will both be prepared for whatever may come, and how best to approach your partnership down the road.
During this time of market changes and low purchase volume, it’s more important than ever to focus on your referral relationships. Deepen your partnerships, and you all will be better equipped for the future.