Being a loan officer or a mortgage broker is a lot like being a business owner, even as an employee of a mortgage company, since most loan officers will source their own leads to build their own book of business.
While this may seem like a downside to the industry, the upside is that a loan officer’s book of business should remain theirs even if they move to a different company, similar to many other sales careers.
Some mortgage companies may provide leads, but this is not typically the case. Even if mortgage leads are provided, many brokers and MLOs don’t want these leads because their compensation is reduced by the company to offset their costs in acquiring these leads. This is yet one more reason it’s so important for loan officers to test and learn about marketing strategies to ensure they have a healthy pipeline of opportunities.
There is no shortage of options for loan officers to do their own marketing. Some of the most common options include posting content on social media, through paid advertising, direct mail and various local strategies.
There is no single best marketing strategy for loan officers. Most loan officers will want to test marketing approaches to determine what method is a good fit for them personally. Some loan officers prefer direct-to-consumer marketing, while others favor referral strategies. However, the highest producing mortgage professionals generally use a combination of both so they aren’t putting their eggs in one basket.
When it comes to referrals, loan officers will most often source them from Realtors, but some also build referral relationships with attorneys, financial advisers and similar experts. Getting referrals from Realtors is the most common approach because they regularly meet new prospects who almost always need a mortgage loan. However, the biggest challenge with establishing these partnerships with real estate agents is the fact that most of the other loan officers in town are trying to do the same thing with the same agents, and it’s that makes it difficult to set yourself apart.
Brandon Robertson, the CEO of the Mortgage Growth System, says “I hear complaints from loan officers every day about how frustrating it is to consistently get referrals from Realtors and keep them loyal.”
He recommends using a combination of strategies, stating “It’s a lot easier for loan officers to get Realtor(R) referrals when they have something to give them in return. Too many loan officers think they’ll be able to take a real estate agent to lunch or tell them about a loan product they offer and that will be enough to get their attention and referrals.”
Instead he recommends a multi-layered approach to marketing where the mortgage broker is acquiring leads from online advertising then pre-approving those leads and sharing them with Realtors(R).
Brandon says, “This is an approach few loan officers take which actually allows them to provide value before asking for something in return. When loan officers show they have a consistent source of business that can help the Realtor, that creates a lot of leverage in the relationship. And furthermore, when the loan officer has their own source of leads, they can pick and choose the Realtors they want to work with and rest easy knowing they already have a consistent source of business.”
The CEO calls this two-pronged marketing strategy Agent Stacking and even has published a lot of information on how mortgage brokers can use this strategy to their advantage.
“There are a lot of ways to get mortgage leads,” Brandon mentions, “Including buying leads, or buying data to send direct mail and similar strategies. However, in the current world most loan officers who want some sort of direct-to-consumer strategy as part of their marketing should consider paid advertising. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have become the go-to place for mortgage ads because they have such a large share of the market cornered, the costs are really low and the built-in algorithms make using these platforms very simple”.
“The most important point I can make”, Brandon continues, “Is that loan officers really can’t rest when it comes to marketing. They must constantly be doing some type of it even if they’re testing or switching strategies. Having new opportunities is the key to a healthy pipeline.”
Mortgage Growth System
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Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Fortune Thinker journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.