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The best thing you can do (which may be challenging) is to send them business to them. As others have said, most are already working w/ a lender/several lenders, so why should they switch and/or risk it.
Also, another approach is to target the entrypoint...new agents who are not yet working w/ a lender. Of course, it may be while before some of them have a client for you and a bunch of them may not make it. But, they are the ones least likely to be committed to someone else.
Also...focus on the agents that have more buyers (as opposed to listings).
Chris - a large portion of my business comes from working with Realtors. I've learned a lot about what works, and what doesn't. I think the #1 piece of advice I give other LO's that want to do more purchase business is to prepare BEFORE you try to establish a new relationship - you need to find a way to bring value to their business. If you can do that, along with getting loans closed and closed on time, and be on top when it comes to commuinication - the referrals will come in naturally on their own.
Feel free to give me a call if you ever want some pointers or things I've been successful at doing.
Write some articles for a local newspaper. Offer to help host open houses. With that you could mail invitations to the surrounding areas, help put up lots of signs and print up some loan program/payment sheets.
This is a challenge that you must, just like every REALTOR with whom you communicate, had to resolve. Good service, superior communications are not extras you provide but are simply MANDATORY. What do you have that distinguishes you from the 100's of others clamoring for a REALTOR's attention?
Before you head off on some tangent, let me help you by asking you another question, "What is the greatest concern of an agent that you can solve?"
This is exactly the same as everyone else's,
THE ASSURANCE OF CLOSING!
We know when that file goes to underwriting, it is beyond your control and at that time, your great service could be rendered a smoldering heap of disappointment for the the buyer, seller, seller agent, buyers agent, two real estate brokers, title company, and a hidden host of players.
What I want to hear from you is "The back up plan?" Now you have my attention.
To interrupt my process and get next in line, bring me a lead. Now you have my undivided attention.
Then we can chat about non-disclosure, collaborative marketing, lead generation. Perhaps, at that time you would volunteer to publish the 6 open house goals manual or finance the development of the CIS Score web portal. Now you have my loyalty and advocacy.
But first, I need some assurance that when the underwriter goes goofy, you have a plan B.
Now, when you go to those broker opens on Thursdays, the pitch sessions on Tuesday or the drop in on Sunday, you actually have something to say. And if we have a joint venture, you will have a LOT to say that will be of benefit to every agents #2 concern, after the assurance of closing...lead generation.
Crescent City, CA
What are you doing besides asking Realtors to send business to you?
There's no reason to take business away from a lender who is performing and give it to someone else, no matter how great they may be.
Do you have extensive knowledge of first time buyer programs? Most lenders don't know or don't want to know about those programs. Being the "go to" is one way to set yourself apart.
Lenders constantly hit Realtors up for business. You have to be able to offer something greater than a request for business.
The point is to provide added value to the Realtor's clients to draw the Realtors to you.
Just keep on keeping in contact, be patient, agents and their clients can often be this way.
Just keep at it.
Give something - before you expect anything.
Give and you shall receive.
Be yourself and be honest. I can not stand those people who talk too much, give many promises and never walk the talk/bluff.
Try inviting them out for coffee. Sometimes you just have to wait. It will all fall into place as they work with you on different transactions.
Chris, you have to keep in their face and provide them something they need. We all have good lenders already
Other responders have already given you some good advice. I'd add that asking agents what would make them likely to recommend you is a good approach, especially with agents who seem to have a good opinion of you. I recommended a client to a "new-to-me" LO because I told him I needed loans for a condo-hotel that few lenders would accept. He found a source and he is my go-to lender now.
My best advice to you is be there for them when a lender drops the ball(they all do on occasion) it's okay to be second in mind in this industry. I lost track ofhow many sellers and buyers I have spoken with who were already working with another agent. As ethics would dictate I simply tell them "That's great! (name of other agent) is really good. Would you do me a favor and Keep me in mind if that relationship doesn't work out?" inevitably people drop the ball or lose touch or relationships change. Be there for them when that happens.
It is a tough business to get into when you don't have a sphere and I know this will frustrate you to no end and my answer is "GET ONE" anyway which way you can.
Don't call experienced agent with your hand out. Why would you expect them to refer you business? Your first business has to come from you. I got my first deal when I was driving around a neigbhorhood I noticed a 'for sale by owner' sign. I stopped and went into talk to the owners. It ended up being my first listing and sale.
Be yourself and be on time. don't be the know it all.
And if you are not a Realtor, stay in front of them, many times they reach out to the person they last spoke to if you were a lender for example. Stay in touch, use CRM for contacts and continue to start and maintain relationships. The business will come.
Be helpful and curtious, I have found by providing real feedback (not just what they want to hear) for example when agents follow up with me after showings. In short, treat others how you want to be treated. Course, in the same token just because an agent may be short or rude to me, I dont carry it on to the next one I speak with. With 8 years in the industry I have learned many good lessons, still learning. Having a good relationship with the other agent can really help a transaction run smoothly. Best of luck in your career, the fact that you care enough to ask, and that you care is a good sign.