The ability to provide a unique and appropriate gift to business associates
is one of the least-taught skills among mortgage professionals. Many
commercial mortgage borrowers are high net worth individuals who,
frankly, can buy most of the gifts they receive. They are overwhelmed
with holiday thank-you cards, stale gift baskets and complimentary tickets
to various events.
What really grabs their attention is an unexpected, personalized
approach. The key is to do the upfront legwork with a creative mind and a
generous heart. Use a gift bot — software that uses data points to quickly
identify perfect gifts. Many items are extremely affordable and typically
equate to a tiny fraction of a client’s fee.
Gifts should be engraved with the client’s name or a personalized message. Corporate branding should be avoided as the gift should be about the
recipient and not about the giver. Holiday gifts should be sent during the last
week of November, birthday gifts two weeks in advance, and loan-closing
gifts a month after a successful transaction.
Spend your time on a personal and inspirational message, then let
technology take care of the gift. This may spur an immediate phone call of
gratitude, as well as an opportunity to discuss it for years to come. The key
is to stay committed to the client even if further business isn’t conducted for
several years. If the gifting is done right, these clients will be your greatest
long-term advocates and the gift will be paid back many times over.
Sphere of influence
If the only value a commercial mortgage broker provides is sourcing a loan,
that individual is destined to be replaced by a competitor. Today’s global
economy has created the irreversible perception that every product and
service is an expendable commodity. Loyalty is not only bestowed upon
those who go above and beyond in meeting expectations, but those who
can anticipate needs prior to them being requested.
Although this may seem like a daunting requirement, it is actually very
manageable, thanks to modern technology. To gain that level of trust
there must be a system in place to aggregate, evaluate and replace referral partners in real time. Most established CRM services have plug-ins, or
you can integrate referral-partner management software to accomplish
this task. By sourcing the readily available social-media reviews,
direct-referral interactions and indirect-referral experiences of your
colleagues, the expertise of each source and their overall performance
should quickly become clear.
Mortgage professionals must have a 360-degree buy-in from all parties
to make this work. Each referral partner must agree to be rated, and the
rating should be the only factor — other than their availability — that
dictates future opportunities. Clients benefiting from the referrals must
agree to complete a short survey about the referral to receive future
referrals. Sharing this data with referral sources is invaluable feedback and
is appreciated among all types of professionals.
Because this is an easy system to replicate and scale, you should consider
adding two or three new professional categories each quarter — such as
wedding planners, mechanics or travel agents. Eventually, at the push of a
button, CRM software will be able to identify the most highly skilled and
least-risky referrals for any client’s needs, giving users a competitive advantage that would take years to replicate. With proven and cost-effective
technology in place to accomplish these tasks, the mortgage professional
becomes the sphere of influence that goes beyond any product or service
they directly provide.
n n n
In a constantly evolving world, technology can easily become an asset
or our downfall. The challenge for a commercial mortgage professional
is not to mold their proven client-interaction strategies to accommodate
technology, but to commit their staff to finding more efficient ways to
scale these established methods.
Regularly evaluating how to streamline processes like sending reminders,
buying gifts or providing referrals will create additional time for traditional
interactions with clients, and for turning transactions into relationships.
As competitors fight change, the shrewd mortgage professional embraces
it within their areas of need. By committing to these key areas, technology
can help make each of their clients feel unconditionally appreciated,
special and important. n
Igor Zhizhin is president of American Street Capital LLC, a national
mortgage-banking company with institutional correspondent rela-
tionships specializing in stabilized- and bridge-debt placement for
multifamily, owner-occupied and investment properties. American
Street Capital is nationally recognized for its industry-leading production volume
and customer service for small-balance loan requests. Reach Zhizhin at
(312) 224-1390 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
should take meticulous
notes to ensure accurate
data is in their CRM
system, given a client’s
personal or business
goals often change.”
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