Mind Your True Partnerships

Take the time to evaluate who you can count on in your referral network

The most important question you need to resolve heading into the second quarter of 2020 is, “Who is in and who is out?” The reasons why you establish long-lasting, quality relationships with a real estate agent can be subjective in the mortgage industry. It may hinge on market conditions and consistency, with the focus on putting in the time to cultivate a true partnership.

How do you determine who to pursue, who to nurture or who to move on from? These are some key tips to manage a relationship in 2020 and ideas to improve the quality of your referral clients, helping you to get off to a great start in this year’s purchase market.

Who is in?

Starting off the year, you probably took a look at your referral partners and felt you understood who you could rely on for business opportunities in 2020. As a quality mortgage originator, this is paramount to success with your base of Realtor partners heading into the busy homebuying season from April through the end of October. How did you make that decision — was it a gut-level feel or a proven tracking methodology?

Here are some basic tools to help determine who you can count on and who you should be a little uncertain of heading into the second and third quarters of the year. First, the frequency of the referrals you are receiving from an individual agent is a simple method to determine this.

For example, look at an individual agent’s performance in terms of buyers sent to you from fourth-quarter 2019 through the first two months of this year. If that number is at least five over those months, that is a true partner. If that number is five, but they all occurred in October and November of last year, and you have seen nothing since then, that referral partner is suspect. The key to any relationship is consistency.

Look for at least two referrals per Realtor every quarter on a rolling basis for you to count that person as a valuable referral source. Your first and foremost task heading into this month is to spend two to three days thoroughly analyzing which Realtor partners fit into the “in” category heading into the critical, busy homebuying season.

You must count on these real estate agents as being part of your team. You cannot lose them to competition. You need to contact these core partners at least once a week. That means visiting them in the field, sending them an e-mail or just giving them a call. Developing a partner does not guarantee a profitable year, but your effort to let them know how much they mean to you is a key factor in maintaining loyalty and obtaining business from these key relationships.

Who is out?

As you complete your Realtor analysis, this is the hardest question to answer — who do you need to stop calling? You need to stop hoping for the best and settling for mediocrity. You need to stop wasting your time.

Here are some valuable tools in answering the question of, “Who is out?” You have to try to be selective about who you choose to devote your full attention to during these critical months of March and April.

Your initial thought should be on this question: Who is using me versus utilizing me? Maybe the agent is only calling when they have a tough, credit-challenged buyer. Maybe they choose you when they have an unusual deal that will take time and a lot of work. The loan scenarios they’re sending to you might be so complex and time-consuming that you have to do a lot of prequalifications — and even then those deals seldom turn into offers. Do you feel like you are the second-choice originator, not the primary source for their referrals?

Then there’s the consistency question. Do you get a month with one or two referrals and then nothing for two months? You may have set appointments with them and they appear to forget or cancel at the last minute. A true partnership is based on respect — two individuals giving the best they have to each other. It needs to always be bilateral, not unilateral. If you are having these feelings regarding the Realtors you have interacted with at the end of 2019 and the start of 2020, it may be time to make the call: “You are out.”

What does it mean?

This does not mean you don’t return the agent’s calls or ignore them when you are out in the field. You should realize, however, that being available to share marketing strategies, and putting your money and effort into these agents when you when you know you will get little return, is a bad business investment.

You have to be somewhat selfish of your time and commitment from an energy and mental point of view. It’s somewhat comforting dealing with people you know, but sometimes it is a bad relationship. These are acquaintances more than business partners. Discard comfort and focus on profitability to reach your full potential in terms of quality Realtor relationships.

As you consider all the factors that go into a quality relationship, whether it be in your personal or professional life, your ability to discern value versus comfort is important. In your personal life, so many variables make this a much more difficult decision, but in our professional life, seeing that you have to reject comfort and complacency to achieve profitability is of the utmost importance.

Hanging on to professional relationships that do not yield a consistent return is not a good strategy and can never be considered to be a prudent path to follow. Making the hard choice to let go of a friend in business is never easy, but if they are a friend, they will still seek you out when they need you. A true business partner makes for a rich, rewarding and mutually beneficial relationship that helps you grow while obtaining your personal goals for 2020.

Your ability to make the start of this month an evaluation period of your Realtor partners is an essential step to having success during the busiest time of the year, the purchase season. Doing a thorough analysis of who you want on your team for 2020 and who may not make the cut is crucial. Do not put this off, face it head on and good things will happen for your production this year.

Originally posted in the 2020 March Issue | Scotsman Guide