We’re hungry for business – so despite being members of social networking sites (read… relationship building sites)like Facebook and using microblogs like Twitter, we find ourselves falling back on the old X number of “touches” per quarter business development approach.
We’re great with spreadsheets, amortization tables, and 1003s, but not the absolute best when it comes to establishing good old fashioned person-to-person contacts. When we do reach out, we blast ahead with our latest loan program brochures and rate sheets in hand as if they’re still something of a rarity.
Allow me to channel George Bush (the Elder):
Read My Lips: Information About Loan Programs is No Longer a Value Add to Clients!
It’s certainly of little value to Realtors. Both these groups can pull it up on the Internet faster than you can say Fannie Mae!
We simply have to develop a rapport with clients and Realtor partners before we go about trying to connect with them. We have to foster meaningful relationships, and this takes time.
Think about your own personal relationships… the ones with folks you know you can count on to do what they say when they say they’re going to do it. How long have you known these people? Chances are – a long time. And you probably have a few war stories and close calls between you that remind you what it means to have that particular contact in the fox hole next to you.
Social media sites allow us to forge these types of relationships – or at least start heading down the right path. Remember, social media is not about selling someone. It’s about feeling comfortable enough with someone to talk with them about something as important and vital to us as our business… our livelihoods!
If today’s mortgage brokers and loan originators are indeed going to live long and prosper (apologies for the Star Trek reference), we need to start by throwing out nearly everything we’ve learned to date about establishing business contacts and garnering clients. We need to forge relationships built on the precept that we are valued and honorable professionals with financial expertise, marketing talents, and communication skills we can use to inform and educate our customers and business partners.
I wind up discussing the use of social media and small business every so often. If you’ve enjoyed reading this, then keep an eye out for posts that provide some of my thoughts on how we can continue to use relationship building to successfully grow our networks and yes… eventually our book of business.
Until then, perhaps you can share some of the ways you have found to foster meaningful connections with your clients and business contacts?