When it comes to taking out loans for an automobile, home, business, or other major expense, most people don’t want to take money from just anyone. Of course they’re interested in a lender that will approve their request for funding. However, many would rather work with a lender they trust, and more specifically, a loan officer they trust.
A loan officer is the human face of a lending institution. Most people don’t have the patience to read through pages of legal jargon detailing the terms of a loan. They want someone to explain the high points and ensure that they’re not going to be surprised by hidden fees and obligations down the road.
So how does the average person find a trusted loan officer? While a professional website and loan officer SEO can certainly help to make your operation more visible, a lot of people would prefer to find you through trusted referrals.
This sounds like a “wait and see” kind of strategy for growing your client list, but you have more control than you might think. With proper referral marketing you can increase trusted referrals to targeted consumers already seeking your services. Here are a few tips that can benefit every loan officer.
There are two ways to go about getting referrals as a loan officer. You can either encourage satisfied clients to refer you to family members, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances as a trusted source of information or you can partner with non-competing businesses in your industry to trade leads and make referrals to clients.
Each avenue has its own upside. When your clients share their experiences with others in their personal networks, the referral carries a lot more weight than, say, seeing an advertisement for your services. On the other hand, you’re likely to reach a much larger audience through business partner referrals. Ideally, you should explore both options.
Ask and You Shall Receive
One of the best ways to secure referrals is to simply ask for them. If you’re smart, you’re going to follow up with clients to make sure they’re satisfied with the services you provided. This is a great time to ask for referrals, while your stellar performance is still fresh in their minds.
You could do this by asking clients to fill out a consumer review, either on much-used sites like Yelp or by giving them a link to an industry review site you’ve partnered with, just for example. You could create a simple template for customers to forward your information or even ask them to provide contact information for anyone who might be seeking your services.
Or you might just tell them to keep you in mind when their loved ones are seeking similar services. The best way to get results is to make the process simple and non-aggressive, so that clients don’t feel they’re being asked to abuse their position of power as a trusted family member or friend. The point, however, is to ask – if you don’t, you’re leaving it up to fate.
Rewards programs can go a long way toward encouraging already satisfied clients to go the extra mile and promote you to their family and friends. For example, you could offer a discount of some sort for clients that are willing to write a review or promote you to their social media network.
You might also offer cash incentives for every referral that follows through with using your services. Or you could simply offer the personal touch by sending a thank you note when you receive referrals from previous clients.
You’ll have to let clients know up front about your referral incentives so that they are aware of the possible benefits they can earn, and you can even promote the program through your advertising.
If you’re working with referral partners like title companies, realtors, financial advisors, and home inspectors, just for example, the name of the game is reciprocation. You can’t get something for nothing.
Just think about how much time, effort, and money goes into your mortgage broker SEO strategy. Without these expenditures you wouldn’t enjoy the visibility, page rank, and increases to traffic and sales that SEO services can provide. Any business transaction requires that you give something to get something.
In terms of gaining referral partners, you not only have to find professionals that can offer you leads and refer you to their clients; you also have to convince them that you can do the same for them. From there you can grow a partnership that benefits you both.