How to Get Realtors' Attention with Content Marketing
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How loan officers can establish credibility and build loyalty by providing Realtors with original, relevant content
A client recently asked me for advice on writing e-mails and other content for Realtors. He is a thoughtful and intelligent person who also happens to be highly experienced and exceptionally competent loan officer. He works in a major metropolitan market where competition is fierce, and where many of his competitors are also accomplished loan officers and "worthy opponents".
Recognizing the importance of finding ways to distinguish himself from his competition, he was asking me to give him some ideas as to subjects he could write about that Realtors would find interesting, relevant, and useful.
What follows are the subject categories I recommended. You will find that the categories themselves have a kind of timeless quality; you will be able to return to them again and again with updates and fresh insights based on your observation of the constantly changing world of residential real estate and consumer mortgage lending.
Subjects That Make Great Content for Reaching Realtors:
- Things you've learned from your (buyer) clients, especially if they inform about their reactions to interactions they've had with real estate agents, reasons why they're hesitating to buy (and maybe your thoughts on what Realtors could do to remove those obstacles).
If you're not in the habit of asking buyers what they like & don't like about Realtors they've met, that's part of the problem. You want to develop a burning curiosity about what makes homebuyers tick. Why? Because it separates lenders who are vendors from those who are partners. Vendors do what is expected of them. Partners – because they have a vested interest in the success of the Realtors they work with – are constantly looking for new insights that will help their Realtors become more successful. It is in the very nature of the homebuyer/Realtor relationship that buyers do not necessarily speak candidly to agents about their opinions of what the agents are offering, how they communicate, how we evaluate the validity of the information the agent provides, etc.
- E-mails that help distinguish you in specific, practical ways from other lenders. Such e-mails are designed to try to answer the question, "why do lenders do that?" You would take a specific complaint you've heard from a Realtor about a lender, and tell a story that helps to explain why a lender might do that very thing that Realtors find so annoying. Your goal here is not necessarily to justify the lender's behavior, but to present it from a somewhat sympathetic viewpoint. Then you go on to explain what you yourself have done in order to avoid doing that thing that annoys your Realtors and provide superior service.
- Pick a problem area that you have heard Realtors complain about, and do a series of e-mail pieces in which you examine the causes of the problem, and present solutions that Realtors could employ that would mitigate the problem. For example, I recently did an entire coaching session with a client where all we did was brainstorm about the complaint that he had been hearing from his agents about the lack of inventory in his market. By the time we were done, we had enough ideas to produce a class he could give at Realtor Board events and real estate office sales meetings, as well as at least half a dozen e-mails.
- Produce a series of e-mails in which you tell a small story about a situation in which you "saved" a transaction as a result of your foresight, intervention, and/or skill. Every loan officer I have ever coached has had stories like that. Why let them go to waste? The key to making the stories work is that you avoid bragging, and instead just concentrate on what happened, what you thought and felt about that development, and why you took the action you took.
- "Product" Emails. Some loan officers don't like "product" e-mails. Others have told me that product e-mails get more opens and more feedback than any other type of e-mail they've sent. I can't account for the difference between their experience, but you might consider doing an occasional product e-mail, particularly if you have a niche product that works particularly well for Realtors who sell in a particular neighborhood or price range, or to a particular type of client, that your niche product was designed to serve. The idea is not to do the standard "What is an FHA Loan?" – where you basically assume that the Realtors in your audience are complete idiots who don't know anything. But the reason you are a loan officer and they are not is that you know more about the subject than they do. Even the most standard loan products have little-known quirks and guidelines that your Realtors might not be aware of.
- E-mails about the financing "process" -- in which you provide Realtors with information they can both use and pass on to their homebuyer clients. Try to avoid dry recitations of rules or descriptions of steps in the process, and instead use a story – a cautionary tale – to illustrate why, for example, people shouldn't go out and buy a new car or change jobs without talking to their lender when they're in the middle of a home purchase. Write a short e-mail describing the piece you have created, and provide a link where the Realtor can go and print the flyer or similar piece (formatted as a PDF to discourage plagiarism) in order to distribute it to clients. Make sure you brand the piece with your picture, logo, and contact information, as well as your compliance information.