Listing agents have an improving advantage in the field for many reasons, making them a top choice for partnerships. Top-earning loan officers have been focusing on listing agents and teams, because these agents and teams grow every single month.
Why Listing Agents Make Great Co-Marketing Partners
"For the third straight year, the largest group of recent buyers were millennials, who composed 35 percent of all buyers," according to the National Association of Realtors®. That's a 3 percent increase from 2014.
Now that millennials are in the market, agents and loan officers might have noticed changes in the transaction process. Millennials wait longer to buy, because there is a great deal of information online for independent research, which also means less face time with agents.
However, when they come into focus, millennials are further along in the buying process.
As they’re spending time researching homes and their options, millennials sometimes wait for an open house.
Basically, what it comes down to is the listing itself.
When the house goes up online, it bypasses tactics and exchanges, heading right to the point of sale. For the listing-focused teams, they are producing stronger leads by simply having their signs in the ground, their listings online, and interacting with these buyers as they come along.
It's the Right Time to Partner Up
Total Expert drew on polling data from 300 top-producing loan officers to see how partnerships are made.
On average, some of the top loan officers reported meeting with two to three potential partners on a weekly basis. They would set aside time in their schedules, meet for lunch or coffee, and have a conversation.
From there, the same loan officers partnered with at least one agent per month. And, the agents they’re partnering with sell around 40 units per year.
To estimate, one partner equates to roughly eight closed loans per year.
Do the math.
Tallying up the numbers, that comes out to be around 96 closed loans annually, if you’re partnering with at least one new, top-producing agent a month.
The good news is there’s not a lot of magic in it, it’s just setting appointments.
Find the Right Agent
The big-name portals still have to list the brokerages and individual agents on their site. This is a good place to start looking for agents and teams in the area. Carve out some time and start digging.
While you’re at it, check on social media. Some of the most successful listing agents are active through various platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more.
When you visit their profiles, you can get a better sense of who they are, what their goals might be, and whether you would make good partners.
Their profiles are also a place where these agents are posting their listings, which helps expand their reach to potential buyers and leads, while strengthening their brand.
Set Up A Meeting
Once you’ve found agents, compile their contact information. Then, think about your value as a partner and how you can help them. From there, it’s time to set up an appointment and grab that cup of coffee.
As you’re setting up these meetings and making contact with people you think would make a good partner, make sure your main focus isn’t on the money.
Yes, sometimes it’s a pay-to-play environment, but the money shouldn’t be the single determining factor in your decisions. The loan officers that focuses solely on the money get very frustrated, very quickly.
The main focus should be on the relationship.
First, establish a relationship. Then, make sure it lasts.
Retention is just as important as the initial contact -- if not more so. Other people, other companies might be looking at a partnership with the same people you’re working with.
Align Your Values
Your value helps you retain your partnerships. It’s what you can do as a partner to alleviate their pain points, while also bringing up your end of the deal.
This can be done by following up, relentlessly, so you can invest your time and resources into the people who are going to help you, as much as you’re helping them.
And then, you should make sure your objectives are in line with your partners. If you both try to move in different directions, it only splits you apart, instead of what could be thought of as covering more ground.
Aligning your objectives and strategies helps in a number of ways, especially when talking about your return on investment for marketing dollars and overall lead generation.
“One of the things that became profoundly obvious to us through our work with some of the top originators is the return on investment with the big portals,” Welu said. “The lack of tracking, and really, the perceived return on investment versus the actual return on investment.”
But, the big-name companies like Zillow or Trulia can be a helpful tool, if used properly. This goes double for agents. Although, the online portals don’t offer quite the same benefits for loan officers. Agents are prompted to invite multiple loan officers to help pay for some of the costs.
This is not good for the loan officer, because the more loan officers that pitch in marketing dollars, the less likely they are to see a return on investment. To avoid or prepare for this, simply ask the right questions when going into a partnership.
And, as with any other partnership, there should be strong collaboration and full transparency.
This, too, helps both parties ensure they’re getting the maximum return on investment for what they spent, and it helps both partners continue moving forward with their businesses.
The tools you use should function with the same idea in mind. They should keep your business moving forward, not anchoring it in place.
For agents and loan officers, it helps to have a centralized place to store your information, where you can also collaborate. And, you should make sure you’re able to quickly follow up with leads, clients and others in a number of ways, including automated messaging.
When you're looking for the right partner, reference our SlideShare on LinkedIn.