With purchase business expected to accelerate in 2018 at twice the rate it did this year, the point of sale is the place to be. By the time today's home buyers speak to or make the acquaintance of real estate professionals, they've done a great deal of research over time; if they aren't ready to transact on the spot, they will be very soon.
"Real buyers" show up at properties they're considering after doing their due diligence… mortgage loan officers (MLOs) need to position themselves on the front lines of decision-making. The most successful lenders are executing using a multi-channel strategy to market at the point of sale.
Social media and open houses are two important and complementary aspects of this approach:
- Property listings are some of the most digested content in social media today. Being featured alongside the agent and property on posts about new listings and single property websites gives MLOs great reach and implied credibility.
- Open houses provide a wealth of opportunity for MLOs who show up in person, ready to share their expertise as people walk in the door. Property information is plentiful and straightforward; however, consumers prefer professionals to online sources for individualized help with financing options.
To benefit from this strategy, align yourself with real estate agents, teams and brokers in the marketplace. In light of the two-year long Zillow investigation, it’s becoming even more critical to follow the rules when it comes to marketing.
Choosing, Approaching and Managing Referral Partnerships
Don't try to “close on the first date” and try to partner before you’ve established a real relationship. Evaluate the people and groups you'd like to work with to make sure you're aligned in your business philosophies. Be sure that you share the same ideals about branding and customer service, and that you're targeting the same local markets. It's important that all three of these aspects are aligned. You wouldn't want to initiate marketing with a Realtor on listings if you don’t agree with how they service the customer, because that could be damaging to your brand.
Once you've identified like-minded agents targeting the same customers, reach out, establish a rapport and do some "seasoning" before you ask about teaming up. One of the easiest – and most effective – ways to start this process is to comment on their social media posts. Compliment them if they have a nice listing or have sold a property. Endorse your Realtor targets publicly in a general but complimentary way. For example, you could make this comment on a pending or sold post: “Hey, you guys do a great job. Love to see you sell another home.” Positive words in social media are very helpful and you should only start talking about partnering after you've begun interacting and adding value. Too many MLOs make the mistake of pushing for partnerships too early because they don’t have the patience.
Whether you co-market on social media, single property websites or via direct mail or flyers, you must pay your fair share of the costs and follow your organization's guidelines and government regulations. Research, put best practices in place and be sure to have a single system of record to track activities to protect yourself and your Realtor partners.
Point of Sale Marketing Today: Online + “Old School” = Success
Effective marketing at the point of sale combines digital and in-person. Listings are a goldmine of real content that's popular in the online realm: Social media, landing pages and single property sites are all important channels. But it’s also vital to capture the buyer at the moment of truth when they're visiting and deciding on a property.
That “old school” human touch is absolutely key to help people see the value proposition of the property itself, homeownership and the professionals on hand to assist with this major transaction. And that’s a powerful reason why MLOs should be attending open houses in addition to just creating compelling content regarding the property to motivate a buying decision.
If you’re in the building stage of your business, you should be at open houses every weekend. MLOs that are producing at the highest levels are willing to show up. Marketing – and selling – at the point of sale requires these three things:
- A strong digital and in-person in the industry
- Authentically-built Realtor partnerships
- High-quality marketing assets that are representative of your brand
Are you ready to step up and show up?