As a mortgage broker, you know how important referrals are in order to be able to sustain your business and support growth. In fact, according to the poll that I've got running in my Facebook group for mortgage brokers, referrals are the most popular way to get new clients.
How successful you are at gaining referrals depends largely on your relationships with your existing clients. However, there are a few things that you can do to ensure you are making the most of your other referral opportunities.
In this article I'm going to round up six of the best ways for mortgage brokers to gain more referrals, based on my experience over the years.
1. Ask for Reviews and Testimonials
There is so much white noise out there in the financial services industry, especially in the mortgage broker market. In order to stand out from the crowd, reviews and testimonials really are king!
Think about how you might feel if you were looking for a service, you visited a website, and there were no reviews to be seen. You head on over to another service provider and their website is packed full of meaty reviews and testimonials from previous satisfied clients. Which provider would you choose? I know who I would be going with.
A great review from a previous client enables a sense of trust for potential new clients. So it really is crucial to have a system in place to request reviews from clients, both current and past, on a regular basis.
Get creative. There are plenty of ways your clients can leave reviews. The trusty simple text version still works well. But perhaps you could get your client to record an audio clip or, if they are brave in front of the camera, you could ask for a short video clip of them saying what they loved most about working with you.
Collecting reviews yourself is great, but it's even better if you also make use of an independent review service such as Trustpilot or Feefo. This gives extra credibility to your reviews because people will know that you won't have been able to write the reviews yourself or edit what the client the client wrote.
Whatever way you choose to request and display your reviews, make sure you keep them fresh and relevant to your services.
2. Get Referrals From Social Media
Whether you love it or hate it, social media is here to stay, and you need to get to grips with it if you are wanting more referrals as a mortgage broker.
Let’s use Facebook as an example. Just this one social media platform has over 2.3 billion users on a monthly basis. So think how many people we would be looking at if we added LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram into the mix.
If you are looking for more referrals as a mortgage broker, then tapping into the key social networks is crucial for your success. As well as the many business accounts on social media that you could be connecting with, don’t forget that there is also a huge market of home buyers to tap into.
Although paid advertising on Facebook will get you the fastest results, you don't necessarily need to spend money on ads to get referrals from Facebook and other social networks.
If you already have a social media presence, then make the most of it. Interact with past, present and potential clients on a regular basis. This interaction can take the form of a new post, photo or video, commenting on someone else's content, following a local business, or sharing a recent testimonial.
Just make sure you are posting regularly and also engaging with other people by asking questions and reacting to what others post - you don't want to be a broadcast-only channel. And be careful not to come across as too salesy.
As well as posting on your own personal or business pages, you should look for groups on Facebook where your potential clients are likely to be. Join a few of these groups and get involved in the discussions. Answer people's questions and, above all, be helpful rather than self-promotional.
For those of you who are yet to embark on your social media journey, there are plenty of useful resources online to get you up to speed. If you are serious about using social media as a form or marketing or to gain referrals, you could consider investing in a short course online.
Whether you go down the paid ad route, or choose to make yourself known organically, social media is not something you want to be missing out on right now.
3. Create and Maintain Excellent Customer Relations
At the end of the day, each one of us appreciates great relationships and excellent customer service. In the mortgage broker industry, these two things are super important when it comes to getting those highly sought-after referrals.
In my experience, a little time invested in a good referral programme can go a long way. With the use of online technologies, referral programmes don’t have to be complicated, and more often than not they can be automated.
Be sure to make contact with clients after every main step in the deal. Consider getting in touch at each of these points:
- Straight after they have submitted their mortgage application
- Straight after the loan offer is approved
- Once they have the keys and are in their new home (or when their remortgage completes)
Keeping in touch with clients during the mortgage or remortgage process doesn’t have to be difficult. Contact can take the form of an email, a short phone call, an information pack or even a welcome-to-your-new-home pack with useful items.
By maintaining communications in whichever way you can, you will be remembered by clients for all the right reasons, paving the way for more referrals.
4. Community Projects
Regardless of how long you've been working as a mortgage broker, a really great way to increase referrals is by getting out into your local community.
Carry out some research and see if there are any business networking groups in your area. These types of groups often meet early in the morning for breakfast and include other local business from a wide range of sectors. Networking groups are usually really supportive and are a great way to promote what it is that you do and how you do it.
The Covid-19 pandemic has seen many networking groups move to virtual meetings via Zoom and, in many cases, this makes them easier to attend. While the UK was in full lockdown, I even managed to visit a couple of BNI groups in New Zealand!
If you like the idea of helping out the younger generation, then you could get in touch with the local schools and colleges in your area. Perhaps they run a mentoring scheme that they need help with, or they would love for you to attend an event (either virtually or in person) and offer some advice to students. You could talk about money saving tips, how mortgages work, and how to plan for the future, for example.
For those of you who aren’t so keen on public speaking, perhaps you could consider getting involved in a local online forum or discussion group and offering your tips and knowledge in this way.
It really doesn’t matter the route you take; the important part is that you get your name out there and show people the knowledge and experience that you have. Show them how you can help, and focus on building trust and credibility within your community. Over time, the word will spread and referrals will follow.
5. Form the Right Partnerships
Contacting estate agents and trying to get them to partner with you can sometimes result in little or no response from them.
The trouble is we all want to partner with and work with the main players. But, more often than not, these estate agents are already tied in with a mortgage broker they've been working with for a long time and whose service they are perfectly happy with.
So consider contacting the recently formed, smaller estate agents instead. They will probably have smaller offices, less listings and a smaller customer base. However, they are much more likely to engage with you and be willing to promote your services.
As new businesses, they will appreciate the advice that you have to offer. And if you help them and build a good rapport with them, they will want to encourage their clients to use you.
6. Newsletters With Regular Updates
As a mortgage broker, you are going to be making sure you are always up to date with the ever-changing tides of the mortgage industry.
So, if you don’t already, you should package up all of your super useful knowledge about the latest developments in the mortgage market into a monthly or quarterly newsletter. You can then send this out to people on your email mailing list - not just clients, but also prospective clients, local estate agents, and other small businesses in your area.
There are lots of websites out there that offer free templates and tools for creating a newsletter, this can be a real time saver when it comes to the design and format. Take a look at Canva or LucidPress. Both tools offer free versions and are really simple to use.
Make sure you plan your content well and ensure that what you're sharing will actually be useful and of value to your audience. Make it more about them and less about you.
Whichever platform you decide to push your newsletter out on, make sure it is shareable, so that people can pass it on to others and spread the word to help those referrals to start coming in!
Don't Rely Solely on Referrals
I hope that these tips have provided you with some inspiration on how you can improve your referral rate and gain those all-important clients through recommendations and word-of-mouth marketing.
Remember, though, that you should never rely on one single source of leads. Your business needs to be built on multiple marketing pillars to give it stability. After all, as we saw with the 2020 coronavirus crisis, you never know when something might happen which will cause a temporary blip in your supply of referrals as people spend less time interacting and socialising with each other.
That's why I always recommend that, as well as working on increasing your referrals, you should also focus on using tools such as Google Ads to generate mortgage enquiries from people outside your immediate network of clients and professional connections.
Got any questions about generating more referrals for your mortgage brokerage? Or want to share a referral strategy of your own? Leave a comment in the box below.