Loan Officer Training: How to Use Open Houses to Meet Agents

Jeffrey Nelson

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If you’re searching for a proven method that leads to fast results, than this article is for you. Many times I come across loan officers who are either new in the industry and need to earn immediate income or who joined during the height of the refinance boom and now needs to build purchase business.

Either way, this strategy I’ve tested with dozens of loan officers and have had great success. In fact, it’s one of those ideas that’s commonly known, but is uncommonly practiced – meaning that it’s another way of getting ahead of your competitors.

Captive Audience

With the housing market appearing to cool off and inventory climbing in many towns across America, it prompts agents to hold open houses again. This is great news for you, because it means they’re captive. It’s one thing to approach an agent at their office, when they’re on their natural turf, but when it’s an open house, you’ll discover their behavior is strikingly better. For one thing, if the traffic for the open house has been slow, they’ll be happy to have someone to speak with.

So the first step, which believe it or not, is the most difficult for loan officers, is to give up some personal time on a Saturday and visit several open houses. How much time? If you’re efficient, meaning you’ve spotted the open houses in Friday’s paper and planned a route, you could knock out a dozen in three hours.

Your Plan

If you’re going to take some personal time on a Saturday to pursue agents, you definitely want to make the most of your effort. So let’s review your objectives; an open house visit is your chance to:

  • Schedule Appointments – Don’t miss this point – Your primary objective in visiting open houses is to schedule appointments, not to share every reason in the world why they should do business with you. You’re not there to socialize longer than 20 minutes. If you’re staying longer than that, you’re giving up too much information.
  • Build Your Prospect List – If you visit a dozen open houses, you should gain at least 4 appointments. But what about the other 8? If you don’t get an appointment, always seek permission to market your services to them in the future. Just say, “If you’re like most agents I meet, you’re interested in ways to grow your income. If I come across ideas from time to time that can help you do that, would you be offended if I send it to you?" Of course, very few will turn you down and now you’re building a list of prospects who have granted permission for you to send them information.

    If you find yourself quickly accumulating a permission-based list, consider implementing a regular email or direct mail campaign so you can build familiarity, which leads to future originations.

  • Demonstrate Your Professional Commitment – Just by showing up on a weekend, you’re making a statement about your willingness to service agents.
  • Make Friends – You might find open houses to be a less confrontational method to meeting agents. Some of my toughest clients, loan officers who never called on agents before, found open houses to be less intimidating and trouble-free.

The idea of visiting open houses has been around since the dawn of time…ok, maybe not that long, but hopefully you get the idea. It can give you a quick jump start to meeting agents, developing some familiarity and if you schedule several appointments, a real chance to interact with agents who will send you originations.

If you’re new in the industry or haven’t marketed your services to agents before, it’s a strategy worth trying. You’ll find that it’s not too difficult, and agents recognize the effort you’re putting forth, so they’re more empathetic to your cause.

Jeff Nelson helps loan officers increase loan originations by attracting quality relationships with real estate agents from the development of customized relationship-building strategies.

Click here to get a free copy of the Marketing Planning Guide, a 20-page workbook designed to help you outline a strategy to become an Agent Magnet.

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