Be An All-Star Reverse Mortgage Originator Doing Something Simple and Cheap – Networking
This month I am on track to close 8 reverse mortgage loans. That is pretty darn fantastic when you realize the average LO originates 1.25 reverse mortgage loans every three months. If that continues, based on my current pipeline it will, I will be in the top 1% of RM producers in the nation. And I got there doing two main things, specializing in just reverse mortgages and networking my butt off.
I am going to leave the specialization aspect of success for another blog post because it deserves its own post. In this post I just want to focus on networking because it is critical to how I got where I am today.
I remember the day my manager was recruiting me to get back into the mortgage business to focus just on reverse loans. I was hesitant to say the least. I got burned badly in the down turn, totally my own fault, and was not sure I wanted to still be involved in the industry, even though I loved it. I knew my manager was a numbers junkie so I asked him how many reverse mortgage loans were originated the prior year. The answer made me even more fearful, it was a whopping 40 loans in the entire county. Ughh!
Long story short, he sold me on getting back into the business. The first month or so I didn’t focus to much on originating. I really just focused on educating myself about the product. Webinars,HUD, guidelines, learning Reverse Vision etc. was pretty much all I did.
After I felt confident enough to talk about the product I started calling people I knew and scheduling meetings to not only catch up with them personally but also to let them know what I was doing and all about reverse mortgages. Less than one week after my first meeting I got a referral from an agent I knew. That first loan was painful, but we got it closed.
From there I just started cold calling realtors, financial planners, insurance agents, in home care providers, CPA’s and any one else I could think might be a good referral partner. This was turning out to be a pretty good idea. The more people I met with, the more referrals I got. Go figure.
I also started hitting up all of the local banks and credit unions. With the exception of 2 banks, none of them did reverse mortgages. But what makes banks so nice, is that they are so customer service focused. On top of that, I doubt they have people coming in all day long trying to sell shit to them. It was easy to meet the bank manager, the personal bankers, loan officers and more. Lo and behold I started getting referrals from all of the banks in my area too.
You may find this one hard to believe, but I also started calling up other local mortgage companies. Some of them already did reverse mortgages, others had a specialist, usually an in house person at their corporate offices. But some of them didn’t have any of those things. Guess what, I started getting referrals from those loan officers. Most of those referrals are coming from some of the top forward producers in my area.
I am also a member of BNI. If you are not part of a professional networking group I would highly recommend it. The way I like to use this group is for introductions to other potential referral partners. This can save you many hours trying to get in touch with people. I have been able to get in front of bank presidents with ease because of BNI. I have also been introduced to other loan officers, bankers, financial planners and have even gotten in to speak at various organizations. If you live in a city of any size, 30,000 people or more, there is more than likely a group you can join. Even if there is already a mortgage person in the group, you could join as the reverse mortgage person.
My company was already a member of the local Chamber of Commerce. Our chamber has excellent leadership and provides a ton of networking opportunities and events. These include a weekly networking event, forums, lunch networking (connect for lunch), small business fairs and more. I try and partake in as many of these as I can. I am always quite amazed at the amount of people I meet and the number of people I get introduced to at these events. If you are not part of your local Chamber, I would highly suggest joining and taking advantage of the various opportunities they offer.
Specialty networking opportunities are out there as well. These could include Home Builders Association, BAR Association, Financial Planner Association events. Often times you can attend some of their events even if you are not a member. One of the groups I joined is a local elder care group. This is comprised of all kinds of organizations and people including in home care, nursing homes, case managers, hospitals, realtors and more. Once again, just showing up to these events has proven very fruitful. To find these types of groups in your area, just do some online research and I am sure you will find plenty of opportunities.
Without doing all of those things above I would not be anywhere near the production level I am at today. Now, don’t get me wrong, networking is not all I do. I do a lot of other things as well. But, by far, the number one thing I do that pays the most dividends is networking and meeting potential referral partners. This really should be your number one focus if you want to succeed in the reverse mortgage world. Quit chasing short cuts and “easy” ways to get business online and start networking today.