How to Build a Mortgage Reputation “Worth a Referral”

There’s one form of marketing that you’ll never find a substitute for: Word of mouth. Word of mouth marketing confers a kind of trust about your mortgage business that no amount of website optimization and sales copy will ever be able to do. And because of that, you have to make your business “worth a referral.” But what does it mean to be worth a referral? Is it simply a buzz phrase that marketers use to plant the seeds of referrals later, or is there something deeper going on here? Here’s what you need to know: Word of Mouth Marketing is Worth the Effort Before you get to work, it’s important to know that the work will be well worth it. As Forbes quoted Nielsen, 92% of consumers will believe recommendations they hear from family and friends across just about any form of marketing. That’s right: social media, SEO, online marketing, viral marketing, YouTube marketing…if it comes from a friend, the vast majority of people are going to believe the recommendation—and maybe even try it out. That’s the kind of effectiveness we’re talking about here. Is that something you might be interested in? Of course you might be wondering how to achieve this kind of reputation. How do you inspire people to refer your business? We’ll get into that. For now, know that the journey is worth it. The effort you put into marketing your mortgage business as one worth referring can not only pay off in the long-term, but it can sustain itself over and over again. Building a Reputation Worth Telling People About Did you know that the product “Sriracha” never really did much marketing at all? Seriously. The chili sauce gained popularity not through marketing, but through production and quality. It was the word of mouth and the strength of the product that did the advertising for the sauce, not any key commercial or viral promotion. As a mortgage marketer, you might be wondering what chili sauce has to do with you. The answer is simple: if you’re going to have success in advertising, it doesn’t hurt if you have a great service to begin with. That means you have to look at your business from the customer’s perspective. Truly take the time and think about someone visiting your website for the first time. If they wanted to contact you, what would happen? Would there be some sort of sales funnel that made them feel comfortable? Or would there simply be a one-word, terse reply from your end that didn’t make them feel special at all? Extend this same line of thinking to every aspect of your mortgage business. From the beginning of their experience when reaching out to you to their personal dealings with you, you should make an effort to shine at every possible step along the way. It’s a process that takes time. It won’t happen overnight. But the long-term benefits to your business will make other aspects of your life easier. Marketing will be easier. Social media will be easier. Stop settling for second-best and do what you can to make every aspect of your business as personable and comfortable for your clients as possible. Set Up a Referral Infrastructure Okay, enough about handling business. Let’s talk about being ready for these new referrals. True: word-of-mouth marketing might be the most potent kind there is. And it might be hard to promote it by doing anything besides a great job at your mortgage business. But that doesn’t mean you can’t set up an infrastructure that encourages this kind of marketing. There are a number of ways to boost the amount of referrals you generate:
  • Create a referral program. This is one of the “oldest tricks in the book.” Do you know why? Because it works. Many companies—and even large corporations—will introduce a referral program because they know how powerful word-of-mouth marketing can be. You simply need two things here: a way to verify that a referral has been made, and some sort of promotion that rewards the referral. Then, advertise the program on social media and on your web presence. It’s really that simple.
  • Reach out to referrers. If you still have the email or contact information of old clients who thought highly enough of you to refer someone in your direction, then reward that! Give them a personal thank-you note. It not only boosts your reputation and makes you feel like a more “personal” brand, but the referrers might be more likely to do it again in the future.
  • Create a part of your site dedicated to referrals. Let’s say someone wants to refer you to their friends. How do they do that? Which link should they share? What should they click? Answer those questions by creating an online referral form that streamlines the entire process. The easier you make it for someone to refer your business to someone else, the more often it’s going to happen.
  • Send out reminders every so often. This can apply to your email list as well as to social media. If you have a referral program, market it! Yes, it’s true that you’ll essentially be marketing a marketing campaign, but it’s important to get the word out about your business and the quality of services you provide. If you can do that on top of your other efforts, you stand to build a reputation more quickly than you might have thought.
If you do all of the above, you’ll make major strides. Not only will you have a business that’s worthy of referrals, but you’ll actively take a part in making those referrals achievable. But there’s one missing link here, and it’s a counter-intuitive one… Don’t Get in the Way of Your Own Referrals Ever go to a car dealership and feel “oversold”? You know the feeling. You want to make a decision, but something in the desperation of the salesperson’s personality made you feel as if there were something “off” about the whole thing. It’s simple. It’s known as being too pushy. That’s why you don’t want to oversell what it is that you do. If you turn every mortgage interaction with a client into a potential referral, you’re going to find that you actually push people in the opposite direction. Rather than wanting to tell friends about you and your wonderful services, that might be the only aspect of your service that they actually comment on. This is not an ideal state of affairs. Instead, you have to put the above action plan into place, and then do something that feels a little counter-intuitive: You have to let the process work. As a mortgage marketer, you might not be used to letting things work on their own. You’re proactive, after all. But once you take all of the necessary steps to be more worthy of referrals, your reputation should—quite literally—speak for itself. If you want the infrastructure in place to make a better reputation happen, then it’s time to boost your web presence. Sign up for a free trial of leadPops to find out all of the functionality and marketing options you can add to boost your chance at referrals.
Andrew Pawlak

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