One of the most important ways to maintain a business and fuel its growth is to invest in networking. For loan officers, networking should be a top priority as it’s a key strategy to keep their sales pipeline flowing. It allows you to meet valuable prospects, build professional partnerships, and strengthen your brand. It’s a smart idea to regularly check in with your networking habits. If you’re not seeing the results you want, it could be time to adopt a new strategy or two. Here are some I’d recommend:
Take advantage of opportunities
When it comes to meeting new people, networking online and in-person are both important. Though online may feel a bit easier, in-person networking can often make the more genuine and personal impact you want, so it’s important to get out there and seek out these face-to-face opportunities. Get your name out there by participating in your community. Join events in your area and volunteer when you can. The more you immerse yourself in your local community, the easier it is to make those valuable connections and increase your overall credibility. Consider participating in professional organizations like the National Association of Mortgage Bankers or other state associations of mortgage professionals. Whenever an opportunity to network comes up, try your best to make space for it in your schedule.
Tell them what you’re about
It’s important to make a lasting impression on people and leave them with a sense of who you are and what you do. It’s no secret that first impressions are important, so it’s worth your time to prepare for conversations with new people. The more clear a description you can give of yourself and your work, the better prospects and prospective partners will get to know you. This goes for your online presence as well — the clearer picture you paint, the more connected people will feel.
Fine-tune your communication skills
The foundation of great networking is successful communication. If networking opportunities are feeling unproductive, it might be time to take a closer look at your communication skills. Work on speaking more clearly and listening more actively. Prioritize asking questions when you first meet new people to show that you have a genuine interest in getting to know them. Whether they’re a potential client, partner, or new acquaintance, strong communication skills go a long way.
Offering value to prospects can quickly turn them into clients. Offering value to prospective partners assures them the relationship will be mutually beneficial. The best way to offer value is by offering your help, knowledge, and problem-solving abilities, without expecting anything in return. Perhaps it’s sharing a useful article or sending a client their way. If you tell someone you’ll do something, make sure you do it. The key is to promise only what you’re confident you deliver.
Online networking is just as important as in-person networking. When done well, social media efforts can expand your reach and fill your pipeline. I recommend getting the most out of LinkedIn by not only creating a strong descriptive profile, but by actively participating on the site. Joining relevant groups on LinkedIn and adding to the conversation can help LOs network with valuable online connections. Other social-media sites like Facebook and Twitter are highly useful as well. Strive to make your social-media profile represent you as authentically as possible. With many prospects finding you online before meeting you in person, your social-media pages often become your first impression. Take the time to make that impression strong, just as you would with an in-person meeting.
Make sure you don’t erase all your good networking efforts by neglecting to follow up. When you make a new contact, get in touch with them shortly thereafter. Whether it’s to send some relevant information or simply thank them for a great conversation, a brief follow up is a great way to stay on their radar and continue building the relationship. When you invest in connections, you invest in the success of your mortgage business.