December 13, 2017
As a loan officer, repeat customers are vital for maintaining a healthy business; but expanding your client base and attracting new customers is the key to growing your book of business, as well as your income. Financial lending is one of the linchpins of the American economy, and according to Business Insider both consumer spending and business investment continued to show healthy growth throughout 2017. This growth suggests that the demand for both private and business loans is growing as well, signaling many new opportunities for lenders to acquire new clients. But with the multitude of banks, lending houses, and other financial institutions competing for this business, how can you stand out from the crowd? Below we'll lay out several methods by which loan officers can distinguish themselves, turning potential new customers and promising leads into loyal clients.
Utilize Social Media Marketing
Online marketing is now a mainstay of the business environment, so hopefully you have already developed at least a bit of an online presence. Despite its ubiquity, however, there is still a great amount of untapped marketing potential online. A great many Americans already get the majority of their news and entertainment online, and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc. draw hundreds of millions of views each day. While only a small portion of these views may be potential customers, the sheer volume of these sites' users represents an enormous marketing opportunity. One way to take advantage of this, according to Root Marketing, is to utilize Facebook's advertising platform. Not only does Facebook allow you to personalize your ads - which already gives you a leg up on the bland, faceless advertising of traditional mass media - but it also allows you to directly target your desired demographic. The site's settings allow advertisers to direct their content to users based on a number of characteristics, such as location, age range, and numerous other behaviors - including those that may signal an increased likelihood they may be in the market for a loan. The benefits of such personalized and targeted advertising are immense. By singling out your target audience and offering them personalized content, you can provide unique, personalized content to the ideal demographic for your services.
Getting your content in front of your target audience is a great first step; however its effectiveness still depends a great deal on the quality of that content. To be truly effective in generating new customers, your content should be unique, informative, and memorable. Ideally your advertisement will clearly outline the types of loans you offer; highlight the benefits of your service over your competitors'; and offer a personalized touch that makes your content memorable. This strategy us geared specifically towards Facebook, but it can also be used on Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, and numerous other social media sites; most of which allow you to sort users by their interests or other characteristics that may indicate a heightened potential need for your service.
Utilize Reviews From Your Customers
Who better to tout the virtues of your service than current or previous clients of yours? Consumers already look to sites such as Yelp for restaurant reviews, and peruse the reviews of products on Amazon before making a purchase; and the lending business is no different. A consumer is much more likely to visit a restaurant or purchase a product with good reviews than one with no reviews. Likewise, the existence of positive reviews for your services greatly increases the odds that a potential customer will become a client. According to OutboundEngine, an effective way to implement this is to reach out to your clients either right before or after closing a loan, and make the process simple for them to complete. You can send them an e-mail thanking them for their business, and providing them a link directly to whichever website you'd like their review to appear on. If you've done a good job for them, your customers will often be more than happy to provide you with a positive review. In addition, you can also send them a personalized thank you note or gift card after they've posted their review. This additional show of appreciation will go a long way towards cementing a positive image of you and your business in their mind; which has the added benefit of creating the potential for increased word of mouth marketing as well.
New clientele are the lifeblood of growing any business, and the above tips can go a long way towards helping you expand your client base. By distinguishing yourself from your competitors on social media and in person, the likelihood that potential customers will choose you over your peers is greatly increased. Good marketing is all about setting oneself apart from the crowd. Establishing a distinctive social media presence and enabling your current clients to post positive reviews about your business goes a long way towards accomplishing this, and in ultimately turning potential customers into solid clients. For more tips on marketing, or anything workplace related, please don't hesitate to contact us at Lorman Education Services today!
Being Active in the Community
Have you ever noticed that one of the first questions people ask when they first meet you is, "What do you do?" If you're active in your community, you'll naturally create situations where you'll be able to talk about what you do, possibly give needed advice, and make new clients out of it.
Thus, instead of writing a check to your favorite charity every year, think about volunteering instead. Or, simply do the fun things you've always wanted to, like joining a book club, running club, intramural sports team, improv class, or dance class.
A good way to find out about clubs in your area is Meetup. It's a website that allows you to search get-togethers (Meetups) by geographical location and interest. If there's not an event you're interested in, you can create one yourself through the website.
Don't Forget About Word of Mouth
While utilizing social media for marketing ensures you're not left behind, experts still say that one of the most effective ways of making yourself known is through word of mouth. It's free and simple. And, according to Entrepreneur, it's still very effective.4
When compared to online reviews, word of mouth likely lends more credibility. Both Time 5 and the New York Times6 have written extensively on why online reviews are unreliable. Much of this has to do with "Internet trolls" who have free reign to post unhelpful, ranting, or fake reviews. While favorable online reviews can't hurt, a word-of-mouth recommendation is simply better.
Aside from happy customers, people who might be worthy advocates of your services include:
- Accountants and CPA firms
- Attorneys and law firms
- Real estate agents
Ensuring You've Done Your Research
Once you finally have someone's ear, it's important to sound like an expert. A common-sense way to do this is by studying up on your products and services. The more you know, the more trustworthy you sound, and the more likely clients will stick with you instead of shopping around for someone else.
Getting to Know Your Clients
An often-overlooked tactic for earning trust is simply getting to know the clients. The more you know about them, the better you can help them (and thereby earn their trust). For instance, you can ask if this is their first time obtaining a loan. You'll likely need to talk to a first-time borrower very differently than a very experienced one.
To create trust, you can also ask your clients about themselves beyond just their financials. A study by Harvard University found that people like to talk about themselves; doing so creates feel-good chemicals in the brain. 7
Treating Each Client With Reverence
When working as a loan officer, remember that clients are people too. They're not just asking for money; They're asking you to help them achieve big improvements in their lives.
In remembering that fact, the former president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Metropolitan Washington gave an example of a client he'll never forget. The client sought his services for a home loan. When she showed up to his office, "'She was dressed up in a full-length gown with a headdress. And she said it was because she wanted to show her son how important it was to buy a house.'" His takeaway from that experience was, "'When you do this day in and day out, you can sometimes forget about what a big deal this is to people.'" 8
A large part of being a good loan officer is knowing how to cultivate interpersonal relationships. Building up your client base is not much different, our advice for building up your clientele comes back to answering the question: How do you get people to know and trust you?
Looking for more advice? Feel free to contact us at Lorman Education Services.
(4)Entrepreneur, "Word-of-Mouth Advertising." Available at https://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/word-of-mouth-advertising.
(5) Brad Tuttle, "9 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Trust Online Reviews." Time. February 3, 2012. Available at http://business.time.com/2012/02/03/9-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-trust-online-reviews/.
(6) David Streitfeld, "Online Reviews? Researchers Give Them a Low Rating." June 7, 2016. Available at https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/09/technology/online-reviews-researchers-give-them-a-low-rating.html.
(7) Belinda Luscrombe, "Why We Talk About Ourselves: The Brain Likes It." Time. May 8, 2012. Available at http://healthland.time.com/2012/05/08/why-we-overshare-the-brain-likes-it/.
(8) U.S. Bank, "Loan Officer Overview: #14 in Best Business Jobs." Available at https://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/loan-officer