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Referral Partner

How Loan Officers Can Build the Best Referral Partner Network

May 22, 2023

Loan officers engage in lead generation in many different ways. Yet the most traditional approach has been to create and maintain an extensive referral partner network of real estate agents, attorneys, financial professionals, builders and past clients. The secret is figuring out how to start and grow a vast network of referral partners motivated to help you do more business.

How hard is it for a new loan officer to start a lead referral network?


Find your referral partner network on LinkedIn and Facebook with Surefire's integrations.

Mortgage lead generation for new loan officers can be a real challenge. It will depend on how knowledgeable a new recruit is along with a host of other factors relative to the individual, their market and their employer. Training and licensing are mandatory, and it helps if the newly minted loan officer also has experience in sales or related industries.

You have to prove your mettle and offer a borrower experience that exceeds that of a prospective referral partner’s go-to banker.

The hardest part is a Catch-22, and that’s how to prove yourself without getting the first referral partner.

It’s a bit counter-intuitive, but one clever way to gain a referral partner is not to get the referral from a potential partner first but to introduce yourself to them through a deal you’ve landed in other ways.

Homebuyers will not always use the agent’s recommended loan officer. Mortgage lead generation can occur in many ways. A deal can just as easily come to you from a family member, friend or co-worker. Up-time in offices that advertise and offer you that time is another way to get deals. Attending open houses either by invitation or just showing up is still another. As a new loan officer, you have to hustle, and there are plenty of ways to get those first deals when you do.

Once you’ve secured those first transactions, it’s comparatively easy to introduce yourself to selling and listing referral partners and blow them away with your awesome service. It’s not all that hard, as there are plenty of mortgage loan officers and brokers that are complacent. While they may get the job done, they aren’t always on their game with the mortgage lead generation and progress reporting tools available today. If you offer agents a compelling example by doing a stellar job, you’ve got a much better shot at another deal vs. if they’ve never seen your work.

A great way for newly minted loan officers to exhibit their value to potential referral partners is by offering real estate agents valuable resources in their marketing outreach. For example, single property sites and flyers are two forms of real estate marketing collateral that loan officers can use to drive referrals and streamline the house hunting and home buying processes. 

By highlighting all the most pertinent details about an individual property in a single place, listing-specific content offers transparency to homebuyers that leads to a quicker sale — something home sellers, real estate agents and lenders all hope to achieve. While they may take individual real estate agents and mortgage marketers several hours, days or even weeks to develop from the ground up, today, single property websites and flyers can be generated automatically with the right mortgage customer relationship management (CRM) software. 

What’s the absolute most important thing you can do to win referral partner business?

Communicate early and often. Providing regular status updates before they’re requested of you will set you apart from many loan officers. Industry-leading mortgage CRM programs like Surefire℠ CRM and Mortgage Marketing Engine by Black Knight even offer dynamic in-process video reporting for every step of a transaction. Agents love being in the loop and seeing their own picture in a client’s animated video update can make you stand out head and shoulders over a bland email update.

Being straight up if things don’t go as planned and not holding back on the facts is going to be appreciated far more than you might think. No one likes to hear bad news, but if it’s delivered quickly with a proposed solution, you’re three steps down the path to being respected. That’s an important key to initiating a solid reputation and the next referral.

As soon as possible, agents want to know that their buyer has an approval and can close. Most agents are far less concerned with interest rates and loan programs and more concerned about successful execution according to the contractual timeline.

How do established loan officers grow their referral business?

There’s simply no substitute for fostering great client relationships and turning those into a giant book of lead-generating referral partners that can eclipse the business you might otherwise build solely from industry referral partners. In fact, using these referrals as outlined above to also approach the associated agents in any deal works just as well for established loan officers.

Given the extra benefit of experience in the business, it would be much easier to demonstrate your knowledge and skills. At the very least, bringing these agents into your database so they will see the communication you offer can set you apart and win them over to your side.

Repeat referral relationships are what so many sales-oriented businesses are based on. It really can be as easy as focusing on doing a great job and communicating status every step of the way. After the deal is done, you must stay top of mind with both the referring party and the client. To see how easy that can be, click the link here for a Surefire demo today.

Brian Larrabee
Brian Larrabee
Content Director

Brian’s entire professional career has centered on real estate. He’s designed, built and brokered homes. He’s provided over half a billion dollars in mortgage loan financing to everyone from first time-buyers to the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies He’s a published author with articles in periodicals, hedge fund websites and trade publications.

Brian has traveled the country and been on broadcast radio to speak in front of hundreds of his industry contemporaries. He’s also created and developed hundreds of educational products from print to digital used throughout the U.S. and beyond, which make the process of buying and financing a home easier for all. Brian is a father, real estate investor, outdoorsman, pilot, skier, golfer and plays ice hockey in several men’s leagues every week of the year.

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