There’s nothing more powerful for building your mortgage market share than member referrals. It’s one thing to place an ad where you do the talking, it’s quite another when your member does the talking for you. The third party endorsement is so much more believable than your own words, not because members are more honest than the marketing staff at a credit union, but simply because everyone toots their own horn. If members are singing the praises of their credit union’s mortgage program, other members are more likely to believe it.loan department with friends, family, and co-workers?
Good question. And there really are no simple answers. Yet there are companies that successfully create ‘buzz’ around their products. Here are some ideas for doing so.
- Make it easy for members to refer you. Provide the member with business cards they can share with family and friends. You can also provide them with pre-stamped postcards they can address, sign, and mail to friends and family. Or, come up with text for an email and send it to members the day they close. Ask them to forward it to anyone they know who may be looking for a mortgage. Become “friends” or get your clients to “like” your social media pages and have them share your information across channels to others. The easier you make it for members, the more likely they are to bring up the credit union in their conversations with others.
- Ask for testimonials, and for permission to use them. When you’ve made a member happy, and given a home-buying couple a positive experience, don’t think they’ll automatically let you know about it. You have to let them know that you want to know! Ask for referrals, ask for names of others they know who might benefit, and survey them for comments on what the experience meant to them. You’ll also need to obtain permission to use it on your website, social media, in your newsletter, in a press release, etc. It’s important that the testimonial is in your member’s own words. Somehow, a made up testimonial sounds false. An email will work. Send testimonial requests via email or mail. If by mail, include a pre-addressed, pre-stamped envelope for the return. Comments made on social media by your members make it easy for instant testimonials.
- Show up. If a member invites you to a housewarming party, the closing, or anything else, be there. Introduce yourself to everyone as a representative of the credit union and tell them you’ve become friends with these people while helping them apply for financing on their new home.
- Exceed Expectations. This goes without saying, but when you under-promise and over-deliver to the point where members are surprised by how quickly, how smoothly, and how easily the process goes, you’ve won some raving fans. Do everything you can to make it go smoothly.
- Say “Thank You!” When a member does send you a referral and that loan closes, say thank you. Send a card or an email to let the member know you really appreciate the referral Everyone loves to hear the words “Thanks so much!” and by thanking the member, you’re encouraging additional referrals.
You really can’t force others to toot your horn. But you can always gently coax them, let them know you appreciate it, and above all, do what it takes to inspire members to sing your praises.