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By Jeff Mandel

RISMEDIA, Oct. 30, 2007-Just as fall is historically the time for Major Leaguers to define their baseball careers, the current mortgage and economic environment has produced an opportunity for most in-house mortgage companies, mortgage partnerships and their respective loan officers to entrench their value within their respective organizations. However, there continues to be numerous barriers restricting consumers’ access to the in-house mortgage operations.

Two of the primary obstacles I continue to see across the country are:

1. The inability of the real estate company to effectively position its mortgage company or partnership in front of the consumers
2. Real estate agents continue to be unwilling to refer their customers to the in-house mortgage company.

Just like baseball, it all comes down to at-bats. It’s impossible to be successful as a Major League hitter unless you’re consistently getting at-bats. Similarly, how can your mortgage operation ever be successful if the consumer is not adequately exposed to their operation and capabilities?

The following are some methods to enhance your customers’ awareness of your mortgage operation:

1. Integrate its branding into all of your company’s marketing materials.
2. Ensure that anywhere a customer comes in contact with your company (in your office lobby, Web site, advertisements, sales materials, etc.) that your mortgage company is effectively positioned to gain positive recognition.
3. Develop service-level guarantees and/or advantages, such as closing cost discounts, etc., to help differentiate your mortgage operation and entice customers to utilize its service.
4. Post your mortgage company’s commitment to core values, such as integrity, world-class customer service, commitment, professionalism, etc., throughout your office.

There’s a common myth within the real estate industry that if an agent provides a mortgage company referral then they must provide at least three recommended companies to the customer.

However, after performing further analysis, I typically identify that the in-house mortgage company is often not included as one of the three recommended companies.

The requisite first step is to leverage the “myth” to your advantage. Once this first transformation occurs and your at-bats and capture rates begin to rise, then begin the second phase of coaching your agents to refer your in-house company:

1. Increase your overall at-bats by significantly enhancing the awareness and presence of your mortgage company
2. Create enticements through service-level guarantees to enhance the confidence in your mortgage company’s execution
3. Execute, execute, execute.

We all know that one hiccup in the execution will spread like a virus throughout your office. It is imperative that your mortgage company and/or mortgage partner is not only getting hits, but consistently hitting home runs in the clutch by ensuring that your service levels and customer satisfaction are off the charts.

Jeff Mandel is the founder and president of Prism Professional Solutions.

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