It was the “Find Nearby” button. And it was great as it allowed me to connect to others in the room with me. You can read more about it here.
And here is the thing. As a small business owner, mortgage brokers have to be fantastic multi-taskers who have to learn many new things, every day. This is because they only have one employee – themselves, or only have access to a small team of people.
This includes tasks like creating marketing campaigns, posting on social media, touching base with clients and referrers, keeping updated with credit policy, dealing with credit assessors, balancing their own finances, and also taking care of the housework.
So as a mortgage broker, how do you learn how to do new things? Or even to work out what types of skills or tools they will need to master? And most importantly how do they meet the right people to help them find their customers?
One of my key continual improvement activities is to get out and network with like-minded people who may help generate new ideas. Meeting like-minded people can help keep you motivated and inspired. And some of them may teach you new things to run your business better.
Just like what happened at the New Broker Academy event, where I learnt something new from Jason.
The thing is even with social media there is no substitute for meeting people face-to-face. Like it or not, the basis of all long term business referral networks rely on people physically meeting each other.
Plus I feel more connected to my LinkedIn and Facebook contacts if I have physically met them already.
Here are some ways to ensure your networking activities produce the right results for your mortgage broking business.
Work out who you want to target
I am always looking for referral partners. They are like the magical geese that lay the golden eggs. This means you need to first identify what type of customers you want, and then the professionals that can introduce you to your target market. Then start actively networking within those circles.
For example, as a mortgage broker specialising in obtaining finance for business owners, accountants would make a great referral partner for me as they would know their customer’s business intimately and can also see a genuine opportunity where my skills and expertise can assist them.
Use your existing network
Your existing contacts are also a very good source of networking opportunities. And it is definitely easier to catch up with people you already know and trust.
Call and touch base with the people you already know. Get reacquainted with them if you haven’t connected in a while.
Have lots of conversations and lots (and lots) of coffees, and keep building on those relationships. Over time, they may lead you to your target customers or referrers.
Join a structured networking group
Consider joining a structured networking group like BNI or Fresh Networking (currently only Melbourne). The advantage of having a structured networking group is that they are geared towards small business owners, rather than salaried employees.
As the format is structured, this provides a framework to generate referrals or collaborate with other business owners.
These groups also meet on a regular basis, and the benefits are that it allows you to build long-lasting relationships. A regular meeting time also sets a routine for networking opportunities.
Keep it local
Because you have to keep regular contact, one of the best tips is to keep your networking activities local. This also means that you are not wasting time travelling or stuck in traffic.
Many local city councils also run regular networking functions and events to cater to their business communities. These events represent a golden opportunity to connect with other local business owners who may become clients themselves or refer customers to your mortgage business
As Warren Buffet was once quoted “You Can’t Make A Baby In A Month By Getting 9 Women Pregnant”, the best results from networking will come over time.
You cannot expect a referral from someone you met for the first time. After all, would you refer your client to someone if you didn’t know that accountant very well?
A referral network is about building relationships and trust. It can take 12 months or more before you may get a referral.
Be patient. Focus on building and forging relationships with people, learn from them and most importantly, have fun with these networking activities.
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