Make your mark(eting).

Author:Cunningham, Casey

AS YOU READ THIS COLUMN, take a look around your office. How many pens have you received from well-meaning sales reps emblazoned with their company's logo? How many mouse pads, flashlights, stress balls, cup holders, desk clocks, pad folios, etc.? Do you feel passionate about any of these items? Other than the company's logo, do you even remember who gave them to you? Look in your inbox. How many generic newsletters, emails and messages do you receive just to delete them?

Now think about the best gift you ever received from a friend or a loved one. It may not have been the most expensive or elaborate, but it was obvious that there was genuine thought put into it by the giver. He or she considered your interests, passions, challenges or triumphs. Loan officers can make the same emotional connection with referral sources by utilizing personalized marketing.

In my opinion, personalized marketing involves messaging and gifting based on an individual's unique interests and/or needs. Personalized marketing that emotionally connects is statistically proven to drive a higher degree of sales success. Why? It demonstrates that the loan officer sincerely cares and acknowledges the person at a very personal level.

If you remember that people do business with those they know, like and trust, you will set yourself apart with this unique marketing strategy. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by leadership expert John Maxwell: "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

Here are a few steps I would suggest to implement a personalized marketing strategy:

Step 1: Find your 20 percent of your referral sources refer 80 percent of your leads/loans. This core group of people has the potential to exponentially grow your business. This core is your target audience for personalized marketing. If you have been focusing on refinances and don't have enough referral sources, simply identify 10 key Realtors[R], builders or financial professionals that you would like to target.

Step 2: Do your research. How much do you know about the members of your target audience that you mapped out in step 1? Do you know the name of their spouse or children? Favorite football team? Books or magazines they read? Hometown? Favorite food? I suggest keeping this information in a database where it can be housed in one place. You can visit the social media pages of this audience to discover tidbits of information you may not currently have.

Step 3: Be...

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