Relationships win championships.

Author:Cunningham, Casey

WHEN CONSIDERING WHAT TO WRITE for this month's column, I thought about how teamwork is critical to a loan officer's success. Then I came across a quote from one of the greatest sports figures of all time.

"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships."


This is a wonderful time of year in the world of sports. The excitement of the beginning of baseball season culminates with the intensity of the NBA playoffs. Off the field, young athletes have fulfilled their life-long dream through the NFL draft and big-name players have become familiar faces in new places through free agency. Out of all these activities one thing remains constant: the desire to build a cohesive and skilled team that could win a championship.

In much the same way, a loan officer needs to build two teams to grow his or her purchase business:

* An external team--a team with highly skilled impact players (Key Targets[R]--high-impact players who could help you expand your purchase business exponentially) and second-string players (referral sources); and

* An internal team--a team of go-to players (processors and underwriters) and dedicated role players (assistants).

When I speak, I often discuss the "external team" and the difference between a referral source (the bench player) and what I call a Key Target (the all-star).

A referral source is an individual who doesn't send you consistent business because he or she doesn't have the pipeline to do so. On the other hand, a Key Target has a consistent pipeline of customers to send you (as you are working on his or her loans).

So where do you find these Key Targets? In my experience, there are four important types of Key Targets: real estate agents, builders, financial professionals and bank partners.

After you've identified some Key Targets, there are four critical steps to building strategic, lasting relationships that will prove fruitful in growing your purchase business.

  1. They must know you.

    This is marketing. Research your Key Target. Discover his or her interests, challenges, needs or passions. You can unearth this information via social media profiles or in casual conversation. I suggest keeping this information together in one place for convenient access.

    With this valuable data, you can personalize your marketing efforts. Stop sending and/or dropping off trinkets emblazoned with your company's logo and instead deliver items that will make an emotional connection. Finally, you must...

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