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Do your lenders love you? Something you might be overlooking

Every agent in the business today is looking for ways to attract and retain more clientele, right?  If you’re not, I’m glad to hear you’re full up on new clients, but for most of us agents, we’re always on the hunt for more business.  Almost every agent I know has a “preferred lender”.  Sometimes it’s the lender that their company has pushed on them, and sometimes it’s someone you’ve done business with in the past, you know them, like them, trust them, etc.

Hopefully, it’s the latter, and your preferred lender is someone that you love.  Every agent in the business today should ask themselves this question:  Does your lender love you? Sure they spend lots of time and money to get business FROM you, but how many are giving business TO you?  If your preferred lenders aren’t sending you business, it may be time to re-evaluate your relationship!

How Do Leads Come and Go?

In many ways, a lender’s method of lead generation is much simpler than a Realtor’s.  As a Realtor we advertise anywhere and everywhere possible, hoping our name and image is seen by the client and they’re inspired to call us.  For a lender, the primary method of lead generation is usually marketing directly to agents who are working with buyers rather than the buyer themselves.

Because the Realtor is often the first point of contact, it makes sense for lenders to do so.  For many lenders, the typical marketing involves:

  • Send flyers to agents
  • Send blast emails to agents
  • Send pens, notepads, calendars, etc. to agents
  • Hope agents call

Most lenders don’t market to the end client, and thus they rely primarily on agents for their business.  Keep in mind however, that some lenders DO generate their own business and they DO get to clients before a Realtor does.  Odds are they’re going to refer that business to a Realtor, and that Realtor should be you!

Create a Partnership

If you want to establish more business, create a reciprocal partnership with the lender you are going to refer business to.  If you’re handing them clients, they should be doing the same for you!  Look at where a lender is getting their business from.  Keep in mind that a great lender can generate both referrals from their past clients as well as new first-time business.  If you see a lender advertising to the general public rather than other Realtors, they may be a good source to help you grow your own business.

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This isn’t a new concept, but it’s embarrassing how often agents overlook this.  If you’re trying to create a mutually beneficial partnership with a lender, consider offering them a value-added proposition.  Do you have a blog?  Offer them a chance to write a weekly column on it (this is good because it also generates additional traffic to your website).  Offer to include their contact info in your marketing.  There’s a ton of things you can do that will be mutually beneficial, RESPA compliant, and increase your sales volume.

Think about it this way:  As part of RESPA’s guidelines, we can’t/don’t take a payday for lenders for referring clients to them.  RESPA, however, does not PROHIBIT a lender from referring business to an agent, so shouldn’t your lenders be providing you with a lead stream like you do for them?

(I am not suggesting, encouraging, or implying that any actions should be taken that would be a potential violation of current Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).  Please consult current RESPA guidelines to avoid any conflict)

(image courtesy of cquarles via Flickr cc)

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Written By

I'm a Realtor in Southern Maryland. I grew up surrounded by the RE business, spent time as an actor, worked as a theatrical designer and technician, and took the road less traveled before settling down in real estate. I run my own local market website at and when I'm not at the office or meeting clients, I can usually be found doing volunteer work, playing with my 3 rescued shelter dogs (Help your local Humane Society!), or in the garage restoring antique cars.



  1. Ken Montville

    May 27, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Hey, Jonathan. You forgot :attend Realtor sales meetings with donuts or pizza and take Realtor to lunch. Those are my personal faves.

    For some reason, I’ve never been able to establish that great one-on-one relationship with any particular lender. There are a few that do good jobs. Sometimes, Lender Guy #1 will be doing a good job and then screw up and piss me off. I go to Lender Guy #2 and he does OK but his company only deals with A++ and my client might be a B-. I go to Lender Guy #3 who can do B- clients but the fees are outrageous.

    I also tend to listings which means I don’t get to influence the decision about who the lender is going to be.

    Finally, I used to hear this line of reasoning for everyone in our business sphere. Is your insurance guy sending you referrals? Is your barber/hair stylist send you referrals? Is your doctor? Auto mechanic? Etc. We have a lot of relationships we spend money on and my guess is that a lot of Realtors (me, included) don’t put the touch on them for referrals.

  2. Mark Towler

    May 31, 2010 at 11:40 am

    As a mortgage lender I try to provide extra value to real estate agents here in Atlanta. Being a direct lender with quick closings is not enough. I actually have tools to help agents grow their business. I believe if I help agents grow their business, my business will also grow.

    I believe it should be a partnership, not a one way relationship. That’s just my opinion.

  3. white bear lake mn homes for sale

    September 11, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    This article serves as a great reminder to all of us real estate agents. Creating a mutually beneficial relationship with a couple key lenders could (and should) translate to at least a couple referrals from them each year. Thanks for the post!

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