We hear a lot about branding in the advertising world today. We all have brands that we are familiar with –some more familiar than others. Many brands are known worldwide and are recognized instantly like Coca-Cola and McDonalds among others. Having a name that is known among many is an important part of any business marketing strategy. Companies can spend millions of dollars to try to get their names out into the marketplace.
Often times, as Loan Officers we will overlook the importance of branding ourselves. We are fine with building up the name of the company that we work for (as we should be) but we forget the necessary steps to build up our own personal names our area.
Due to regulation, compliance, and strict marketing departments we may be hesitant to do a lot of personal marketing on our own. This is understandable, and you definitely do not want to cross any company boundaries when it comes to marketing. Be sure to work within the confines of what your company allows.
But, be sure to remember that a large percentage of clients that you have worked with in the past – probably chose your company because of you and your ability. Maybe a large number of your past clients were part of your personal network, or maybe you just did a great job of selling the borrower on your services. Either way, most of the loans that you have originated came to you because of your efforts. Depending on who you work for, there may be a chance that the borrower doesn’t even know the name of the company that you work for. The good news is… they know YOU.
We don’t want to forget that borrowers will often times put much more emphasis on the relationship that they have – or are building – with the loan officer instead of with the company that the LO works for.
With this in mind, if your goal is to create “customers for life” you want to be sure that all of your borrowers remember who you are, and this is where loan officer brand building comes into place.
First of all, let’s look at a good definition for the term “Branding”.
"Branding is the defined personality of a product, service, company, organization or individual. Many folks confuse “having a logo” for an ongoing branding process, but in fact a good logo is an extension of a defined identity for a venture in the same way that a flag or national anthem may represent a country. A well designed brand personality can be seen in everything from customer service to the actual products a company may offer. Another misconception about brands is that they should reflect a quality; and that may be true in a brand that’s about quality (think of a Chanel logo which communicates the idea of luxury) but on the other hand if a local dollar store even has a designed logo that may in fact work against the goals of their brand as they may seem overpriced. Like an artist finding his or her voice the goal of a branding process should be to always frame in a concise way what makes your endeavor unique; and then apply that message to each medium. Michael Pinto - Very Memorable Design"
Here are six ways that you can build your personal brand as a loan officer.
1.) Define Your Overall Message: Figure out what you want your customers to know you for, above all else. Choose one description and build off of it. Are you the “Fastest Loan Officer” in town, are you the “Smartest Loan Officer” around, or the “Lowest Rate Loan Officer” in the market, etc. What is the phrase that best describes you and the business that you want to go after? Define it, and build off of that.
2.) Be Different: Don’t try to copy the large banks in your area, or the Lendingtree commercials that you see on TV. Focus on YOU, and your own distinct personality. People tend to connect with messages that are unique and that have a personality.
3.) Decide On Your Marketing Strategy: If you are working on your “brand” you will also want to come up with a marketing strategy to go with it. Decide on the marketing opportunities where you will get the most out of your investment. Choose a handful of avenues that you know will be effective for you and then build off of those. Develop a plan that is consistent with your desired message and overall theme.
4.) Collaborate: Building a brand doesn’t have to be something that only you can build. Find others that will promote your brand for you. If you have referral partners, work with them to help promote each other’s brand/business. If you don’t have anyone that is willing to do this right now, then look at the marketplace at the brands that already exist and find a few that you would want to work with. Find a middle ground where you can promote each other’s brand all while staying in compliance.
5.) Communicate: Find a way that you can stay in touch with those that are already familiar with you and your brand, and encourage them to spread the word. Whether you use newsletters, email, Facebook, etc – be sure to keep your clients up to date on what you are doing and the mortgage services that you offer.
6.) Stick With It: Once you have developed your Brand Strategy, stick with it. Be consistent with your message, and be sure you are committed to it. Constantly changing your brand messaging can be confusing for consumers and cause you to lose future business. A strong, consistent brand message will help bring consistent volume to your mortgage pipeline.
Above all, get started. Find out what your compliance department will allow you to do and get busy implementing your strategy. Real Estate agents are great at brand messaging, and there is no reason as a loan officer that you can’t do the same thing. Best of luck!
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