Finding New Ways to Show Customer Appreciation

Auto races are won by margins as close as milliseconds, with the victory being held for those who demonstrate incredible teamwork through precision, speed, and creativity.  Just as mechanics and other teammates make repairs and refuel in a matter of seconds for their driver, our industry sees similar success belonging to mortgage professionals who have surrounded themselves with a winning team and marketing approaches that are designed for keeping “the edge.”   The following are some consumer-direct strategies that have been effective for me, and that could work for you as well.

Special Client Celebrations
Hosting special events for past clients including their children, extended family, friends, and neighbors is effective because it helps develop and strengthen our relationship in a non-business environment, while being hosted at our business office.    Annual events that we have hosted include:

  • Holiday Magic Show in November — We hire a magician to entertain past clients, business suppliers, families, and friends.
  • Family Gingerbread Making Day in December — We invite customers and their children to make gingerbread houses, from material we provide.
  • Annual Fall Fest in October — Sponsored jointly with our local farms, we offer pony rides, pumpkin  selection, apple cider, and Vermont cheeses.
  • Money Day – Spring Showcase — In January we offer mini workshops with a tax accountant, financial planner, attorney, home inspector, and appraiser.
  • Puppet Shows in February/March — A professional puppeteer entertains customers’ children.
  • Other successful events are Family Movie Night at a local theater, Summer barbecue with games, Holiday Egg Hunt, and Wine-Tasting Evening.

Hosting Clients at our Office
First impressions last forever, so we try to pay attention to this very important detail.  Some suggestions are:

  • Soft baroque music playing in the outside entrance to the office.
  • Prior to the client’s arrival, have a welcome sign, including their name.  It doesn’t take long to print one on your computer.  Also, make sure the receptionist greets your client by their name.
  • Clients are served a delicious cold beverage such as Nantucket Nectar.
  • Upon completion of my presentation, clients receive an “Advocate (past clients who have referred two or more clients during the last year) Worry-Free Teddy Bear” that is holding a scented candle and a small package of jelly beans with a note reminding them of the importance of their “advocacy.”  The material is attractively wrapped in a see through decorative wrap.
  • Each client also receives a “Motivational Journal” to take notes and pictures of their homebuying journey.  We include an instant photo of them.
  • Clients are given their own personal “Homebuying Resource Package” that is filled with valuable information including: homebuying and financing resource books, Strategic Business Alliance Directory (businesses offering discounts and free gifts for my clients), “Congratulations on Your Purchase” letter, “75 Types of Turbulence that I will be managing for you” letter, our mission statement, referral postcard and letter, and “We Need Your Help” Postcard.

Client Surveys
The feedback from your customer’s perspective is like gold.  Here is how we do it:

  • We call a random selection of clients within a few days of the application and ask how their experience has been so far.
  • During our initial meeting, we mention that their feedback is critical to our continued commitment to improvement and we will be asking them to “Take Our Temperature” and we would value their honesty.
  • At the end of the transaction, a written survey (complete with self-addressed, self-stamped envelope) is sent to our client, the listing real estate agent, the selling agent, and the closing attorney.  We use two different surveys.  One is for our direct client and the other is for our business partners who were part of the process.  An important part of the survey is asking for their permission to use any of the comments that they shared; these pieces can be very helpful as “third-party endorsements.”

Sponsor Youth Sporting Events
Sponsoring little league baseball, football teams, basketball teams, softball and soccer teams is a great way to give something back to the community.  But it is also a good way to get to know the parents of your players.  They will see the team jerseys, banners, programs, and will attend the banquets.  This allows you plenty of opportunities to get to know the parents-your future clients and advocates.

Stickers and Business Cards
Promote special loan programs, your website, your 800 help line service, workshops, and client celebrations with unique stickers (flashy colors, shapes, designs, lettering) and individual business cards which can be designed very inexpensively at office supply stores or your local printer.

As mortgage banking professionals, we all know that details make the difference.  Hopefully some of these marketing ideas will provide big payoffs for you.

by Cindy Worrell