Jim Rademann

SuperStar of the Month

Previous Profession: Food sales

Primary Marketing: “I use a quarterly newsletter to aggressively market to customers, agents, builders, and financial planners,” said Rademann. “It covers real estate and rate trends, as well as new loan programs. I typically have a financial planner and real estate agent contribute to it.” He also runs a monthly ad in a small local newspaper. “This ad is resume style and doesn’t focus on rates, but rather is aimed at showing our expertise.” In addition, he sends weekly letters to past customers, and provides closing gifts, such as a bottle of wine or gift basket.

Most Effective Marketing: A letter to past and existing clients. “I send out a small number of pieces each week, specific to the client. I also call clients quarterly to check in with them.”

Niche: Small to mid-size builders. “I initially did some marketing to a few builders and started working with one or two of them and they started to refer me to others. I’ve found that smaller builders that are doing 10 to 20 spec homes a year generally don’t have a CFO and we can provide financial direction, a very valuable service. This is such a sustainable source of business.”

Teamwork: One assistant (who is licensed) focuses on processing and dealing with paperwork and another helps with marketing. “I probably do more upfront work than many other originators. For example, I take the applications and don’t hand off the file until I’ve pulled the credit report and locked the loan. By spending more time initially I eliminate 85 percent of the things that can go wrong.”

Key Ingredient for Success: “I have a drive to be the very best every single day and I set very specific (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual) goals. I know how many loans I need to do in a week to help reach my yearly target. I’m very motivated.”

Achieving Work/Personal Balance: “This can be very difficult. I try to keep my hours at about 55 per week. I enjoy skiing, golf, and squash. I live by the philosophy of working hard and playing hard. I take two one-week vacations per year, one in winter and one during summer.”

Previous Profession: Credit bureau

Primary Marketing: Distributes quarterly newsletter on trends and market insights to past customers and includes a follow-up response form that recipients mail in to receive free baseball game tickets. “This helps us learn who’s reading the newsletter,” Yahn explained.  She also places ads in local magazines as well. “I’ve learned that you need to make (at least) a one-year commitment to advertising, to build the name recognition.” She hired a public relations professional to help generate newspaper and magazine articles on various milestones. Yahn also held a private showing of Star Wars for past customers, e-mails Mortgage Market Guide to customers/others, and sponsors charity events. “I’ve tried just about everything at one point or another.”

Most Effective Marketing: Her greatest success is based on a “one-on-one approach,” building a loyal referral base and generating new leads through a warm market.  “The best referrals are from those people you’ve done business with in the past. Being visible with them (sending newsletters) is critical. I try not to allow too much time to go by (without some contact), so they don’t forget me.”

Niche: Realtors, builders, and financial consultants. “One thing I learned regarding Realtors, is that every transaction offers a great opportunity to gain new business/contacts through listing agents. I will call to introduce myself, update them about the transaction, and later send marketing material and invite them to lunch. You’d be surprised at the number of listing agents who often don’t know what’s going on (with a loan).”

Teamwork: Lead processor, junior processor, set-up person, and loan officer assistant. “The LO assistant takes applications, structures loans, and helps with marketing and related areas—everything a loan officer would do.” They meet regularly to discuss goals and related issues.  “It’s a continual learning process for all of us. When people make mistakes, they learn from them and become more valuable (to the team.)”

Key Ingredient for Success: Delivery and knowledge. “Clients know that when I say something will happen, it happens. I often get calls from people who were referred to me who say that they heard there will be no surprises and that I’m a straight shooter. This has helped build my business. Also, my knowledge and experience in the business has enriched me and in turn, I can offer value to the people with whom I do business.”

Achieving Work/Personal Balance:  “I’ve had to learn to let go by trusting that those who I’ve trained to share my values will follow through in my absence. I take regular time outs and do everything possible to leave work at the office.”