Primary Marketing: “We have a very disciplined approach to marketing to my database,” said Jackson. “I send a quarterly newsletter to everyone, a client appreciation letter (based on a Brian Buffini program) to my top 200 clients every other month, and an item of value once or twice a year. We take a gift to closings and send a small token gift after closing, along with our customer survey.” The follow-up campaign also includes a reminder to customers to file for their Homestead exemption (first January they are in their home) and an anniversary card. “I also do a lot of advertising with my local elementary school (which my kids attend) and in the neighborhood paper.” In addition, she has an affiliation with a local “boutique” Realtor, attending weekly meetings, giving them appreciation parties, and new agent training.
Most Effective Marketing: Marketing to the database. “We do not let them forget us. It’s top-of-the-mind awareness. Our tag line on e-mails is ‘It is our goal to be worthy of your trust and deserving of your referrals.’ About 75 percent of our business is from repeat and client referrals. We keep marketing to them; they’re more likely to come back or refer us to others if we ‘wow’ them (at initial loan) and then stay in touch.”
Niche: Financial planners (and Realtors). “Working with planners started as a result of having a large percentage of high net-worth clients, many of whom used the same financial planning group. I met the primary planners, did many of their own loans, and then they began referring loans to me. They started a professional networking group and I’m the mortgage person. Also, I joined the Dallas chapter of the Financial Planners Association as an affiliate members/sponsor and attend their regular events.”
Teamwork: A production partner (junior originator), a senior processor, and transaction coordinator. “We market ourselves as a team of four. After the application, we e-mail a photo of the team, noting the various responsibilities so the customer knows whom to call. My production partner is licensed, but she works on my business, including taking applications, qualifying borrowers, and related areas.”
Key Ingredient for Success: High-touch approach to customer service. “We have mastered customer service at the highest professional level. We do a post-closing survey and many of our borrowers tell us that ‘this is the easiest loan transaction I’ve ever done.’ We make the process easy for customers. A lot of our success has to do with our confidence level and the way it’s conveyed to customers. For example, when I tell customers that they’ll be approved, they know there’s nothing to worry about. It’s a ‘can do’ attitude.”
Achieving Work/Personal Balance: “Achieved by my Christian faith first, my husband and children second, and my business career last. After 15 years in the business and (experiencing) many of life’s fortunate and unfortunate events, I have learned that there is a specific order to my priorities. I love what I do, but I am not willing to sacrifice my life or my family to do it.”