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Executive essay.


Personal marketing usually determines your success as a loan officer. An effective, inexpensive sales brochure can speed that success. Here's what every loan officer should know about sales literature.

You have a business card because you want real estate agents and borrowers to remember your name and telephone number. Similarly, you need a sales brochure to remind them of why they should call you - instead of your competition - in the first place. In addition, such a brochure distinguishes you from other loan officers and enhances your professionalism.

Most real estate agents report that service is a more important factor in their recommendation of a mortgage company than is pricing. So if a rate sheet is all you leave with an agent, you're only telling half your story. And if rates and points are all you relate to potential borrowers, you're encouraging them to give their business to the lowest bidder. It's just as important that you emphasize your ability to close the loan on time.

Telling the customer is not enough. Much of your verbal presentation will be forgotten, but your brochure will keep on selling your services after you leave the agent's office and after the borrower leaves yours.

According to research, well-written advertising material can have as much as a 19-fold increase in response for the same product and price. And it's an unfortunate fact of advertising that almost half of all sales literature goes directly to the trash can, unread. So two ways to make your brochures more effective are to increase both their readership and their persuasiveness.

To get more people to read your brochure, don't just put the company name on the cover, and don't put something that is an obvious sales pitch. Rather, use the cover to arouse curiousity or to promise a major benefit.

For example, I recently wrote a brochure for Pittsburg-based NVR Mortgage, N.P. The company was entering a new market and wanted market penetration and name identification. Instead of "Introducing the Best Mortgage Company on the Block" or something as obviously self-serving, I used the theme "Five Ways to Reach Your Closing on Time." It was my guess that such a theme would almost double the readership. And twice as many readers should mean twice as much business.

I think I was right. Several weeks later, the branch manager, Michael Gifford, wrote me a letter in which he said that customer reaction to the brochure was "tremendous." In fact, from the very first day he used the brochure, he started getting calls that he knew he wouldn't otherwise have received. Four months later, he reported that loan volume was up dramatically.

Gifford recently told me that one of the best things he did to launch the new office was to create and use the brochure. He says that he gets excellent results when he leaves a supply of them with builders. Buyers pick them up and, whether they buy from that builder or not, they often call Gifford's office. If they wind up buying through a real estate agent who doesn't normally work with NVR, the brochure sometimes prompts the buyer to say to the agent, "I've already got my lender." And Gifford develops a relationship with a new agent.

How do you make a brochure more persuasive? Easy, don't just tell, sell. Your customer normally has less interest in how long you've been in business or the documents you require at closing. Instead, most of them - whether they're a real estate agent or a lumberjack - have one question in mind: "What are you going to do for me?" So your brochure should emphasize the major benefits your customer will receive from doing business with you, provide supporting examples and counter expected objections. Product differentiation is a fundamental principle of marketing, and in a service business, you are your product. You can differentiate yourself from other loan officers through personalization. For example, with your brochure or business card, include information that contains personal biographical data and a photograph or a portrait sketch. The purpose of this information is to make you more memorable by putting a face and a personality to the name on your business card. According to focus group research, such personalization can increase response up to fivefold.

I prefer a sketch because it's eye-catching and different - everybody else uses a photograph when trying to personalize. A sketch also is usually more flattering than a photograph. And, it's more business-like. For example, the Wall Street Journal uses sketches.

The biographical information should not just be a dry recitation of where you were born and a recap of career highlights. Instead, it should be a warm and personal write-up that includes anecdotes that real estate agents and borrowers can relate to.

I have prepared personalized panels for dozens of loan officers. One of them, Karla Given of Waterfield Financial Corporation, Fort Wayne, Indiana said, "It allows me to be more professional in my presentation of myself." She gives them to potential borrowers in her application package to personalize her material. She also gives the panels to the real estate agents with whom she already has an established relationship. In turn, the agents hand them to their buyers. If the agents deal with more than one loan officer, and if the other loan officers have supplied only business cards and rate sheets to the agent, Given's chance of getting a call from the buyer is probably relatively high. Plus, the personalized panels are an excellent prospecting tool when trying to develop relationships with real estate agents from whom she is not currently getting referrals.

You need a sales brochure for the same reasons you need a business card. And a properly written brochure can make your personal sales calls significantly more productive. Couple that with personalization, and you will succeed in a crowded and competitive marketplace.

Warren J. Rosaluk is a marketing consultant specializing in sales literature. His office location is 4807 E. Davies Place, Littleton, Colorado, 80122 and his phone number is (303) 770-2150.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:written sales brochures in personal marketing
Author:Rosaluk, Warren J.
Publication:Mortgage Banking
Article Type:Column
Date:Nov 1, 1991
Previous Article:Compensation trends.
Next Article:Secondary market.

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