Written by Ed Frankel, as originally published in The Reverse Review.

First, let us review what is happening in the reverse mortgage industry:
-The Standard fixed-rate product will soon be eliminated.
-The CFPB is in the process of issuing new regulations and mandates.
-The volume of closed loans has been shrinking since 2006.
-Major players in the industry have contracted and consolidated.

All of the events listed to the left have created turmoil in our market. So the question remains: How does one combat these perceived negatives? Clearly, if you focus solely on the negative, you won’t see the opportunities in front of you. Change is constant and you must adapt or perish.

Let’s look at the upside: The reverse mortgage market is not going away—we still have more than 10,000 individuals turning 62 years old every day, and the needs and aspirations of these individuals have not changed. Many still have unfunded retirement accounts and individual or spousal medical needs, which can include in-home care or prolonged rehab stays. We also have very active boomers who want to downsize their living situations. The point is, the market has not changed, but the way you do business will.

This is where the importance of partnership comes into play. I recommend that HECM specialists adapt a rigorous program that I call “environmental development.” This strategy will require a serious effort to develop spheres of influence within your community.

The first step is to research who your local “thought individuals” are. These are influential people working in business disciplines that deal directly with the senior demographic, such as community bank or credit union executives, attorneys who specialize in elder law, Realtors with an SRES designation and respected investment advisors.

Once you have identified these leaders, you must find a

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way to connect with them. One way is to uncover a common interest between you and the leader you are aiming to reach. Find out what service organizations they support and join them. Become a visible volunteer. Getting involved in your community through charitable outreach programs is an excellent way to meet like-minded people looking to help the greater good, and it’s a great way to build business connections.

Keep in mind that this strategy requires a substantial investment of time and effort on your part. We are not looking for immediate rewards; we are looking to cultivate a long-lasting partnership that will grow into a viable lead source for your business.

Now, as a dedicated member of your service group, you can personally connect to other active members of your community and cultivate partnerships with these thought leaders. Take the opportunity to talk to them about the work you do. Explain the many ways in which a senior can benefit from a reverse mortgage, including how the work you do can help a senior age in place. By focusing your efforts on building your network of personal and professional acquaintances through community activities and other service-oriented endeavors, you can effectively spread your message about how reverse mortgages can help seniors achieve financial security in retirement.