It’s a tough climate in the reverse mortgage space right now, and there are not many out there who are able to throw down big money on marketing. That’s why learning grassroots marketing skills to promote your services locally is more important than ever.
At the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association’s annual meeting in San Diego last month, Finance of America Reverse’s Lead Sales Trainer Jim McMinn opened the conference with a talk on grassroots marketing.
“This industry has changed dramatically over the years, and some of the things that we’ve done in the past may not work anymore,” McMinn told the crowd. “But getting back to your roots, looking at what you’re going to do, taking a systematic approach to marketing, making sure that you are working every angle, can be very successful.”
In his talk, McMinn encouraging HECM LOs not to be discouraged, but to apply a strategic approach to their marketing efforts, putting their own flair on simple techniques in order to find success.
“Grassroots marketing has been compared to guerilla marketing,” McMinn said. “It is cost effective. What you’re doing is targeting a group of people, and you want it to spider web out, you want people to start talking about you, doing marketing with you…that’s what it’s about.”
Here are four tips gleaned from McMinn to help HECM loan officers tackle grassroots marketing campaigns to grow their business.
- Talk, talk, talk. Word of mouth is key, and interacting with as many people as possible and talking to them about HECMs is the best way to make that happen. “Anybody you come into contact with – talk, talk, talk,” McMinn said, adding that the best way to shoot down rampant product misconception is to engage in a conversation to about the loan with everyone you meet.
- Seek out trusted advisors. Trusted advisors can be your best resource, because they provide what McMinn calls a “warm lead.” McMinn suggests attending any events that might put you in front of financial planners, real estate agents, CPAs or builders, like open houses or meetings for local association chapters. “Be present at local events. There are lots of opportunities to get out in your community and meet other professionals and talk about what we do, how we can benefit older adults in retirement.”
- Join your Chamber of Commerce. Getting involved in your local community is essential, McMinn said, and joining your local Chamber of Commerce is a great way to network with business people in your area. “You want to grow your business, I want to grow my business, let’s see what we can do together,” McMinn said. “These are people who are doing the same thing I’m doing, so I’m not intimidated to go up and ask for business – they want to do the same thing.”
- Find a partner. McMinn suggested finding local businesses that are also offering services geared toward seniors and partnering up. He said local newspaper ads might provide ideas on who you can reach out to. “Let’s talk about how we can jointly go after business –not just talking about reverse mortgages, but what are the other things that are going on in an older adult’s life, how can we bring a benefit to them?”
Whatever route they take, McMinn encouraged LOs to be creative and finding ways to stand out in a crowd.
“Reverse mortgage professionals have different grassroots marketing at their fingertips,” McMinn said. “Some things may work for you and some things may not, we have to work with our personalities, we have to work within our comfort level, but sometimes we have to stretch out comfort level if we’re going to grow as professionals.”