Seeing the opportunity to expand its potential referral network both regionally and nationwide, one top-10 reverse mortgage lender is executing a plan aimed at reaching non-industry professionals.
Late last year, Liberty Home Equity Solutions, Inc., implemented its very own “strategic game plan” for connecting with financial advisors and Realtors, among other professionals who work directly with seniors and their financial and property needs.
“While Liberty Home Equity has had the opportunity to form many strategic connections at both a regional and national level, we wanted to expand our scope,” said Liberty President Mike Kent in a statement to RMD.
An approved Continuing Education (CE) provider with the Certified Financial Planning Board of Standards, Liberty notes that CE courses can be effective for developing new relationships with non-industry professionals. Education, however, is just one method for reaching these individuals.
“It’s also important to stay in front of groups with timely topics that clearly show how the benefit of today’s new reverse mortgage can enhance their clients’ retirement, and in the process, make their jobs easier,” Kent said.
Building relationships with non-industry professionals like financial advisors and other senior influencers can help the reverse mortgage industry free itself from the shackles of long-held misperceptions. But establishing such relationships, similar to working with prospective borrowers, requires patience and a great deal of nurturing.
Financial advisors, for example, are less likely to provide referrals to someone they met only once, as opposed to a connection they have known for some time. More often than not, getting through to advisors about the retirement planning benefits of reverse mortgages is going to take multiple meetings and conversations.
“Since financial advisors primarily are looking for sales ideas and best practices that will directly benefit their clients, providing our loan officers with the right tools is an important part of our overall strategy,” Kent said.
Some of the tools Liberty provides to its LOs include white papers, timely articles and detailed case studies on how reverse mortgages fit into the retirement planning picture.
Even loan officers who diligently follow-up with their contacts may find that advisors still don’t refer clients as often as they’d like. As a result, many loan officers dramatically underestimate the number of advisors that may potentially refer leads, Kent said.
“Rather than 10 advisors referring 1-3 leads per year, it should be closer to 40-50 advisors referring leads,” he said. “One of the critical elements to overcoming this challenge is helping our loan officers understand and embrace this new paradigm. Then the key is to align their weekly activity around that target.”
When it comes to nurturing relationships with non-industry professionals, Liberty encourages its loan officers to offer helpful reverse mortgage information such as relevant articles, sales ideas—anything that gives the professional a different perspective on their business.
“We also believe that providing advisors with tools and information for use in their business can strengthen our relationship with them and build trust and credibility over the long term,” Kent said. “This opens the door to larger conversations and demonstrating how a reverse mortgage can be part of a holistic solution, rather than just a single product solution.”
Written by Jason Oliva