While some states plan to or begin to reopen, it is still difficult to know when traditional networking events will be safe enough for everyone to attend. It might be quite a while before you can walk the floor of a tradeshow, drop into a local Chamber of Commerce meeting, or even grab a cup of coffee with a referral source or potential borrower. So, what can commercial mortgage brokers do to stay in touch with their existing network and forge new connections?
This is where digital networking comes into play. While it is not a substitute for in-person interactions in the best of times, right now, digital networking is a great way to connect with others.
Ways to Network Digitally
Social media is one of the best tools at a commercial mortgage broker’s disposal when it comes to digital networking. These channels make it easy to share news about the industry, company updates, and other helpful information. While many social media platforms are valuable for networking, LinkedIn is arguably the best. In addition to sharing any content you have created or news that you think is important, you can also join and participate in groups. This will allow you to connect and engage with small business owners, commercial property investors, and financial professionals who could refer deals.
Webinars are another way to network from a distance. Whether you are hosting a webinar or attending one, these online seminars are a great tool for connecting with others. Hosting a webinar allows you to share knowledge about the industry, the process of obtaining commercial mortgages, and how your services benefit borrowers, as well as how the help referral sources assist their clients. Once you have shared your expertise, you then can engage with attendees. Leave time after your presentation for questions and answers, and make sure that everyone can save your contact information for future conversations. If you are attending a webinar, participate in any Q&A sessions and save the host’s contact information so that you can connect with them.
Video calling is probably something many of us are very familiar with by now, and it is a good substitute for small-to-mid-size meetings that would have taken place in person. Some of your clients and referral sources may prefer to communicate in other ways but being able to offer the option of a virtual, face-to-face chat is good. There are plenty of plans available to businesses through companies like Zoom and GoToMeeting, and many offer free options as well. Google Meet is currently available for free.
Don’t start with selling. Unless someone directly asks you about the services you offer as a commercial mortgage broker, wait to start selling. Start your networking with posts and conversations about helpful information. Ask potential borrowers and referral sources what they would like to know about commercial lending. Discuss their needs first. Once you have interacted with an individual, gotten to know them better, and earned a measure of their trust, you can begin to make recommendations and offer your services.
Focus on the needs your audience. Before you post to your social media accounts or groups you have joined, consider to whom you are speaking. Are they potential borrowers who require information about how to obtain a commercial mortgage? Are they accountants who need assistance in getting their non-bankable clients the financing they need? Are they realtors who need additional financing options for clients looking to purchase commercial properties? These are all audiences you’ll speak to as you network, and it is important that you know each group’s unique needs and that you keep them in mind.
Keep it simple. It is not unusual for people to use the jargon that comes along with working in their field. Try to avoid that, especially when you are trying to connect with borrowers. Make sure to keep the language you use in posts, webinars, and calls easy to understand. If you do need to use terms that borrowers are not familiar with, make sure that you explain them thoroughly in the simplest way possible.