We all think about return on investment (ROI) when we are planning our marketing strategies. But one term which is not as commonly used but which is equally important is “return on relationship,” or ROR.
What is return on relationship, and how can you nurture it through your online marketing efforts? ROR refers to the value which comes from the relationship you build with your clients and associates. Some of this value may be tangible and easily measured. But some of it may also be subjective and impossible to quantify.
There are a couple of reasons why ROR is sometimes overlooked. The first goes back to what I just mentioned about subjective value. In business, it is easy to get caught up in analyzing our bottom line, and we forget that some benefits are intangible.
The other reason has to do with the internet. Despite “social” media connecting us to potential customers and connections throughout our communities, social is often the last thing these faceless online interactions really are. Simply put, it is actually pretty challenging to build meaningful relationships online because social media is set up for interacting with people en masse, not individually.
But there are steps you can take to make it happen!
1 Start a newsletter—and actually invite replies.
Many customers who are shopping around for a mortgage have a lot of questions. It’s a complicated world, and while you know it inside and out, most of your customers do not.
A newsletter is a great opportunity to answer some of those questions. This helps you out in two ways. First of all, it demonstrates your commitment to informing your customers and providing them with solutions. Secondly, it reminds past customers as well as prospects of your existence. This makes them more likely to work with you rather than go through another broker in the future.
Of course, simply sending out a newsletter on its own will only do so much to build relationships. That is why I recommend going one step further.
Actually invite your subscribers to respond to your newsletters. Invite questions and feedback. Then, if someone actually does write you back, actually take time to draft a personal response.
Remember, the single hardest part of marketing is just to start a conversation with someone who is likely to convert. Your newsletter can help you to start those conversations and leverage them to increase your bottom line.
2 Personalize messages on social media channels.
Many mortgage brokers get as far as joining social media sites these days—like Facebook or Twitter. But they shotgun out their messages without really thinking about their content or personalizing their posts and replies in any way.
This isn’t just a problem among mortgage brokers either; it is pervasive across all industries. In fact, it goes beyond business; it also tends to be how people interact on social media outside a business context.
But as a business owner, you need to go beyond impersonal messaging on social media. You need to show customers that you are willing to go the extra mile to treat them as individuals. That is true even if you look at their feed and do not see them doing the same for anyone else.
If someone messages you publicly or privately, actually draft a response. And never send a form reply. First, take a look at the person’s profile to learn a little more about them. Then, say something in your message which shows you have actually taken a moment to learn a little bit about the person.
This is so rare online that it will immediately make an impression. Customers will remember and value the broker who actually replied to them personally and thoughtfully online.
3 Interact publicly.
When you do see opportunities to interact in public, take them—so long as you have something valuable to say.
If someone leaves you a nice review, respond and say thank-you in public. If you receive a bad review, reply to that in public as well, taking the time to politely address the customer’s concerns. Offer up a concrete solution, and take time to follow up.
Doing this not only helps you to develop positive relationships with the customers who contact you, but it also lays a foundation for building them with anyone else who happens to be watching your interactions.
4Keep up with past customers.
While many customers may only work with you one time to connect with the right lender, some may need you again in the future if they decide to mortgage another property. Others may refer friends and family to you.
So take time to keep up with customers long after a deal is closed. Chances are good that during the loan process, you are more available than a loan officer at a bank would be, and that is one of the reasons that customers choose to work with you. Making yourself available should they have questions or concerns in the future continues to add value to your relationship.
Conclusion: ROR Can Boost Your Bottom Line
Learning how to cultivate return on relationship is an ongoing journey, both online and offline. While it is something you can read up on in books and blogs, in the long run, it is also something you have to learn from experience. But once you become an expert on ROR, it can transform your mortgage broker business, bringing success to your door!