by John D. Behle
The following is an excerpt from Mr.
Behle's book "Creative Paper Formulas"
After 21 years in the discounted mortgage business, I still
find real estate agents to be the best source of paper available.
Knowing how to deal with them and create long term. Profitable
relationships is critical. One of the best ways to do this
is through teaching them at their offices or in "Continuing
What is continuing education?
In most areas of the country, real estate agents and brokers
are required to obtain continuing education credits to renew
or maintain an active real estate license. These state approved
real estate and financing oriented courses can be a great
opportunity for you to turbo-charge your note business. You
can rapidly "Re-Position" yourself in the eyes of
your customers and "Re-Position" your business in
relation to your competition. Setting up a continuing education
course for agents can be one of the most valuable, profitable
marketing steps you take for your note business.
For example, Utah requires 12 hours of continuing education
every 2 years. The course must be state approved and three
of the twelve hours must consist of the "Core course"
that the state designs. The other nine hours are at the option
of the agent. If your course is attractive in offering them
valuable knowledge and skills, you get the business. The competition
can look very bleak and boring, so it won't be hard. Many
agents dread the continuing education because it is un-exciting.
What are the benefits?
There are three major benefits for teaching the course.
Some may be obvious, but others are based on very important
psychological principles that you might not have thought about.
Networking and Referrals - Real estate agents
will always be one of the most important sources of paper
that you will ever find. Not every agent knows or is in any
way involved in seller financing. Some only run into paper
once in a while and may call you in two months or two years.
You need to network with as many agents as possible. The better
you know them and the more agents you meet, the bigger your
business and profits. It's that simple.
Education Fees - You may find some profit
in the fees you charge for the education. To be competitive
with other continuing education courses, your fees may be
as little as $10 per credit hour per person. I view the fees
as a minor part and will even teach the course free for the
short and long term business I'll receive.
Positioning - Positioning is the concept of
"the place you hold in someone's mind." The classic
book by that title should be required reading for anyone in
marketing (and is in many college courses.) Educators and
writers are respected above their peers and competition. If
you (or your company) are the one teaching the courses and
educating the agents, they form a higher opinion of your knowledge
and capabilities than of your competitor. You also clearly
establish yourself in their mind that when they have a deal,
they bring it to you because of the personal relationship
they feel. It works powerfully.
What should I teach?
The two primary forms of human motivation are to gain pleasure
and avoid pain. Greed and need are also used as a description.
Most agents take continuing education because they have to
and will choose the courses based on the above factors. If
you can show them that they will make more money or avoid
liability by taking your course, then you have an attractive
draw in an area of some very boring courses.
Here are some examples of courses to teach.
Safer Seller Financing - This is the basic
course and can look a variety of ways. In Utah, I use this
to explain the state's "Seller Financing Addendum to
the Real Estate Purchase Contract" that is a required
form for agents to use. I then introduce them to our "Seller
Financing Essentials" program that puts together a full
loan package when a seller uses private financing.
Alternative Financing Tools - I put together
a package and course I provide for Realtors that includes
the "Alternative Financing Toolkit" that shows agents
ways to structure deals and the many options available to
save or more properly structure their transactions. This is
a book and newsletter I designed especially for agents.
Navigating the Mortgage Maze - In this course
agents can be shown the many types of mortgages and financing
available with an emphasis on private financing and non-conforming
loans. This course includes an overview of Conventional, FHA,
VA, Community Home Buyers and local government programs including
special programs such as H.I.P. loans, grants and weatherization
Financial Calculator Gymnastics - Basic and
advanced principles of financial calculators, including an
introduction to the "time value of money." This
can be geared to a specific calculator like the HP12C or HP10B,
but I like to teach a generic course based around my book
"Discounting as Easy as 1,2,3."
Understanding IRC 1031 tax deferred exchanges
- This is a much more technical course, but can lead to many
referrals and good contacts. Paper created in installment
sales can be a tremendous tax savings and can be mentioned
and highlighted as an additional alternative to 1031 exchanges.
How do I teach it?
Gaining the knowledge - Learn the material
as well as you can. Follow an outline and know your outline,
don't deviate from the topics if you are at all unsure of
yourself. Focus on and learn the particular subject, but above
all, realize that you probably know more now about this subject
than almost any real estate agent or broker you will run into.
Gaining the skills - Many people would rather
skydive or bungee jump than speak in public. It has been rated
as the number one fear. Practice and confidence are the keys.
There are several organizations available to help. Dale Carnegie
courses teach you public speaking. Toastmasters clubs give
you practice and feedback in a supportive environment. Always
remember: Mirrors and minors. Many public speakers gained
their skills practicing in front of a mirror or speaking to
Gaining the guts
The confidence and power needed can best come from some
of the Personal Effectiveness Trainings available. My most
valuable tool in business and life is what I have learned
in some of these types of trainings. That is why I encourage
them to all and make some of this material a part of all of
the two and five day trainings I give in the mortgage business.
How should I market my course?
Self marketing - You can market your course
through advertising in Realtor publications, through mailings
to brokers and through the state (if they publish a listing
of approved courses). Develop a brochure or flyer and deliver
it to brokerages or ask to give a five minute pre-view of
the course at their sales meetings.
Larger brokerages - Many of the larger brokerages
in your areas may provide continuing education to their agents
or even have their own schools or programs. You could even
offer it to them for free or a modest fee just for the business.
Real estate schools - You can joint venture
with some of the schools or even teach the course for free
or low price and let them do the marketing. Remember, your
goal is the business not a few hundred dollars in teaching
fees. Once they are known, they have a built in clientele
that comes back year after year for education.
Universities and colleges - This works much
the same as the real estate schools.
How do I get approved?
In most areas, you will need to have the course and curriculum
approved by the state. They may ask for copies of the advertising,
attendance tracking procedures, materials to be provided,
fee structure, policies and guarantees. Most will also want
to approve or certify you as an instructor. Some may want
to have the course taught at an approved school also. Follow
their forms and instructions carefully. You may never find
a more picky, meticulous group of people. This may be a good
enough reason in itself to joint venture with a real estate
school since they are used to dealing with this form of evolutionary
For example, in Utah, I had to break the course down into
15 minute segments and stress the learning objectives and
skills the student would gain. To be approved as an instructor,
I documented almost 20 years experience as an agent and broker
as well as providing a college transcript of my finance degree.
They also needed feedback forms from students for which I
used letters from students and comment forms from my discounted
If you joint ventured with a real estate school, they could
help in all of these areas, even in getting you (or an associate)
approved as an instructor.
You'll find the benefits well worth all of the efforts.
If you want to totally "own and control" your local
discounted mortgage marketplace, this is the way to do it.
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