Commercial Loans and Fun Blog

This Marketing Tip is For EVERYONE

Posted by George Blackburne on Wed, Jan 12, 2022

Newsletter TemplateEvery day you meet good potential business contacts.  Maybe you're a plastic surgeon, with your own private practice.  You meet a beautician at Supercuts, while getting your own ears lowered.  Could she refer you a new patient in need of some rhinoplasty?  You betcha.

You play golf with a new physician buddy, who is a general practitioner.  New contact for your email list?  Absolutely. 


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I have personally added six to eight new contacts - people whom I have met in the legitimate course of business - to my mailing list (email list modernly) every single day for 44 years.  Every day.  I hope you'll agree that we've had some fun together.

Okay, so what do you send them?  Well, how about the best jokes and memes that your own buddies send you?  Need more?  There are tons of sites on the internet with jokes and funny memes, like I enjoy a free subscription to six different daily joke email newsletters.  Part of my job is to sit around and read jokes.  Haha!  

Maybe you might show your contacts some of the wonderful plastic surgery work being done by Doctors Without Borders, correcting, say, some unfortunate third world children born with a cleft palate.  Maybe there is a new surgical procedure to tighten up excess skin.  If you look, you'll find something interesting to share every couple of weeks.


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Okay, but where do you maintain this email list.  We here at Blackburne and Sons have worked well with  They not only provide the software to maintain your email list, but they will also provide email templates and blast out your newsletters for you.   They do all of this for you for just a few hundred dollars per month.

Templates, huh?  You have to be professional, right?  No-no-no!

Oh, my goodness.  Have you ever read a "professional" newsletter from a CPA?  I am asleep in ten seconds.  ZZZ.  Never-ever-ever try to be professional.  Professional is boring.  No one reads boring stuff.

Want to be rich?  Then write to your contacts as if they were your friends and sitting next to you in a bar.  Violate every rule your English teacher ever taught you.  Use contractions.  Use incomplete sentences.  Use lots of slang.  Start sentences with the word, "and" or "but."  Write the way people speak in real life.


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True Story:

I am sitting in a bar watching an Indianapolis Colts game.  A forty-year-old man sits down next to me, along with this lovely 32-year-old wife.  Somehow we get on the subject of children.  (I am constantly boasting about mine.)  He announces that he and his wife do not intend to have children.  Too many problems in the world.  Yada-yada.  

I look over at his beautiful wife, and I see the pain in her eyes.  Then I tell this guy that he is missing out on the greatest joy on earth, like the time that my wonderful first-born son came from behind 14-0 at the Junior National Fencing Championship... and won 15-14.   Or the time when my second son, a natural athlete, hit four straight three-pointers in the fourth quarter of his basketball game.  Or the time when my miracle daughter (eleven in vitro fertilization attempt$$$) smashed the winning goal in the Sectional Soccer Championship against her arch-rivals.

"You are missing out, sir, on the greatest joy on Earth."  We exchanged phone numbers.  Twelve months later, I got a text, "Well, George, we listened.  We went right home and created our beautiful baby boy.  Thank you!"  And he was indeed a beautiful little boy.  [Proud grin]


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So back to today's marketing tip:  I urge you to be conspicuously unprofessional and to write to you contacts like they were your buddies  And don't worry about having the most professional-looking newsletter.  You don't want to be professional.  You want to be fun!  People read fun newsletters.

Okay, let's start small.  Find a shoe box.  Every time you meet a new contact - maybe a CPA or a real estate broker - scribble his contact information on a pink message slip and throw it in the shoebox.  

Smart Tip:

Also write down the date and how you met him.  "Met Steve at the National Realtor's Convention in May of 2022."


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When you get 200 contacts in your shoebox, ask your ten-year-old kid to set you up on iContact.  After that, add all your new contacts directly into iContact.  Every day.  I am semi-retired, but I still add six to eight new contacts every single day.

Don't worry if your newsletter is butt-ugly.  I want it to be butt-ugly.  For twenty-five years, I just typed my company address at the top of a piece of copy machine paper and started adding my corny jokes and interesting stories.  

Someday I'll tell you about The Hot Zone and my newsletter about it.  Ebola became airborne and almost killed us all.  My best newsletter ever - just typed on copy machine paper.


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My buddy, Tom Harrier of Integrity Commercial Loans, just wrote me, "Soranus was a Greek physician.  I wonder if he was a proctologist?"  Hahahaha!


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Topics: marketing for commercial loans, Marketing

Commercial Loan Demand is Seasonal

Posted by George Blackburne on Mon, Apr 6, 2015

SpringCommercial loan demand is both seasonal and predictable.   Busy Season for commercial loan originators starts around September 15th and ends by late November.  Forty percent of all of the commercial loans closed by Blackburne & Sons each year are originated during the brief two months of Busy Season.  This is why we have a two-month stretch, like retailers during Christmas Season, during which vacations are prohibited.

Why does the commercial loan business have a Busy Season?  By the middle of September, summer vacations for the family are over, and the kids are back to school.  It's then time to get down to business.  Commercial real estate investors have balloon payments to refinance and more expensive commercial-investment properties to acquire, if for no other reason than the need for more tax shelter.

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The second busiest time for commercial loan demand begins around the third week in January, and this brisk period continues for the next 70 days or so.  Why then?  Christmas Season is over, the family has gone home, and the Christmas decorations have all been boxed and packed away.  Its once again time to get down to business.  Commercial real estate investors need money to pay their income taxes, to expand their own businesses, or to buy other properties.  They can often get at some cash by refinancing their existing commercial buildings.




Commercial loan demand also has its Slow Season.  For commercial loan originators the pickings get pretty slim beginning around April 1st.  This lasts for about 40 days.  Why is commercial loan demand so weak during Slow Season?  The weather turns beautiful in April, and who wants to mess around with reams of paperwork when the sun is shining and the birds are singing?

This brings us to the point of today's training lesson.  There will be predictable times in the commercial mortgage business when commercial loan demand is going to be really, really slow.  You certainly don't want to just sit there twirling your thumbs.  A commercial loan officer can only process so many commercial real estate loans per year, if for no other reason other than he runs out of working hours.  If you let precious working hours slip away, you can never get them back.  That income-generating potential is lost forever.  So what's a boy to do?




This is why I am a huge fan of list advertising.  I started out 35 years ago sending out by snail mail thousands of newsletters printed on legal-sized sheets of copier paper.  My newsletters were simple and basic, but they worked pretty well.  Then I moved on to fax broadcasts, which worked cheaply and effectively for ten years.  Today I use fun email newsletters, complete with lots of jokes, funny pics, interesting videos, and training lessons in commercial real estate finance (CREF).  Maybe in the future I'll move on to video emails or talking avatars.  Who knows?

But my point is that I will probably always be a big proponent of list advertising.  By amassing a big list of buddies and contacts, I have a tool I can use to adjust the volume of my incoming loan applications.  When I'm buried, I can stop sending out newsletters for a few weeks.   When business slows down, I can double the frequency of my newsletters.  This way I can always keep our loan officers busy, without totally burning them out.

"But George, I don't have a marketing list."  Then use the next few weeks - they are going to be slow - to start building your list of contacts.  It's a slow process.  I almost never throw strangers on my list.  I only add those guys or ladies whom I meet in the regular course of business.  They either visit our website, write to me, or call into our office for a commercial loan.  But once I meet a good contact - you, for example - I try to maintain that friendship for the rest of our mutual careers.  There are several hundreds guys on our newsletter lists who have been my business buddies for over 30 years!

Doubling your newsletter volume doesn't always work.  Twenty-five years ago I remember calling my personal mentor - Bill Owens of Owens Financial Group - and complaining about the market being incredibly slow.  Bill is a huge fan of deep sea fishing, and I remember him saying, "Sometimes, George, all you can do is to go fishing."

Once again, thank you in advance for any social media atta-boys you can throw me, like Facebook Shares, Twitter Re-Tweets, Linked In Shares, and Google Plus-Ones.  Got any employees or industry buddies who might enjoy this training lesson?


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Are you the employee or friend who was just forwarded this article?  (Thank you to the sender!)  About five years ago I started writing this blog to train my two wonderful sons in commercial real estate finance.  I was afraid I might suddenly keel over from my bad heart.  Suprisingly, I'm still kicking, but twice a week I still try to write another training article about commercial real estate finance for my sons and good friends.  It's free training in a very lucrative field.  Why not subscribe?


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No one ever listens to me.  The real money in real estate finance is in loan servicing.  I know what you're thinking.  "OMG!  I don't know how to service a loan!"  Hellooooo?  My beautiful bride and I serviced our first 30 loans by hand using payment books from the title company.  Or you can just cheaply hire a sub-servicing company for $20 per loan per month.  You charge your investors $1,000 per month to service the loan (its actually your deferred compensation for originating the loan), and then you hire a sub-servicing company for $20 per month.  Is there intelligent life out there?


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In the 2,000-year history of commercial real estate finance, there has never been a single commercial mortgage broker who has not been cheated out of a $15,000+ commission by a borrower who either lied about his qualifications or who unjustifiably cancelled his loan request after the broker had devoted scores of hours to processing it.  When you get really-really mad, don't commit mayhem or murder.  Instead invest a lousy $199 and actually learn how to economically collect your justly due commissions.  


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Topics: marketing for commercial loans

How Much Time Should a Commercial Loan Broker Devote to Marketing?

Posted by George Blackburne on Wed, Feb 1, 2012

Most commercial mortgage brokers devote less than 15% of their time to marketing for commercial loans. They devote the vast bulk of their hours to trying to place a $4 million loan on a money-losing bowling alley in some hollowed-out city or a $20 million construction loan on a new resort in Belize.

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Before I give you the surprising answer, it is critical that you understand this important fact:

The typical commercial real estate loan officer working for a life company, a bank, or a hard money lender will take at least 40 to 50 phone inquiries and will underwrite 10 to 15 loan packages for every loan he approves.*

Commercial real estate lending therefore is an immense sifting and sorting process.  The value you add as a commercial mortgage broker is to help your lenders sift and sort through dozens and dozens of loan requests to find that one deal that makes sense.

Your job is NOT to grab ahold of the first loan request you find - say, a $4 million land loan in the desert of California - and then spend 20 precious working hours trying to place a deal that is not do-able.  Your job is to say to your borrower or realtor, "I'm sorry, Bob, but in today's market I'm not sure anyone will finance this project."

Therefore, it is my opinion that the typical commercial mortgage broker should devote SIXTY PERCENT (60%) of his time to marketing for commercial loans!

When a lead call comes in, you should quickly qualify it over the phone.  If this is a purchase money deal, how much cash is the borrower putting down?  If this is a refinance, and he needs a 75% LTV loan, or higher, to pay off his existing lender, kill the deal.  What is the borrower's net worth compared to the loan size?  It should be at least equal.  Got an auto mechanic with a $200,000 net worth trying to buy a $3 million apartment building, kill the deal.

"But George, what if I don't have a single deal in processing?"

Then spend every possible minute calling, writing, or visiting nearby bankers and commercial real estate brokers.  Write newsletters and get them out.  Go to mixers.  Schmooze.

Do not - do not!!! - waste your precious time trying to place pipedream deals.  It is far better to turn away one deal in forty that might have been do-able than to waste precious marketing time trying to pull off a miracle on a goofy loan.  Your policy should be, "If a deal is not obviously a winner, I'm turning it down and working on my marketing."

You should be absolutely confident that every deal in your processing pipeline is do-able.  And if you don't know how to underwrite commercial loans perfectly, learn your profession!  You can learn commercial real estate finance using our 9-hour video training program.  It costs only $499 to learn a profession.  Compare that to what you paid for your college tuition.

But I am not writing to you today to sell you videos.  I'm writing to drill something vitally important into your head.  Your job is to sift and sort through the thousands of loan packages floating around the marketplace to find the small handful of deals that are do-able.  If you don't have scores and scores of potential borrowers with whom to speak, then spend your time on marketing for commercial loans!  You should probably be spending 60% of your time on marketing.

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Topics: marketing for commercial loans

Call on Local Banks for Their Commercial Loan Turndowns

Posted by George Blackburne on Tue, Oct 28, 2008

Banks Are the Best Source for Commercial Loan Leads

If you are a commercial loan broker, your number one source for commercial real estate loan leads should be the local banks located close to your office. It's a great time to be trolling in these waters because commercial banks are turning down a lot of commercial real estate loan requests right now.

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Start by going to Input your office address and then ask for a map. Then plot every commercial bank located close to your office. It's easy. In the Find a Business on the Map field, simply type in the word, "bank". Instantly every nearby bank will be plotted on the map.

After locating all of the bank branches close to your office, then drop in on one or two commercial banks every business day. Ask to speak to the loan officer who handles their commercial real estate loans.

Explain to the banker that you would like to provide commercial loan services to any of his customers who the banker has to turn down. Leave the banker a flyer, along with three or four of your business cards.

Follow up the visit with a handwritten thank-you note to the banker on your company stationary and in a hand-written company envelope. The idea here is to get the banker to recognize your logo and company name. Of course, be sure to include several more of your business cards. Make sure these business cards prominently display the words, "Commercial Real Estate Loans".

Then, every ten days, be sure to send the banker something. One time you might send a funny political cartoon, and the next you might send a folksy newsletter with lots of jokes. And, of course, always be sure to include three more of your business cards with every fun communication. Pretty soon the banker will look forward to your snail mail because you always send something fun.

Try to take each of your bankers out to lunch every couple of months. Invite them to play golf with you. If a banker sends you a referral, drop by the next day with a sleeve of golf balls or a gift certificate for a free lunch. Make these guys your friends. Remember, the typical bank loan officer probably turns down a half-dozen commercial loan requests every week. Often there is no real good reason for the turndown, other than the bank simply doesn't like motels loans or the loan is the wrong size (too large or too small).

If you religiously call on one or two bankers every business day, you will quickly develop a terrific flow of commercial real estate loan leads.

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Topics: commercial real estate loan, commercial loan, commercial real estate financing, commercial mortgage lenders, commercial mortgage rates, marketing for commercial loans, commercial financing, commercial mortgage