Retail mortgage lenders will see a shortage of not only new applicants but later, of compensation as well, without inbound leads ready to be converted to new mortgage applications. Every pipeline needs to be balanced with fresh applications, loans in process and loans cleared to close.
It’s not easy when you’re struggling with a host of the usual issues or a strict underwriter’s interpretation of the financial institution guidelines to simultaneously keep that smiling and upbeat phone voice to secure new business. Yet, it’s critical to consistent closings and economic survival!
Few retail mortgage lenders have their loan products mortgage process dialed in to get their loans approved with the least amount of effort or difficulty and make the real estate lending process itself their best marketing strategy. Still, simultaneously achieving both can be accomplished by following a simple three-pronged approach.
1. Retail mortgage lenders need to set the stage.
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Every mortgage loan officer should intuitively know that doing a great job for their clients can lead to happy client referrals. But the key to this is to let them know right up front how important this is to your loan origination business and that you trust them to spread the word for you tomorrow if you do what’s best for them today.
The key component here is to have them share their expectations of the process with you right from the very beginning. Of course, they want the best rate, an approval without undue conditions, an easy process, and an on-time closing with no surprises. But do they really know all that?
Never assume what’s important to them with their home purchase. They may harbor old myths of what the process will be like or entail. They may think it’s harder, or they may remember an easy no income, no asset loan process and think it’ll be just as easy today. They may think their credit is bad because they missed a payment 3 years ago, or they may think it’s stellar because they’ve never used credit. They may simply be overjoyed to “get” the loan and have no idea how painless and professional you can make the process.
Borrowers can be funny and have all manner of misinformation rattling around in their brains about loan programs, mortgage bankers or mortgage brokers, banks or credit unions, portfolio lenders, etc. Remember, they don’t do this every day; you do. And that’s exactly why you must ASK what it is that they expect. Let them set the bar. Retail mortgage lenders shouldn’t sell their processes too soon. It may come across as a fairy tale vs. their expectations, and that destroys your opportunity not just to meet those expectations but to exceed them by leaps and bounds.
Creating raving clients is where the magic happens. Retail mortgage lenders don’t need to compete for Zillow leads at razor-thin margins when you can have a book of past clients singing your praises. A referral from a past client who thought you were one of the greatest retail mortgage lenders because you delivered so much more than they told you they expected (and that you then promised) is as sure a thing as a new lead can be.
We’ve all heard the saying, “under-promise and over-deliver.” That is exactly what you should set out to do. You just have to modify that approach a bit by asking first what they expect, as only then can you know what over-delivering really entails, and only then do you make the promise to deliver.
2. Retail mortgage lenders need to have a well-refined process.
It’s all too easy to let the deal dictate how you handle it. After all, every application or applicant will have their quirks. It might be credit or income or sketchy assets; it might be deficiencies in the property or title; it might be a crazy agent or attorney that seems intent on running the show to the buyer’s detriment. And it can even be a problem with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac guidelines just not accommodating a good but still unusual situation.
By asking about the buyer’s expectations upfront, you’ll know what they expect. By laying out the process for them and anyone else involved, they’ll then know what you expect: orderly documents, requests fulfilled as quickly as possible, agreements for following directions and avoiding the common pitfalls of outside credit checks, employment changes, etc. And of course, you’ll want to let them know up front that if they have anything to hide, they should confess now, so you act accordingly, to begin with, vs. having to stop and drop or re-tool the whole approach later.
By both asking and sharing, expectations are set and exist as a two-way street. All parties know what they need to provide and, ideally, when things need to happen to assure the proper sequence of events that will lead to the common goal of closing on time.
3. Congratulate, give thanks, nurture, nudge, and give thanks again.
If you kept track of your client’s expectations, then exceeded them by a mile or two, all while congratulating them for THEIR efforts and thanking them for the business, you’ve already made the act of doing business your best marketing plan too.
It really is the best approach to invest your time and efforts into simply doing your job with a degree of order and professionalism that exceeds that of your competitor — not just for the sake of being the best, but to make your excellence obvious to all who you work with too. Everyone loves to be treated in a way that makes them feel special. A year from their closing, borrowers won’t remember what rate they got. They will remember how they were treated.
But there’s more to it than that. Past clients may remember how great you were, but if they can’t remember your name, you’re in trouble. This is where the all-too-frequent but straightforward problem lies with many retail mortgage lenders. They get good and get busy, and they then can’t take the time to properly manage and allow their database and mortgage CRM to take care of that last important act of staying in front of their client.
Regular communication, annual reviews, holiday and birthday greetings can all be automated, so all you have to do is put your client’s info in your system and then let that system do the rest.
This way, they become your best advertisement and raving fans — happy to tell everyone they know that when they need a loan, there’s just one person to call. That beats a random call from a stranger looking for the best rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan any day and all days.
To see exactly what a world-class mortgage CRM can do for retail mortgage lenders and to keep your past clients filling your lead pipeline without you having to lift a finger, just click the link here to set up a demo with Surefire. Next to closing that super-jumbo loan tomorrow, it’s the next best thing you can do today!
Learn about the technology solutions that retail mortgage lenders could benefit from by visiting Mortgage Marketing University today!