A simple, three-prong approach can set you on the path to becoming a high-performance originator.
Many loan originators want one of three things. They want to make more money. They want to work fewer hours. And they want to have less stress.
Not surprisingly, the only way to have any of those is to commit to a high-performance game plan. That game plan involves three key success strategies that, when executed well, will typically double or triple an originator’s business in 12 months or less.
These three strategies — developing new clients, optimizing customer service and retaining existing clients — will take your business to the next level. There is too much opportunity for you not to implement them immediately and begin benefitting from being a high-performance originator.
Develop New Clients
Without borrowers applying for a loan, there is no business. Every loan originator must have a prospecting strategy that involves business relationships with agents, builders and executives who have “tribes” of people they influence and, at some time in the future, will need a loan. There is nothing more important than this starting point.
High-performance origination is about understanding the power of the referral. It’s easier for you to call someone who is a direct referral than it is to cold-call someone. Effective loan originators target the right referral partners, commit to an integrated plan of regular and effective lead-generation conversations with those partners and, over time, build a friendship-based business.
In addition, every borrower knows people who, at some point in the future, will need a loan. Consider the opportunity if every client you have in a given year refers you to one more person who also will need a loan. The most important front-end objective for any originator in seeking the next level of success is to manage the client-acquisition strategy so that it produces a constant flow of leads.
Optimize Customer Service
The window for making a strong first impression with the customer is short — a matter of seconds or less, studies show. That first impression is key to gaining a new customer’s confidence. Originators who win business instill that confidence with every step they take in serving their client. They must make sure that the connection with the borrower is super strong. There are a number of ways to accomplish this trust-building.
For example, choreographing the realty agent’s handoff of the borrower to the loan originator pays dividends. The agent can set the originator up for accelerated trust, which goes miles toward a successful conversion process. After setting up that trust — and mentioning how the originator could potentially save the borrower thousands of dollars on the home’s cost, and tens of thousands of dollars over the course of the loan — the agent can also help set up a meeting.
It is also important to get borrowers to expand their current lines of thinking and consider the larger palette of options — the most important of which is achieving financial peace of mind. The high-performance originator gets into a consultant mode early in the borrower dialog. One script that: works effectively is this:
“A lot of people think I am in the business of doing loans. I really don’t look at it that way. As a mortgage adviser and planner, I am helping you create perhaps the largest debt of your life, and I have a responsibility to help you professionally manage that debt. I see my primary role as helping my borrowers integrate the loan they select into their over all long and short-term financial and investment goals and their payment, equity, cash-flow and tax objectives.”
Today’s customer must be positively impacted at every level of their experience, from start to finish. Here are examples of high-performance questions that enable a deeper connection between a loan officer and a borrower:
1. What are you trying to accomplish with this mortgage beyond the home?
2. There is a big difference between getting pre-approved for the maximum purchase price versus what you actually want to pay. On what would you like to focus?
3. What is most important to you: interest rate, monthly payment or the lowest overall cost of borrowing?
4. What are your financial objectives over the next five to 10 years and how does home ownership factor into that?
5. What is the highest monthly payment with which you will be comfortable, and are you willing to consider any strategic mortgage product that will help you get there?
Retain Existing Clients
Most people will do business with you once. The key is to make them want to do business with you forever.
If originators want their clients for life, they must talk to those clients during their life. The most profitable relationships mature over time. If originators don’t get this important concept, then they will default to spending too much time in the acquisition mode, and that is not as profitable.
It takes far more time, energy and money to attract a new customer than it does to take care of one you already have. By cultivating long-term relationships with existing clients, you expand your potential for repeat sales.
Your clients know people who need to know you. Apply the concept to any client you have, and you can see the potential. If your clients love you, they will refer you to others who will also help build your business.