As a loan officer, your primary goal is to determine the best mortgage loan program for your customer (and of course, close the loan). You know understanding details like property type, loan amount, credit score etc., is the key to providing your customers great service. But to keep your business healthy, you also need a steady flow of new and repeat customers coming through your door. So how can you attract more business?
You may want to begin by doing some research to learn about specific products and services that can help your customers. For example, you may not want to start a conversation with a first-time homebuyer the same way you would with someone who has already gone through the mortgage process. Make use of information that will have the most impact on your audience.
But first, you need to get the conversation started.
1. Spread the word
If you want to gain new business, the first step is to know with whom you should connect. Begin by reaching out to other industry professionals to start building relationships and widening your referral network.
- Accountants and CPA firms have clients who are buying or selling homes, and can offer referrals
- Appraisers are a good go-to source of local information, like which real estate agents are selling the most homes
- Real estate attorneys and relocation specialists can direct prospects your way
- A real estate appraiser or listing agent can team up with you so you can cross-sell each other’s services
2. Sell yourself
Invest in a website that includes your information: the services you provide, testimonials from past clients and resources you find helpful for potential customers.
Place a digital ad on real estate agent websites so your contact information is readily available to potential homebuyers who are searching listings. Your name could be the first one they see, meaning you could be their first point-of-contact before they’ve even started the home-buying process. You could also put together a television commercial or radio ad promoting your services.
Many homebuyers use social media to share their home-buying experiences with friends and family. Connecting with your clients on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn affords you additional opportunities to promote your services as a trusted loan officer to these expansive networks of potential new clients. These are also great places to provide testimonials from satisfied clients, too.
Get involved in your community: Spend time at public events where you can have one-on-one conversations with people who are looking to purchase a home. Often first-time homebuyers don’t know how to start the home-buying process, and having an expert available to them in an informal setting can ease the stress that comes along with the unknown. Be sure your business cards are readily available when you network, or provide a flyer or postcard that highlights your key offerings.
3. Refer a friend
One of the simplest ways to expand your business is by word of mouth. How many times have you heard someone’s loan officer described as “a friend,” “a person I’ve worked with before” or “a loan officer my co-worker referred”? Word of mouth can be great for recommendations. This is especially helpful in expanding your audience from locals to people who may be relocating to your area and in need someone to help them purchase a new home.
4. Find out more about the customer
Find out more about your customers by asking open-ended questions. Instead of asking about the property type and loan amount, focus on asking if the customer would like to take cash out of the property, how long the customer intends to stay there, what future plans are etc. Asking questions allows you to provide superior service, and can help you uncover your customer’s true needs and motivation — especially if your customer doesn’t have a firm answer. Sample questions include:
- Has anyone ever explained the loan process to you step-by-step?
- Do you know what your credit score is and what’s on your credit report?
- Have you seen any other rates you like?
- What kind of property are you buying? Tell me more about it.
- Have you considered rolling other debt into the mortgage in order to lower payments and save money on interest?
Asking questions will help you stand out to your customer and begin to build a personal relationship, which is an effective way to sell.
5. Drive for results
Your desired end result for your customers goes without being said: closed loans and new homes. But being able to communicate how you can meet your clients’ needs is just as important as actually getting their loans closed. After all, customers don’t work with you because they understand the end result of the process — they work with you because they feel understood.
After doing your research, marketing yourself and networking, don’t forget to maximize all of your hard work by following up with your customers. Stay in contact, but don’t be overwhelming. Simply make yourself available with a phone call, email or via social media to help keep the conversation going.