To me, it’s perfectly clear how loan officers grow business as financial planners to borrowers. To understand why I believe being a trusted financial planner to a borrower is vital for business growth, you have to know my background. After 24 years and 3,600 loans, many would think I have it all together regarding my client experience. Truth be told, I have a massive referral base that has become impossible to tame. The upside to this is that I have more leads than I can handle, which allows me to focus on the 30% that are a fit for the business that I have designed.
When it comes to designing my business, I have lived by a key piece of advice from the book Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service. The book, written by Kenneth Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles, teaches you to: Identify What You Want, Identify What the Client Wants, and Deliver Plus One. In other words, know your value proposition. Know your strengths and realize not every customer who passes your desk will be the right fit.
The first step for a loan officer to become a trusted financial planner to a borrower is to reframe your mindset. Be an advisor, not an order taker. In this era of online and internet lending, I truly believe there are enough prospective buyers who are starving for an experience outside of the transactional nature that has become the norm. Focusing on the stages of the sale in your business and implementing just ONE CHANGE in each area can take your business to the next level.
Be an advisor, not an order taker.
Here are four of my most successful tactics for setting myself apart in my marketplace, being seen as a loan officer who is a trusted financial planner, and increasing my repeat client business over the years:
Ask lots of questions in the initial call with borrowers.
By doing this, I can usually tell if the potential borrower is a fit. Are they coachable? How was I referred? How long will they live in the home? Why do they want to put 20% down? Do they have children and if so, have they started putting money away for college? Do they max out their 401K? Do they have a lot of credit card debt? At this point in the new relationship, you are an “information gatherer.” As a successful loan officer, you need to ask, ask, ask.
Demand an in-person (or virtual) meeting with homebuyers.
Any loan officer who wants to become a financial advisor to a borrower needs to enact this tactic to set yourself apart. The script on this needs to be tight: “Mr. Smith, the next step is to set up an in-person(or virtual face-to-face) consultation with me for 45 minutes. Since you are a trusted referral of Tarl Anderson, we want to make sure you are taken care of completely! What that looks like is a thorough consultation, that will save you hours of online research by the way, to make sure you are in the right spot on your lending limits. We will review cash to close, payment, and address all your concerns. I have Wed. at 4:00 or Thurs. at 8:00 available. What works for you?”
Yes peeps, it’s that simple. If you focus on it, and don’t take no for an answer, your business will explode.
Offer potential homeowners choices they didn’t know they had.
As a loan officer, if you have #1 and #2 in place, the rest is simple. Your conversion will increase, and you will begin to develop your business by design. For instance, offer the choice of a loan with private mortgage insurance (PMI) instead of one requiring a 20% down payment. When the credit score is high, private mortgage insurance is super low! As a trusted financial planner, show your borrowers how they can take the money left over by using PMI to max out their 401K or contribute to their kids’ 529s. Educate the borrower! Show them any and all choices, so they can make “the best financial choice for them.” (That is your constant script, by the way.)
Point out the benefits of doing business with you.
Whether you are on the phone or in person, this script must happen: “Mr. Smith, should you choose to hire us, I feel it’s imperative you know what that entails. You would have a dedicated contact throughout closing (my team manager of 18 years), complete access to me and my team via text, email and phone – even on the weekends. Also, we answer all correspondence within 1 hour. Every Tuesday, while under contract, you’ll receive an update without fail on your loan’s progress. What you won’t get is passed off to an 800# with 5-digit extensions, nor an 8-to-5 mentality. Because you are a client of Tarl’s, we are 100% committed to making sure your closing goes smoothly, and that you are happy! If we can deliver these things to you, would you be excited about doing business with us?” I have different variations of this script, depending on who I am talking to, but EVERY TIME, USE THIS SCRIPT!
In summary, as a loan officer, if you modify just one area of your business model using one of the above options, you will start to become the trusted financial advisor your borrower needs to be successful. As a result, your business will start to change. And then, implement another change, and another and another. I wish you much continued success!
The opinions and insights expressed in this blog are solely those of its author, Jennifer Hernández, and do not necessarily represent the views of either Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation or any of its parent, affiliates, or subsidiaries (collectively, “MGIC”). Neither MGIC nor any of its officers, directors, employees or agents makes any representations or warranties of any kind regarding the soundness, reliability, accuracy or completeness of any opinion, insight, recommendation, data, or other information contained in this blog, or its suitability for any intended purpose.