As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, August 2008.
With so many people leaving the mortgage industry, those who remain are presented with new challenges and opportunities for success. How you handle these situations will either lead you toward true adviser status and lasting relationships with your clients and referral sources -- or it will lead you to the car lot with the others who are departing the business.
To gain your clients' and referral sources' trust, building rapport is key. You can do this by gathering all the facts before selling anything and by using more-effective questions and power words and phrases. Eliminate any negative words or phrases -- even those that merely have the potential of having a negative connotation -- from your vocabulary. Instead, focus on the positive.
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Here are some examples of words and phrases you can change:
Instead of saying "payments," try "the monthly amount of your mortgage."
Change terms like "buy," "sell" and "sold" to "ownership" and "acquire property."
Don't say "contract." Use words like "agreement" or "paperwork" to lighten the connotation.
Don't say "good luck." It implies that someone needs luck.
Say "congratulations" when clients have closed, rather than "thank you."
Don't say you have a "problem." Instead, say you have an "opportunity," whether it is because of clients' credit or a drop in value on a refinance.
Other effective ways to say things are to explain the closing costs as figures or numbers in negotiations. And let people know what your "recommendation" is. To assure your clients that you will do your best for them, tell them it is your "responsibility" to make sure they are 100-percent satisfied with the financial details.
You'll often have to deal with objections or with clients who have false information. The way you deal with them is key to whether you gain their trust. When trying to overcome an objection, occasionally ask the client, "Is that fair enough?"
Never tell your clients they are wrong, even when they are. There is a lot of information about the housing market and credit crunch on the Internet and in the media, so you are sure to run into people who think they know more than you. Agree with their observations "based on the information they have." But then add "additionally," and explain the facts.
You may have clients who have clearly shopped around come to you and say they heard that rates are around 5 percent for a fixed-rate loan. Instead of telling them that nobody can do that, revert back to the "feel, felt and found" sales method. That is, recognize their objection, sympathize with them and offer them a solution.
Use softer words and phrases and listen to their objections as you would with friends and family. Homeowners may tell you that their house is worth so much more than what is on the appraisal, for example, and they'll be sure that they are correct. To win with these clients, you must be proactive instead of reactive and soften the blow to their egos. Positive phrases can help.
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Selling in a consultative manner requires meeting people's needs and desires in a way that leaves them feeling great about their decisions. The words and phrases you use can create positive attitudes, emotions and visualizations. There are several ways to answer clients' questions, and you must listen carefully to the context and time your response accordingly for a winning opportunity.
Steve Felt has been originating residential and commercial mortgage loans since 1998 in both retail and wholesale.
He is currently a member of the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education and is the founder of the Real Estate Finance Institute based in Maple Shade, N.J. Felt can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.