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This attitude has opened the door for large technology firms that provide expensive sales-force automation tools. Although these systems have proven effective in other industries, particularly manufacturing, they have proven less-effective for financial-services companies.
Most loan officers working in the mortgage business today are, or have been, independent loan brokers. These professionals are fiercely independent and do not appreciate being micromanaged. While they accept constructive criticism and take advantage of lenders’ training programs, they often do not stay with a company that doesn’t offer significant freedom. They see these massive platforms perched above them like vigilant sentinels, waiting to catch them in an error as soon as an internal timer indicates a missed deadline.
Lenders can lead their origination teams into securing more repeat business by providing the proper technology tools. These tools make it easier for loan officers to share pertinent, loan-related information with their borrowers. It is also helpful to follow up with the sales training required to take full advantage of these tools. Additional sales training could be required to help originators understand the tasks involved in creating customers for life.
Going beyond Outlook
To manage their customer relationships, many loan officers use simple calendar programs, such as those included with Microsoft Outlook or the Palm Desktop. Creating customers for life, however, requires the ability to track a great deal of information about home-owners and compare it to appropriate loan products to benefit borrowers. It also means tracking related financial-services products that appeal to the target market. All of these require specialized technology.
Going beyond simple calendar programs, loan officers should use a tool capable of tracking every detail of a borrower’s credit, property and current loan program. It also should be able to compare this information to current loan programs. This will help automatically identify an opportunity to save the customer money. The tool should help start marketing programs by merging customer-specific data to new loan-program information and delivering the data to prospects as they wish.
Choosing the right tool is a good first step, but loan officers must be trained to use it. The importance of using the tool and remaining in contact with past borrowers must be impressed upon every employee.
Training also is important because many of today’s loan officers came aboard during the recent refinance boom — and they have never had to do anything but take orders. Successful companies provide many opportunities for these originators to hone their craft. Once the company’s expectations are known, the best employees will have little trouble meeting them, especially when the end result is more success for everyone involved.
In the end, creating customers for life depends on management’s willingness to make past customers a priority. Then, companies enable and reward loan officers for bringing that business back. Mortgage lenders that provide loan officers these opportunities through training and the right technology will be more successful.
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