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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   May 2004

Assume the Close!

Do you have trouble getting a referral from a client with a loan in process?  Do you frequently hear the following: “If I hear of someone, I will let you know.  You were great!” and yet, get no referrals?  I teach a simple technique whereby you set up a weekly call to the customer, say every Friday, to update the loan status and then ask for referrals. This starts the subconscious mind of that borrower working on leads for you.  The key is to do it every week for the time in process, at approval and at the closing— a minimum of 5 times.  Most sales happen after the fifth request—the Law of Five in Sales. But what if you are asking your clients for referrals, yet you just can’t seem to get them?  Why?  Well, part of it is certainly how you ask.  You should never say to a client, “If you hear of anyone needing a mortgage, let me know.” That is not even asking.  “If” means “never”.  Try, “Who do you know at ____________ (work, church, etc.) who may be looking for a mortgage?”  This gets the client’s subconscious mind working on a smaller group of people and prompts him/her for an answer.  “If you hear” generates the pat response “oh I will”—much like the retail clerk who says, “Can I help you with anything?”  You probably respond, “Just looking.”  “Who do you know” requires an answer and forces the subconscious mind to start replaying all of the recent conversations with people from that specific group.  The mind is amazing and does all this in the time it takes the person to say, “Not sure if I know anyone right now.”  The difference is stunning.

But what if you know how to ask, and still you do not get referrals from your clients with loans in process?  Then, the most likely culprit is none other than YOU.  You do not have the attitude of expectation and the complete confidence in your product.  You may say you do, but deep down you are hedging.  Referrals from loans in process (LIP) are set up at the time of application.  You need to explain the value you bring to the occasion, re-iterate how much you are doing for them, how great the rate is, how low the payment is that you will get them, how fast you will close—whatever makes this special.  YOU MUST GIVE THEM THE EXPECTATION THAT YOU WILL MEET OR EXCEED THEIR EXPECTATIONS.  It is the loan officer’s job, not the manager’s or processor’s job, to set the customer’s expectation. 

During the craziness last year when some lenders were running 45 days just to approve a loan, we were locking out for 75 days.  We told the customers, “Everyone is refinancing, and your rate is phenomenal, but the lender is backed up so it will take _____ (this long), but we will lock you in for free for that extra time.” We never lost someone over that.  Then, we would close them in 60 and be heroes.  The key is setting the expectation.  And you let them know that you are “hooking them up” and that you EXPECT referrals in return.  This is not bold or brash; it is basic origination! 

In every contact with the customer from that point on, deliver the message that you are meeting the expectations you gave them and ask, “Who do you know who deserves this great__________ (service/rate/etc.) as well?” Ask with an attitude of expectation.  Don’t apologize for asking; it is plain good service.  Believe it or not, that person WANTS to refer you.  He/she wants to be the big shot who knows the great mortgage guy/girl.  But no one wants to risk a reputation on someone who sounds sorry for even calling them.           

Be bold; be proud.  Confidently ask for that referral. You deserve it. They want to give it to you so ask with confidence:  “John, boy, things are going well—should have you approved Monday like I promised, locked your rate and rates have edged up, looking’ good! Say, John, I know you have some friends at work that are looking to buy a home or refinance. They deserve the same great deal.  Who do you know that you want to hook up with a great mortgage program?”  Say something along those lines but with your own style.  The key is the bold confidence. Try it, and see how many more deals you get from your LIPs; it is the easiest way to build volume and grow sales.  Take advantage of it!


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