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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   March 2005

Building Trust Yields Valuable Referrals

The only way to build volume strong enough to withstand any interest-rate hike or catastrophe is to get loans from your loans in process. Without these referrals, you start each month as if you are a rookie — drumming up enough business this month just to afford to eat next month. If you get a loan from each of your loans, your business rises and never falls. That is how it is supposed to be. So why is it not happening?

It’s a matter of trust, which is necessary to receive anyone’s business. But to refer your business to others, people need more than trust; they need to know you are an expert. Even if your service and rates are great, your clients won’t put their reputations on the line for someone who is merely “good.” Think about how you suggest movies to friends. If a film is pretty good or just OK, you don’t go out of your way to tell people about it. But if you tell your friends about an awesome movie, they can feel like they have the inside scoop on something incredible.

Reach this prestigious plateau when you first contact a client by sticking to basics and asking questions during the pre-qualification period. With so many professionals trying “new” marketing methods, basics often are ignored — and expertise goes with it. To close a sale, you must first know your clients and help them feel like you do.

Say you’re going to the doctor for stomach pains. Your doctor asks: “Is it a dull, numbing pain? Or a sharp, pounding pain?” It’s a matter of diagnosing the problem, and you must enter the same mindset with your clients. They need to buy a house, and they don’t have the money to pay for it all upfront. They need a mortgage and more importantly, the right mortgage. The wrong program can put them in pain for 30 years.

Help your clients uncover their needs by following up their questions with questions of your own. They may ask, “What is your rate?” which you can answer with, “What is your price range?” or “What kind of payments do you feel comfortable with?” Done correctly, this establishes control of the call and can solidify your expert status. If your customers ask all the questions — “What is your rate? How long have you been in business?” — they are controlling the call. You might win their business with superior sales skills, but you likely will never receive their referrals.

You also do not benefit by skimping on the questions upfront to get them in the door — only to ask a ton of questions at the application stage. Pre-qualify hard and app easy. It is the surest way to true success, and the beautiful thing is that it does not cost you any money. Just show that you care enough about your customers to take control with questions and solve their problems before you write their loans.

Asking questions upfront and solidifying your expert status are small changes. But they will make all the difference in your referrals and your business.


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