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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   August 2005

Teach Your Clients Well

An educated client is a happy client — and one who sends business our way

A mortgage loan usually is the largest transaction in our clients’ lives. With that in mind, it also usually is one of the scariest.

To put clients at ease, we as mortgage professionals should teach them every good and bad aspect of the loan process. By doing so, we prove ourselves as trustworthy, position ourselves as experts, incorporate other professionals into our circle and let our clients know how it benefits all parties to send referrals our way.

Building trust

By explaining the loan process and the challenges with clients’ situations, we establish competence in their eyes. With this open line of communication, we help build trust with our clients. For them, this is what can separate us from other loan officers.

Furthermore, we build loyalty throughout this process, which usually translates into more referrals. Clients are much more likely to do business with people they like and to whom they are loyal. It is important, however, to handle clients’ trust with kid gloves. Once we have earned their trust, we should do everything to maintain it. Stressing the importance of honest, ethical business practices in our communication as well as through our actions will cultivate lasting relationships that will assure repeat business as well as referrals.

Becoming the expert

Our clients are thirsting for our information, and we can quench that thirst by providing them with reports and consultations. By answering clients’ questions, we go a step beyond gaining their trust and also become their experts.

Think about a time when you may have needed an expert — such as a doctor, mechanic or electrician — for a special service. In our dealings with them, they often convince us that their services are unique. Our clients also should have a feeling of dependence on us as experts in the mortgage field.

If we, as loan officers, don’t do things to set ourselves apart as experts, we are virtually inviting our clients to see what else is out there. No loan officer likes to be shopped around or have a client negotiate fees. We also shouldn’t take for granted that our clients know everything about mortgages that we do.a

Joining forces

We can create an image of professionalism and credibility by using reports, specialized software and PowerPoint presentations. Teaming with other professionals also can add measurable substance to our presentations.

By partnering with financial planners, insurance agents or real estate agents, we not only provide clients with more-comprehensive education, but we also introduce them to other relevant financial professionals. It is one thing to educate clients on the best ways to manage their debt through home mortgages. It is another to expose them to other experts who can ratify our strategies.

On the other hand, we also could be providing these other financial professionals with leads. They will see us as a source of business and return the favor with referrals from their client base. Meanwhile, we now help our clients view us as the most-comprehensive and educated mortgage professionals around and increase the possibility that they will refer their friends and family to us.

Coaxing referrals

As we educate our clients about the loan process, we need to educate them about giving us referrals. They should know how important they are to our business as well as to our ability to provide the best service. We also can offer incentives to referral sources such as reduced origination or fee discounts. By doing this, we are showing our appreciation for the referrals — and we probably aren’t paying as much as we would for marketing and advertising.

If you look at your business from your client’s perspective, you can see why someone chooses your business. You also see why someone would refer business to you. There has to be a compelling reason far beyond the canned “We give great service.” The service should be excellent, but it should not be what differentiates you from your competitors. We all should strive to give great service.

•  •  •

There are many other ways to offer clients something compelling. We can invest in our business by producing free reports or give clients books to increase their knowledge. If this does not work, though, we need to adjust our paradigm until virtually every client with whom we meet has a strong desire to do business with us, regardless of our fees.

It is incredibly important to educate clients and be completely honest in all dealings. This not only will help close more deals without being “shopped,” but it also will help us earn more referrals. 


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