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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   November 2009

Don't Neglect Clients' Feelings

Follow these six steps to get to the heart of the matter with loan prospects

How many times have you heard these questions from clients?

  • What interest rate can you offer me?
  • What are your closing costs?
  • Can I compare your good-faith estimate with others and get back to you?

As a mortgage broker, you not only must answer these questions, but you also must discover your clients' motivation.

Although many brokers spend a lot of time talking to prospects about interest rates, amortization schedules, closing costs, contract dates and product options, they often fail to understand that clients often make buying decisions based not on facts but on feelings.

By speaking to borrowers' feelings, you can establish rapport and increase closings. The following six steps can help.

1. Create positive feelings

Prospective clients judge salespeople, including brokers, based on their own beliefs and ideals. Prospects look at how you dress and listen to how you speak. Depending on the information they collect about you, prospective clients develop good or bad feelings. After those feelings are created, they're hard to change.

In addition to looking and sounding professional, you can elicit positive feelings by asking questions such as:

  • What is important to you when it comes to mortgage financing?
  • What made you buy this particular house?
  • What would you accomplish by cashing out on your house?
  • How do you think a lower interest rate will benefit you?

Asking questions that encourage clients to talk about their motivation, family and goals will generate positive feelings most of the time.

2. Connect with clients

After you get clients to talk, you must show interest and reaffirm what they say. For example, if clients say they're buying a new home because they're expecting a baby, ask if they know if they are having a boy or a girl. If they tell you they bought a particular house because of its neighborhood, its proximity to schools or its price, confirm that they made a wise decision.

It can be difficult to generate feelings about a mortgage because a mortgage is essentially an invisible entity. Property, on the other hand, is easy to connect with. It's visible and it likely is the top thing on your prospects' minds.

When you generate and reaffirm clients' positive feelings about their house, you connect with them and move closer to earning their commitment to do business with you.

3. Don't assume

Many mortgage professionals assume that all prospects are shopping for rates or the cheapest closing costs. Just because your 30 most-recent clients asked about your lowest rate, don't assume the next person to call you will ask the same thing. If you do, you might miss the opportunity to find out what that person really cares about.

It's also dangerous to assume that clients have the same point of view as you. Their feelings about culture, politics and religion might be entirely different than yours -- and that's OK. You'll learn about these things and react properly if you listen carefully and refuse to make assumptions.

Even the most-obvious assumptions can be incorrect. For example, if your clients say they're buying a particular house because they're expecting a child, don't automatically talk about the schools in the area or even assume the woman is pregnant. They might be intending to home-school an adopted child.

Be hyperaware of the information presented and don't distort or assume anything.

4. Discuss program benefits

After you establish rapport with prospects and have them feeling good about you and the services your company can offer, transition the conversation to mortgage products and options. Find out what's important to them and craft a financing option based on their needs and wants. Discuss the program's benefits and how it will help them.

5. Be consistent

Be consistent by delivering what you promise. Try not to change things in the middle of the process. People often associate feelings with products or companies. They don't necessarily know why they feel motivated to buy something, but they feel good about doing it.

Not providing what you promise can keep clients from feeling this way about you. In addition, always keep you clients informed about any better loan-program options that arise. If you think changing course would ultimately benefit your clients, deliver the message as simply as possible.

6. Follow up

Many mortgage professionals do a great job. They establish rapport, recommend great programs and provide exceptional service. But they often forget to follow up. Following up with clients helps make sure they feel positively about doing business with you. Also, because people often remember the last action people perform, following up shows your clients that you care about them and their mortgage decision.

It's important to make clients feel good before, during and after the mortgage process. You can do this by speaking to clients' feelings and by delivering loan products that instill security and confidence. The more you can do this, the less you'll need to lower your rates and closing costs.


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