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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   December 2009

6 Ways to Protect Your Pipeline

Taking these steps could help you keep your clients all the way to closing

Mortgage brokers face two key challenges with borrowers today. The first involves capturing leads and turning them into loan applications. The second challenge is keeping borrowers as clients all the way to closing. Once you take a loan application, it's often easy to lose the transaction to another broker or lender. This causes lost revenue, commissions and time.

Brokers typically invest four to six hours working on every loan file, including prequalifying borrowers, checking credit, taking the application, gathering documentation, consulting with the borrower, selecting the best loan program, doing paperwork and so on.

Here are six steps brokers can take to bring more applicants to closing.

  1. Conduct a complete prequalification before taking a loan application. Many brokers rush borrowers to application at the first sign of interest. Borrowers who take the time to participate in an upfront consultation typically are more serious about moving forward with you. Those who do not wish to go through this phase often already have applied elsewhere and are shopping for their best deal before closing.
  2. Meet the borrowers. Instead of sending them to the company Web site to apply or taking the application by phone, get borrowers in your office. When you establish a face-to-face relationship, people feel more connected to you and your company and are less likely to stray. 
  3. Refer them to your favorite real estate agent. All agents have a favorite lender or broker to whom they try to steer their customers. If buyers don't have an agent after you prequalify them, recommend one of your referral partners. That agent will sing your praises and keep the buyers with you.
  4. Send a thank-you card. Something as simple as a handwritten thank-you card will show your clients that you are grateful for their business. To form a strong relationship, you must reach out to them on a personal level. A thank-you card helps you do that.
  5. Give them "the speech." When you prequalify buyers or take their loan application, let them know that others may try to steer them to another broker or lender. Tell them something to the effect of, "As you move through the loan process in the next few weeks, you may encounter real estate agents who want to steer you to their lender or broker instead of me. Some of these agents earn a fee or a commission for doing so, and that's why they try to maneuver you. Be careful. You may also see ads for teaser rates and other unbelievable mortgage offers. Again, be cautious of these. You could end up with a loan situation you don't want.  "I am committed to making sure you get a good rate, the right loan program and a great experience. I hope you are as committed to me." Don't be shy about making this speech. It could save you a lot of loans.
  6. Keep in touch. It's a good idea to call your clients once a week while the loan is in process to provide a quick status update. Don't just shoot out an e-mail. A phone call and two-way dialogue keeps the connection tight and the relationship growing as the loan moves forward. It also lets your customers know you are working hard for them.

Few mortgage brokers have a 100-percent pull-through from application to closing. But those who employ these six ideas will have a much higher conversion rate than most. Keep more of your loans in your pipeline -- you've earned them.


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