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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   August 2017

Go Beyond the Baseline

Low rates and good service are not enough to build your business

Illustration by Dennis WunschWhat do borrowers look for when choosing a mortgage originator? They tend to look for someone who is credible, diligent, reliable and trustworthy. They want to work with an originator they feel comfortable with, but that is just the baseline.

There is a process to the success of a mortgage originator that goes beyond the basics of good service and extensive experience. To get more referrals, for example — which are the lifeblood of the business — originators should implement a system that begins by laying a foundation and then adding value with each step.

Laying the foundation

Most borrowers are stressed when they contact a mortgage originator. They are buying a house, after all. You can help to relieve some of that stress by taking borrowers step-by-step through the process of the loan.

As you walk them through the steps, be transparent about the entire process. Integrity goes a long way in this business, especially because these days many borrowers go into the process assuming their originator plans to nickel-and-dime them. They don’t expect you to invest your time and expertise in them.

To win the trust of new borrowers, you need to see them as long-term clients because a mortgage is a long-term commitment. This helps build the foundation of the partnership you hope to create with every client.

As you build that foundation, it is important to be a problem solver, not a pushy salesperson. Buyers should not feel as if they are being forced into anything. It is your job to understand and recognize your clients’ goals, problems and needs, so you can help guide them to the right decision, instead of selling them on a solution that does not work for them.

In the end, choosing a loan product is their decision and that decision should be based on facts. You will need a firm understanding of your borrowers’ financial situations, as well as their needs, fears and capacities so you can provide the information they need to make a good decision.

This process takes time and patience but, in the end, your efforts will be rewarded. Showing genuine care for your borrowers goes a long way. Good communication is your key to success.

Creating a plan

The best originators create a work plan and follow it carefully. This plan can be changed and tweaked along the way to fine-tune it. It also can be adjusted according to what works and what does not. Thus, it is important to measure the results against the plan. Mistakes will happen, but the same mistake shouldn’t be made more than once.

Once you have a plan that works for you, stick to it. Consistency will be your greatest tool. You should have a formal process in place that you can walk your clients through so they have a good grasp of the situation, which also will afford them some peace of mind. In addition, this planned-out process will keep you proactive and display experience and professionalism to your clients. Structure is key.

In addition to planning out your loan process, you should have a plan for cultivating contacts. At the end of the day, your success as an originator is not about replying to e-mails quickly or always being available for your clients. These aspects help, but the underlying key to business success in the mortgage industry lies in building a healthy set of professional contacts.

Your contacts should include a variety of different professionals in the business, and it is important that you consistently network and help to nurture the relationships that come from that networking, because the majority of mortgage business comes from referrals and recommendations. Mortgage originators cannot work in a vacuum. Invest in people and they will invest in you. Make a list of professionals you want to maintain contact with and reach out regularly. Your persistence will pay off.

•  •  •

In the end, referrals come from what you do beyond the actual sale. When borrowers search for a mortgage originator, they will look at rates and sector experience, but what you can offer to potential clients goes beyond that. Having good rates and great service is just the foundation of your business.

What will set you apart from other originators with the same rates and level of service will be your ability to provide real value. Thinking outside the box and offering unique solutions to your clients’ problems will help you to stand out from the crowd. When it comes to this business, an originator cannot simply do the bare minimum to succeed. Success will only come when you go the extra mile.


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