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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   March 2018

Create a Community of Clients

Cultivating the trust and respect of borrowers can expand your business

When it comes to the mortgage industry, business development is all about expanding your client list, gaining the trust and respect of your borrowers, and getting repeat business. To develop your business, it is important to focus on building and cultivating trust and not just on making money. It never pays to nickel and dime clients.

Residential mortgage originators should understand that potential clients will check out who they are and how they do business before making a decision to work with them. In addition, during the mortgage process, originators also can become the focal point of client anger when something goes wrong, which can tarnish a reputation if it’s not handled professionally. To counter this, originators should always focus on giving borrowers reasons why they should work with them instead of reasons not to trust them.

The way originators dress, the way they talk and their knowledge — or lack thereof — of products and process all factor into a borrower’s perception of them, which affects the borrower’s decision of whether or not to do business with a particular originator. Although these aspects may seem trivial, they can make or break an originator’s business.

In addition, mortgage originators represent their company and their brand. Their ability to project confidence, timeliness and efficiency will speak more for that brand than anything else. In this business, actions speak louder than words.

The people business

An originator needs to be the kind of person whom people want to do business with, and this starts with networking. Networking is not just about meeting people who you want to work with. It is more about being able to introduce yourself as someone other professionals will want to work with.

Remember, you are not just selling mortgages, you also are selling yourself. You want people to know that doing business with you and working with you will not only make them more successful, but will make them feel more successful.

It is easy to forget in this business dominated by numbers and dollar signs that you also are in the people business. When dealing with people, you also are dealing with emotions. Borrowers should not just know they are being taken care of, they should feel it as well.

Nobody likes to feel like they working with someone who is constantly trying to sell them something. They want their needs taken care of. So, before anyone decides to work with an originator, they want to make sure that originator isn’t the kind of person who just wants their money.

Any successful salesperson will tell you that sharing knowledge and information with potential customers is much more efficient than selling. Providing potential clients with information even before they become a borrower will show them that you are invested in their success, which will earn their trust and help build that relationship. People do not do business with anyone who seems more concerned about closing the deal than about helping them. People do business with professionals they know and trust.

Community is key

Never underestimate community, either. You can always learn things from other originators, even if they are your competitors. Although networking functions may seem boring and unhelpful at times, they offer great
opportunities to connect with your community. Even one interaction with a potential client will increase the likelihood that they will work with you in the future. Being involved in your community gets your name out to potential clients and establishes you as a prominent fixture in your local market.

In addition, a good mortgage originator needs to stay competitive and know the market, because potential clients will shop around before they decide who they want to work with. To gain the trust of potential clients, stay competitive and never try to sell higher rates or extra fees to borrowers who have not done their homework ahead of time. Doing this will kill your reputation.

To build a sustainable business, you need to build trust with your clients and make sure they will come back to you and refer their friends and family to you as well. If you overcharge clients, you risk losing their trust and their business — and your own integrity. Honest originators have former clients calling them back for more business because they are truthful and fair.

Finally, borrowers want to work with someone whom they believe is an expert. Educating yourself should not end when you graduate college or finish your training. It is something you must invest in on a daily basis. Read books, listen to podcasts, go to seminars, and ask mentors and other professionals for advice and information on how to do your job better or about nuances in mortgage products and processes.

Always be teachable. Do not be too quick to say, “I know,” and don’t shut down people who are trying to help you just because you think you already know everything. You may know a lot about the mortgage business, but there is always someone who knows more.

•  •  •

Building a community of loyal clients and referral partners takes time and patience. It requires that originators follow up with borrowers, network with peers and also that they always maintain their integrity. Cultivating trust takes honesty and humility because no one wants to work with someone who is arrogant and mistrustful. This will take time and effort, but if it was easy, everyone would do it. By taking the time to build a relationship and cultivate trust with clients, you are sure to grow your business.


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