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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   August 2018

Get It Right, From the Initial Call to Close

Follow these steps to attract more business — and to handle it when it arrives

r_2018-08_VonHoffman_spotTime and energy are two of the most important resources we have. Every mortgage originator strives for more business but often, once they have it, they are not effective in managing the load and run out of time. Time management is one of the most-requested coaching topics.

In order to manage time and growth, focus on improving efficiency and effectiveness. A simple formula is efficiency equals time and effectiveness equals results.

That means you need to be able to know each step of each task in order to measure its time and results. Then you can improve it. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Following are some helpful tips to make your business more efficient and effective.

The initial call

Your job is to ask the right questions. Therefore, you need to be a great interviewer. Interviewing starts with the initial phone call or loan application. If clients feel you listened to them, they will feel more connected to you, thus choosing you for their financing needs.

Think about your questions, practice and refine them until you notice the questions flow and open your clients up to talking. Once perfected, you will use these questions with every client. Try asking open-ended questions by beginning with something like, “Tell me about....” It’s easy to make any question open-ended by starting it that way.

Ask a question like, “Tell me about your credit?” It can reveal a lot of information quickly about a buyer, both good and bad. It also will work to your favor as far as time and which direction to go with them. Your success will hinge on being the one who listens, retains, wins trust, builds the relationship and is interested in the borrower’s future. With great upfront questions, your meetings will become more efficient, routine and have a flow.

Develop an interview form that has your favorite interview questions, all of the borrower’s contact information and room for notes. The questions will start around credit, budget, bills, cash to close and flow to end-of-the-meeting questions or closing questions. Once completed, enter all of the data into your customer-relationship management database.

That way, you have all of their important, intimate life details, such as birthdays, favorite restaurants, lifestyle and family information. This one step makes your job easier because you are starting to make them your clients for life. This is an often-missed step.

Follow-up calls

Many originators provide a mortgage quote and have no follow up plan afterward. Why in the heck would you invest your precious time and not follow up? Now if you entered them into your database, follow up becomes much easier.

Plan on connecting with the prospect as many as 12 times in different ways. That is the only way to maximize your leads. The best follow-up is to provide information that your prospects need. That’s what’s valuable to them. That might include things like finance and market information, a short bio about yourself, rate updates, new programs, your company information, neighborhood information, what to expect next during the loan process or during the move, background on your team and who to contact for any other pertinent information related to their loan.

You also can leverage referrals through this process. Develop a habit of asking for referrals right up front, then put out a reminder somewhere in the middle of the transaction and then again at the end.

Use a script that says something like: “My team and I are going to work very hard to give you the best customer service experience. By doing that, I am going to ask you for five referrals and the highest score possible on the survey you get when we close on the loan. If, at any time, you feel we are not giving you superior service, I would so appreciate if you would give me a call and tell me how I can improve. Do we have deal?” In this script, you give them permission to call and tell you if you are not doing the job as promised or expected, so you can improve your systems and/or your team. That is better than not knowing at all.

As you look at efficiency, you need to encourage your team to do the same with every task they encounter.

By doing this upfront, you set the stage for a positive outcome and higher client-retention rate, and you will find out about any hiccups in service levels, in advance, before the closing. Plant the seeds of getting referrals and positive survey scores right away. Borrowers will remember the promise you made and refer their friends and family. If your goal is to get five referrals from each client, and if you only get two, you still win. You get two more referrals, trust and a warm handoff, instead of having to rely on a cold call.

Educate and communicate

Make sure to set the right expectations upfront about the process, and educate your clients. Then make sure you have amazing communication with them. Make sure they understand who your team is and how they will be supported going forward. You and your team should communicate in all ways — e-mail, text, phone, video — to make clients feel cared for, informed and supported.

Key Points

Make your business more efficient and effective

  • Measure time and results.
  • Learn to interview clients.
  • Record clients’ important life details.
  • Follow up, follow up, follow up.
  • Request referrals.
  • Ask to hear complaints.
  • Create a transaction-status report.
  • Spend time each week prospecting.
  • Celebrate the borrower’s success.

Create a transaction-status report that you can utilize no matter where you are. Make sure your entire team uses it regularly and keeps it up to date. Everyone needs to be able to trust what is on that report. Then makes sure it goes out to everyone involved in the transaction and the client gets a weekly call with the status. This step is one of the most critical in making you more efficient because you will not have as many problems or complaints.

Have an efficient sales-call route and call list that you design and refine to maximize your time in the field. Make sure it has a spot on your weekly calendar, and honor it each week. To be effective you must always prospect. It’s part of longevity.

Your time prospecting is just as important as meeting with a new client. Get in as many calls as you can, and bring something of value to talk about when you go. Make sure on the calls you are asking great questions and earning that business. Be known for being consistent and showing up, same time, each week.

As you look at efficiency, you need to encourage your team to do the same with every task they encounter. They are a reflection of you to your clients, so they must be great. There is a process to everything, a way a task is done.

Taking a loan application, drawing docs, funding loans all have a process. Having that process written down in a timeline and order format improves the efficiency of your team and saves time. It also helps new employees onboard quicker and also helps to ensure everyone will be doing your business as you desire it to be done.

Keep a file with all of these processes for your team, so it is readily accessed and updated regularly, and use it for cross-training and onboarding. That way, when you reach vacation season, your service levels don’t suffer. There is no better way to onboard, manage or grow your team than replication of everyday tasks.

Close well

Finally, you’ve worked really hard to do a great job throughout the transaction. Closing is your last opportunity to hit it out of the park. If you are going to expend energy, this would be one of the most critical times to do it — and it’s the step that is missed the most.

Have a closing and after-the-close process for your clients. Celebrate their homeownership success with them in some way, and also follow up with them afterward, on a regular basis, so they remember who their loan guru is. You didn’t work hard to forget about them or have them forget about you.

Celebrating their victory doesn’t have to be expensive. Provide a red ribbon for them to cut and shoot a video so they can post it on social media. Providing pizza or sandwiches on move day is another simple, easy thing they will appreciate. These are things your marketing person can handle or you can do in person.

Then, after the close, make sure to initiate a multi- touch campaign on all levels for all of your past clients in your database. That means reaching out to them via mail, e-mail and phone multiple times to check in. Don’t forget to thank them in some special way for each referral as well.

•  •  •

By adopting these approaches, your business will change dramatically. Take one step at a time and integrate each into your business, and your business will become more efficient and effective. By doing this, your sales will go through the roof.


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