Residential Magazine

If You Want More Business, Just Ask

It’s as simple as getting on the horn, offering an update and asking for referrals

By Carl White

Here’s the No. 1 secret to success as a mortgage originator. Are you ready? Whoever asks for the most business closes the most loans. Period.

When you make your weekly loan-update calls, ask for more business while you’re at it. It will change the entire ballgame. Call it a “Just Ask” campaign, try it and see the success that comes from it.

The phone is the most powerful business tool at your disposal. What is the biggest enemy of sales and what’s holding you back? Your phone. More accurately, your fear of picking up the phone and making calls, aka call reluctance. Why are so many in the mortgage industry afraid of making calls and asking for business?

It’s possible that they are actually afraid of the answers to one or more of the following questions: What if they don’t like me? What if they ask a question I can’t answer? What if they say no? Many people’s biggest fear is rejection. It’s a very real fear and every single originator — every single human — feels it. But you can take a close look at this fear, realize it’s just “stinkin’ thinkin’” and make the choice to reframe it.

How? By not taking it personally. Even the most experienced originator or branch manager feels the fear of rejection. But you don’t need to take it as a personal offense. These people aren’t rejecting you as a person; they’re rejecting your offer. There’s a huge difference. Maybe they don’t need your services right now, but that’s not the same thing as not liking you. When you get over call reluctance (and yes, you wilI still feel the fear), your income can soar.

Weekly update

Every single Tuesday morning from 9 to 11, for example, block off a chunk of time to focus on making your “Just Ask” calls. Some originators call them “update calls,” where you call the people you’re doing business with and update them on the loan process.

But the update shouldn’t be the main purpose for the call. That’s just window dressing. Your primary purpose is asking for more business and you do that under the guise of updating them on the loan. It’s like a Trojan horse.

You don’t need to feel guilty about this because you’re giving them helpful updates and you’re also saving them the trouble of having to call you to find out what’s happening with a loan. As a side benefit, you will get interrupted far less with incoming, unhappy “what the heck is going on?” calls. It works out better for all parties involved when you’re being proactive instead of reactive.

Survey the Realtors you work with and ask for their biggest gripe with originators. The No. 1 complaint will likely be not closing on time. No. 2 would be something like, “I send over a deal, then have no idea what’s going on.” Third on the list is, “I send over a lead and don’t know if they ever followed up.”

In short, people want to close on time, receive great communication during the loan process and get you to follow up on their leads. These Just Ask calls are checking all the boxes, so they’re your value-add as a mortgage originator. Now you’ll say, “But everybody does that.” No, they don’t. Many originators aren’t making these update calls on a regular basis and some aren’t doing them at all.

Inside insight

Make these calls for a couple hours once a week, come hell or high water. At the beginning of the loan process, tell everyone you’re going to update them on a specific day of the week, no matter what. If you’re on vacation, someone in your office can make the call on your behalf. Then when you tell people you’ll follow up on their leads, they believe you, because you said you’d call every Tuesday and you do. You’re someone who keeps your word.

It’s advisable to make these calls first thing in the morning. There’s a saying, don’t get so busy building the farm that you forget to milk the cows. Dairy farmers milk their cows in the morning to make sure it gets done and that it’s not forgotten in the course of a busy day. These calls are milking the cows.

Something else that you should consider — set a timer for three minutes. If it’s not a money call in three minutes, it’s over. When your name pops up on their caller ID, people know you’re not going to waste their time on Tuesday mornings. Quick and to the point is the name of the game.

For every loan, call the seller (a one-time call), borrower, co-borrower, listing agent, buying agent and title company. Make sure to call the borrower and co-borrower separately — even if they’re a married couple — because they each have separate friends, family and co-workers who can be referred to you.

Which of these parties do you think will give the most business? Surprisingly, it’s often the title company. Nobody ever calls the title company, except with complaints. When you call them with love and respect, it’s a game-changer. You definitely get their attention — in a very positive way. It will set you apart from the crowd.

Title companies, more than anyone else, know all about when real estate agents are upset at the originator they are working with because a deal went bad or closed late. They can then give you a heads-up that it may be a good time to call the agent for an appointment.

Scripted call

Use a script for each and every person involved in the loan process at every single stage of the game. They’re simple. They’re powerful. And they work.

Here’s a sample script. This is something you can use on a Tuesday morning call to a title company that’s handling one of your loans.

Hey, [person at title company]. My name is John Doe. I’m doing the financing for 123 Main Street and I see you’re the title company for that property. Every Tuesday morning between 9 and 11, I’m going to call you with an update on our loan process. Is this a good time?

[Wait for them to say “yes,” then give a 30- to 60-second update.]

Can I ask you a favor really quick?

[Wait for them to say “yes.”]

I know you work with a lot of real estate agents and you see when things go sideways with lenders. I’d like to work with you even more. Next time something goes wrong, could you give me a heads-up, so I can call them and save that deal or get the next one?

[Title companies almost always say “sure.”]

When this is done every Tuesday morning, it’s very effective for getting title reps to refer you to their favorite real estate agents. In a nutshell, the script covers a 30- to 60-second update. That’s followed by asking them if they have any friends, families or co-workers who might be buying, selling or refinancing. If they do, ask if you can count on them to pass your name along. You absolutely have to ask for the business at the end or you’ve missed the whole point of the Just Ask call.

Normal conversation

Even with years in the business, you’ll still feel fear making these calls. It feels weird and awkward. You will get nervous. But guess what? It doesn’t feel awkward to the person you’re talking to. It sounds perfectly normal.

After you hang up, that’s when the confidence comes in. You’ll wish it came beforehand, but it doesn’t. When are you confident the parachute will open? After it opens.

When you push through the fear and do it anyway, wonderful things happen. You’re in the “marketing to your database business,” not the mortgage business. And these marketing calls don’t cost you a dime. You’re not bothering people; you’re making money through phone calls to people who are mad if you don’t call. Do this easy and focused work for two hours a day, once a week, and it will absolutely increase your business. ●


  • Carl White

    Carl White is founder and CEO of Mortgage Marketing Animals, a successful mortgage marketing training program. White is also a branch manager at one of the top mortgage branches in America and the host of the No. 1 podcast for loan officers, Mortgage Marketing Animals teaches the strategies that originators in White’s own branch use today to close more loans in less time. Learn more by visiting

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