Residential Magazine

It’s Not What You Know, It’s What Your Clients Know

Simplify the most complicated transaction of most borrowers’ lives

By Leo Anzoleaga

To put it simply, many mortgage originators are failing to do their job of guiding, educating and advocating for their clients. They are allowing clients to believe inaccurate information, which is adding stress to the stressed. Too often, they are denying the desperately needed insight that clients require, which leaves the buyer with more questions than answers.

These flaws lead to clients feeling lost, alone and terrified to continue with their life-changing purchase of a new home. For 99% of the originators in the industry, their inability to meet the client at the level required is due to two possible reasons.
First, the originator might not know enough about the foundation and formation of mortgages to share it with their clients. When an originator isn’t trained to understand how interest rates are established, it is impossible for them to explain how changes in the markets affect their clients. As Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
The second reason originators tend to inundate buyers with incomprehensible information is because they don’t know how to communicate effectively. This is a common fault of many otherwise talented mortgage professionals. They erroneously believe that results trump communication skills. This fundamentally flawed logic says that if the job is done correctly, that is enough. But when you focus solely on the outcome, you will disappoint your clients during the process.
For these originators, there is help available to improve their communication skills. Here are a few tips that will prepare you to be a master at effective client communication.

Prepare for class

Yes, your role is to help someone obtain a mortgage. Your other role in this business is to be a teacher — and your client is your student. Many buyers do not know how interest rates are determined. Start there and explain how the rates they see came to be. Discuss their options as if they were a student in your class.
Many clients will have a firm understanding of the market and how the varying rates influence their housing purchase. But don’t assume that they know this. It is not your client’s job to understand market trends and the intricacies of the mortgage industry. That is the job of the originator.
And don’t open too many plot points. Have you ever read a book that had deviating plots and subplots? A better question is, did you finish that book? Probably not, because the author opened too many loops in the story, causing you to be confused and frustrated. Our brain is wired to close loops, and when we cannot connect the loops, we tune them out. We put down the book, stop asking questions, sit quietly and ignore the information.
This is what happens when a mortgage originator explains several things at once to a client. Instead of throwing everything at them at the same time, slow down and explain one thing until it is understood. It is better to go slowly in the right direction then speed off in the wrong direction.

Scrap the gobbledygook

Know your audience. Does your client have a Ph.D. in finance or are they a first-time homebuyer? A great mortgage originator has a different presentation for every type of client to make them feel heard, understood and valued. The client should walk away knowing what their action items are and how to accomplish them. The relationship that you build with your borrower is not only beneficial to them at the time, but it makes them more likely to refer you to their friends and family.
Each of us can use big words and a thesaurus on any document when we want to appear smarter. Working with clients when they are already in an emotionally stressed state is not the time to flex your brain muscles. Use common terms and language that everyone understands. Your clients will not think less of you if your explanation doesn’t include a buzzword that they need to Google later.
When a mortgage professional is struggling to simplify an aspect of the mortgage process that is complicated, they often rely on talking more about it. But just like too many loops make clients tune out, too much information does the same thing. Instead, take a step back and use common examples. Take the borrower out of the mortgage industry and make your discussion relatable to something that they deal with in their occupation or daily life.
Also, invest in creating visuals, which can be useful for problem-solving and explanations. By finding a new way to communicate, and not necessarily through more verbal explanations, you will reach your clients and show them that you care.
There are many great certification and training courses that an originator can go through at any point in their career. Continuing education for originators has countless benefits, including growth of your professional network, becoming more innovative and creative in your field, and further establishing yourself as a high-authority knowledge leader.
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Mortgage originators too often forget that it is their job to lead clients by sharing expertise with them, not dictating it to them. It is the originator’s task to disseminate this information in practical terms. And it is the responsibility of the mortgage professional to help the client navigate these waters so that they emerge well-informed and ready to make a smart decision. Originators must remember that every client deserves a great price plus great advice. ●


  • Leo Anzoleaga

    Leo Anzoleaga is the founder of Leo’s Circle, which showcases exceptional real estate professionals while helping them to learn, grow, reach new career milestones and connect with each other. With more than 19 years of experience in the mortgage industry, Anzoleaga has dedicated his time to training and developing the next generation of real estate professionals with How2 professional development. For more information, visit Reach Anzoleaga at

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