As a mortgage originator, you are essentially running a business within a business. While you may not own the actual bank or brokerage, you are tasked with marketing, business development, customer service, client retention and operations, to name a few.
To simplify it, you face two main struggles: You are either trying to get more business or you’re working to service existing business. As an entrepreneur, or rather an intrapreneur (someone who behaves like an entrepreneur while working within a large organization), you are always looking to do more tomorrow than you did today.
“Being able to reach out to one of your past clients or prospects when you know they’re in the market for a mortgage is a huge competitive advantage.”
Whether you’re listening to an industry podcast, attending a mortgage conference, hiring a coach or reading a trade publication, you’re trying to find the “golden nuggets” of information that will help take your business to the next level. After you’ve reached a certain point, it’s less about the money and more about the challenge to reach the next level.
To put it mildly, the mortgage industry has been challenging over the past year, which is why it’s more important than ever to take control over your business. You need to be proactive rather than floundering between emails and phone calls while putting out fires all day.
It’s not the one big event you host or the number of real estate agents you sponsor for Zillow’s co-marketing program that make the biggest impact in growing your business. Instead, it’s the small golden nuggets that you pick up and implement into your business that will help you consistently grow.
You look at tax returns every single day, but how often do you look forward to looking at them? Too many originators think that reviewing all these tax returns is a waste of time. There are loan originators out there who get a majority of their business by building relationships with accountants and other financial advisers.
In many cases, the client didn’t prepare their taxes themselves and the accountant’s information was on page two of the return doing nothing. Create a spreadsheet of these tax professionals and share it with your front-end processor and other staff.
After adding these names to your customer relationship management platform, personally call them after the closing to introduce yourself. Let them know how you and your team successfully helped a mutual client with their loan closing. Offer to be a resource for any of their other clients who may need help. Also let them know that you’ll be reminding the client to provide their accountant with a copy of the closing disclosure during tax time.
You can easily buy a list of local tax professionals and try to solicit business from them, but the conversion rate is low in these cold-call conversations. Besides, buying lists and mailing out postcards costs money. Calling the tax preparers for existing clients removes the cold-call aspect and is an approach that’s completely free.
In the conversation, mention your expertise in niches like nonqualified mortgage (non-QM) programs. These are alternative loans that cannot be sold to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the federal government. They are often used by self-employed individuals whose actual income may differ from the numbers that appear on their tax returns.
It’s always useful to find technology tools that can make your operation more efficient. One of these tools is Homebot, a service with a strong open rate that can help you stay in front of your past client database. Homebot reinforces the idea that it’s not just about the transaction when it comes to a home. It’s about the relationship before, during and after that allows you to provide value to your clients.
Homebot’s monthly digest sends an email with up-to-date information regarding a client’s home value and equity position, along with opportunities to leverage equity for things like home repairs and college expenses. This tool will be a huge asset once mortgage rates come down because it will remind clients that you are available to help them refinance and save money.
It’s amazing how many past clients whom you helped to purchase a home don’t realize that you can also do their refinancing. Think of all the commissions you could generate if your past clients came back when it’s time to refinance. It’s your job to remind them that you’re still there for them.
One of the best parts of the Homebot system is your ability to use the activity feed to see how many people are interacting with the platform. If you want to really take it to the next level, you can customize the platform by creating personalized videos that appear during different interactions.
For example, there’s an introductory video that you can create to welcome your clients to the system, another where you explain refinancing once your client shows interest based on their interactions, and many more. It’s a great way to keep branding yourself after closing, and to capture more business through referrals and refinance opportunities.
Another service, MonitorBase (a borrower engagement platform), offers a variety of tools to help you build business with your current database. One the more effective tools within this service is a predictive alert, which sends you an email when anyone in your database places a mortgage inquiry on their credit report.
Being able to reach out to one of your past clients or prospects when you know they’re in the market for a mortgage is a huge competitive advantage. But you need to handle it with finesse. Although this type of monitoring occurs all the time, people are wary of being watched and react poorly if they feel they are being spied upon. Just think of all of the prequalified credit card offers you constantly receive in the mail.
Another MonitorBase tool is a “credit migration” alert that tells you when a prospect with subpar credit sees their score improve. It will let you know when their score increases enough to meet specific loan program requirements. Originators often forget clients who need to work on their credit scores. This is a great way to understand when these past prospects have improved their credit so you can call them with good news.
There are other analytical tools available, such as alerts for when someone is likely to buy or sell a property. Each of these tools use your existing database to mine for opportunities, and there’s likely more prospects right in front of you than you ever thought, but it’s up to you to pick up the phone and turn the opportunity into business.
Another way to do this is to compile a list of your preferred real estate agents, including any new agents you’d like to establish a relationship with. Then create a private group on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger that serves as a meeting place for real estate masterminds, and invite them to join.
As a result of today’s market shift, real estate agents (just like mortgage originators) are seeking ways to expand their businesses. By creating a platform for them to share their successes, exchange ideas and aid one another, you’re offering immediate value. You might even look to take it offline and organize a happy hour meetup.
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Younger originators enter this business with a very competitive mindset. Being competitive is great, but what you might realize over time is that you are your only competition. You can give someone all of the “secret sauce,” but implementing these steps and putting your own spin on things are the keys to success. ●