Are you tired of the roller coaster?Ron Vaimbergrelationship marketing, referrals
Rates are up, rates are down, and the emotional and financial
roller coaster continues week by week. As a specialized trainer and
coach to the mortgage industry, I have the opportunity to witness
the daily emotional rigors that affect loan officers nationwide.
Our business is stressful enough, however many of us do not realize
that we are doing things to increase our stress on a regular basis:
For instance, changing our business plan and model on a daily or
When rates jump, my phone starts ringing with worried loan
officers and company owners. Many of them inquire as to what they
need to do now that the refinancing leads are disappearing. Then, a
week later, rates drop a little, refinancings kick up again, and
they place their business-building plans on the back burner. As I
am sure you have noticed, the interest rate pattern has been
frequently repeating itself lately.
I am not suggesting that you do not maximize today's current
market conditions. My instruction for any business owner or loan
officer is to capitalize on the great market conditions today while
simultaneously implementing growth strategies for the futureno
matter what the rates do! However, despite my advice, I
consistently see people in our business abandon their growth plans
as soon as the rates drop.
More than 80 percent of loan officers today are in the mortgage
business less than seven years. All of these LOs have never
experienced a rising-rate environment. The only thing that they
have experienced is the latest teetering of interest rates, which
keeps them jumping back and forth on their business plan.
At one point, rates are going to rise significantly in one or
two days this is where things hit the fan. Rates do not rebound,
and all of sudden, chaos ensues. You rush to save loans that are
not locked in, and the phone stops ringing with new business. Your
pipeline shrinks because you are closing more than you are
originating. Now what do you do?
In order to get yourself off the roller coaster and prepare
yourself for the inevitable rate increase, you must take action
now. Schedule time to keep maximizing your profits with the low
rates, but make sure you block out time for relationship building.
Blocking time will ensure that you get the most out of today, while
preparing yourself for tomorrow. The best way to position yourself
for the future is to master the art of developing relationships. In
this brief article, I cannot give you all of the ways in which you
can build relationships, but I am going to explain some strategies
that you can begin implementing today to get yourself ready for
The first thing you need to do is learn the most effective way
to develop. Here is where the biggest problem resides. When things
slow down, everyone rushes out to the real estate agents completely
A few weeks ago when the rates ticked up and the refinancings
slowed once again, I had a client tell me a story. He was sitting
in a real estate agent's office waiting to speak with the agents
with whom he has a working relationship. In the waiting area were
two other loan officers from different companies having a
conversation. My client listened to their conversation.
Loan Officer Number One: "This is my first time visiting a real
estate agent's office. I am not even sure what I am supposed to
Loan Officer Number Two: "Me neither, in fact, I have never even
done a purchase transaction before, I hope no one asks me a
question that I can't answer."
I have many real estate agents who are friends and clients, and
they continually tell me how so many of the loan officers visiting
today are clueless about how to do purchase business.
The bottom line is, prepare yourself for building relationships
by learning the three essential ingredients of relationship
Rule Number One Develop the Proper Skills to Develop
In my seminars, I perform an analysis of the questions and
conversations that are being utilized and conducted by loan
officers to potential referral partners. More than 95 percent of
these conversations are about products and services that they will
provide to the real estate agents. Stop dumping product information
and give your referral partners something of value!
You can build relationships by helping your referral partners
build their business. Giving something to someone that promotes
growth is how you create value. You can create value and set
yourself apart by asking questions that differ from everyone
Start asking real estate agents, "How you can I help you grow
your business?" "How can I help with your clients so things are
easier for you?"
Questions like these will attract attention, and more
importantly, their responses will tell you exactly what you need to
do to develop relationships with them. These questions will place
you on a different level than everyone else. You need to recognize
that patterns exist with loan officers. Many of them take advantage
of a relationship once its been developed. A real estate agent may
not know that they are being taken for granted by a lender or loan
officer until you start asking them better questions than everyone
I ask real estate agents all of the time, "When is the last time
the lender you are currently doing business with asked you what
else they can do to help you?" The overwhelming response is
If a loan officer never asks a question like that, then it is an
indication that the loan officer is not interested in helping the
real estate agent advance to a higher level. Remember, closing
loans, fast turnaround, competitive pricing and being available 24
hours a day is nothing special it is your job description. Start
asking questions that no one else is asking, and you will favorably
position yourself above your competition.
Rule Number Two Know Your Business
It is critical that you take the time to understand the types of
transactions that you are going to be getting from referral
partners. If you are going to develop purchase business, then get a
basic understanding of how they work. You will be surprised as to
how many loan officers cannot understand how to set up a purchase
Many LOs struggle with understanding how to ensure that
borrowers will have enough money for the transaction. The loan
officers are accustomed to using the equity from borrowers' homes
on refinancings to cover closing costs. On purchases, there are a
number of other dynamics that can be used to assist a real estate
agent in putting a transaction together. Some of the most common
are: sellers concessions, non-profit grants, gifts, and lender-paid
Ask yourself and potential referral partners, "How can I be a
great resource to you?"
If you understand all of the different ways that you can help
them put a transaction together, then you increase the likelihood
of helping them grow their business. Helping a real estate agent,
or any other type of referral partner, make money makes you become
a valuable resource in helping them grow their business and sets
you apart from the rest of the pack.
Rule Number Three Plan for the Challenges
Inevitably, you are going to be challenged by any potential
referral partner. You must remember that they have been visited by
dozens of LOs who have promised them the world and never delivered.
The referral partners are going to listen to you with great
skepticism, since they have had so many bad experiences in the past
with other LOs. You must be prepared for their challenges.
There are two ways that you can prepare for the challenges: the
hard way and the easy way.
Believe it or not, most loan officers choose the hard way. They
go out and make sales calls completely unprepared, and face
rejection and challenges with which they do not know how to handle.
Over time and after repeated beatings, a few loan officers
eventually develop the skills to overcome these challenges and
begin to build their business. However, most loan officers usually
give up because they cannot handle rejection.
The smart and easy way to handle challenges and objections is to
prepare in advance. All you need to do is pick the brain of someone
in the business who is very successful in working with referral
partners. This process is called "modeling." If you want the same
results as the best people in your business, then do what the best
people do. You are assured of the same results.
Spend some time asking the successful veterans what you can
expect when you go out in the field. Ask them, "What are the most
common challenges that a new loan officer will face?" "What have
they done to overcome those challenges?"
In a 30-minute, focused conversation with a top producer, you
can learn many things that will jump-start your ability to be
successful in creating referral partners. Almost all top producers
will take time out of their day to help someone who is committed to
being successful. If you cannot get a top producers attention, be
resilient. They will eventually give you the time you are
requesting (a free lunch usually works).
Remember, it is critical to constantly build your skills and
your business every day. Learn, take action, and your business will
become everything you want it to be.
Ron Vaimberg is president of Ron Vaimberg International
Ltd. He may be reached at (866) 824-6237 or e-mail [email protected]