Long-term relationshipsJoe CornoMortgage customer relationship management
I was bombarded with e-mails in reference to my articles
published on fraud and who was responsible. Amazingly, all of them
were positive and supportive of my position and opinion. No
negative tones from anyone. There was one in particular that stood
out and expressed the consensus best.
The person thanked me for the specifics on the article and then
shared something that developed into this article. Telling me about
a specific customer, the person stated to the customer, "We need to
do some repair work on your credit, map out a budget that will
allow you to pay off some debt and then see where we are in a year
We have been in the "make hay while the sun is shining" mode for
so long that we have neglected to do some plowing and re-seeding
for future business. Brokers need some fast food to survive because
they neglected to store up for times that require planting,
nurturing and growing.
I see plenty of the fast-food servers out there telling you to
create newsletters, radio and TV commercials equating brokers (who
charge fees) as predators, using foolish programs like the option
adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) to go commercial and get more high
tech with your business. Of course, the ones serving up such
fast-fixed meals are in the related businesses that they are
writing about. In essence, they want you to buy their
The e-mailer holds remedy to the industry ills that we face
today. They are establishing and maintaining long-term
relationships. I love establishing and maintaining long-term
relationships. I have that sentence on my résumé as one
of my favorite things. With such a powerful message, I had to
credit the e-mail on bringing the topic to the forefront.
When I train, I call it service, but the reader rephrased it so
that more can comprehend the quote. The reader does not look at a
potential customer or client for the instant gratification of the
one loan, but developing a client for life instead.
I know where the e-mailer is coming from because that is where
all successful professionals come from. They approach each person
as a relationship that will routinely bring them into contact
throughout their lives. They do not represent their customer as
their financial guru, nor do they impose birthday or holiday
greetings. They get to know their customers personally and
In my "Seven Steps to a Successful Close" concept, the third
concept is about discovering the customers' compelling, personal
reasons for wanting the loan. You get to go inside the minds of the
customers and share the emotions and real personal reasons about
their purchase. This does not show up on any financial spreadsheet
or any risk management analysis form, yet it is as real to the
customer, as is the rate of interest, the payment and the fuel cost
to commute to work.
So, let us list some basic fast-fix things that you can do that
do not require any money to print and mail newsletters, run
commercials slandering the competition, changing what we do, or
upgrade our technology. However, I will revert to the technology
part in my first suggestion. To truly define the things, they are
things you do for long-term relationships, but are fast to
I just recorded some podcasts for a Web site. The podcasts are
free and informative. It is a fantastic marketing tool for people
to hear my voice, become acquainted with my training methods and to
gain a lot of data within 45 minutes. Please note that the
operative word here is "free." I am not paying to be part of the
Web site that will receive, on average, 35,000 hits monthly.
Utilize all of the technology that will get you known, but do
not pay for it. Times are for planting, nurturing and growing. You
will not receive compensation until you harvest what you plant. The
podcasts reach people while I sleep and do other things that I
So, I am not discounting or discarding any of the fast-food
servers of our industry. They write very interesting articles. Just
use your money wisely.
A voice message does not substitute for answering the phone. I
have written previously about this, and it takes very little effort
to take the call when it comes in. In fact, it takes more effort to
divert and respond later to the call. Your awareness of the
importance of a human voice communicating with your customers is
simply unmatched in the industry today. Use all the technology
available to ensure that calls are directed to a real person, even
if it is you.
I wonder how many brokers today would like the client base that
they lost while electronically informing them that they only return
calls twice daily in the heyday times?
I bring this forth because the formula is to continually plant,
nurture and grow in harvest times, as well.
The e-mailer brought forth credit, budgeting, debt elimination
and future goals creating a long-term relationship. Instead of
being all engulfed in the immediate, they started building steps to
a long journey that she would be part of with the customers.
I will end my article with a true example. I had financed a home
for a family that relocated from another area. The wife and mother
did not know how to assimilate to a small-town atmosphere and was
going to travel to the "big city" to purchase a washer and dryer.
The wife told me this while we were conversing on the phone. After
all, I was one of the very few people that she knew in town.
I asked her if she could hold for a moment. I then called the
appliance store manager, who I financed previously. I told him of
the new family, requested that he meet the woman when she came to
the store and thanked him for his commitment. I then returned to
the woman and told her to go to the local appliance store and that
the manager was waiting for her.
The e-mailer is absolutely correct! Long-term relationships are
what it is all about. What do you think the appliance store manager
thought of me after the call? What did the newly transplanted woman
think? I cannot graph on a spread sheet the return on that
investment because it was so huge that the referrals went beyond
fiscal years. I had three- and four-repeat return from these
The major lenders who were in it for the fast money close and
fade away. While the top five world institutions continually seek
to remove the small independent correspondent/lending broker, start
planting, nurturing and growing long-term relationships. This
includes finding local sources of loans within your community so
that you cease in dealing with the big box lenders that are
committed in taking your customer base away.
In doing so, you develop your own economy and you level out the
peaks and spiral declines of your business. That is what
independent truly represents if you classify yourself as an
independent broker. I want to thank all of you for all of the
e-mails that I receive.
Joe Corno is president of Utah-based We Be Consulting &
Seminars. He may be reached at (801) 836-2077 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.