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Pinnacle Financial provides anti-foreclosure resources to sub-prime borrowers

Jun 07, 2007

Schnurman's sales success: Time to shineMark SchnurmanAlt-A market, communication, purchase market "If there be light, then there is darkness; if cold, then heat; if height, depth also; if solid, then fluid; hardness and softness, roughness and smoothness, calm and tempest, prosperity and adversity, life and death." The contrast of Pythagoras aptly describes the current state of the mortgage business. There is good and bad, but for the industrious loan officer, there is more occasion for joy than sorrow. It is critical to see the glass as half full, and as the competition retreats, you can watch your business opportunities improve. The mortgage business is morphing, and that has far-reaching consequences for loan officers. The purchase market has shrunk as sales of new and existing homes fall. The sub-prime market is changing daily, and a myriad of companies are going under. The spill over from the days of easy credit has led to the tightening of guidelines in many other areas, especially the Alt-A market. It is easy to get frustrated, disappointed and even depressed as the market convulses and business appears more difficult. Market change and the feelings it conjures has caused loan officers to leave the mortgage business in record numbers. Further, the change is having a paralyzing effect on many loan officers who have chosen to stay in the business. They do not know how to appropriately communicate with their clients in this strange new world. Hard work, intelligence and savvy are now required and many loan officers, never having experienced this type of adversity before, do not have the skills or emotional fortitude to succeed. In virgin territory, avoidance behavior kicks in. Avoidance behavior occurs when a person defers or postpones behavior to avoid pain. Lacking the confidence born from experience, many loan officers fearing pain, rejection and failure do not take action. They avoid speaking to their clients and instead risk the relationships that compose their business. The funny thing is that your referral sources and clients understand the game has changed. They read the newspapers and listen to the radio. They want you to call them and speak honestly. Your clients understand that business is difficult and that some deals that could be closed over the last few years cannot be closed in today's market. Clear, direct and honest communication is more than OK it is required. Your clients don't want you to run and hide in the face of adversity. They want you to talk to them. They need you to talk to them. Instead of avoiding communication, you should embrace it. Over-communicate! Business is lost by the call you should make, not by the extra call you do make. So pick up the phone and make the extra call. Get out and drop by some offices. Send extra notes and e-mails. Reassure your referral sources and borrowers that everything is OK and that you will do everything in your power to help them. Tell them that their deals will close and that your company is doing well. Over-communication will foster confidence. So what does all this change mean for loan officers? In a word: opportunity. Opportunity to deepen existing referral relationships, opportunity to build new relationships, opportunity to exhibit expertise, opportunity to deliver great customer service and the opportunity to build your business. I strongly believe that business is won and lost through communication. To keep your referral sources, you must communicate more frequently and effectively than the competition. To win new referral sources, you need to communicate more often than the sources' existing loan officers. The goal is simple: to be the loan officer your referral source thinks about. In times of flux and change, trust becomes more important. Relationships forged in the crucible of industry transformation are deeper than those formed in relative ease of the gaga years because there is a deeper emotional connection. Now is the best opportunity to build a lasting client base than we have seen in years. By seizing the day you can fondly look back on these times knowing you made a choice that few loan officers did. As Robert Frost said, "Two roads diverged ... and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." Mark Schnurman is the director of business development for New York-based GFI Mortgage Bankers. His writing draws upon his experience recruiting, training, managing and coaching thousands of salespeople. He may be contacted at (212) 837-4645 or e-mail [email protected].
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