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Attracting borrowers in a slow market: The value of credit education seminars

National Mortgage Professional
Apr 28, 2006

Fire the client? You bet!Jeff Barrletting clients go - Your diagnosis is not correct. You should place me on another medication, according to the Internet. - The retailer was tired of the customer returning items to his store. - The mortgage loan officer was concerned about the real estate agent dictating her demands on the financing of the property. - The outside sales rep was puzzled about the treatment by the prospect. - The accountant was being inundated with the same documents over and over again. The client was not providing him what he needed. It was wasting his time. - The hairstylist remarked that the client complained about his styling; however, the client continued to make appointments to see the stylist in his shop. Whether you are a doctor, retailer, loan officer, salesperson, accountant or hairstylist, there comes a time to let the client go gracefully. As the economy continues to sour, every customer has significant meaning. Clients are the bread and butter of any business. In most industries, competition is keen. So why dismiss your prospect or customer, whom you have often worked long and hard to cultivate? Here are some considerations to remember in your long-term success and profitability: - Networking is still one of the best ways to cultivate relationships. However, you may be working the wrong crowd and doing more harm than good. - Unreasonable customers breed unrealistic expectations that allow for no-win situations for the salesperson. For example, consider not working with a real estate agent that brings marginal borrowers for your guidance, only to find the situation impossible for anyone to succeed in it. - By working with an irrational customer, the opportunity to find a more enduring customer is lost. For example, handling the complaints of one client may result in a missed opportunity via e-mail or telephone. - Many clients are confused by advertisements. They do not understand the generalities of the ad. They do not meet the criteria necessary to qualify for the loan, promotion or requirements for the job. This may happen with a 60-second radio commercial with a bank promoting a product with well above average credit as opposed to the marginal credit that many prospects often have. They do not qualify - period. - A doctor is a professional who works to promote the health and well being of the patient. This craft requires many years of training and expertise. Advising the doctor how to treat his subject is another example of the patient overstepping their bounds. Too often, with all of the Internet and periodicals available to the customer, they have now become the new empowered expert. - Many prospects and clients drag their feet looking for a better deal. That program often does not exist. Oftentimes, for piece of mind, it may be better to let the client go and hunt for other prospects. - The client should be at ease. Therefore, numerous phone calls on the same matter should not be made. Diplomacy is paramount. However, sometimes it is necessary to "fold 'em" instead of "hold 'em." - Customers can be remiss in providing documents. This can cost extra time, money and manpower. A lack of or withholding information can contribute to a more difficult customer and less profitable situation. Weigh the benefits and costs of maintaining a relationship. The suggestion here is not to dismiss customers at the drop of the hat. The idea is that the professional hairstylist, doctor, accountant, loan officer or sales executive deserves the respect they have earned. Their time is valuable. It is necessary to clearly assess the benefits of maintaining the relationship with the prospect or client. No matter what your vocation may be and no matter how difficult the times are, sometimes it is all right to fire the client. Jeff Barr is a competent toastmaster and speaker in Louisville, Ky., an adjunct professor of communications at the University of Louisville and a mortgage loan officer. He can be reached at (502) 777-9555 or e-mail at jeffbarr@juno.com.
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