How to close more loans in a recessionDavid Bartelseconomic downturn, Selling Smarter and High Performance Strategies for Loan Officers and Their Managers, market share, marketing strategies This is not an article about the economic downturn (some would call it a recession), it's an explanation about how we can think about it differently and, when these circumstances surround us, how we can improve our results, regardless of what the media tells us. While economic indicators (and the number of originations) show that the economy has slowed, I believe a recession is little more than a change in circumstances that we can choose to participate in & or not. Reality does not have to be our perception The media may say we are in a recession, but businesses and people are still buying products and services (though perhaps a bit less than usual). The key for you and your business is to be the one who gets a larger percentage of the loans that are available. By taking a more proactive approach, you are making a choice about how you view the economic conditions surrounding you. Though times are tougher and things are not as easy as they used to be (or will be again), it doesn't matter. You can succeed through a better plan and a bit of persistence. When things get tougher, it simply separates those who are prepared to work harder and more creatively from those who aren't or won't. How you think affects your focus Whether we are in a recession or not is not important. What really matters is what you do next, and what you do next should be focused on the source of your income: Your borrowers. Your borrowers are your personal recession buster, but only if you focus on them more completely, deeply and consistently than ever. Think about it this way: Your borrowers are the source of all revenue for you; your borrowers write your paycheck. It makes sense to build and deepen your relationships with them always, but that is never truer than in times where they are buying less and probably distracted by the economy themselves. Your borrowers are looking for new solutions. Your borrowers want help. Your borrowers need you. Here are five ways that you can focus on deepening your relationships with your borrowers, starting right now: Get in touch Stop by, make a call, send a handwritten note, send a letter or send an e-mail (in that order of prioritythe further up this list, the more valuable the contact will be). Let them know you care; take the effort to be connected. Stay in touch Don't make this contact a one-time event, but make this part of an ongoing process of staying in touch, connected and at the top of the mind of your customer. Ask how you can help them No strings and no qualifiers. Do you appreciate it when someone offers to help you with something? So will your borrowers, even if they don't take you up on the offer. Educate them Send an article; share an idea. After you know how you can help or what their challenges are, it will be easier to determine the best things to share based on their interests and needs. Focus on serving, not selling People buy from those they like, trust and respect. Sales will come. Focus on the person, building the relationship and serving the customer. These are just five ideas; you can come up with a dozen more if you challenge yourself to do it. Sit down and focus on ways to be relevant, helpful and available to your borrowers. Recessions can be damaging events to you and your business, or they can be a perfect reminder and stimulus to improve your results by deepening and broadening your relationships with your borrowers. When you make the right choices and take the right actions in building borrower relationships, you will thrive in any economic situation. David Bartels is founder of the Selling Smarter and High Performance Strategies for Loan Officers and Their Managers seminar series. He may be reached by e-mail at [email protected].