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When the borrower asks the rate question, you must answer the trust question

National Mortgage Professional
Jan 20, 2009

When the borrower asks the rate question, you must answer the trust questionDave Bartelsinterest rate, excellent service, knowledge, National Association of Realtors Offering the best interest rate will not determine whether or not a borrower will choose to do business with you. Our industry has been pre-conditioned to think this, but loan costs really only matter if your focus is on rates and fees. In truth, the originator who best serves the borrower's needs gets the business. As you provide excellent service, the rate issue will drop on the borrower's priority list—whether they realize it or not. To a huge percentage of borrowers, the loan they seek is the most significant transaction they will ever undertake. They are often consumed with worry about making a sound decision. As a result, potential clients approach the discussion with a great deal of apprehension. Consumers focused on anxiety seek additional information (they shop), while confident buyers make the purchase. People in need of a loan approach you because they hope you have answers. If you withhold information from them that they know you possess, you increase their anxiety. The originator's objective is simple: To relieve the prospect's concern (mystery) and help move them toward knowledge (confidence). When you dodge the rate question, your method is counterproductive to the objective. Once your customer is in a state of knowing, they will gain the confidence needed to select you as their guide and move forward. Consider your own life experience: When you need to make a decision, but lack adequate knowledge, you have a need to acquire it. If you cannot obtain the complete, appropriate information you desire from someone you feel should be qualified to supply it, you feel mistrust. You seek the information elsewhere. The denial of your needs causes you to resume your search. Remember that while you are interviewing the borrower, the borrower is interviewing you, as well. When a borrower doesn't feel they are getting enough information from you, they will find someone else to ask. Their need to validate or expand their knowledge base will cause them to shop, even when they actually prefer to buy. Answer this question: Does your presentation create questions or answer them? Are you relieving anxiety or are you creating more? It's time to make an important mental shift: When a potential client inquires about rates, don't automatically assume they are shopping you. Instead, answer with the expectation that they are going to buy. The rate question now becomes a clear indication that every borrower is interested. The very next time a customer asks for an interest rate, this is what you'll hear: "I want a loan, and I need more information." Translation: You have an anxious borrower in need of help to feel better about the huge decision they must make. Your objective kicks in, and you offer information that will relieve their concern and move them toward knowledge. Our core belief must become: "Selling is serving." When this philosophy is internalized, it will change the way you present advice. In fact, it will absolutely transform the way you perceive every client, every loan and every opportunity. If this is the only element of the sales process you alter, you will immediately improve the percentage of leads you convert into loan applications and closed loans. Did you know that a National Association of Realtors study reports that 58 percent of borrowers spoke to just one originator before obtaining a mortgage? This means that nearly six out of 10 borrowers you speak to have already chosen you. Knowing this, begin to focus on what you want—qualified borrowers who are begging to work with you—and remove your attention from what you don't want—unqualified, resistant shoppers. It's safe to say that every originator in the business will provide an outstanding level of service to a qualified borrower seeking a huge loan who has already selected that originator to provide the loan. Immediately, begin to assume: (A) This is the biggest transaction you have ever done; (B) The borrower has already chosen you; and (C) The borrower is qualified. We've established that borrowers select an originator based on trust, and providing information fills a need and creates trust. Simply take the time to discover your borrowers' wants and needs, and focus on supplying them. If you approach every borrower with an attitude of service, they'll notice, and it will have a bigger impact on your fundings than anything else—rates included. This single-minded approach will banish the perceived need for high-pressure closing techniques. Choosing you will be the obvious conclusion, and as a result, you'll close more loans. 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 david@selling-smarter.com.
Published
Jan 20, 2009
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