I love the mortgage industry … absolutely love it! What do I love about it? Besides the obvious benefit of earning a living, it basically boils down to one thing: You help people. You help people achieve the dream of homeownership. You help people overcome credit obstacles. You help families relocate. You help retirees. You help people plan their financial futures. You help, period. And, if you’re an account executive (AE), you have the ability to help on an even larger scale than you may realize.
I titled this article “Do You Have the Account Executive Advantage?” for a specific reason. AEs are tasked to serve the loan officers and brokers of the mortgage world. They provide the service platforms to expedite loans through to closing. They support their customers with training, education and industry updates. They assist with technology challenges. They’re always ready to answer questions regarding their systems, guidelines, underwriting, overlays and so forth. They serve and protect. It’s rumored that some AEs have been seen leaping tall buildings in a single bound. Their performance affects so many. The buying or refinancing customer, their real estate agent, financial planner or referral source, and finally, the very income of the loan officer or broker they call “customer.” Those customers call them partners and with good reason, it truly is a partnership. In that partnership is where the AE Advantage dwells.
If you are looking to create more market share (and who isn’t), I believe there may be a missing, or shall we say underutilized, component to your business model. It may just be the missing ingredient to phenomenal success. It may be the biggest help you can bring to your customers and in turn, your advantage!
When polled with the question “Why do people do business with you?” virtually every salesperson can recite the Big Three … they KNOW you, they LIKE you and they TRUST you. But ask for the formula behind the Big Three and silence reigns supreme. It’s no different in the mortgage world. The refinance market will end and when it does, loan officers who have been meeting the vast refinancing needs of their communities may find themselves scrambling to create those know you, like you and trust you relationships out of thin air to survive in a purchase market. That’s when AEs who have mastered the formula and are masterful at aiding their customers with the tactics and strategies necessary to capture purchase business will indeed have a distinct advantage. So get masterful.
Let’s discuss the KNOW you piece. Why? Because, believe it or not, it’s where salespeople/loan officers struggle the most. If the name of the game is to get new business, then it must contain two components. The first is to find out who actually has the business and the second is to get an appointment with them. It’s amazing how many salespeople are great at marketing themselves, yet poor at accomplishing the main objective in marketing … name recognition to create a warm call. If a loan officer wants a potential referral source to take their call with the end goal of an appointment, then they have to connect with them on a personal level. Let’s face it, when the refinances end and purchase is the name of the game, what is going to get a real estate agent’s attention? A business card with a professional headshot? An e-mail announcing an “Important Market Update?” Or the slickest product flyer known to man? Probably not.
Years ago, I knew of a highly successful real estate agent in my area. We knew each other, but never really did business together, not that I didn’t want to, I just hadn’t made it a priority. I was determined and did some research. Her Web site proudly announced the birth of her first grandchild, a boy. I went to the local Barnes & Noble book store and found a fantastic book about grandmothers and grandsons. I sent it to her with a congratulatory note. My intent was to call the next day to follow as my note said I would, but I didn’t need to, she called me. We set an appointment and thus began a long business relationship. She told me years later that not one person had noticed the update to her Web site about her becoming a grandmother and I had really connected with her personally.
AEs … do you know who your loan officers have targeted for business? Find out and get them thinking about it now to get a head start on their competition. Help them focus on making a strong personal connection with their intended referrals sources. Help them research the individuals; know their interests, charities, favorite vacation spots, restaurants and books. Are they dog lovers, cat lovers, fishing enthusiasts or scuba divers? Help them with marketing ideas, a strategy, game plan, a way to connect with each person. Your loan officers will be grateful, astonished, pleased, excited, thrilled, and will have forgotten all about your competition and above all, thankful. And you? You will have gained the advantage.
Casey Cunningham is president of XINNIX, a provider of mortgage sales and leadership development programs. She may be reached by phone at (678) 325-3501 or e-mail [email protected]