Are you closing the same number of loans and making the same amount of money each month? Maybe the market isn't the reason why your business has slowed down.
The same old strategies are going to bring in the same old results. In a competitive environment, it's vital to make appropriate adjustments to keep up with the industry and its demanding changes.
Being observant is good. By observing others and following their track records, you can save yourself a lot of time and money. Try to learn from the mistakes other people have made. Experience is great, but you don't always have to be the one experiencing something to learn from it.
Confidence goes a long way, not only in our line of work, but everywhere. Have you ever noticed that the best salespeople, actors and even religious leaders all have a high level of confidence? A salesman sells his product, an actor sells his acting, and a religious leader sells his religion. And, of course, women love confident (but not overconfident!) men and men find confident women attractive.
Being confident in what you sell isn't always easy. Do research before meeting your potential client and prepare yourself with good strong questions. Clients notice shaky and uncomfortable salesmen right away. It's hard working with someone who doesn't understand how his programs work.
Bring energy and excitement
People love working and being around others who are exciting and energetic. When planning a vacation with friends, you call the most entertaining, exciting and energetic ones first. No one wants to work or spend time with a slacker who seems bummed out all day. Buying a home is difficult enough; the last thing the client needs to worry about is the person responsible for the financing.
Refrain from walking around with a big fake smile. It's annoying when someone falsely shows enthusiasm for a job he's dreading to go to every morning.
Do not overwhelm the buyer
We've seen it from time to time: the loan officers who try to prove their worthiness to the client by giving every detail on a mortgage transaction. The only person you need to convince of your knowledge is yourself. Customers would rather have the peace of mind that their loan officer will do his best. Confusing a prospect can lead to second thoughts and possibly a dead deal. You'll be left with no loan and a mad real estate agent.
Pay close attention to the client's needs and give him several options. Is he adamant on a fixed rate? Show him a 30 year, fixed single loan; a 30 year 80/20 loan and an interest only option. Clients enjoy making choices. Giving them several options helps you turn prospects into clients. Begin by making a nice spreadsheet showing them the differences in the options. List the advantages of each one, and then point out your favorite and give reasons for it. This rapport shows your customer that you are looking out for his best interest as well.
Become a specialist
You may already be good at doing A paper, B/C or hard money loans. To stand out, try introducing yourself as a professional in a specific area. For example, you can specialize in investment properties, commercial lending, bankruptcy discharges, foreclosure clients and divorce settlement financing. Pick the one you enjoy the most and learn more about it. Find the lenders who will finance these loans, but most importantly, research thoroughly. When it comes to these opportunities, you want to be the first name that comes to mind. Don't stress out about getting other business. By creating a reputation as an area specialist, other loans will come naturally.
Know what you're worth
Valuing your time, energy and effort is very important. Unlike lawyers, loan officers have a hard time setting a price on their time. One lawyer may charge you $250 per hour and another may charge $750 per hour for consultation on the same problem.
As consultants, we must learn how to negotiate our price. Customers must realize that we don't get paid $2,000 3,000 on their transaction because of three weeks of work. We get paid for the time spent on marketing, the time spent on learning programs and the knowledge put to use when it came to finding the best deal out there.
Discounting points seems to be gaining popularity. Refrain from excuses such as, "I will give him a discount now and get more referrals later." If you're reasonable, the client should want to work with you. Remember that clients aren't dumb. Many of them are well aware of back points and yield spread premium. If needed, offer to charge the yield spread as origination on the front to reduce the rate. But don't work for free. Once again, let's refer back to the lawyer example - you decide to hire the $750 per hour lawyer because you know this one will get the job done. Youre paying because you know you will get the results. The client must understand that in the mortgage industry, fees work the same way.
All of us have a tendency to make things more complicated than they really are. By implementing and customizing these simple strategies to your needs, you should notice a difference in the quality of business you receive.
Ali Mirdamadi is the creator of The Loan Officer Database, a Web site where loan officers can help one another, find articles and learn more about the mortgage industry. He may be reached at (651) 592-4065 or e-mail [email protected].