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My 19-year-old son is a “foodie” and loves a great supermarket. He spends a great deal of time fascinated with Whole Foods and is always looking for healthy food to eat.
Now stay with me here because I promise this will all tie into our problem as loan officers.
I am, however, not fascinated with food or supermarkets. In fact, I will do anything I can to avoid even going into one. To me, a head of lettuce is the same regardless of where it comes from … it all tastes the same and for me it comes down to price.
My son would argue that they are not the same at all. In fact, he will spend more for organic veggies that are grown on a mountaintop in the Andes. To me, it’s still just a head of lettuce period.
Do you have these frustrations as a loan officer?
Before I tie all of this together for you, I want to get some of the frustrations we all share off my chest and I will share with you how I have been able to correct this situation and help hundreds of other originators do the same. Which of the following options below frustrate you?
►Being shopped by the majority of buyers that you meet with or having people just call you to make sure the rates they were quoted are ok with no intention of using you.
►Having to work nights and weekends 24/7/265 so that you don’t miss an opportunity because it’s “so competitive” out there.
►Begging real estate agents for business and having to go out with them for coffee or lunch. Heck, it’s hard to even get them to agree and you don’t want to go anyway.
►Having your income and lifestyle dependent on others to give you business. So you always live on egg shells hoping things go well.
►Always feeling like you must be chasing new business. You are forced to spend money you cannot afford to spend on programs that simply don’t work.
►Doing a great job for a real estate agent and a client and never getting a referral or another deal.
So … what does this have to do with supermarkets and loan officers?
On the surface, maybe nothing. But when you stop and think about it, the dilemma is exactly the same. After all … isn’t a head of lettuce the same everywhere? An apple and a tomato are the same. Toilet paper and cans of tuna are all the same right?
That’s how I feel and that’s why you constantly see ads in the paper for every supermarket with their sales and super low prices.
But what if you are Kosher? Only eat gluten-free or have some other need?
The key is specializing in a niche. My son loves Whole Foods because he has many healthy alternatives at one place. They charge more than the other supermarkets in town and have raving fans.
In Baltimore, there is one huge Kosher supermarket. If you keep Kosher, than this is your one-stop for all of your food needs. Yes … they are more expensive than the other local markets that may have a Kosher section.
Now let’s apply this to our mortgage industry
I realize this may sound counter-intuitive, but you should pick a niche that you become the obvious “Go-To-Expert: in. When you are the expert in a niche and are able to solve a specific challenge a buyer has you avoid the issues above that have frustrated us all.
►Borrowers will meet you during your hours since you are “The Expert”
►They will not shop you since there a few alternatives.
►Real estate agents will seek you out since you have a program they need that their in-house or current lender cannot help them with.
►These buyers become raving fans when you solve their issues. Best of all, you can promote yourself as the expert without spending a single penny.
But what niche?
Of course there are many niches like reverse mortgages, construction perms, foreign alien loans, first-time homebuyer programs, condo loans that were not approved, VA loans, etc.
To me, these all have a lot of competition.
But I bet you might know that there are 7.3 million buyers who were hurt during the meltdown who are now eligible to purchase a home. They are in every city and town, both big and small.
The best thing about this niche is that fewer than one in 10 loan officers in the U.S. is going after them. To me, that is a perfect recipe for success. Go after a niche that few others are going after and become the Go-To-Expert for these buyers.
These buyers simply want to get back on their feet financially. They will truly appreciate and value anyone they think can truly help them.
More importantly, there are ways to promote yourself as the obvious Go-To-Expert for this niche with no monetary investment. There are now new programs coming out that are specifically designed to assist these buyers.
Go ahead and decide to become “The Expert for Boomerang Buyers” in your town and your closings and referrals will soar!
Brian Sacks is a nationally-renowned mortgage expert who has career closing of more than 5,924 transactions for in excess of $1 billion. He may be reached by phone at (443) 324-8424 or e-mail LoanOfficerTips@gmail.com.
This article originally appeared in the April 2016 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine.