Framing the Situation for Mortgage Brokers

by 01 Apr 2008
The current state of affairs in the mortgage industry nationwide has made the profession of being a mortgage broker, banker, originator and marketer a very difficult task. In fact, it is down-right embarrassing in some situations. How I feel about it, or you feel about the industry is really insignificant. What is important is how does the general public see the industry? How do your former customers view the industry? If your livelihood depends on closing loans, then you have to find customers who are not only qualified for a loan by today?s standards, but who is also willing to work with you. In many parts of the country where foreclosure rates are record highs and public trust of mortgage professionals is at a record low, this is a daunting task. I have had many mortgage professionals contact me over the last couple months telling me of their struggling business. The most asked question is, ?How do I find customers who are willing to work with me and qualify for a mortgage?? Here is a technique that could help, called ?framing the situation.? Times have changed so strategy must change as well. As a Navy veteran, I think in military terms when it comes to business strategy. In battle, the enemy may attack in a different manor than anticipated. Being adaptive is important. In battle, the enemy will move and quick reaction is important. But most important is knowing your opponent so you know how to strategize. In today?s mortgage environment, we do not know our customer. They may be the same people, but they have framed the mortgage industry in a different way than four years ago. As a commander leading your troops (or as a single originator) to the mortgage battle lines armed with origination weapons, what is the strategy of attack? Frame the situation differently. Instead of ?attacking? the situation with mortgage jargon and rate, term and dollar questions, take a less traveled route into the mind of the customer. I will provide three different ?framing techniques? and I hope this will stimulate your creative juices. First, frame as a survey. Instead of calling, mailing or chatting to a client about refinancing or a purchase loan, simply provide a few open-ended questions to be answered. For example, ?Summarize the current mortgage industry in a few sentences.? I have found that the customer?s perception of things is usually different than ours. Find out what they think about current mortgage industry issues. Many times, if their opinion has been skewed by negative press, you will be able to clarify and explain so the customer may then be more interested in a mortgage. Another survey question may be, ?On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you that you can make your mortgage payments for the next six months? Why?? Perhaps people want to refinance but are deathly afraid. Be creative and think of questions that will help you, help them. Second, frame as the trusted advisor. We have had this ?trusted advisor? concept engrained into our approach since the beginning of our career. This concept should be emphasized to your customers more now than ever. Trust is a big issue. Ask questions that are compassionate, ?How can I help?? ?Where is the pain?? ?What characteristic do you look for in a trusted mortgage professional today?? These questions are about you directly. Frame yourself as the answer to what they need. Back your answer with statistics about your history of origination, like I spoke about in my past column. Trust is a very important factor in today?s mortgage business. Finally, frame as an ultimate or fantasy situation, ?If there is one thing that you can change what would it be?? ?If you could redo your mortgage into any other mortgage program, what would it be?? ?If I were a mortgage Genie, and granted you one wish, what would you wish for and why?? Be creative and expand this creative extension of marketing and relationship building to set you apart from your competition. Originators are more desperate now than any other time in recent history. Desperosity is sensed by a client as negative energy and will cause them to avoid you. This creative relationship building idea may cause you to be genuinely excited and that positive energy will spill over in your presentation and cause the client to be attracted to you. Let me know your thoughts or successes and failures with this idea. Good luck! Stewart Mednick is a seasoned mortgage banker and published author. His writing focuses on relationship development, customer satisfaction, marketing and sales techniques. If you have a comment about this column or a question for Stewart, contact him at 651-895-5122 or


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