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 firstname.lastname@example.org
I received an email from a concerned mortgage broker. He stated that a previous client of his had reservations about working with a broker and the client wondered if he should consider refinancing with a large national bank instead. Good question. As most of you know, the attrition amongst mortgage companies has been tremendous in the last two years. The sub prime market does not really exist any more, and even the large exclusive mortgage companies like Countrywide have been on shaky ground financially. The most stable mortgage origination companies are the large national banks. As originators, I am sure many of you have felt the pinch of new regulations, product redevelopment and the sting of past loans gone bad. The best way to defuse this situation is to reinforce the trust in the relationship that you have with your client. Then, state facts about your business history and your track record. This will take a bit of preparation, but it is worth the time and is not difficult to do. Choose three or four topics or categories that would show off your skills and your time in the business. For example, of all the clients that I have visited at their homes, I have gotten signed docs 99.8% of the time. I take great pride in being able to convert a call or referral into an application. Other figures that you may want to consider is how many ARMs that you originated have ever foreclosed? If the answer is none, then use that to show that you are an ethical minded professional. How many ARMs that you originated have you refinanced? What is the dollar amount of loans that you have closed last year? In your career? Or in what percentage of ranking did you fall nationally in closing amount or dollar amount? How about regionally? What about city wide? How many cumulative years have you had established relationships with clients from the time you closed their first loan? Imagine how secure your customer would feel if you could say that you have 213 years of total, cumulative years of working with clients since you closed their first loans. If you are new to the business and do not have a large book of business, be creative with what you have already established. For example: how much cumulatively per month have you saved your clients as a result of your refinancing their loans? How many years in total have you saved your clients in monthly payments? How much total consumer debt have you saved your clients by refinancing and rolling their credit cards or car payments into the loan? Some of this information may take a bit of time to compile, but to state a strong case to a client in factual terms is worth the time. Does anyone still use a questionnaire or evaluation at closing? I have taken a queue from EBay. I simply ask the client at closing if my services were satisfactory, indifferent or sub par. If positive feedback is warranted, then I ask for a brief statement of twenty words or less similar to what is required following an EBay transaction. I use this information to share with future clients. ?My feedback has been 100% positive, and here is a list of comments?? I hand a list of the short statements I have compiled to the customer. At the top of the list, I have some key statistics about me that have been compiled as stated above. I also have two or three non-profit organizations listed, with whom I associate. I am a veteran, so I state that. I participate in ?packing parties? for Iraqi soldiers. My wife is a cancer survivor and I participate in cancer related events. Why is exposing a personal, non-mortgage related bit of information beneficial? Because your clients are human. As humans, we all like to associate with others that have similar concerns, passions and views as ourselves. I have never met someone that did not know someone that had cancer. Even though many oppose the war in Iraq, everyone supports the troops. A bonding will begin with your client. The statistics that you provide show that you are competent and damn good at what you do. This combination of being human, having compassion and being competent is a very powerful combination. Emphasize that a large bank will not be interested in spending time to build a relationship in the manner that you have (or will). In fact, four or five different people will handle the file and no one that the client can trust will even be at the closing. Like I have stated previously in this column in past months, if the client trusts you, then no selling is necessary, because your relationship is with what they want to do business. Put people before products. Show you are as human as your client. Build trust based on a common theme that you both have passion or interest. Provide information that establishes you are good at what you do. Paraphrasing a line from the movie, Field of Dreams, ?build it and they will come.?