When the digital disruption began upending the mortgage industry, much of the conversation revolved around fears that technology would replace people. That conversation, however, has shifted, with mortgage originators developing ways to reach and connect with more people, and for ways that partners and borrowers can connect with them.
There are the basic differences in techniques that many originators have put in pace, such as automation that can assist in creating a repeatable processes. This repetition creates consistency, by giving people what they expect when they expect it, and that helps to create trust. Trust is also created through delivering insights, and technology makes it easier than ever to facilitate the delivery of that information in an easily digestible, visual manner, through services like MBS Highway.
Technology isn’t (just) about making life, loans, and leads easier. Mark Robertson is a branch manager with Caliber Home Loans, and says that the complexity is what keeps originators engaged. Making the process too simple is the opposite of what originators should want.
“If it were super easy for everybody, that’s not necessarily a good thing. So I think using this technology like screen share to make that stuff easier and win the true allegiance of these clients because you’re doing the right thing and demonstrating that visually, that’s what I try to focus on,” Robertson said.
Robertson also uses technology to make roundtable conversations between partners and clients easier and more convenient.
“We’re using things like Zoom, and Mortgage Coach, and MBSHighway to screen share with the client, and enroll the financial planner to come on during the screen share, and I would encourage that financial planner to just have their own advice” he said. “I try to use scripting that’s very disarming, and I really try to educate that client so that they’ll let their guard down. Once they’ve done that, once I’ve earned the trust, then it’s easier. And it’s like a fireball, then, because then you go around and you’ve got these people that preach for you, everywhere because you really did right by them.”
Mikel Erdman, a former originator and founder of MySMARTblog and RealtyBlogContent, says that mortgage professionals have largely misunderstood the role that technology plays in the minds and actions of borrowers.
“The reality is, the deals that actually close, people that become a client, go through the process, close a transaction, earn that loan officer a paycheck, they actually have not changed the way they select the loan officer that the use, or how they actually go through a real transaction. What they have changed is how they use technology in order to do research and educate themselves before and during the process of the mortgage,” Erdman said.
Erdman calls the period of time between the referral and when the person actually acts to make contact with the originator the credibility gap, and it is during that time that originators can use technology to their advantage when it comes to name recognition and creating making potential clients feel as if they know who you are on some level, whether that’s through a well-written bio, a brief video explaining who you are and what you’re about, or, of course, social media profiles.
Think of technology as a way to hone in on business instead of using it to facilitate a hands-off approach. Looking at it as a way to sidestep the people who can’t get a loan and who aren’t “worth” a conversation—what Erdman says is taking the sales work out of sales—is severely mistaken.
“You put technology on autopilot so that you don’t have to turn your computer on to make it work,” Erdman said. “There is no other way. The only way that you’ll be successful is by building relationships in your local community, investing in those relationships and deepening then, expanding your network over time, and then communication with people frequently enough to develop top of mind awareness. There is no other answer. Technology will not and has not changed that game, and it won’t change that game ever.”
Technology can help share insights and credibility, and it can also help share stories. People connect much more when using stories rather than statistics, and it’s never been easier to amplify and build content around stories.
Robertson realized that many of his clients had their own stories to share, and created one-on-one video interviews, which he then shared with his entire database. Those stories of his clients’ business have nothing to do with his mortgage business, and yet everything to do the people he serves. People are willing to engage with these stories in a way that they might not with generic (or even personalized) mortgage information.
“It’s this giving mentality, where I’m truly doing it out of a spirit of trying to expose this guy and his story. That’s something that we’ve done that’s kind of outside the box. It’s crazy to me that I can have a full-on video style show and put it on Facebook, at a really low cost, super high quality, you think about what that would’ve entailed even five years ago and how easy stuff like that is. So I think just opening your mind to things that can be done to truly create this engagement from your clients and have a community, it’s rewarding and fun.”