Adrianne Pozzi is one of those originators who sees the basics of origination a bit differently than most. A senior mortgage advisor and branch manager with Pacific Sunbelt Mortgage, she has been in the industry for 21 years and has learned to interpret the must-dos in her own way.
For example, most everyone will wax lyrical about good customer service but they don’t make the parallels to being in the service industry. Having non-traditional hours (in addition to traditional hours) isn’t just about working yourself ragged or putting in more hours than everyone else. It’s about working simultaneously with clients and partners. Realtors work when their buyers are available and as a result, originators have to be willing to work then, too. Good customer service is about servicing clients and partners at their convenience.
“Realtors are always on with their job. They can’t be 8-5 because the buyer will go somewhere else. It’s the same thing with mortgages. A lot of mortgage professionals—friends included that I have—don’t want to work at all past 5, they don’t want to work weekends, and that’s hard because that’s when agents are working and those are hours are when buyers are off, to be able to talk. So it’s hard because there are certain things that I sacrifice by having this level of customer service, but at the end of the day, it’s what keeps me busy.”
In spite of this, or maybe because of it, people respect when she truly needs time off. She establishes expectations and communicates those expectations clearly around her absence, but really, that’s just an extension of how she establishes expectations and communicates in general.
Building trust is the foundation of establishing partnerships, and Pozzi builds trust by doing something when she says that she’s going to do it, and being specific about that expectation. She doesn’t say, ‘I’ll call you back within 24 hours,’ she says, ‘I’m going to call you back at 4 o’clock and we’re going to go through XYZ.’
“That’s important because I think a lot of mortgage professionals will make commitments to buyers and then . . . something comes up and they leave the office and the buyer doesn’t get called back until the next day. You lose trust immediately,” Pozzi said. “I make sure I do it because then if that buyer’s comparing me against Quicken Loans online, then they know, ‘I can trust Adrianne, she told me she would call me back by 4 and she did.’ It’s those little things that I think people don’t realize that makes a difference.”
Pozzi’s view on automation is a little different as well. She does have a few automated videos that get sent to clients at certain points in the process, but primarily, she and her team make the calls, send the handwritten notes for the milestones and personal events. It’s not a gimmick; she truly thinks the personal touches are what people remember. And, she says, she wouldn’t automate those out just to make her life easier.
“My surveys are very high for the volume level that I do, and I think that if I didn’t have those things that my surveys would suffer,” Pozzi said. “As much as people, or millennials, love the digital world, people are still human. Business is still very personal. I think that I’m always going to have that kind of belief because that’s just who I am.”
Personal touches are also important to Pozzi because about 75% of her business comes from new construction builders, and that means she can work with a buyer for up to five months, which is quite a bit longer than the initial relationship phase with most of her resale borrowers. There is a lot of room for error in that period so those special, personalized touches are even more important when it comes to keeping buyers happy.
“Things happen, so I think it’s even more work on those because you have to monitor the situation so much closer and if a buyer has a bad experience any time through that, that’s really the lasting impression that they get.”
Not to mention, if the buyer is happy, the builder is happy.
The builder relationship is different from the realtor relationship, and Pozzi has approached both a little indirectly. Instead of approaching builders and asking for business, she enters as a backup, offering to look at any loans that their current preferred builder doesn’t approve.
“I never go in stepping on the toes of the relationship that’s already formed between the builder and their mortgage company. I always go in humble,” she said. The builder eventually sees her strengths, and she works her way into being a preferred lender due to her service.
When it comes to realtors, Pozzi doesn’t think originators should ever had to go out and fight too hard to find any. Every transaction has a realtor on both sides, she said, and after a loan has closed, it’s easy to continue a conversation with the realtor on the other side and work to earn their business.
“A lot of agents don’t want to use a loan officer they’ve never used before because when business is down, it’s less homes and less buyers that they get, less listings, and so they don’t want to entrust a loan officer they’ve never used to handle the transaction. So I would rather schmooze and take care of the agent on the other side of every deal than to go out and start trying to fight for new realtor business, to be honest. Because it’s instant communication and rapport from just the transaction you’re already in.”
Being honest is really what’s gotten Pozzi to where she is today. Her business is a true reflection of her personality and style, and her partners appreciate her genuine interest in buyers and having earnest conversations about their best interests—a strength that will be necessary in the year ahead.