The challenges that no one is talking about

Renowned mortgage industry executive Barry Habib speaks at Mastermind 2018

The challenges that no one is talking about

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and competition is greater than ever. At a keynote address at the recent 2018 Mastermind Summit, Barry Habib of MBS Highway gave attendees some crucial takeaways on ways that originators can beat their competition and convert more of the opportunities that come your way.

Be an advisor, not a salesperson
Anybody can sell a mortgage. But it takes skill to know the right mortgage for the right client in the right situation, and your role needs to go even beyond that.

“The first thing you have to understand is that you are under attack,” Habib said. “Not just by Rocket Mortgage – you think that’s the end game? That’s just the beginning. You think technology is slowing down?  Technology is relentless every single day in trying to do something, and that’s take your job.”

The key, he said, is to make it clear to clients and potential clients that your value isn’t in gathering documents or submitting forms or even getting the lowest rate. It’s explaining why certain parts of the process matter, why other parts of the process don’t matter, and how you can help them achieve wealth.

“You know what they want? They want money. Understand that the business you’re in is a money business, and the money business is very multifaceted. So you have to understand money. You have to understand how to take it, how to use it for your client’s benefit. You want to be an advisor? Make them wealthy. You want to be an advisor? Get their kid through college. You want to be an advisor? Give them more cash flow. That’s what an advisor does. You see, if we’re so focused on the darn monthly payment that comes with a mortgage, we’re not there.”

Sell the way people buy
People say that homebuying is an emotional decision, and Habib takes exception to that. While buyers can – and do – become emotionally attached to a home, the actual decision to buy is a financial one. Rather than explaining most factors involved in whether or not a home is a good purchase for a client, most mortgage professionals sell based on closing time, great service and rate.

“All those things are important, it just has absolutely nothing to do with how somebody buys a home. Realtors’ speech has nothing to do with how somebody buys a home, and for most mortgage professionals, they’re missing the boat, too. You want to be a successful salesperson?” Habib asked. “Sell the way people buy. If people buy based on a financial decision, then sell the freakin’ financial position.”

Show clients the big picture, Habib says, which means being an expert in market, showing them the annual rate of appreciation and the forecast for appreciation in the future. Show them the math. Show them that you’re smarter than anybody else they’ve spoken to. Know the jobs, median income, the median home price, price per square foot, and how it all relates to their specific search. Are there people and renters there to support housing industry? What’s building rates like? Job creation? Unemployment rate? If you’re going to be able to show them how the numbers make sense for them when they buy a house in a particular real estate and mortgage market, then you’re going to need to be an expert in it. This is the role of an advisor, Habib said. An advisor shows them the opportunity.

“Stop talking about the stupid stuff and start thinking about what’s really life-changing here.”

Challenge clients
Anyone who’s in the industry know that rates are a hot topic to clients. But if you’re going to be an advisor, then you have to be able to challenge your clients on their preconceived notions of buying a home and getting a loan. Part of this is showing clients the numbers, but on a larger scale, your job is to challenge their belief system. And if they’re not seeing the facts, then you have to make a better conversation.

“Everybody knows at 4⅞ is better than 5%. So if we bank on that, it’s going to be hard to win. But what if we were to break it down for them?”

On a $300,000 loan, ⅛ difference in that interest rate is $21 a month. Multiply it by 4.3 weeks in a month, it’s $4.88 a week. Then ask your client: if you made or lost an extra $4.88 a week ($.65/day), would it impact a buying decision? Big screen TV? Gas? Dinner? Car purchase? Would it ever impact one single buying decision? If it doesn’t matter, why are you putting so much importance on it?

“Have that conversation because sometimes your clients need a good smack of reality. If you change their focus, it becomes different. It becomes a bigger and better conversation.”

Nobody, Habib said, is talking about this stuff. And there are good and bad outcomes, which are different in every market. But even sharing the bad stuff can build business; clients will feel like you’re not just after a commission, but that you truly want what’s best for them.

Be a great coach
How are you coaching your customers, your realtors, your teammates? What kind of coach are you? How involved are you in hw they’re doing business? Habib advocates creating a financial culture in the office and talking about the markets so that when your teammates get on the phone with clients, they know what they’re talking about. Listen to their conversations, ask them to sell to you and see where they’re making their mistakes. Have them record their phone calls, record your own phone calls. Athletes review film, and so should you. When you’re on a call, working in the heat of the moment, you don’t hear your mistakes or realize your missed opportunities. Listen to your calls, fix the mistakes faster and close more transactions.

Be UNavailable
Yes, you read that right. Mortgage professionals everywhere will tell you that being available to clients and responding to their inquiries immediately is not only one of the tenants of the profession, but something that gives you a leg up over banks. Habib, however, turned this notion on its head and said that being available means that have no business.

“I want you to be always worth waiting for. Because you’re so good that it’s worth waiting for you. Because what you’re going to say to them is going to change everything. That’s what we need to be.”

What motivates you? Money? Nothing wrong with that. Significant other? Parents? Your kid? Competition? Everything you do, remember your motivation and tap into that. If you want nothing less than the best, put the extra work in to do everything and to be the best resource for your customers, improve your business, and better your industry.

“What we really need to do is protect ourselves. Otherwise, you’re going to go the way of the travel agent.”

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