When should you ask customers for a referral?

Many loan officers don't feel comfortable asking for a referral until closing. But is that the right time?

When should you ask customers for a referral?
By Dave Hershman
Special to MPA

Everyone keeps telling me that I should ask for referrals from my borrowers. I always do after the loan closes, yet I rarely get referrals even though my service is great. What could I be doing wrong?

--Peter From Philly

Since I don't know exactly what you are saying when asking for referrals, it will be hard for me to do a complete analysis. But I can give you some general guidance and also indicate at least one thing you are most likely doing wrong. That is timing.

While it is never wrong to ask after closing, you are missing an important opportunity. This comes from the law of selective perception. When you are first talking to a prospect or taking their application, their perception regarding purchasing or refinancing is as high as it will ever be.

What do I mean by that? People normally don't wake up and say, ‘Gee – today I think I will ask my friends what type of loan they have on their home.’ But when they are shopping for a home, they are asking everyone about loans, schools, locations and more. In other words, their ability to refer is the highest at the beginning of the process.

The problem is many loan officers are not "comfortable" asking until the loan is closed and they have done their job. So the key is getting comfortable earlier in the process. How can you do that? Next week I will cover two ways you can make yourself more comfortable.   
--Dave Hershman

Dave Hershman has been the leading author and a top speaker for the industry for decades with six books authored and hundreds of articles published. His website is www.originationpro.com. If you have a reaction to this commentary or another question you would like answered in this column? Email Dave directly at [email protected].