How LOs can leverage their sphere of influence
The 2023 market is unlike those we’ve seen in previous years. We’re coming off of back-to-back years where mortgage rates were in the 2s and 3s, and they’re now in the 6s. In a market like this, every lead, loan and basis point matters more than ever for LOs.
Dave Savage, chief innovation officer for Mortgage Coach and Sales Boomerang, described today’s market as a new era in the mortgage business — the advice era. It’s never been easier to connect with people via the internet and social media, and LOs should take the opportunity to provide advice to borrowers and help them achieve financial freedom.
“That’s the bullseye, it’s not just getting someone’s Social Security number so you can run a credit report and approve them for a loan. That’s not the way to go this year — probably never again,” he said. “The loan officers that do the best are the financial literacy teachers.”
He recommended that LOs begin by reaching out to existing leads and leveraging the relationships they already have.
So, where do you start?
Communicate through multiple channels
It sounds basic, but the first step is to simply communicate, whether through call, text or email. In fact, the best route is to use all three.
“The combination of call, text and email is super powerful, and too many loan officers only use one channel,” Savage said. “Getting someone on the phone to have a quality conversation requires all three.”
Every consumer will have different preferences, but a blend of all three methods works for most. Savage even suggested sending a video or voice memo via text.
Ask for help
Once you’ve reached out to your existing sphere of influence, one way to move forward is to simply ask for help, Savage said, whether that’s asking for referrals or asking to practice certain critical conversations.
For example, he said, call your renter friends and ask if you can practice your rent-versus-own analysis on them.
“Some of those people will say, ‘Wow, I could buy a house,’” he said. “You’ll get good at having the rent-versus-own conversation with people. You’ll get some leads [and] referrals. [Plus,] you’ll get good at having a critical conversation that loan officers should be able to have.”
You can use a similar method with homeowner friends to practice your move-up analysis.
“You’re not calling them saying, ‘I’m trying to talk you into moving up.’ You’re calling to ask them to practice something that is important. And you know what, some of those people, even in this market, are going to want to move up.”
Opening the door to practicing those conversations can lead to getting new leads.
Have an annual review
Another way to leverage past leads is to discuss their current mortgage with them.
“The single most valuable conversation to have with past clients is an annual review or some type of mortgage review conversation,” Savage said.
Partnering with a real estate agent for these conversations can also be beneficial. Those clients may then be interested in moving up or doing home improvements, which is another opening for business.
A key part of making these conversations matter is to make sure you’re delivering value, not just calling to make a sale.
“If all you can do is close a loan and deliver a mortgage, [then] you always feel like a salesperson,” Savage said. “But if you do things like a move-up analysis or rent-versus-own analysis, a conversation with you has tangible value. It provides financial literacy and education and helps people achieve financial freedom faster.”
The best loan officers solve problems. They ask good questions to understand the borrower’s goals, so they understand what people are excited about, whether it’s getting out of debt faster, building wealth with real estate or eventually moving up from their current home.
“They’re sharing their loans within the context of those bigger goals,” Savage said. LOs should “get there fast, have a servant heart and solve bigger problems than closing a loan on time.”
In fact, Savage recommends reframing the job of an LO altogether. He said that the most successful loan officers he’s spoken to — the ones with the best conversion rates — are providing advice around how borrowers can achieve their bigger financial life goals.
“The loan officer that provides the most financial literacy within the mortgage experience wins,” he said.
Set up for success
The best way to begin having these conversations is to reach out to your existing sphere of influence, Savage said.
“When you’re in a tough market, going to people that know, like and trust you — who want to help you — is always going to be where the gold is,” Savage said. “When the market sucks, would you rather call strangers or friends?”
Reaching out to people you’ve already worked with makes it easier to transition the conversation into a business development discussion. It’s also more enjoyable than cold calls, Savage said, and a way to set yourself up for success.
“Start your day with some wins,” he said. “Calling your friends in your database is a win. You have a higher chance of converting them and it’s giving you energy so that when you have to do the harder stuff, you’re psyched up, you’re positive.”