Whether your client has called in, submitted something on the internet in the form of a paper lead, or is a referral they all want to know two things: rate and payment. Right?
How many of your battle with your client to give up an application in the first phone call? I am assuming quite a few (unless you have been listening to David Bartels in action). Let's flip it for a second:
If you were contacted by a loan originator and they automatically started going into the application, or asked only 2-3 personal questions and then went into the full out application, how would you feel? Would you feel comfortable, or would you feel defensive and not want to give out information?
My point is: the first contact is a relationship building experience. You should be trying to get to know your client and build a rapport. Whether it's a purchase or refinance, the person always has a goal. And, no the goal is not just to get cash out to put in a pool or to consolidate credit cards because of high interest. Their goals are to have pictures of their families in the pool and cherish the memories that will create. Their goal is to be able to sleep at night knowing that they don't have to worry about 3 credit card payments making it on time and being able to go out to dinner once a month because of the extra money that they have now.
It is our job as industry professionals to really get to the root of their goals, and to establish that relationship. And guess what: it begins on the first contact.
So, here's what I do since they have already given me enough information in the lead to give them a general idea of what I can do:
- Provide the client with an estimate of rates on several refinancing options or purchase money options (up to 10 in some cases)
- Provide the client with enough service that they will not need to go shopping elsewhere
- Build a lasting first impression so they feel comfortable sending their friends and family to me (even after the first phone call)
- Ask Open-Ended questions that reach out and make them respond based on emotion
The bottom line is that the clients truly know what they qualify for, and they will key you into certain aspects without you having to pull a credit report or take a full 1003. My philosophy is that I am willing to help you (the client) out with information (since that's really what the lead is looking for...information).
Here is my closing line for the first contact:
"Here is the information you requested. I am going to leave this with you and follow up with you tomorrow at 11:30am. Look over all the information that I have given you, and please be ready with any questions or concerns that you and your spouse (if applicable) might have. Ok?"
Hypothetically they say "Yes", or "No Problem"
And I say, "Great. Also, please keep in mind that these are average going rates for today's market, and we still have not reviewed your credit to give you a full qualification package. These figures are derived from what you have told me, and when you decide to move forward I will give you a full Good Faith Estimate and full disclosures. At that point, we will lock you in at that rate and offer a complimentary Float Down Option just in case the rates drop you are protected.
Well, Mr. Jones, it has definitely been a pleasure getting to know you. I look forward to your questions tomorrow at 11:30, and if you need anything before hand please feel free to either email me or call me. Think about those options that I sent you, and have a great night!"
In conclusion, all of us in the industry need to get to know our clients on a personal basis, and we need to tie emotion to the process. We will provide better service if we care for our clients and they will take care of us by sending referrals as well. It all starts with the first contact!
-Andy Scherer (Connecticut Home Loan Specialist and Mortgage Trainer)