We were tested, and we failed. We will do better. I promise.

Mortgage and Lending with American National Bank & Trust NMLS #268590

A few weeks ago, one of our Regional Managers sent a friend of his to the bank to check out our customer service.   He had been given my name to talk to about a mortgage.   The gentleman walked into one of our branch offices and announced to a teller that he was there to see Deanna Early.

Of course, the Regional Manager hadn't told anyone, especially me, that this gentleman would be coming in or when.   When he said he was there to see me, the teller assumed I had set an appointment and called my office phone to try to reach me.   She left a message "Your client is here to meet you".

When she called, I was at a different branch and didn't get the call.   She then apologized to the gentleman and said she couldn't reach me.   He then left the branch.   When I got to my office, I got her phone message and a message from another employee saying I had forgotten my appointment.

I checked my appointment book and my computer calendar and I didn't have an appointment scheduled that morning.   I called the teller and asked her for the gentleman's name.   She didn't know and hadn't asked.   I asked if she had gotten a phone number.   She said "no, I figured you had it".

A short time later, the gentleman walked back into the same branch and asked for another employee.   That employee had stepped away from her desk but was in the building.   A different teller this time told him "she's not in her office right now".   He then walked out of the branch again.

When the employee returned to her office a couple minutes later, the teller said "there was a man here to see you but you weren't in your office so he left.   She asked this teller, "what was his name ?"   The response was "I don't know".   The employee asked other tellers if anyone saw the man.

Thankfully, a senior teller was watching from across the lobby and had seen the man come in twice.   She figured the tellers had helped the gentleman and he had left satisfied after talking to them.   Now she became aware he was not helped and knowing he had asked for me earlier, she called me.

After considerable consultation with the tellers, we finally figured out who the gentleman was.   I was able to locate a contact number for him and called immediately.   By then, he had made it back home.   I then found out this had been somewhat of a test.   Yes, he wanted to talk to me about a mortgage but had arrived unannounced as a test of our customer service.

I apologized for the delay in getting back to him but he thought it was great that I contacted him so quickly since he had not arranged an appointment.   I ended up getting that mortgage but we learned a lesson that day.   When a person walks in your office, at the very least, identify them.

Had I not been able to determine who he was and call him, he might have taken his mortgage somewhere else.   That was a close call.   Thankfully, by the time he talked to the Regional Manager again, he had nothing but praise for our service.   Once we identified him, serving him was easy.

This "test" became the primary lesson of an in house training meeting shortly thereafter.   Clients don't become clients if you don't know who they are.   If a person comes in now, they are greeted hardily and if a teller doesn't know their name, they ask.   We learned a valuable lesson. 

In Real Estate, as with any business; we are all client dependent and if we let one slip through our fingers, they are more than likely going to be lost for good.   In this case, we were lucky.   I was able to identify him and get back to him in time to keep his business but . . . . . 


We were tested, and we failed.

We will do better. I promise.




Deanna Early is the # 1 ranked Mortgage Loan Originator in Franklin County, Virginia as scored by the ActiveRain real estate site.   She is a Nationally Licensed Mortgage Loan Originator located near Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia.   She does both purchase and refinance loans throughout the state of Virginia.   She is a residential loan originator for American National Bank and Trust.   She provides home mortgage loans, construction loans and lot loans as well as second or vacation home loans and investor financing.

Please visit her website at   www.DeannaEarly.com   and learn more in the Virginia Mortgage Blog

You can contact her for your financing needs at (540) 721-2349 or by email at  "earlyd@amnb.com"

The views expressed in this post are mine only and do not necessarily reflect the views of American National Bank and Trust Company.   Any scenarios presented are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to refer to or represent any actual or specific clients, negotiations or financial transactions.


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Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

Good morning Deanna. What a good learning, a lesson for all of us in the business. Important to make sure when someone calls or stops by, a name and contact information must always be gotten.

Dec 27, 2015 06:50 PM #1
Raymond E. Camp
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Ontario, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester

Good morning Deanna,

If we do not know whom called we go nuts trying to figure out if it was Clark Kent or Superman!

Make yourself a great day.

Dec 27, 2015 09:09 PM #2
Rob D. Shepherd
Windermere/lane county - Florence, OR
Principal Broker GRI, SRES

I have made mistake of talking to someone and getting the number but not labeling it. I would end up with numbers all over my desk and no idea who.

Dec 27, 2015 09:47 PM #3
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

I am a HUGE advocate of testing.

Someone sells you some service such as a CRM....TEST IT!

Test those lead capture landing pages every month. Make sure the links still work.

Do you use Show Time, TEST!

Are all calls routed to a central person....TEST.

Closed or lost the deal.....TEST.

Have a smoke detector in the house...TEST it every year.

Even if nothing is broken KNOWING they are working is assuring.

Dec 27, 2015 09:58 PM #4
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Deanna, I'd say you all did a great job of figuring out who he was so that you could call him. There's always room for improvement but, it's a little out of the ordinary to not know who someone is so that you know who to call!

Dec 27, 2015 10:10 PM #5
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Geneva Financial, Llc. - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

Deanna Early One of the many things we do when first speaking with a prospect is to verify their contact information, should the call terminate prematurely. Since we do not have a retail location, this is the route of all first contacts. Good recovery on your part and thanks for sharing!

Dec 27, 2015 11:12 PM #6
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Deanna, not letting the customer leave without getting their information is customer service 101.  Glad to hear your bank did not waste anytime on correcting the situation with added training.  Mistakes can be a great teaching tool, and turned into a positive.

Dec 28, 2015 05:51 AM #7
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Great teaching and sharing. I suggest to sellers to "test" me by calling me at various times and even asking about their homes. I answer every call as though it was a client, a future client, a buyer, a tester or a reporter.  

Dec 28, 2015 12:15 PM #8
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


You did a great job in passing the test.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Dec 31, 2015 11:50 AM #9
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

I had to have this same talk with my receptionist and let her know that just because someone walks in and asks for me it doesn't mean I  have an appointment with them. The receptionist should always get a name and number and what it is in regard to. This is Receptionist 101.

Jan 02, 2016 01:32 AM #10
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DEANNA EARLY - - ( NMLS # 268590 )

Highest Ranked Mortgage Loan Originator Virginia
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