The Conundrum of Meeting Expectations

For years, mortgage banking managers have measured success based on whether the salesperson met the buyer’s expectations. In my opinion, this thinking is outdated because in today’s world of selling 3.0, simply meeting customer expectations is by definition mediocre.  Yes, mediocre. A mediocre customer experience is not enough to instill the loyalty needed to generate referrals or repeat business.

What matters now is delivering an extraordinary and memorable buyer’s experience. The good news for originators is that no computer or robot can make another person feel listened to and cared for — only another person can do that.

One of the reasons meeting expectations falls short is because consumers have access to information 24/7 and can research purchase decisions before speaking to third parties. In fact, an individual doesn’t even have to do the research — they can just ask Alexa!

In a recent Miller Heiman survey, buyers ranked contacting salespeople as the ninth activity they perform out of ten when looking for a solution. Who is in first place? Subject matter experts. This means that if the originator isn’t considered a subject matter expert, prospects will not even reach out and certainly won’t refer their family and friends.

Too many originators believe that if they know their product guidelines and are pleasant, that will suffice. Unfortunately, product guidelines and being pleasant are basic requirements. What customers want is someone who will help them navigate through similar products and services and determine the solution that is the best match for their needs. This is a high bar for all originators. It means that they must have ideas about what is right, what is wrong, what is possible, what is now and what is next. It is being relevant to prospects regarding the largest financial investment they will make in their lifetime.

In the retail arena, it means not only understanding the mortgage sector but being knowledgeable about the financial industry and what trends are potentially impactful to the consumer over the life of the loan. In the third party arena, it means helping clients grow their business in a world where service levels are being redefined daily. Selling products only to brokers or correspondents is a 1980s approach.

What is required today is that originators must be world-class subject matter experts in their territory if they are going to be relevant, credible, and irreplaceable. Anything less is mediocre and doesn’t separate the salesperson from the other no-name originators that their customers don’t care about.

The truth is that in a fiercely competitive mortgage marketplace, being average doesn’t cut it. Only those originators who commit to the highest standards of excellence will be able to exceed — not meet — customer expectations.