Owning the Customer is an Originator’s Chief Responsibility

During my recent MBA webinar, “Owning the Customer: Keys to Originator Success,” I asked attendees whether their originators were reaching out to former customers. The overwhelming majority said producers were only using the lender’s CRM system to maintain contact. When asked to rate originators on customer engagement, the same attendees gave their producers a solid “B.”

I don’t know what is worse: the fact that originators are not engaging customers except through the lender’s CRM system or that managers believe originators are doing a great job in this arena. Both scenarios are troubling and explain why 80% of customers switch lenders for future home finance needs, according to Black Knight servicing data. While the relationship with customers might have been good during the loan process, it clearly wasn’t strong enough to earn repeat business or generate referrals.

There is no question mortgage origination is hard. Originators who want to succeed must have in-depth product knowledge; great prospecting skills; and outstanding marketing and customer service skills. While our current refinance frenzy can mask the lack of these talents, an originator’s deficiencies are quickly exposed in a purchase money environment where competition for customers is intense.


Developing Deeper Relationships

Originators are responsible for engaging with former customers because they drive the relationship, plain and simple. Developing deeper relationships with previous customers is essential for long-term sales success, regardless of marketplace conditions. Because they are at the point of sale, originators have a unique window into a borrower’s interests and passions. Plus, by taking an application, producers have access to personal financial information that can be used to extend the relationship once the loan has closed.

Relying on a lender’s generic follow-up material to cultivate customer relationships is a recipe for disaster. If originators want to be top of mind when former customers want to purchase a new home or refinance, they must put the work in to forge deeper connections. In the past, birthday cards or anniversary cards made an impression but today, this type of customer outreach is so commonplace it is quickly deleted or discarded. According to recent marketing research, contact must be personal, customized, and relevant if sales professionals want to enhance customer relationships.

Former customers should be receiving information that matches to where they are in their life’s journey in terms of home financing. Educational webinars, podcasts, and Zoom meetings are just a few of the ways originators can communicate valuable information while building customer relationships that will stand the test of time.

With many prospects at home due to COVID-19 precautions, right now is the perfect time for originators to implement these strategies and differentiate themselves from other producers. The good news is that many of these platforms are easy to master and work well with referral sources and borrowers alike. In addition, originators can easily share content whether it is a webinar, a podcast or a video. This is another great example of working smarter.