In my LO sales training programs, I’m often surprised by how many originators believe the value they bring to customers is simply providing funding at closing. While helping borrowers purchase or refinance a home is certainly the outcome of a loan officer’s sales efforts, the best originators think differently about their role.
Top producers view borrowers as an opportunity for multiple income streams, not as a single transaction. For them, closing on a loan is the beginning of a customer relationship that can yield repeat business and referrals. So, what is their strategy to win repeat customers?
Top producers work hard to encourage borrowers to see them as financial advisors vs. just another salesperson selling the lowest interest rates. Top loan officers believe that an excellent customer experience is rooted in helping borrowers achieve not only their mortgage goals but providing an effective financial strategy that encompasses all of their client’s goals.
What Makes a Great Financial Advisor?
While experts can debate the exact criteria for a great financial advisor, there are several competencies that enable originators to step into the role of trusted financial advisor for clients. In my opinion, here are the top five competencies that matter most:
- Passionate about the finance world. As industry experts, originators must be passionate about the subject of finance and not just mortgages. Top LOs set aside time to keep current on a subject that can change daily. This applies to all things that impact finance from new regulations and external events to tax issues that can change on a dime. Top producers recognize that knowing the ins and outs of all financial topics is part of their job and where they can make a significant difference for referral sources and borrowers.
- In-Depth Financial Knowledge. Having a deep analytical understanding of financial issues and trends is what makes these producers’ advice qualitatively different from guidance their competitors are providing. During volatile times, great financial advice matters more than ever.
- Excellent Communication Skills. Sales professionals in an advisory role are masters at communicating a client’s different options, addressing the pros and cons of each option and then making a recommendation. Having a client say they were never told what would happen if their loan adjusted does not happen with good mortgage advisors.
- Putting the Client’s Best Interests First. One of the hallmarks of a professional advisor is putting the client’s best interests above all else – not an easy task in a position that is 100% commission. Sometimes it means that a profitable loan for an originator may not be the best choice for the consumer. Prioritizing a consumer’s best interests over their own is what enables top LOs to forge lasting customer relationships. If you wouldn’t put a family member in a risky product, why would it be appropriate for your customer? It isn’t.
- Passionate about Helping People. While financial services is a numbers-based business, originators must deal with a wide spectrum of individuals. Some are easy to work with and others are not. Top producers are adept at adjusting to different types of people and making each person feel special and understood. Unless an originator is passionate about helping people, their career will be short when markets change and they have not developed robust customer relationships. Success in mortgage banking requires LOs to possess great relationship and communication skills; a strong drive to win; and a passion for helping others.
In our current market environment, I am often asked by originators what strategies and tips they need to hit volume goals in 2022. The answer is simple: Originators who want to achieve long-term success should strive to serve their customers as professional financial advisors.