Top of Mind Networks

Loan Officers Selling Hot Air…

May 26, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Are you selling hot air? Odd question I know. I get asked at least 892.7 times per year (Ok, so it’s a made up number to illustrate how often I’m asked this) what is the best way to get business from high performing real estate agents. At this point, I am then treated with examples of how hard this loan officer has tried to get referrals, but ultimately failed.

I empathize with this situation, as I can recall the many doors I’ve had slammed in my face when I first got started in outside sales. It wasn’t fun, and at some point the rejection gets to be a bit much to deal with. I learned early on that I had to change my approach if I wanted this negative reaction to stop… So what’s the key to getting appointments with these heavy hitting agents?


What is hot air? Imagine you’re buying a car. You drive out to see the vehicle, and the only thing waiting for you is a smiling salesman. He tells you there is no car to see today, but he’s going to tell you all you need to know. He says:

– The car is comfortable

– The car is good looking

– The car handles well

Are you ready to buy yet? No? Why the heck not? Because these 3 statements tell you nothing of importance. How do you know if you’ll find the car comfy? You could be taller than he is, or have a bad back. How does he know if the car is good looking? Looks are subjective! Good handling? What does that mean? Good handling compared to what? A 25 year old Ford Escort, or a Ferrari F430?

No. This is definitely not the ideal way to purchase a car. Why would the salesman even bother trying? In the same way, tens of thousands of loan officers are out there calling up Realtors giving them “hot air” sales pitches that tell them absolutely nothing!:

– I give great service (Never had a loan officer claim otherwise, so what’s the point?)

– I’ve been a loan officer for 15 years (Yea? So? And?)

– I’ll give your client the loans that are best for them (Uh-huh… Sounds good – Where’s the substance?)

– I have fast turnaround time (So does the current loan officer I use. Why is this worth me switching?)

– I have low fee’s (There are cars out there with low price tags as well – Are those the vehicles you want?)

See? Sales talk. When a real estate agent switches to a new loan officer, there has to be a reason, and a darn good one! None of the above is a good enough reason in 99% of the cases. The agent is risking his/her paycheck to try out a new lender, so you better have something good… What is it?What do you bring to the table? What makes you so special?

In the car buying scenario above, what would make you purchase? Seeing the car first hand might help, as would a test drive and the opportunity to sit in the car, try out the stereo, the seats, the performance… In other words, you want proof this car is going to be to your liking!

Can you see from the realtors perspective just a tad now? In my 90 day crusade to land 40 realtors in 90 days for my office, I did a few things differently than most.

1 – I brought printed “Testimonial Cards” from realtors who were using my services now – Phone numbers and all (Social proof with the permission of the agents of course)

2 – I had a website setup just for the local realty community (Would send the agents over to spend hours downloading the tutorials and info I provided – They loved it. Established my credibility)

3 – My script was very different from the “traditional” approach. The first words out of my mouth? “I know you probably get tons of phon calls from loan officers begging you for business these days but…” See what just happened? I began the call by addressing the most frequent objection first! I took the objection right out of their mouth and addressed it.

This one little change to my scriptkicked things into overtime for me. So why not give this topic some thought today? What makes you so special? What are you willing to bring to the table? It’ll only make you into a better loan officer. (With bigger paychecks of course)

Stips from Hell and Other Things to Make You Cringe

May 14, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

I bectcha have never heard this one before is probably the most common saying among loan officers today.At this point though, nothing should really surprise us. Watch this…

There is really no way you can out guess, out manuver, or lock long enough to avoid the crisis…or can you?

Today’s market is not about rate or fee shopping. Today’s client should really be asking, can you fund my loan before Jesus returns? But they don’t know that, so it is our job to educate them. We have to become experts in the art of managing expectations. Fail in this area and suffer the consequences- which are brutal.

Today’s originator MUST master the art of properly setting expectations at the time of application. I have often said that the point in time when deals start to run south is when the loan officer says, “great let me take your app!” So if we know we must manage expectations, what does that look like and how do we execute?

To properly manage expectations here are some rules you need to live by…

1. Know the business and what I mean is know why that underwriters are stiping the heck out of your files. It would be a great idea to take time to talk with an underwriter, closer, or warehouse manager to see what is really going on behind the scenes. For example, did you know that Fannie and Freddie are going back 8 years and asking lenders to repurchase files? Let you clients know what is really going on and they will respect you for your knowledge and expertise.

2. Communicate and get the buy in from your client and agent. You need to tell them on a 3rd grade level what to expect. Better yet, after you have told them, prepare a worksheet outlining all of the steps from app to closing. We all know that the stips can be outrageous so prepare them at application for potential request for more information. Use stories to sell your point and by all means make them agree with you about the process. If they refuse, you have to let them go.

3. Call them more than they call you. Even if you do not have new information, simply placing a pro-active phone call will save you a larger headache down the road.

Today’s world is no place for the faint of heart. You have to get in, get dirty, and slug it out until the last round. People may not always like the news you have to deliver, but they will respect you for being honest.

And on a side note, deliver a heaping dose of humor. Laughter truly is the best medicine and something we all need to be doing more of these days!

Overcoming the Up-Front Appraisal Objection

April 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Let’s say that you have a prospect call in and you’re really not sure their house will appraise for enough to allow for a refinance. Sound like all your prospects these days?

In order to alleviate their fears about paying for an appraisal they can’t use, here’s a step-by-step decision making process I’ve found successful:

Determine up-front if their loan is owned by Fannie or Freddie

This way, you’ll have a fallback position. For example, the best case scenario you could hope for is that their home indeed appraises for a straight-up refinance.

a) If you have determined up front that the loan is owned by Fannie Mae… even if the home appraises for less, you have the option of taking the loan DU Refi Plus.

b) Your worst case outcome is if their loan is owned by Freddie, in which case they’ll have to refinance with their original servicer.

In any of these scenarios, at least you know that if the prospect pays for an appraisal, they will have the option to refinance the loan (at least in most situations). So it’s not as much of a gamble – and you have overcome a large objection.

Another strategy you could try is to set up a network of people you trust on the retail side with the big banks. Whenever you get a prospect that has to go back to their current servicer for the refi (Freddie loans), at least you can refer them to a friendly person who is likely to treat them nicely since you referred them a deal. Your prospect will be most appreciative since you took the time to educate them – and they won’t be just calling 800# hell. 🙂

Overcoming Objections – A New Column with Scott Evans

April 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Our core vision for the Top of Mind Blog is to create a platform for our industry’s finest originators to share execution strategies and success stories. In that spirit, I’m honored to announce that Scott Evans with Family Mortgage of Georgia has volunteered to write a column focusing exclusively on Overcoming Objections.

Scott EvansI’ve known Scott for five years, and he’s as hardworking and ethical a mortgage professional as I’ve ever met. What I love most about Scott is how he’s fueled his success exclusively through the facilitation of repeat and referral business.

Scott’s a modest guy, and I know he’d be embarrassed if I shared publicly how many files he’s closed over the past 120 days. But suffice it to say that he’s one of Georgia’s Top Producers every year, and his success is no accident.

Would you please join me in welcoming Scott Evans to the Top of Mind Blog? His first installment of “Overcoming Objections” will be coming later today.

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