Mortgage professionals all need to prospect. We all acknowledge that Prospecting is one of the three things we do as a loan originator along with managing communications and processing the information we generate from prospecting. Far too often originators forget to be clear on about the how what they are doing translates into closed loans. So the discussion this week is about prospecting with purpose.
The first thing we need to be clear about is how does the action I am taking result in either a loan opportunity or a meeting with someone who can refer me? Far too often originators go out prospecting without a clear agenda or focus. They talk to people and then “hope” that the result will be a referral. Well, let me tell you, hope is not a success strategy! If what you are doing doesn’t have a clear and measurable path to a loan opportunity or an appointment with a referral partner, then you need to sit down and figure it out or find something else to do!
Second, we have to put ourselves in a position to offer an actionable activity as a response. Be specific as to what you want to discuss and how by working with you or referring you, they will benefit. Let’s face it, if the customer or referral partner doesn’t see a direct benefit from working with, or referring you, what is their motivation to do so? You must be the SOLUTION to their challenge, not a SOURCE of their problem!
Third, make connections to a larger group or network whenever possible. Have one Realtor® that has experienced success with you share their story with others. Get a testimonial in writing, get a recommendation from them on LinkedIn®, and have them share the success with others they know! Let the customer do the same thing. Always ask if they are on Facebook®, LinkedIn®, or Angie’s List®. Get them to share their experience with the group. Once you have these, you can use them as examples to open up conversations and break down barriers to initial conversations! Video testimonials work great as well! Connect with accountants, financial planners, and insurance professionals to provide meaningful information to the public so all of you can compound all of your relationships to provide opportunities for each other. Right now is a good time to put together a seminar on the changes in the tax code for 2013 and what people need to be doing in the fourth quarter to reduce their tax liability. Create the discussion and provide solutions!
Fourth, follow up a great experience with an appointment. Once you have closed your loan you follow-up that closing with a personal note to the agent on the other side and call them a week or so later to secure a meeting. Same holds true for your buyer. Follow-up after closing and be sure they have completed the follow-up survey and are clear about first payment instructions. Many times this will avoid confusion and reward you with an instant referral.
Last but not least we need to track all of our efforts and see if the contacts, credit pulls, applications, and closed loans we are getting are worth the investment of prospecting time we are giving it. Each day requires specific focused prospecting. Each day we need to “win the day” by generating new contacts, new credit pulls, new referral partner meetings, and new opportunities. We must have a built-in set of measurable. We must set proper expectations of our efforts. We must be clear on what outcome we expect. And above all we must remain consistent in our efforts so that any opportunities we might have obtained from our actions have a chance to develop. Never begin or end any prospecting activities without a clear timeline for success. So many people make a first visit or have an initial conversation and then never follow up that effort. It may take three or more visits to secure the attention of someone, but most people stop at one. How sad.
Every action needs a clear purpose. Each activity needs a specific call to action and a set of measurable by which to gage the success or failure of the attempt. If you aren’t clear on how working with you is a benefit, then you are no different than anyone else doing loans. That is not acceptable. The ability to grow loan volume is often just as simple as having a clear plan and being consistent with it, tracking results, and making adjustments as needed to get the results you desire.
Many companies and originators are seeing lower loan volumes since rates began to climb in May. While rates have recovered a bit, it isn’t likely we will see 3.25% on the 30 year fixed anytime soon. While refinances have declined, purchase business has not grown fast enough yet to fill that void. Everyone needs to commit to working a little harder and a bit smarter to gain that one opportunity a day that will yield two more credit pulls each week that can result in just one more loan. One opportunity a day by every originator can make all the difference.
Have a clear purpose to your prospecting so you and your company can prosper and grow while others struggle and decline. Now is a time for action. Remember, HOPE is NOT a success strategy!