Building Rapport With Mortgage Shoppers

How do you respond when potential clients ask about your rates? I used to hear a lot of loan originators bark out rates immediately. Conversations have slowed some now that price matrices have gotten more complex. Before you can answer the question, you need to consider variables like FICO scores, Loan-To-Value (LTV) & Ratios. Since the industry doesn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach, you have to take time to ask some questions.

In my opinion, slowing them down benefits for you and your clients. Client’s, of course, want to know rates because they want to find the best deals possible. When a client asked me about my rates, I pumped the brakes by asking a few questions of my own. I asked them how they heard about me. I asked them who I can thank for referring them to me. Instead of calculating the rate and spitting it back at them, I built rapport.

Slowing down also gives you an opportunity to educate clients about what they can expect. You can talk about how rates have been fluctuating between 3.875 percent and 4.25 percent, depending on the market. You can ask them about their real estate and mortgage needs. You also get a chance to explain things like closing costs and points. Suddenly, your client understands that you work in a complex industry where things can change daily.

I liked to give potential clients useful information even if I wasn't sure that they’d give me their business. Those who had pre-approvals, for instance, can’t shop for rates until they find a property and enter an agreement. A lot of homebuyers don’t know that.

When I get the feeling that they’re going to hang up on me because I can’t give them a rate without getting more information, I subtly let them know that some bad LOs make promises that they can’t keep. I ask the callers to do me a favor.

If you find a much better “rate”, ask them to “lock in that rate.” If the LO starts to make excuses or throws a lot of confusing language at you, hang up. You have now identified the type of professional that you are dealing with. He or she just wants more business, even if it means hurting you.

At this point, plenty of borrowers realize that they would rather work with an honest person who gives them accurate information, even when it’s not exactly what they want to hear.

I slugged through a lot of difficult calls early in my career. Since then, I’ve gained experience and confidence. I don’t mind challenging phone calls. I look forward to the challenge of letting my professionalism win them over. Many became lifelong clients.

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