Automation & Technology
Building a connected mortgage lending culture for customer and partner loyalty
Author: Dale Vermillion
Now, like never before, success in the mortgage lending industry is dependent upon strong customer relationships. If you don’t have a strong connection to your borrowers, you don’t have anything. When you consider that a mortgage is the single largest, most personal financial decision most buyers will make in their lifetime, it’s easy to understand why emotions end up playing a huge part in that decision. Motivational speaker, Brian Tracey pointed out that people seldom buy logically when it comes to purchasing a home. They buy emotionally, and then defend their decision with logic. In part two of my crash course on market survival skills, I covered how lenders can make that emotional connection with borrowers, and how technology can be used to establish and enhance those relationships.
The key to success as a mortgage loan officer - an Others-First™ mindset
I’ve spent years helping companies learn how to establish strong customer relationships, and do you know what I’ve learned? Companies that make putting the needs of customers first a part of their culture, absolutely win in spades. There are three central types of relationships that you need to focus on:
- Prospects - Consumers on the borrower end
- Partners - Service providers and solutions engineers that support your business
- Peers - Employees within your own organization
Managing all these relationship without having anything slip through the cracks can be a nearly impossible task, but that’s where automation technology comes in. A major concern when onboarding automation is that it will get in the way of that real human connection. Let me put your mind at ease by telling you that technology is intended to enhance relationships, not replace them. Automating menial tasks and improving efficiency gives time back to your team that they can use to invest those personal touches into relationships across your organization. When their resources are freed up to spend time building those connections, trust, loyalty and growth will follow.
The lost art of communication in the mortgage loan process
In this digital age, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the voice, or customer profile, on the other end of a transaction is a person who needs your guidance and expertise. Communication is at the root of all relationships, business and personal, and it feels like a dying art. Let’s get back to the fundamentals of communication, repair our foundation, and then continue building out from there. Here are the basics to get you started:
- Responsiveness and respect - Conversion drops 42% after the first minute when a lead is generated. You have to respond immediately. That’s how you show you’re not just talking service, you’re exhibiting service.
- Frequency and persistence - Stay top of mind with your partners, and your borrowers. Establish communication guidelines and set up processes that automatically keep you in the loop with reminders to reach out again. 96% of conversions resulted from 5+ contact attempts, so persistence is crucial. (See the 2020 Borrower Insights Survey)
- Personal connection - Pick up the phone, meet with your partners, and sit down with customers face to face, even if that’s virtual. A 3-minute phone call can stop days, if not weeks, of back-and-forth emails. This is your chance to set yourself apart by sounding different, personal, and connecting to the borrower.
- Concern and compassion - Understand your borrowers individual needs, and respond to them. This goes back to that idea of recognizing and honoring the person on the other end of a transaction.
- Follow-up and consistency - Stay in contact. This is the beauty of Encompass® by ICE Mortgage Technology™. It provides consistency through automatic communication to keep loan officers connected to their borrowers, building lasting relationships.
What every mortgage loan officer needs to give - time and attention
If your borrower experience follows a cookie cutter path from application to closing, all without any personal contact, you’re getting it wrong. That’s not a sustainable way to grow a business, or to hold yourself up against the competition. Paying attention to your customers and partners makes all the difference. The moment you don’t pay attention and drift away, is the moment they stop communicating. The trick is to make time your friend, not your enemy. In the business world, if you don’t slow down, you’ll create problems on the back side. We have to focus on a culture of spending more time that building quality relationships. This will translate into closing more loans. Here are the payoffs you can expect from spending more time:
- A true understanding of borrower needs and wants
- Building trust and loyalty
- Ensuring a more complete application (instead of creating bounce-back issues for processors and underwriters)
- Both offense and defense: Offensively, you're building trust and loyalty with your borrower; defensively, you’re blocking the competition and winning the deal, just by being on the phone with the borrower when no one else is
Bottom line - automation improves loan officer communication
People are longing for connection, and you can successfully grow your business by being the one to give it to them. When you make connection a part of your company culture that’s where the rubber meets the road. That being said, ease and efficiency are critically important. That’s where ICE Mortgage Technology comes in. If you combine the efficiency and organization of automation with good old-fashioned human connection, the numbers go through the roof. That’s how you can make every step of the borrower experience a relationship and business building opportunity.
Reach out to an expert at ICE Mortgage Technology to find out how you can improve your business relationships across your organization.