Today’s digital environment has spawned the movement towards a heavily process-driven sales model. This works to lower origination costs and speed up the home buying process, both of which are coveted outcomes for borrowers, but it also leaves something to be desired on the human side of the transaction.
Loan officers are constantly looking for ways to differentiate themselves from the competition. Sometimes, in order to be different and build effective and long-lasting relationships, you have to take a page from sales techniques of the past.
Empathy and sincerity can be strong competitive differentiators. Use these four “old-fashioned” sales methods to build stronger relationships with borrowers based on an emotional connection, not just a transactional one.
1. Handwritten notes
The handwritten thank-you note is an underappreciated tool when it comes to relationship building. There is something special about receiving even the simplest of notes in the mail, hidden amongst the never-ending stack of bills and pre-approved credit card offers.
Email is a great way to quickly communicate information between people, but there is nothing memorable about it. Handwriting even a brief message shows your clients that you took the time to put pen to paper, a much more intimate form of correspondence that shows your appreciation for their business.
Stay efficient with this practice by pre-labeling and pre-stamping envelopes.
2. Recommended services and vendor network
When you are working with a first-time homebuyer or a client that is new to the area, it is unlikely that they have preferred service vendors to access when their new home needs attention.
Who is the best local person/company to call when their furnace needs work? Or when they have a plumbing issue? Or if their driveway needs filling?
You get the point.
There are dozens of specialty services pertaining to homeownership (sprinklers?!?) that many people don’t consider until it’s an emergency. This creates an opportunity to create a lot of value for your clients in the form of expertise.
By providing a list of recommended local services and vendors to your clients, you fortify your post-transaction relationship. You show that you care about their continued success and want them to have a stress-free homeownership experience.
Print your list on a piece of letterhead or stationary branded with your business information to maintain another connection. Bonus points are awarded for adding more value by negotiating referral discounts from vendors.
3. Phone calls on special occasions
A brief phone call (or even greeting cards/notes) to your past customers on a birthday or anniversary is a great way to not only show them you care but also to check-in with what’s happening in their life and if there are any opportunities for business.
Your former clients will appreciate the call or card, and you’ll be top-of-mind again if they happen to have a friend to refer.
Make this process more efficient by organizing your mortgage CRM to alert you about upcoming events and occasions.
4. Personalized gift after Closing
A small gift after a successful closing is a great sales technique to solidify the relationship with your borrowers at the peak of their happiness. The best gifts are those that leave a lasting emotional imprint of the moment.
As with most relationship-building techniques, don’t overcomplicate things. Try something like a simple but elegant framed photo of your borrower(s) on the day they received their keys, or if you know they’re wine-lovers maybe an engraved set of glasses. The best gifts are small, thoughtful and last forever.
Avoid perishables. Once they’re gone, they’re forgotten.
Bonus: Using the “personal note” feature
We learned long ago that maintaining a high-touch level of communication with borrowers during the loan process was one of the keys to a satisfying customer experience. It is also extremely time-consuming to manually update every client with their loan status.
So we automated it.
An automated, templated system of communication saves a lot of time and effort, but it can make it difficult to personalize messaging to the client.
Unless, of course, you’re using Floify.
Floify email templates can be built with a “personal note” field that allows LO’s to add individualization to their correspondence. Not every situation will require a personal note. Nonetheless, it’s a nice way to connect with your borrower in a time-conscious manner.
The best, most proven, way to build loyalty amongst your customer base, is to build strong emotional connections. Take advantage of these under-utilized sales techniques to deepen the relationship with your borrowers, turning them into your biggest fans.