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By Samuel N. Asare
Senior financial strategist
Laser Financial Group
7 Ways to Immunize Your Business
Foster business regardless of economic whims
mortgage brokers often fill one of
the most-important roles in their clients’
financial lives. To perform their duties
effectively, brokers must be able to provide clients with simple, thoughtful and
individualized solutions. In addition, brokers must ensure that their businesses
will succeed regardless of the economy,
unemployment or interest rates.
The goals of helping clients and helping yourself are not mutually exclusive.
Here are seven steps for doing so.
1. Have higher standards
Do the right thing no matter what. Your
parents likely offered you this advice at
some point, but how many times have
you practiced it?
For example, would you caution borrowers to think twice if you know they
are pushing the envelope financially?
Or would you find creative ways to
make the deal work, risks aside?
The key phrase here is “no matter
what.” This means offering your honest professional opinion even if it takes
money out of your pocket. By offering
your honest advice at all times, you set
yourself apart as a professional who
puts others first. You also likely will be
remembered as an upstanding broker —
a reputation that can lead to increased
referrals and help avoid legal troubles.
Illustration: Dennis Wunsch
2. Check in after closing
Even if you already send clients thank-you notes or housewarming gifts, it’s
wise to call them after their deals close.
Ask them if they have any questions
about making their first payment or
Borrowers could be confused by any
number of things. Simple things, such
as believing their loan was from Lender
X but receiving a statement from Company Y, could confuse new borrowers.
By checking in, you can offer insights
into what happened. It’s a good idea
to start by asking clients if everything
looks exactly as it should.
Making follow-up calls may seem like
a small detail, but clients often appreciate the little things.
of Junior’s baseball team — it proves
your interest and solidifies your clients’
feelings of trust.
A final point here: Clients will know
if your feelings aren’t genuine. Learn to
be natural in your interactions. False
kindness will repel prospects rather
than impress and attract them.
Helping others also can pay dividends if they leave the mortgage business and seek someone to work with
their clients. If you ever do assume another mortgage professional’s client
and referral lists, the benefits can be
substantial and long-lasting.
3. Make clients matter
Whenever you call your clients, spend the
first few minutes asking about them and
their families. Be prepared to listen to every detail, from Grandpa Joe’s visit to Junior’s latest Little League game. When
clients tell you these stories, it means they
trust you and believe you care.
One way to make a great impression is by writing notes in your clients’
files and reviewing them before calling.
When you call and mention something
from your previous conversation — like
Grandpa Joe’s hometown or the name
4. Improve your phone skills
Almost everyone sends birthday cards
to their clients, but what if you followed
up with a phone call to wish them a
happy birthday? This can place you
above all the other financial professionals who sent cards.
Here’s another way to impress over
the phone: Pick it up when it rings.
So many finance pros let their phone
calls go to voice mail. Brokers who
make the effort to answer in-person
can set themselves apart.
Another tip: If you say you’ll call clients back at a specific time, make sure
you do so.
6. Re-educate clients
Avoid the mistake of thinking clients
feel fine about their mortgages or the
economy in general because you provided them with great products and
With ongoing media reports about
the real estate and mortgage markets,
homeowners have plenty of reasons to
question their financial security and to
seek further education about the mortgage market. They may forget critical
pieces of information about their own
loans. Great tools to re-educate clients about their position in the market
include blogs, newsletters, personal
notes and phone calls.
For instance, clients with fixed-rate
loans might not realize that they don’t
need to worry about the payment escalations associated with adjustable-rate
mortgages. Or, you might need to explain that lower interest rates don’t necessarily mean they should refinance.
Things that seem simple to brokers can
appear complicated to others. Always
be ready and willing to re-educate your
7. Call clients annually
If you think there’s nothing to talk to clients about because they have 15- or 30-
year fixed-rate loans, think again. For
one, keeping in touch with past clients
can offer a first-class ticket to referrals.
You also might consider calling your
clients annually to make sure their mortgages still fulfill their needs. Sending out
calendars each December is one thing.
Calling to say hello and make sure your
clients are doing well is another.
None of the aforementioned steps
should be particularly difficult, cutting-edge or time-consuming. Nonetheless,
it often seems few mortgage brokers
actually do them. Implementing them
in your business can help you stand out
and increase the likelihood that you’ll
succeed no matter what the economy
throws at us. •
5. Create colleagues
Do your best to build business relationships with other mortgage professionals. Share your tips, advice and
expertise, even if it seems counter-intuitive. Your goal should be to become confident enough to stop viewing
others in your field as competition.
Instead, view them as fellow professionals in need of guidance.
Samuel N. Asare is a senior financial strategist with Laser Financial Group, where,
among other things, he is responsible for
educating the company’s mortgage-industry
alliances about adding value and continually increasing originations regardless of the
interest-rate environment. Asare is a regular
commentator on a wide range of business
and personal-finance issues. Reach him
at email@example.com, (301) 949-4449 or
through the company’s Web site at www.