Do your legwork upfront with new
clients. Does their financial situation
meet their goals and the loan program
requirements and your company’s
product mix? If not, assist them in
finding a business that can help them
and hand them off. Don’t try to force
them to fit into your company’s mold.
As a mortgage professional, you
are a brand within your company. Not
only do you represent that company,
but also yourself. You should convey
the message that your brand cares
about meeting the consumer’s needs —
and your own — not just the sale. •
By Jeannie Smith
Vice president, sales
Guardian Mortgage Co. Inc.
Hello, Is It You I’m Looking For?
in tough times, finding your ideal client is essential
on deals with financially stable customers. But even during the subprime days,
some companies did not go for the easy
sale just to work a deal. Some mortgage professionals knew who their ideal
clients were and stuck with that vision,
only making deals with customers who
could pay back their loans.
The next key to success is to not
get stuck behind a desk. Mortgage
professionals are now in a purchase
market with a completely different
set of buyers. Today’s tough market
demands action. Get out of the of-
fice. Don’t wait for the phone to ring.
People want to connect with you and
refer business to your company. Mort-
gage professionals should meet as
many people and industry peers as
possible. They also need to know the
profile of their ideal candidate. The list
of ideal clients will grow exponentially.
As the trend has shifted back to a
purchase market with a much different
set of buyers, mortgage professionals
have been revamping their game to
focus on new homebuyers, families who
need more room and couples who want
smaller homes. You need to create a
message that appeals to these groups.
When meeting new clients, step back
and ask, “What is my goal?” Be an
active listener. Ask good questions
about their short-term mortgage needs
and long-term financial goals. Go over
their responses with them, as well as
their personal finances. This question-and-answer session should reveal if a
potential borrower is your ideal client.
Finally, don’t get desperate. Focus
on those prospective borrowers who fit
the profile of your ideal client and don’t
waste unnecessary time with those who
don’t. Spending time trying to make a
less-than-ideal client transaction work
could cause missed opportunities with
the right borrowers.
Especially in the down times, a mortgage professional has to be good at many things. But
most successful mortgage brokers and
originators possess one key skill: They
know their ideal client.
When interest rates rise and loan
volumes fall or when federal regulations
make access to credit more challenging, mortgage brokers and originators
naturally might become desperate and
chase every deal. Any potential client
who walks through the door seems like
a good opportunity. But this is a trap.
There is a better way.
Mortgage professionals should know
what clients to look for. They should
listen to what their clients need. They
also must be able to make a quick
decision on whether they can help a borrower. Otherwise, they risk spinning their
wheels attempting to force unworkable deals, and miss out on the clients
who fit their mold.
With new federal regulations that have
made it tougher to complete loans, mortgage brokers and originators now focus
By Jason Bonarrigo
Senior loan officer
Residential Mortgage Services
Keep the Pipeline Full in Slow Times
Networking is even more critical when business lags
e-mails to friends, complaining to
colleagues about how slow it is or whining to managers about processing?
That isn’t sales activity.
Make good use of your time. Send
e-mails to former borrowers, asking them
how the new homeownership is going.
Call a Realtor with whom you used to
work and set up a meeting for coffee.
Good Realtors influence their buyers
greatly and often refer them to mortgage
companies. This is especially true in
today’s world of stringent underwriting
and compliance rules. Learn who the
top Realtors are in your territory. Call
them and ask for meetings. Explain to
them how your organization can help
meet commitment dates, closings and
instant preapprovals. Tell them that
you would like to sit in on Sunday
open houses, and help deliver them
With the refinance boom of the past
few years, many mortgage profession-
als stopped attending closings — a big
mistake. Get in the habit of attending
every mortgage closing. There is no
better networking opportunity. Two
Realtors, t wo attorneys, your own client
and a seller who might be a buyer
of the future are sitting around the
table. You won’t be hiding behind
e-mails and spam marketing when
you’re shaking hands with six potential
referral sources. Nothing beats face-
Mortgage professionals also make the
mistake of not meeting borrowers
in person until closing. Do things the old-fashioned way and meet with buyers
directly at formal applications. It is easier
to explain escrows, per diem interest,
requirements and large deposits.
Additionally, a borrower is less likely
to back out of a deal or fail to follow
through on the necessary steps to
complete a mortgage after an in-person meeting.
One other word of advice: When
meeting with a self-employed borrower,
always ask for the name of the client’s
In the winter months when business tends to slow down in many parts of the country, mortgage professionals might be tempted to take things
easier, especially because interest
rates have increased and refinances
have dropped off significantly.
Does this mean a mortgage professional should accept this and work
fewer hours? Emphatically, no. Successful
mortgage brokers and originators don’t
stop working when the phone stops
ringing. They work harder because it
doesn’t feel like work. They make the
work fun because they love the game
and bring energy and innovation to it
at all times.
So, play mortgage sales like a competitive game. You will have more energy
and feel more motivated. Tally up your
sales in a given week. Keep score.
A sales activity is work that results
in a new mortgage application. Why,
then, are many mortgage profess-
ionals allowing their hours to be
swallowed up by firing off chatty
certified public accountant (CPA). This
is another opportunity to develop a
future source of business. Many CPAs
are the first to know when their client
is refinancing or buying a new home.
If you can make life easier for the tax
preparer, it may result in referrals.
When it comes to networking,
building referrals and getting the
phone ringing again, just dive right in.
Although you might hesitate to test
the networking waters fearing a cold
shock to the system, it is actually joyful, exciting and fun. The water is not
that bad. •
« tools & tips »
Jason Bonarrigo is a senior loan officer at
Residential Mortgage Services. He has worked
in the mortgage industry for more than eight
years. Bonarrigo actively participates in the
Builders Association of Greater Boston and
volunteers at fundraisers for the Jimmy Fund.
In his spare time, he is an avid golfer and
youth sports coach in Walpole, Mass.
Reach Bonarrigo at (781) 664-6203 or
Jeannie Smith is vice president, sales, for
Guardian Mortgage Co. Inc. She joined the
Guardian team in March 2011 and brings a wealth
of experience in leading sales and marketing
initiatives for some of the world’s most recognizable brands. She has a strong financial
background, creative style and exceptional
ability to cultivate loyal client relationships.
Reach Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or
are now in a purchase
market with a completely
different set of buyers.”