Dennis Black is the CEO of Dennis Black and Associates, a
training organization devoted exclusively to the development of sales and management professionals within the
lending industry. Dennis Black and Associates has trained
over 115,000 mortgage professionals throughout the United
States, Canada and Australia. Black speaks at conferences
sponsored by the Mortgage Bankers Association and NAMB -
The Association of Mortgage Professionals about selling
strategies and is a frequent speaker at state conferences. Visit
dennisblack.com. Reach Black at email@example.com.
The answer to the question of why borrow- ers shop is far more complex than “because they want to,” and understanding the core reasons for why people shop around for
mortgages can help originators improve their results
with potential clients. The real answer to this question
is painfully clear: It is because they have to.
As we break down the factors of why borrowers
shop around for mortgages, it is important to realize
that originators can alter this trend if they are willing
to change how they answer the biggest question
posed by borrowers: “What is your rate?”
Many originators tend to be their own worst enemy.
Their marketing and customer interactions actually
create the issue of rate. They advertise best rates
and then answer the rate question far too quickly in
initial conversations. Even worse, in the race to market
rates, many originators fail to follow through on the
five basic sales techniques they should use on every
■ ■ Get the borrower’s name. This should be your first
question so you can use the caller’s name during the
call to build rapport.
■ ■ Ask for a phone number and e-mail address. You
will need this for follow-ups.
■ ■ Find out the reason behind the call. Without
this information, you cannot sell to their needs.
■ ■ Ask if a Realtor is involved. If you get the name of
the caller’s Realtor, you can reach out to that agent
afterward to open up a new relationship.
■ ■ Ask to start the loan process. You would be
amazed how many originators fail to do this before
the borrower hangs up.
These five items should be used as a minimum
barometer of a successful call. If originators are failing
to do even this much, is it any wonder that customers are dissatisfied with the service they receive when
shopping for a mortgage?
Change the question
To begin changing the way people shop for mortgages, the industry needs to realize that borrowers
shop because they are being “told to” instead of being
“sold to.” This may be the biggest challenge. Sales
people often are too eager to tell clients why they
should apply with them, even before finding out if the
borrower truly needs what they are offering.
Unfortunately, many originators associate telling
with selling. It is easy to talk about the perks you can
offer, but the awareness of what each borrower needs
for a particular mortgage situation is the critical ele-
ment of selling, and probably the part least under-
stood by some salespeople today. The rush to tell
borrowers what you can do without being aware of
the reason for their call is why people shop around.
They get inundated with offers without ever knowing
if they truly need what is being thrown at them, so
they move on to another salesperson.
The first step in changing this approach is to learn
to ask more than you tell. This can be hard to do for
traditional sales people who associate selling with
impressing customers with their capabilities instead
of thinking about what the client truly needs. Why do
many originators default to discussing 30-year mortgages, for example? It is because they advertise that
rate, which means borrowers inquire about those
Why Borrowers Shop
When potential clients inquire about rates,
first ask what they really need
By Dennis Black
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