Standing Out in the Face of Mortgage Innovation

Lessons From Sales Mastery

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard the rumors. “Automation is going to steal all the loan officers’ jobs.” “Mortgage innovation is the death of the originator.” “AI is replacing you.” 

It’s easy to feel worried by the growing role that technology plays in the mortgage world. According to an Ellie Mae survey released in August 2018, 51% of borrowers uploaded their bank statements online, 48% uploaded some piece of their application, and 43% completed their entire history online. 

What Will the Future Hold?

These numbers are just going to continue to grow, and it’s easy to assume that the rise of mortgage innovation will lead to a decline in loan officer jobs. After all, with more automatic processes in place, why would we still need traditional mortgage originators? 

This was another major theme at this year’s Sales Mastery. But the top producers who took the stage are not afraid of the future. Instead, they stressed the importance of embracing mortgage innovation, with one key caveat. You need to find the unique way that you provide value. A computer can’t replace the human touch a loan officer brings. 

Here are a few of the ways that you can provide value in the face of mortgage innovation: 

  1. Build relationship currency
  2. Invest in your team 
  3. Focus on the front end
  4. Provide the unexpected
  5. Connect at every step

Build Relationship Currency

Carla Harris kicked off Sales Mastery discussing the difference between performance currency and relationship currency. Performance currency–delivering what you promise–is important, especially at the beginning of your career. However, relationship currency is a longer term benefit to your business. 

Carla Harris

Vice Chairman, Managing Director, and Senior Client Advisor
Morgan Stanley

“Relationship currency is generated by the investment that you make in the people in your environment,” says Carla. She continues on to say that you gain three things through relationship currency. 

Relationship currency…

  1. Gives you the ability to make the outsized ask. 

  2. Leads to more business. 

  3. Gives you the ability to come back from mistakes.

Let’s take a look at each of these benefits. 

The Outsized Ask 

You don’t work in an isolated silo, which means that you’ll need to rely on others for help sometimes. If you’ve built up amazing relationship currency, others will be more than happy to help when these times arise. 

More Business 

If you’ve developed a great relationship with a customer or a partner, they’ll bring more business to you. It’s as simple as that. You’ll be able to serve more families, close more loans, and earn more money by just focusing on people. Offering your borrowers and partners value is one of the best ways to invest in relationship currency. 

Carla Harris says, “[I] deliver at least four times before I ever ask for something. People will tell you what they value. If you’re not so preoccupied about making a sale, people will tell you what they need.” 

And if you’re able to fulfill these needs, you’ll have made a customer for life. Not only that, you’ll have made an ambassador of your business: someone who tells their family and friends about you. 

Come Back From Mistakes 

Mistakes happen, even to the best of us. Because of this, you need to build safeguards into your work. With a foundation of high relationship currency, you’ll have earned the ability to make mistakes, learn from them, and move on. Your team members, customers, and partners will know that an isolated mistake is not indicative of the quality of your work. 

Invest In Your Team

One of the most effective ways to be successful alongside mortgage innovation is to invest in your team. After all, your team dynamic is what sets you apart from the automated mortgage process. By offering training, team building, and continued education to your team, you’ll be showing that you value them. Additionally, by fostering a stellar team, you’ll be better equipped to provide your customers with exceptional service. 

Carla Harris says, “If you are competing around innovation, that means you’ll be going into territories unknown. We know that you can not do it alone. Your team must trust you.” Therefore, you need to invest time, energy, and resources into the people that you rely on most heavily: your team. Mortgage innovation is a largely unknown space, so it’s important to have people around you can trust. 

Focus on the Front End

It can be tempting to rush through the beginning of the loan process. Generating leads, converting into borrowers, and receiving applications, are critical to filling your pipeline. Therefore, it can be tempting to hurry, and forget to focus on the client’s needs. 

Todd Duncan says, “Speed matters, but speed kills. It is better to slow down up front, to speed up on the back. There’s not a magic formula, but you need to have personal pride in every file you turn in.”

Todd Duncan

Founder, Speaker, Author
High Trust Selling

Instead of rushing through the beginning stages of the loan process, consider your client. This is one of the biggest financial decisions they will ever make, so how can you guide them? This may mean offering advice that will lead to a lower commission, or no loan at all. However, by slowing down, thinking of the customer first, and asking thoughtful questions, you will prove your value.

“Clients want three things: a good deal, a good experience, and anything and everything else. They don’t know what that is, they just want whatever you can give them.” - Marty Preston

Provide the Unexpected

Marty Preston says, “Clients want three things: a good deal, a good experience, and anything and everything else. They don’t know what that is, they just want whatever you can give them.”

Marty Preston 

Branch Manager
Benchmark Mortgage

Remember, many of your borrowers are first time buyers, so they don’t know what they want from you. Providing education, advice, and support to your borrowers, fulfills needs they didn’t even know they had. 

Mortgage innovation can assist in this step, by providing digital tools to wow your borrowers. Digital document and signature portals, automated loan updates, and more, are all excellent ways to merge high touch and innovative tools. 

Connect At Every Step

Lastly, a critical way to prove your value in the face of mortgage innovation is to connect with your borrower at every step of the way. 

From the very beginning, be there for your customer. Katie Pastor Trinidad says, “Focus on getting people into houses. Do they need downpayment assistance? Is it educating people about VA benefits? Let’s educate realtors. Ask them how much they know, and then educate them so that they can educate their people.” 

Katie Pastor Trinidad

Mortgage Planner
Partners Mortgage

Once you have earned a borrower’s business, your role as a helpful resource has just begun. Travis Gregg shares his go-to ways of helping his customers at every step of the loan process: 

  • Weekly calls to pre-approved buyers
  • Listing agent calls or video messages once the contract is received 
  • Weekly follow-ups to all parties involved 
  • Closing call to review CD 
  • Closing follow-up call 
  • First payment call 
  • Birthday calls or video messages 
  • Annual mortgage review

Travis Gregg

Mortgage Lender

Huntington National Bank

Bottom Line

Mortgage innovation, and the automation it brings, can be a scary idea for loan officers. However, instead of avoiding technology, you need to embrace it. Just keep in mind that you hold unique capabilities that no computer can replace. Therefore, find your niche, and pair your unique skill sets with the power of mortgage innovation. 

Then, you’ll be truly set apart as a mortgage loan originator who will stand the test of time. 

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