Are they ready to buy (you)?
The buying process entails the following five key steps.
1. Identify: The referral source has identified that it needs a mortgage expert and has its own reason behind the decision to do business with a loan officer.
2. Search: The referral source begins a quest for information to determine who the best loan officers are. It is important to note that most referral sources see loan officers as a necessity only--a means to an end or someone they must interact with to accomplish their goal.
The referral source may or may not contact the loan officer directly in this phase. In that case, what information will the referral source see, read or hear on the loan officer's website, LinkedIn[R] page, Google[TM], and elsewhere? A loan officer should make sure his or her image and value proposition are compelling and professional.
3. Evaluate: Loan officers share information and the referral source makes final comparisons. During this stage, it is imperative for the loan officer to ask questions that identify the referral source's driving force and then respond accordingly.
When a loan officer is asking questions, it is important to incorporate questions related to "social proof." The definition of social proof is the influence that occurs when people are determining an appropriate mode of behavior or seeking to possess more knowledge about a situation. In other words, they will deem the behavior of others as more appropriate or better informed. They will believe the experiences of other referral sources, as social proof creates the perception of increased safety and less risk to the referral source. If other referral sources are having a good experience, then it would make sense that they would have a good experience as well.
No one really likes to be the first to buy "you" and discover it was a waste of time and/or money. Ask the following questions to discover if the referral source has experienced any form of social proof regarding you, your company or your service:
* Have you spoken to others regarding me and my company?
* Have you seen the recommendations from my website and my LinkedIn profile?
* Do you know anyone who has done business with me? What were their thoughts?
Don't leave it to chance that the referral source has done a lot of research about you. Follow up every conversation with email testimonials specific to the referral source.
4. Purchase: The referral source has made a decision to use you. This is the opportunity to truly validate that the referral source made the right decision. Handle the customer with care and take a thoroughly complete, perfect, without error, flawless loan application.
Did I mention that the application is your best marketing tool and the key to repeat business? It is so often overlooked as just a task, but is the main ingredient for solidifying the relationship with the referral source. All those managers who continue to beg and plead for a loan officer to take a perfect application understand it is not just about making operations more efficient--it also about setting the stage for success for the loan officer's referral relationships.
5. Re-evaluate: The referral source retention seed is planted with the way you marketed your product or service. It becomes rooted by how the referral source feels about his or her experience. The customer experience is not based solely on how problem-free the process was, but more importantly, when there was a problem, how it was handled. It is a known fact that referral sources with a successfully resolved issue or a problem handled with care and professionalism end up being more loyal than those without any issues. Of course, problems that arise on initial transactions with referral sources are difficult to overcome, and recurring problems of the same nature are inexcusable in the eyes of a referral source.
The three stages of the buying process that are the most critical to a loan officer's success in getting a referral partner's business are:
* Evaluate--this is your opportunity to make a first impression.
* Purchase--this is your opportunity to solidify the referral source's decision.
* Re-evaluate--this is your opportunity to make a lasting impression.
The buying decision for all of us is an emotional decision. And yes--even with a referral source. Although the rea ferral source will evaluate your presentation intellectually, at the moment of truth, the decision of whether to actually do business with you instead of another loan officer with whom they have a track record switches over to the emotional side. It becomes a very personal moment of commitment--can the source trust his or her commission check and reputation with you?
Casey Cunningham is the chief executive officer and founder of Alpharetta, Georgia-based XINNIX, The Mortgage Academy of Excellence, a provider of leadership development and mortgage sales training with comprehensive programs designed to enhance productivity, manager effectiveness and overall company profitability, She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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|Title Annotation:||THE RIGHT STUFF|
|Comment:||Are they ready to buy (you)?(THE RIGHT STUFF)|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2013|
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