As a Mortgage Professional, you know that 50–70% of your income comes from your past clients through repeat business and referrals. That first engagement is the building block for current and future income. Loan officers should be prepared to answer ten questions that savvy homebuyers ask before making a decision on who will help them realize their dream of owning their future home.
Question 1: How many transactions do you work on per month, per year?
Transactions can be viewed as upvotes and likes. The more transactions a loan officer is working on or has closed, the better a potential homebuyer assesses your experience and track record for helping others like them successfully get loans. Include in the conversation the number of referrals you receive because that suggests happy customers. When you talk about transactions, discuss the level of the difference between normal and excessive transactions and what that means to the borrower in terms of service they will receive.
Question 2: What is your Net Promoter Score?
As you know, the Net Promoter Score is used by many lenders to track their loan officers’ performance on every closed loan transaction. Every loan officer is going to tell potential homebuyers that they give great service.
Help the borrower know that a Net Promoter Score (NPS) is an objective measurement of your customer’s willingness to recommend your product to their friends or co-workers. It's’ a holistic way to measure the satisfaction of your customers. A Net Promoter Score is an index that ranges from -100 to 100. Often an NPS is based on a single-question survey delivered post-closing after their buying journey has finished. For example, on a scale of 1-10, “How likely are you to recommend our services to your friends and family?” Responses from 0-6 are “detractors.” Responses from 7-8 are neutral, and responses from 9-10 are your promoters.
Help the potential homebuyer understand the scoring and where you place in the scoring. A loan officer with a very weak score of less than 50 has less than 50% of consumers recommend the loan officer to a friend and should be a sign that homebuyer walk away from that loan officer. Low scores could reflect issues that consumers have identified with the loan officer, such as (1) closing delays, (2) not being responsive to phone calls or emails, (3) lack of transparency into the process, and (4) other negative experiences.
Question 3: What is your experience working with consumers like me?
Yes, every loan is unique. When you are engaging with a potential homebuyer you are learning about their situation. But you have experience with homebuyers in similar situations. For example, if the homebuyer is a marketing manager working at a startup and receives annual bonuses and incentive stock options, you will want them to know that you have experience working their profile and structuring and closing comparable transactions. Help them understand what that experience means to them.
Question 4: Can you explain your process and turn-times for working with applicants to get my loan from application to approval?
You should be able to explain the mortgage process concisely and clearly so that potential homebuyers can be sure that you understand how to help them navigate the process and that you are not a newbie. Be upfront; if it is going to take two weeks for an underwriter to review a loan file, share that so the homebuyer can write a purchase contract with enough time for closing on your loan. If you are only in charge of the initial sale and will not oversee the loan from start to finish, they need to know that so they are clear what to expect. There should be no surprises, and being upfront helps the customer trust you through the process.
Question 5: What is your track record of on-time mortgage closings?
Talk about the importance of closing loans on time and what that means to the borrower, especially when they can be held liable for a breach of contract by the seller for not closing on time. Honestly share your record for closing loans on time and the process you follow to make that happen.
Question 6: Tell me why you chose this profession?
Are you passionate about your profession? Top producing loan officers are dedicated and will go the extra mile to deliver a compelling experience for their customers, and to make the mortgage process as seamless and user-friendly as possible. Simply the way you talk on the phone or interact with your customer says a lot about you.
Question 7: How do I keep track of the status of my loan and at what milestones will I receive updates?
Communication is everything. Sometimes, as loan officers, we forget just how stressful applying for a mortgage loan is for the homebuyer. Let the potential customer know how you will communicate with them throughout the 30-day mortgage process, and help them through each step and to track the progress of the loan. This becomes especially important if they sense that you will be working on too many files. Share what kind of updates they will receive; for example, routine versus immediate communication, such as when a further documentation is needed. If you have online portals for consumers to track the status of their loan, make this a clear value proposition.
Question 8: What do you think my chances of loan approval are?
You know what your institution can and cannot approve. You should be able to clearly articulate whether you believe a borrower can get a loan approved or not and why. Be transparent. If the borrower needs to change aspects of their financial situation to get a loan approved, they should know that. Most loan officers use an automated decision engine to see if the potential homebuyer can be approved at point of sale even if the loan officer is not sure, or the loan officer can call an underwriter to get an opinion on a lending rule or guideline upfront. Talk about the tools and some of the key factors in the decision process.
Question 9: What city and state is your processing center and underwriting center located at?
Help the potential homebuyer understand your closing process with the processor and underwriter. Homebuyers are told that it is always better to have local processing and underwriting (or at least within the same time zone) because it is easier to get questions answered. If processing or underwriting is not local, let the borrower know what hours are available for them to contact the appropriate person for questions and how this might impact their loan closing, especially in case you need to submit additional items.
Question 10: Is there anything that we have not discussed that I should be aware of?
Based on your conversation with the potential borrower, help them understand that their loan is top priority to you and that you will help them through this complex process. Be willing to disclose the positive and the negative. Help them uncover questions that they should be asking and the answers to those questions. Often, it’s these moments that determine if the borrower will become your customer.