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Ask the Expert: How to Reply To Callers Asking About Your 30 Year Rate

By Dave Hershman 

Part 2; to the Question: I keep getting the same question over the phone—what is your rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage? How do I reply in a way that will assure that I get the loan? Eddie from New Hampshire 

In Part I of my answer,we discussed getting the client comfortable with us before we started finding out their needs. Building a relationship and trust over the phone is a difficult task when we are dealing with people who don’t know us. This is why converting the cold call is so much more difficult than a personal referral. Thus, the first question you ask should be structured to determine where the lead came from. It can be as simple as saying — where did you hear about us?

Dave Hershman

If it is a cold call, you then will start asking about their transaction, such as — is this your first home?You must find out more about what they are doing so that you can uncover their needs — and develop a relationship. If they ask why you need to know this information to provide a rate, you might reply that there are special programs for first time buyers.

If it is a referral, your first questions should be about the referral source. Where did they meet them? How long have they known them? If you both have known the referral source for ten years, then you have something important in common. Don’t forget to say good things about the referral source, especially if they are a real estate agent. Next week we will provide a dichotomy– rate vs. payment.

One this question is answered, and we have started the relationship process, we can start going deeper and take a closer look at the potential needs of a prospect. Without establishing a rapport, you will not get deep enough to see their real needs.

They are calling to ask about the rate. But the reason they are interested in the rate is because the rate is directly related to the payment. Their need is not the rate, as they don’t make a rate every month, they make a payment every month. If you asked their rate six months after closing, they would not remember it. But they will know their payment.

Therefore, you must move the question from rate to payment as quickly as possible. You can do this by asking questions such as — What payment are you looking for?-Or- Are you interested in achieving the lowest possible payment or conserving your cash/capital?

These are true need questions and should start a conversation which will enable you to get deeper. Though rate and payment are directly related, there are other factors which will affect the payment. For example, the loan term and mortgage insurance. If they are interested in building equity more quickly (another question) — have they looked at a 20-year option? You can see where just blurting out a rate will bring an end to the conversation more quickly, but we want it to just be beginning.


Dave Hershman is Senior VP of Sales of Weichert Financial and the top author in the mortgage industry. Dave has published seven books, as well as hundreds of articles and is the founder of the OriginationPro Marketing System and Mortgage School – the online choice for expert mortgage learning and marketing content. His site is www.OriginationPro.comand he can be reached at dave@hershmangroup.com.


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