Ask the Expert: Why Are My Referral Requests Failing?

By Dave Hershman, Senior Vice President, Sales of Weichert Financial

Q: Everyone keeps telling me that I should ask for referrals from my borrowers. I always do after the loan closes, yet I rarely get referrals even though my service is great. What could I be doing wrong? –Peter from Philly

Dave Hershman

Dave: Since I don’t know exactly what you are saying when asking for referrals, it’s hard for me to do a complete analysis. But, I can give you some general guidance and also indicate at least one thing you are most likely doing wrong: timing.

While it is never wrong to ask after closing, you are missing an important opportunity. This comes from the law of selective perception. When you are first talking to a prospect or taking their application, their perception regarding purchasing or refinancing is as high as it will ever be.

What do I mean by that? People normally don’t wake up and say “gee–today I think I will ask my friends what type of loan they have on their home.” But when they are shopping for a home, they are asking everyone about loans, schools, locations and more.

In other words, their ability to refer is the highest at the beginning of the process. The problem is many loan officers are not “comfortable” asking until the loan is closed, and they have done their job. So, the key is getting comfortable earlier in the process.

If you give great customer service consistently, then you don’t have to wait until the loan closes. You are confident that you will do the job, so asking earlier is easier. Speaking of confidence, any time that you deliver good news to your customer, this juncture represents a great opportunity to ask. That requires more touches.

If an appraisal comes in higher than the sales price, call them and give them the good news. This is an example of a great “good news” opportunity, along with the point of approval and when the loan becomes “clear to close.”

You can also make yourself more comfortable by delivering value more quickly. How can you do that? Perhaps sending them an article that will help them (such as an article about getting ready for closing). Or, refer them to an insurance agent who is going to save them money. Even calling them weekly to give them status updates represents value.

Getting more comfortable? Just a matter of confidence, timing and delivery of value.

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.com and he can be reached at dave@hershmangroup.com.

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