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Loan officers should be able to answer this question in 30 seconds or less

Ask yourself this: Why should borrowers do business with you over the competition?

Mortgage loan officers face a challenge this year: With mortgage interest rates on the rise, the pool of eligible rate/term refinance borrowers shrinks. With that side of the lending business waning, loan officers must work harder to both grow their share of existing refinance and drive more purchase originations. As a loan officer, you'll need to earn a borrower's business.

So, ask yourself this: Why should borrowers do business with you over the competition?

As I talk to loan officers, too many don't have an answer. And if you can’t give an answer to a customer in 30 seconds or less, you may not get very far.

The key is to know what value you bring to borrowers and then promote these attributes to the customer.  This sales pitch should be done clearly and concisely the first time you speak to a potential client.

Here are a few key selling points that can give you an edge:

Your competitive rates. Today’s borrowers are savvier than ever as technology has made it easier for them to shop around and compare rates from multiple lenders. If you can promise borrowers that you’ll have the most competitive rates, you’re showing them that by choosing you, they stand to save potentially thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars.

While the focus is often on rates, we see the best loan officers differentiate by other selling points.

Your product offerings fit their needs. Maybe you can offer borrowers lending products that your competitors don't have. For example, you may be able to offer products that help borrowers who have poor credit, a smaller down payment or are self-employed.

You’ve got technology that will make their lives easier. Technology can be a major selling point as well. Today’s consumers expect convenient, easy-to-use technology. Borrowers want the ability to apply online, lock in their rate through your website, or get loan updates with 24/7 access. This will set you apart from other firms whose technology may not be able to compete.

You’re incredibly accessible. You might sell yourself on your work ethic. You can tell potential customers that you work weekends and evenings. If they have a question, you'll return their calls or email messages quickly. If they're worried about the status of your loan, you'll be in touch with an update that day, no matter when your customers reach out to you.

You can close fast. Successful loan officers often sell themselves on speed, too. Maybe you have a history of closing loans in fewer days than other loan officers. You can offer potential customers a closing guarantee, promising that you'll get them to the closing table in fewer than 30 days. This is a meaningful difference, as the average closing on purchase loans was 42 days as of February 2018. Just make sure you can deliver on that promise before you make it. We all know it takes far more than one person to close a loan, and if you don’t get the same buy-in from others on your team, you may end up making an empty promise.

That being said, you don't have to promise everything to your clients. But you will have to offer them at least one thing that differentiates you from the other loan officers scrambling for business this year.

It's about knowing who you are as a loan officer and what you offer. If you can't explain in 30 seconds what sets you apart from your competitors, you'll struggle to capture business and borrower’s confidence in a more competitive environment.

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