Commentary: In a tough market, how do reverse mortgage pros stay relevant?

Reverse mortgage professional Gabe Bodner offers thoughts on how industry peers can find ways to stay relevant in a challenging operating environment

The current reverse mortgage market conditions are not for the faint of heart. The current market is incredibly challenging and can certainly deflate the best originators out there. There are days that I need to remind myself that this market, too, shall pass.

And when it does, I want to be in the best position possible to serve my clients and referral partners. Therefore, I must remain relevant to them every single day.  

So, here are a few thoughts and ideas on how I stay positive and relevant. Activities produce results, but you must keep doing the right activities, which not all of them are.

Maximizing time, connecting with partners

Time is our most valuable resource, so don’t waste it: maximize the time you have to create the results you want, and don’t lie to yourself about the amount of time you’re putting in or the activities you are doing. If you put the time in and do the right activities, the results will come.

Focus on the business activities that you enjoy; don’t do the activities you dread. You are likely wasting your time doing those activities and they will not produce the results you are aiming for.  

I personally love face-to-face meetings with referral partners, so I have a lot of coffee sessions and lunches. I don’t like cold calling, so I don’t do it unless I get a new referral. In that case, I’ll call immediately.  If they don’t answer, I will text or email them if I have their contact information, and then update the referral source on the status.

I do that repeatedly until I connect with the new referral, and I won’t quit until I speak with them.  Therefore, all my calls are warm, not cold calls. If you get a lead or a referral, they must have an interest in what you have to say, therefore it is a warm lead. Because of that, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call. That is not a cold call.

Education and meaningful connection

I like writing and teaching, so I write blog articles and I teach continuing education (CE) classes regularly. I also use these activities across other marketing opportunities and social media, and do my best to stay in front of my past clients and referral partners with relevant and valuable information in my blogs.  

Gabe Bodner, reverse mortgage professional with OneTrust Home Loans.
Gabe Bodner

I like to connect with people, so when I meet with someone for the first time, I ask them to give me a lot of details about themselves: like what they do/did for work, where they’re from and if they served in the military (I served in the Army, so it is a great way to connect).

I spend 10-15 minutes, in most cases, connecting with a new prospect for the first time before I ever discuss reverse mortgages. This helps me to better understand who they are and their goals or needs. 

I get very personal, too, and share details about myself and my family because I want to find ways to relate to them, and to let them know I’m a real person. I am typically 20-30 years younger than most of my clients, so I often need to make a major effort to find ways that they can relate to me, as well.

‘No’ may not be the end, for borrowers or for you

As much as I would like to earn every prospect’s business, I still have many, many people who tell me “no.” I ultimately ask permission to stay in touch with them if they change their mind or say that if something changes in their life I would be honored to assist them in the future.

You would be surprised at how many clients I have helped over the years who may have initially said “no,” but then came back to me six months or a year later and closed a loan with me. Some of them even referred their friends to me.

There are also many people that I need to say “no” to because of current business realities like principal limit factors (PLFs), or if they owe too much on an existing mortgage. That may not be the end of the story, either, because I do not flatly tell them “no.” Instead, I simply say, “not now.”

I explain how the program will benefit them in the future, and I still sell them on the value proposition of a reverse mortgage while still taking the time to educate them. We then stay in touch and when rates drop, I re-run numbers to see if we can make a loan work for them.

I have a running list of prospects who “owe too much,” and I plan to call them and have them sign applications when PLFs improve. I am confident the 10-year CMT will drop and PLFs will improve. I don’t have any special insight about when it will happen or by how much they will change, but I believe it will. And when it does, I will be ready.

Position yourself so that when expected rates drop, you are organized and have a plan of attack to connect with all your prospects who owe too much today, but who will be great clients in the near future.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Reverse Mortgage Daily and its owners.

To contact the author of this story: Gabe Bodner at [email protected]
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Clow at [email protected]

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