In this low interest rate environment, lenders are staying busy with high volumes and new clients. HousingWire spoke with Homebot CEO Ernie Graham about the best strategies for staying in touch with borrowers post-transaction and creating opportunities for success in the long term.
HousingWire: How can lenders use volume from this year’s refi boom and purchase season to fill their pipeline and set themselves up for future success?
Ernie Graham: Once you’ve closed a transaction, there’s this natural halo effect you have with the client that means that they think well of you – until they forget about you. Don’t break the continuity post-close by failing to stay connected to them.
There is still a lot of uncertainty in the future, which means there’s uncertainty for your clients. There are new decisions your clients will need to make moving forward. Staying connected to them and keeping them energized will not only encourage them to do repeat business with you down the line, but also to refer their friends and family to you.
There have never been more new clients coming through the door. You can take all of those clients and create even more new clients by virtue of referral. That’s how you turn your record year into a record career.
HW: Lenders are busy right now – why not wait until things slow down to focus on their client retention strategy?
EG: Anyone who has been in the business for a while knows that up cycles are followed by down cycles. A loan officer’s behavior right now in the upcycle has the ability to position them to excel in the down cycle.
If you focus on your client retention strategy right now, you can create a second wave of business for yourself. You can take market share in a down cycle if you focus on client retention during the upcycle.
HW: What are some common mistakes you see as lenders attempt to stay in touch with clients?
EG: The first mistake I see is trying to be perfect. Lenders can get stuck in the analysis paralysis of who to contact and when. The reality is that they need to push past the perfection and deliver valuable content to their clients. The clients that are ready to engage will raise a hand.
The other mistake we see is a fear of over-communicating. If you’re not being unsubscribed from, you’re not really exploring the depth and frequencies of communication you could or should be having with your database. As long as you are delivering valuable content, you can expect to see far more clients engaging than unsubscribing.
HW: How can lenders find the right communication balance between staying engaged with clients and following up too frequently?
EG: You create balance by focusing on quality. If you’re providing quality content and information to your clients, those that opt out were going to opt out no matter what.
It’s important to communicate frequently, but you should always be pushing yourself to raise the bar with the type of content and information you’re providing to your clients. It’s important to meet them where they are, to offer advice and to help them make decisions – not just advertise your products or your brand.
HW: What would you advise for lenders who want to create client-for-life relationships that span the entire homeownership lifecycle?
EG: There’s one simple little adage that is the core driver when it comes to creating clients for life: advise first, transact second. Always keep yourself in the mindset of advice.
The practical reality is that there are only so many transactions an individual is going to do, but there is a tremendous amount of opportunities to advise, and the advice is actually what fills in the gaps in between those transactions.
Advice helps your clients see you as an adviser instead of a salesperson. If you’re always trying to sell your product, waiting for one of those 2.5 transactions over the next 10 years, they’re going to tune you out pretty quickly.
At Homebot, we’ve learned just how expansive the insights and advice loan officers have are.
Consumers don’t want their loan officer to be strictly transaction-oriented. They want you to coach them and advise them so they can make informed decisions around their largest asset. They want technology that empowers them, but they also want a human to help shepherd them throughout the entire lifecycle of homeownership.
HW: How does Homebot help lenders and agents empower their clients?
EG: Homebot delivers personalized home finance insights that empower your clients to think of their home as an asset and build wealth through homeownership. When they’re ready to take it to the next level, they click a button to call, text or email you.
By engaging your clients and sending every call-to-action to you, Homebot turns your entire database into hand-raisers.
If you’re communicating with your clients when they’re not in the mood, you risk coming off like a salesperson. But if you reach out with the information they want at the time they’re ready to hear it, then you can become their trusted adviser and lender for life.
Learn more about the client-for-life portal with an average 50% engagement rate across millions of consumers.