Banks miss mortgage opportunities more often than anthills have ants.

Do you have a “sales prevention department?

It happens every day, all day in almost every bank. The phone rings. A well-meaning staff person answers politely. The inquirer asks, “What are your mortgage rates?” to which the well meaning staff person begins to list the rates, thanks the caller for calling, and sends the shopper on to the next bank or mortgage company to get their mortgage. They make no attempt to help! Our research shows this happens over 95 percent of the time. Don’t believe it—call your own bank and see for yourself.

Two Problems:

One: The inquirer wasn’t helped because they didn’t receive any guidance and they’re left to shop with a high risk of not choosing the best mortgage option for their needs.

Two: The bank can’t win. Either you have the best rates in which case you lose profit margins or you don’t, in which case you lose the customer.

Is there another way? Absolutely…

What if you trained your people to engage the inquirer and help them see your bank as the one that helped them figure out the best options for them? The chance of doubling or tripling your inquiry conversions is almost guaranteed.

And how do you do this? Easy. Draft a few questions that steer the prospect and create a system whereby these questions must be asked on each inquiry.

A great first question would be: “Are you looking for the best rate or the best value because they’re usually not the same?” The prospect at this point is either curious about what this means for them or thrilled to find someone who actually seems to be able to sort out the complexities of the mortgage world. Regardless, they usually will want to talk.

A good second question would be: “Do you mind if I ask a few questions to help determine the best mortgage option for you based on YOUR circumstances.” Of course, they’re always ready to talk then.

At this point, if the caller isn’t already talking to the mortgage department, they should be transferred there immediately.

Next, you list your killer questions that help you identify their needs such: as how long do they intend to live in the house and whether they feel rates will go up or down, etc.

But, the magic is in the questions you salt in to the rest that position you as the logical place to do their mortgage. Begin by listing your unique selling proposition and then shape questions around that positioning?

For example, if you have fast turnaround of processing, you question could be: “How important is it to you to have a guarantee that your mortgage can close in 30 days so you don’t end up with all your things on a truck like Jethroe Bodeen after your other house closes?

Or how about this? “How important is it to you to have detailed weekly reporting of all the necessary documents for the closing so you don’t get sent home at the day of closing without a mortgage and have to scramble to deal with the consequences of that?”

Notice that in each case, these questions engage the shopper such that they start to tell you why they don’t want to keep shopping and why they want to move ahead with you!

It’s obvious these questions work. In banks where we’ve implemented this process, they experience immediate and dramatic increases. The key is to make it part of a system. You wouldn’t think of asking tellers to balance the drawers without a system. Don’t expect your people to do this unless you build an easy system—because they won’t. Properly done, every mortgage inquiry that is eligible should not only result in a mortgage, but with the questioning processes, end up with at least 7 cross sales.

Increasing your mortgage business is easy. While your competitors are sleeping and quoting rates, you can capture the business easily and consistently.

Roxanne Emmerich

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