| | |

What Loan Officers Can Do When They’re Faced with Rising Rates

Oh no! The sky is falling! Meteors are crashing to earth! And, oh yeah, rates are rising a little bit. 

The word on the street is that it’s going to be a rough year, so buckle up. 

I’ll be honest. It’s kind of funny to me that everyone’s talking about these “high” rates. High? Sure, if you’re talking about relative to three months ago. But, apparently, we all have memories of goldfish to think that these rates are “high” in the overall scheme of things. Not to mention the fact that I just saw a report predicting that 2022 will be a record year for the most loans in the purchase market ever

I recently sat down with my friend Matt Vance, a mortgage broker and one of our leaders in The Freedom Club, to talk about how to best react to doomsday predictions. With rates going up and refis going down, what do we do about this? Matt says it all comes back to fundamentals and attitude. 

Get Back to Basics and Maintain a Positive Attitude

Matt has seen his production fall tremendously when he’s gotten away from fundamentals. And it really has nothing to do with what’s going on in the market around him. For him to have a great year, even if volume slows as an industry, he knows he just needs to keep focused on the right things. He doesn’t need a ton of business to increase his market share. 

I’ve always thought that slowing down is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If I show up to the game convinced that I’m going to have my butt handed to me, then I’m gonna lose. Listen, we all have days, weeks, or seasons where we’re not on our game. We’re not going to be 100% all the time. It just doesn’t happen. We get in little funks and whatever. But we can make a conscious choice to think positively. 

When the economy is drastically slowing down, inflation is up, and there’s not a lot of good news, it’s easy to feel like a whipped puppy dog. I asked Matt how he overcomes that, and he said he just tunes it out and keeps a good perspective. He says our attitudes will determine whether we have our best year in 2022 or if our business does shrink. He believes there’s still tremendous opportunity out there for all of us.

I absolutely agree. I’m always talking about being careful of what you listen to, filling your mind with positive things, especially as you’re starting your day. I want to protect my mind from negative thoughts. That means not listening to the news all the time. I used to be a news radio junkie, and it always felt like the sky was a little bit grayer, the leaves were a little browner. I tuned that out about 10 years ago, and now I listen exclusively to unicorns and kittens and rainbows (figuratively speaking).

There’s Actually a Lot of Good News for Loan Officers

When you’re determined to be a glass-half-full kind of person, you start seeing so much good where others see nothing but bad. To start with, we can cast a really large net as loan officers. Think about the advantage we have over realtors. A couple years into being a lender, I thought about going into real estate, because their checks are so much bigger than ours, but then I realized they’re pretty much stuck in a particular area of the country. 

Loan officers can be anywhere. I have a good friend who lives in Florida, and half of his business is in Chicago. If you’re in an area with challenges, get a bigger cup. That’s something the pandemic has taught us. We don’t have to be isolated to a certain town, a county, a state, or a time zone. The opportunity is just so huge for all of us. The realtors who are struggling right now need our help and our leadership. It’s the perfect time to reach out and get more realtor referral partners.

I’ve noticed that people do two basic kinds of activity when they start to feel a little bit of a pinch. They have more free time, so they either:

  1. go to a Facebook group and start complaining about rising rates or 
  2. do more marketing and expand where they’re getting loans from

Some Proactive Things You Can Do Right Now

If you’re feeling the pinch right now, instead of being reactive (and whining in the Facebook group), what proactive things can you do to bring your business back up? How can you ramp up the loan officer marketing and lead generation?

Matt is gearing up to do a past client event next week. For the last couple weeks, he’s been reaching out to his past database to invite them. You can hold an event like this too. It can be something fun and informal like a happy hour, or you could teach a class on a variety of topics. You can talk to people about debt consolidation, tapping into their home equity, or buying second homes as investment opportunities. 

Matt heard recently that over 80% of consumers will use the first person they talked to about real estate. That also applies to loan officers. They’re most likely to use the last person they used—but only if they’re still in touch with them, and someone else isn’t reaching out first. So we have to constantly get in front of more people and have conversations with them.

Pick up the phone and call your past database. So many people ignore their database—at their great peril. Double the calls you’re making right now. Matt suggests investing in PhoneBurner, one of the best tools in the industry, and I agree. We really need to start asking very early on who other people know. There’s gold in their circle of friends and family. Our friend Doug says a successful transaction isn’t just closing on time and everybody’s happy. It’s closing and getting a referral for another loan. 

Every person on your team should be asking for referrals too. Make sure you have the right people on your team. If your assistants and processors aren’t following the scripts and getting those referrals, it’s a good time to clean things up a little bit. Have everybody brush up on “designed conversations” (scripts) so they can maximize every phone call they make.

There are always businesses that have found ways to be super successful in down times for the rest of their market. It’s such a great opportunity. While others are cutting staff and operations, you just keep going. It’s all about feeling the fear and pushing through it and doing it anyway. I have no idea how not to be afraid, but I do know how to take action while I’m afraid. 

We are so blessed to be in an industry where, if we take the right actions and have the right conversations with the right people, we can literally win the lottery every year. 

If you want some help growing your business while other people might be slowing down, we’d love to chat with you. We’ll help you map out a complete step-by-step blueprint for your next 90 days. Set up your FREE strategy call TODAY.