How Loan Officers Can Stay on Top of Incoming Phone Calls
Early in your career as a loan officer, your biggest challenge is getting the phone to ring. Then, before you know it, you can’t get a single thing done because your phone is ringing off the hook. So, how do you stop the madness? What’s the magic solution? I thought you’d never ask.
Two Kinds of Calls Loan Officers Get
There are two types of phone calls you get as a loan officer: proactive and reactive. A proactive call is activity that generates business. These can be loan-getting calls, calls from potential clients, or calls that get you more realtor partners. A reactive call is answering questions from clients or agencies after you’ve already secured the loan. Like: “How is the appraisal going?” Or: “Any update on the inspection?”
Proactive calls are obviously a high priority, but you also want to keep people happy, so they’ll keep coming back. So you can’t ignore calls just because they’re reactive. And nobody wants to hit your voicemail. The first thing that goes through my mind when I get a voicemail is that I’m not talking to a real business. A real business will have a live operator. I’ve never once called Walmart and been sent to voicemail.
But you can’t keep up with all of it, so what do you do?
Know When It’s Time to Get Help
I remember a time when I asked my daughter if she wanted to take a car ride with me. It was a Saturday. She said, “Sure. You need to make some phone calls?”
It stabbed me in the heart. She wasn’t being snarky. She really did want to spend time with her dad, even if it meant just listening to him talk to other people about mortgage loans. That was the last day I talked on the phone when I was in the car with one of my kids or my wife.
When I was closing zero to five loans a month, my cell phone worked just fine. But, by that time, it was ringing so much that it kept interrupting me on my way to 10 loans a month. I couldn’t increase my loan activity without making some big changes.
I took my cell phone number off my business card and left my office number. I took a big gulp and hoped I could afford to lose that personal connection with all my clients. Then I hired someone to help me out with my calls.
I soon had a humbling realization. No one wanted to talk to Carl. They just wanted answers. They just wanted their loans to close on time. I had trained people to believe that, if they wanted something done right, they needed to come to me. That wasn’t true, and it was a huge mistake.
How to Tell Your Partners the New Plan
I’d conditioned my referral partners to call me directly on my cell phone. They already had me on speed dial, so I wasn’t going to train them to call a new number. Their calls would just go to my office now, instead of me. I made sure I hired the right person to answer the office phone.
I got a new cell phone number and gave it to my family, friends, and co-workers. Zero prospective borrowers and real estate agents have this number. If I want to call a realtor to give her an update and ask for more business, I call her from the RingCentral app on my phone. I set the caller ID to show up as my old cell number. My new cell stays clean and pure.
So, how do I tell a realtor that I’m no longer going to be answering the phone? I have a conversation with them, preferably face-to-face or over Zoom. I say, “Thank you for meeting with me. I just want to let you know how much I appreciate you getting me more realtor partners. Those referrals helped me put my son through engineering school and my daughter through medical school. I’m forever grateful to you for that. Both of my kids are going to change lives, and you played a part in it.”
So you tell your own compelling story, whatever that might be.
You’re Actually Doing Them a Favor
Sometimes I go home at night thinking, “How can I help my partners even more?” Here’s what I came up with. Tell your referral partners that you hired “Bob” as a partner in your business. (Use the word “partner,” not “assistant,” so they don’t feel like you’re pawning them off.) Then you talk up Bob.
- Bob is amazing, a freak of nature.
- Bob is like radar and sees things coming up before they’re even an issue.
- Bob helps make sure you and your referrals never get sent to voicemail.
- Bob is helping me help you faster and more efficiently.
Make your partner see that Bob is nothing but good for them. When borrowers call looking for Carl, Bob says, “Hi. Carl is actually talking to someone else right now, but he wouldn’t want you to wait. We’re going to move you to the front of the line and let you talk to Nina, one of Carl’s partners. She’ll get your information and get the ball rolling, then Carl can call you back.”
So, now, when people call, you’re not getting chest pains from having to rush another conversation. Somebody else is taking care of it. You can rest easy. When you’re with family and friends, you’re not tethered to your cell phone. That’s loan officer freedom.
Our Loan Office Literally Doesn’t Have Voicemail
As awesome as Bob and your other partners are, they aren’t robots. They can’t be on call 24/7. But an answering service can. Hiring an answering service is the next big step. Most people can’t even tell. They think it’s our receptionist. Talking to a live person, instead of voicemail, makes them feel like they’re getting somewhere.
The operator says: “Hi, this is Carl’s Awesome Mortgage Company. How can I help you? Carl is out of the office right now, but tell me why you’re calling, and I’ll get your message to him.”
They send us an email and a text of the transcription from the call within two minutes. I look through my messages, redirect them to the appropriate people, and take the ones that are for me.
When we hire people, they don’t cost us money; they make us money. They help our company get more realtor partners and close more loans. Get help, and freedom will follow. Check your ego at the door and get ready to ramp up your business!
Let Me Help You Stop the Madness
Back in the day, I did all this work to make my phone ring, then it ended up being a bit of a curse. But now I have a whole team of wonderful people answering the phone for me, so I can focus on what’s most important.
You need to implement this strategy in your office. It will change your life and your business and catapult it to new levels. When you get help, everybody wins.
If you want to get your hands on some of these scripts and tips, I’d LOVE to chat with you. We can go over any number of loan officer tips and strategies. This is not a sales call. I repeat, this is NOT a sales call. It’s a sample coaching call. It’s absolutely FREE, and I’m here to serve you. Click here to set up a call TODAY.