Performing a ‘Pre-Mortem’

darren-nolander-premortem-featuredNot to get all morbid on you, but today I want to talk about dissection. I specifically want to discuss the type of gritty dissection that happens before a tragedy occurs. You’re probably familiar with the term “post-mortem,” which tends to refer to the medical examination performed on a deceased individual that determines the cause of death.

This type of examination can be performed on a variety of other “deaths” as well, including deals that, even after lots of attention and attempts to resuscitate, expire nonetheless. While it’s always important to know why a transaction fell apart, it’s even more important to prevent that death from occurring in the first place. This is essentially a spooky way of saying “be proactive, not reactive.”

A pre-mortem examination happens before problems occur. In fact, long before. This analysis acts as a buffer to prevent the small and large disasters that can derail your business and your clients’ dreams of owning a home. Let’s get started.

First, let’s start with the easy logistics, which aren’t always necessarily so easy. You’ll want to ensure that your schedule is clear of any disruptions – planned or anticipated – before you schedule that meeting with your client. Did your son say he was feeling sick today and your wife works more than an hour away? This is the perfect time to employ pre-mortem training. Maybe you give your mother-in-law a call to alert her to the potential situation. Or set the meeting for after-school hours and schedule a babysitter that day.

Next comes research. Be sure you’re up to date on all the latest news and numbers. This doesn’t have to involve hours of research or late nights. A simple Google News search, combined with a scan of the relevant mortgage banking wires like HousingWire, MBA News and even Forbes can reveal pertinent information your potential customers may come armed with.

Now we’ll move onto the specific pre-mortem. What questions can you anticipate from your clients based on the information, numbers, trends and news you just read? What concerns may they have? How can you ease these concerns? What alternative loan products may they ask about? Are you as knowledgeable on those products as you could be? What other questions are they likely to have about the mortgage industry, local housing market or homebuying process when they step into your office? Have you done all you can to anticipate these questions?

Even restocking water, coffee and candy bowls, as well as straightening photos and organizing paperwork should all be performed ahead of time to ensure a smooth meeting and a good first impression. The pre-mortem won’t end here, however. It will need to be performed at a secondary level once you’ve had your face-to-face, taken detailed notes on their particular financial situation, application and specific housing desires.

While I can’t navigate you through the intricacies of each and every unique scenario, I can tell you that the process will essentially repeat itself on a even more micro level. This starts with you anticipating any hurdles to their loan application and circumventing them before they become a reality for you, your client and the real estate agent. Doing a little legwork ahead of time can ensure your deal doesn’t end up dead on arrival. Take these extra few steps to situate yourself and your clients in the best position possible for a successful outcome.

Regional Vice President - Southwest

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.