darren-nolander-personalization-featuredIt may be 2018, but I’m throwing it back to September 2017 for another very wise lesson courtesy of Sales Mastery. This particular bit of knowledge comes from Ryan Grant, who emphasizes the importance of standing out when the product may look the same across a variety of providers.

While we may be able to tout competitive rates and a diverse array of products, the actual item in question – say, a 30-year fixed mortgage – can be obtained almost anywhere. Naturally, this is where customer service comes in.

I’ve talked a lot recently about setting yourself apart by being more flexible, more responsive and more efficient than the competition. These are still fundamental to your success as a loan officer, particularly as technology continues to become an integral part of our daily lives and business. Today, however, I want to talk about another way to differentiate yourself. To rise above the competition. To show you care. Essentially, to instantly display your added value and why clients should feel comfortable and confident with your name behind their loan application.

That’s the value of personalization. Yes, 30-year fixed loans can be a dime a dozen, minus a little variety. BUT, the level of service you provide doesn’t have to be. In fact, it shouldn’t be. That’s not the FAMily way. Grant reminds us to keep your focus on flexibility, responsiveness and speed, but to also incorporate personal touches into the loan application process to create a personalized mortgage plan or home loan strategy.


This begins with the first meeting. Ask questions. It doesn’t matter if you know what they want. Ask questions. Are they just coming out of a divorce? Did they just have a baby? Are they retiring soon? Questions about life stages are a starting off point to determining the right product for any client, but they don’t end there. Next, ask about their goals. These goals should revolve around family, retirement, lifestyle and, yes, finance. What stage of life are they in right now, where do they think they’ll be heading shortly and where do they ultimately want to end up? How long do they believe it will take them to reach these goals? What life/job/financial factors may affect these goals, both positively and negatively?

This, my fellow friends and FAMily, is called full service. They can get the loan anywhere, the personalized mortgage plan, however, is the product provided by Finance of America. Don’t be an order-taker. You’re not slinging fries at a drive-thru window and you’re not taking down credit card information for a 3 a.m. infomercial product.

Even if you and your potential client are clear about what they want, get into the motivation behind that want. Maybe their “order” stays the same…but maybe it doesn’t. In either case, showing an interest in their lives and their short- and long-term goals establishes rapport and builds trust. Knowing what might be down the line for them also places you in an enviable position to assist with their future financing needs.

Then there’s the ever-important referral. I learned at Sales Mastery that most referrals happen within 15 days of this initial meeting. So leave an impact. You can help this last point along by encouraging clients to interact with your social media pages. This gives them further insight into you, your team and your family, while providing you with an opportunity to craft a more complete picture of their lives, hopes and dreams. These clients should also leave your meeting feeling confident, invigorated and welcome to leave feedback through these social media channels. This opens the door to their entire network of trusted individuals who may benefit from the knowledge they just received from you.

Regional Vice President - Southwest

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