Commercial mortgage rates, programs, transaction processes. All these are important factors when attracting and retaining clients.
But what about the way borrowers or referral partners feel when they work with you? What about the level of trust they have in you? Doesn’t that matter too?
Despite what the more cynical pros may say, we don’t win or lose business purely on rate. We work with people we like and trust – that’s true for any industry, but especially true with mortgage originators and their clients.
The problem? Trust is earned over time. No meaningful improvement happens overnight.
However, there are a number of trust-building strategies you can employ right now. Even if you can’t measure their effectiveness this week, you can rest assured that they are working and they will make a positive impact on your business relationships.
1. Let others speak for you
Your audience doesn’t want to hear you talk about how great you are. They want to discover that for themselves.
This is where social proof comes in – people want to hear about the experience others have had when partnering with you. If enough people describe a positive experience, they can reasonably expect to have one as well.
Sharing client testimonials is a great way to build trust – provided you share this form of feedback in a thoughtful manner.
Your goal should be to relate real-life experiences that resonate with your target audience. When potential customers read believable success stories, they can more easily visualize themselves having that same level of success with you.
Here are a few quick tips to help you build trust through testimonial content:
- Obtain written permission from a customer before publicizing their testimonial. Respecting a client’s privacy is paramount.
- Testimonials are more trustworthy when they contain the customer’s name. When you ask for permission to share a testimonial, be sure to also ask whether you can use the person’s full name. If this makes the customer uneasy, you could offer to use just their first name.
- Don’t simply post this content on a “testimonial page” of your website. Instead, publish testimonials on the pages potential customers are most likely to visit. This gives you the opportunity to add an extra level of credibility to your messaging.
If you’ve never made a conscious effort to obtain testimonial content from a customer, you may not know where to begin. The process doesn’t have to be complicated or intrusive – just ask the following questions to get started.
- What was your (or your client’s) challenge?
- What inspired you to come to me for assistance?
- How did I help you?
- Would you recommend me to others with similar challenges?
If you don’t ask for testimonials, you may never get them – so be proactive and take advantage of a proven trust-building tactic.
2. Manage expectations
When someone trusts you, they believe that you will deliver on your promises.
But if you can’t provide the results you promised, that trust evaporates fast.
Experienced commercial mortgage pros know that every scenario is unique and unforeseen challenges are commonplace. Guaranteeing an approval or transaction process length will surely set you up for a fall.
Focus instead on using your expertise to give borrowers a clear picture of what they can expect at each stage of the transaction process. If you foresee a delay or possible snag that could prevent a loan from closing, communicate it with your client as early as possible.
Managing expectations in this manner builds trust with the people you work with. Even the delivery of bad news, when communicated quickly and without hedging, will leave clients with the impression that they can count on you to be truthful and direct.
In the mortgage industry, practices like re-trading give lenders and originators a negative reputation. You can avoid that perception by being reliable, forthcoming, and honest – no matter what the message is.
3. Make time for face time
We’ve all seen those unrealistic stock photos involving a team of strangers posed as office colleagues – they’re always smiling and collaborating on some non-existent project.
You may wonder why companies even bother using those photos on their websites.
The truth is that showing people’s faces and adding a human touch does build trust – even if some stock photos are clearly more effective than others.
Human beings react to faces on an emotional level – even when the faces are used in corporate branding or advertising. And the more authentic the visual, the more trust we have in the message.
But you have something better than a stock photo: your own face!
Showing prospective clients and referral sources just who it is they’re speaking to goes a long way toward establishing trust. And with little effort, you can make significant strides in this area.
Let’s start with your LinkedIn account. Do you have a headshot posted on your profile? Was it taken sometime within the last decade?
Many professionals in the mortgage industry use their company’s logo as a headshot or simply leave the area blank. It may not seem like a big deal, but the lack of a real photo sends a red flag to the people with whom you’re trying to connect. If you’re not avoiding a photo for privacy/security reasons, this is a quick fix.
If you have a LinkedIn headshot in place, work your way to your company website. If your name is listed on the site’s “About Us” page, make sure your photo is shown there as well. “About Us” pages typically receive high traffic numbers relative to the rest of a company’s website – not having your face there is a missed opportunity.
Even if you have a visual presence on your website and social media profiles, there are still additional tactics you can employ through email.
You’ve probably seen originators and other mortgage pros add a headshot to their email signature. This isn’t a bad idea, but sizing the image file can be tricky and the additional weight of a .jpeg or .png file may slow email load times.
Savvy marketers are instead adopting video software to add a human touch to their email campaigns. These solutions allow you to embed a short, personalized video directly into an email that you can then send to a colleague or prospective client.
If you’re following up with someone you met a conference, you could use a 20-second video to both remind them of the meeting and accelerate next steps. One best practice is to use a thumbnail image featuring yourself holding a piece of paper with the recipient’s name on it – something like “Hello again, Carlos!”
Unusual? Maybe, but it will be very difficult for Carlos NOT to click on that message.
Trust is ultimately a choice. Your clients and referral partners must decide that you are reliable and that they can feel confident partnering with you.
You can make this decision easier by using the strategies described here. Make honesty, credibility, and visibility part of your daily routine, and trust that positive results will soon follow.
Take the next step with Silver Hill Funding, LLC: Want access to marketing materials designed to help you grow your commercial mortgage business? Access your free Silver Hill web account here.