Have you ever noticed when you enter a store and a sales person walks up to you and asks, "Can I help you?" your simple answer is often “no”? More times than not, you’re going to say no or that you are just looking … even if you would benefit from help.
The challenge with this question — “can I help you?” — is that it is not specific enough to generate a meaningful conversation. As lenders, we run into this challenge as well when we are meeting with potential referral partners. When we meet with real estate professionals, for example, we have a script in mind that we want to convey. We also have our marketing material in hand, we have the information that we want to tell them, but we don't often plan out how we want to convey that information.
The most useful way to convey how we can help is to ask specific questions about what they're experiencing, and what their pain points might be. Then, you can tailor your response to their specific needs.
Ask specific questions.
You really want to help them think through their pain points. You might try something like, "What stresses you out about closings? Is it communication? Timing delays?” If you just ask, "How are things with your current lender," they're likely to say fine because that’s the quick, easy answer. By asking specific questions, you're inviting them to share specific concerns they have.
You could also ask more open-ended questions about their business in general:
These questions do not yield a simple answer. In fact, they open up conversation to potential action items you both can work on together.
Tailor your responses to their needs.
Building off their specific pain points or needs, you can share how you may be able to help them.
If they mention frustration over funding falling through at the last minute, you can explain your process to ensure that doesn’t happen. They may tell you that there's a lack of communication. You can say, "Well, let me tell you about how our communication process works so that all parties in the loan process can feel comfortable that we're in touch at every milestone." If they are looking for help to grow their business, share your co-branded marketing options available in your automated marketing engine. If they are looking to better understand the mortgage market and rate fluctuations, share how you can keep them apprised with regular market intelligence.
Keep in mind, your responses may still include those scripts that you planned and practiced, but you're tailoring your approach and making it more personal for your referral partner prospects.
The next time you are with a prospective referral partner — or even a referral partner you have an established relationship with — ask specific, meaningful questions that get to the heart of their pain points and needs. Listen to their answers, and share how you can help them with specific details.