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    A new lead just reached out. They want to know more about who you are and what you can offer them. But guess what? They’re also reaching out to your competitors, too. 

    This means that you have one opportunity to wow them. One chance to begin to build a relationship so your lead feels comfortable bringing their business your way. And if you want to give them the best customer experience possible, you’re going to want to respond right away.

    Now, I know what you’re thinking: you’re busy. Like, really busy. And, you don’t have time to send a long, detailed response to every single person who reaches out to you. 

    Good news: you don’t have to. By including some (or all) of these six elements in your response, you’ll be sure to put your best foot forward and build a working relationship.

    1. A Personalized Response

    One of the easiest ways to build a connection is to show interest in the person you’re speaking with. Begin your response by using their name and quickly summarizing what it is they’re looking for, even if you don’t happen to have the answer for them quite yet.

    For example, let’s say someone named Molly reaches out because she’s looking to apply for a mortgage for her first home. Her offer was accepted, but she wants to shop around for rates. You could begin by saying, “Congratulations, Molly! Buying your first home is an exciting time. I’d love to share our current rates with you.”

    2. Answers to Any Questions

    As a loan officer, you know every facet of applying for a loan. Your leads, however, may not. If you want to close the deal, take the time to answer the questions they have that might seem rudimentary to you.

    Sure, it can be frustrating to answer the same questions over and over again. If you respond with patience and take the time to answer any question asked of you, you’ll set yourself apart from your competitors who may only send them a link to an article online or a request that the prospect calls them on the phone.

    In the previous example, you could talk about your current rates, but also share a quick overview of what she should consider when shopping around for rates. Share any questions she should ask your competitors (specifically if they highlight how you’re a better person to work with!). Be direct and tell her what sets you apart from the bunch. The more helpful you are, the more likely your lead will respond and initiate a loan application with you.

    3. Ask Questions

    The first two elements might seem like common sense (though not everyone makes an effort to respond in that manner!) but here’s what will set you apart from your competitors: ask questions of your lead. 

    Questions not only help you as the loan officer to gather information about your lead so you can better serve them, but it helps you to build a relationship, as well. By continuing the conversation, and asking a question, you’re showing that your lead has your attention, and you’re invested in their response.

    Let’s say you receive an email from Andy who is serious about buying a home and wants to get pre-approved to show sellers he’s financially ready to make the commitment. Reply back to him by saying, “Thanks for reaching out, Andy. I’d love to help you get pre-approved for a loan. How long have you been looking for a home? What kind of time frame do you think you’re looking at for making a purchase?…”

    4. Testimonials

    Consumers want social proof to help them make purchasing decisions. Don’t wait for them to ask to speak with some of your previous happy customers — most won’t.  Instead, include a few testimonials from happy customers in your email response. Nervous you’ll sound pompous? Say something like:

    “I know you have many options when it comes to who you work with, so I asked some of my most recent clients to share what they thought about working with me. Here’s what they had to say: ____”

    5. A Scheduler Link

    One of the most important elements in any response is a scheduler link where your lead can schedule themselves into your calendar without the back-and-forth of synching schedules or the need to include an assistant to help make an appointment with you. 

    If someone like Andy reaches out, you can conclude the email by saying. “Here’s the link to my scheduler. Please choose a time that’s most convenient for you so we can get started on this process right away.”

    Better yet — add your scheduler in your email signature so you don’t forget to include it!

    6. Email Signature

    Speaking of the email signature, do you have one? If not, add one to your email account right away. In it, share your name, title, contact information, links to your professional social media accounts, and a photo if possible.

    You’ll also want to check with the mortgage company you work for as there may be some legalese that needs to be included in the signature of every email. 

    One final tip. If you find yourself sending the same messages over and over, consider creating a few templates you can use to cut down on the time you spend replying. Many email providers allow you to create canned responses so you don’t have to type the same answers out over and over again. If yours doesn’t, keep a document on your computer that has your most common responses. You’ll save a lot of time by simply copying and pasting your answer rather than typing each response from scratch.

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