The average homebuyer doesn’t dream of having a mortgage, they dream of owning a home.
However, buying a home can be an emotional process filled with stress, uncertainty and, at times, helplessness.
If your customers are just buying a product, these emotions can jeopardize the homebuying process and do lasting damage to your financial brand. (Nine out of 10 customers walk away after a poor customer experience.)
To engage with consumers, loan officers must go beyond selling a product and instead help customers secure their version of the American Dream. And it all starts with empathy.
Empathy is an emotional intelligence skill defined by the ability to understand and sympathize with the emotions customers feel during the homebuying process: stress, uncertainty and helplessness.
Here are a few ways loan officers can offer empathy and humanize the mortgage process:
Look for Signs of Readiness
To empathize in an increasingly digital world, loan officers must connect to common consumer emotions.
By identifying key emotions in the weeks, days and moments before a property purchase, loan officers can anticipate triggering events that drive thoughts and actions.
For example, consumers may forego buying a home out of fear, despite paying more in rent, with concerns such as climbing interest rates and upfront costs. Are their fears warranted or are they holding themselves back from better financial outcomes?
As a loan officer, by listening and asking questions, you can determine if a customer is ready or how to help them get there.
Build Stronger Communications
For loan officers, closing loans is an everyday occurrence. Your customers, however, are entering into a huge financial commitment (maybe for the first time). They demand your attention.
Keeping a clear line of communication open might be the most powerful way to make emotional connections with borrowers.
Loan officers must focus on connecting across a customer’s preferred channel, whether phone, email, SMS or a combination. And don’t ignore new and emerging channels, such as FaceTime and Instagram, to ensure you’re exactly where your customer needs you.
For example, once a customer gets a loan approval, consider forwarding the official documents through email but delivering the good news directly — via a direct message on social, text, phone call or in person — and fast. By communicating positive news on their preferred channel, you build a human connection while ensuring your customer isn’t waiting needlessly for information buried in their inbox.
You can’t be available 24/7, but with a diverse communication strategy built around individual preferences, it can feel that way to your customer.
Empower Customers to Make Decisions
Remember: Every mortgage decision moves customers one step closer or one step further from their version of the American Dream. So, how do you get more confident, educated buyers to the closing table?
According to the CFPB, borrower frustration can stem from many areas including stacks of complex paperwork, not understanding their closing documents and delays in the process. Find ways to let your customers tell you misconceptions, concerns or other possible pain points that could prevent them from even reaching the closing table.
Knowledge is a powerful tool to build trust in a relationship, and it goes both ways. Once you understand the needs of customers, you can empower them with personalized, relevant advice, so they can make confident decisions. For example, loan officers should advise all borrowers that new credit applications or credit score changes can delay or reverse a loan pre-approval and encourage them to reach out if anything crops up during the closing process to offer expert advice and a human touch.
By paying closer attention to the homebuying journey, you can combine quantitative and qualitative data to pinpoint exactly what it will take to turn consumers into customers and adjust your outreach accordingly.
Acknowledge Sources of Stress
Even as the mortgage experience improves, buyers are still encountering common barriers, including low inventory and low confidence across the mortgage process.
A great loan officer will prepare clients for the stress and complexity of the mortgage process, while working to reduce common headaches.
For example, if a first-time buyer wants to make an offer on a great home that is priced right, prepare them for the likelihood of multiple offers. You can not only prevent them from being blindsided if the listing goes over the asking price but also help them increase their chances of edging out other offers.
By alleviating stress and leading with empathy, you’ll discover borrowers are easier to work with and are more likely to refer you in the future.
The Power of Empathy in Mortgage Marketing
At the heart of every loan is a dream.
Whether it’s starting a family, creating summer memories on the lake or securing greater financial freedom, loan officers who humanize the mortgage process and tap into emotions will set themselves apart.
Empathy can help turn stress, uncertainty and helplessness into relatable obstacles that loan officers are best equipped to solve.