Sales: A Journey, Not a Destination with Finance of America’s Bill Dallas

Completing the first mortgage transaction with a new customer is an achievement and – what should be – the start of a lifetime relationship.

As much as technology continues to transform the way consumers purchase products and services, people want to do business with people, especially when it comes to making one of the biggest purchases of their lives – buying a home. Consumers look to their loan officers to step into the role of a trusted financial advisor to humanize this complex financial transaction.

It’s natural to be on the lookout for new business opportunities, but increasing customer retention by even five percent can increase a company’s profitability by 75 percent. Clearly, growing existing relationships with your customers is a strategy that pays for both the consumer and the organization.

Hear from Finance of America CEO Bill Dallas and Total Expert Founder and CEO Joe Welu as they examine how the relationship between loan officers and their customers has evolved, the key to earning consumer trust and how to keep customers coming back for life.


Joe Welu: Is it your belief that … let me just not speculate, what is your belief the future of the loan officer looks like?

Bill Dallas: So the vision is that they sell multiple products at the point of sale. So, I think what you do, is you take your loyalty program, and your rewards program, you say to the customer, “This is a closing, but it’s our opening, so we’re opening a relationship with you today.”

Joe Welu: It’s the beginning of the journey.

Bill Dallas: It is!

Joe Welu: Not the destination.

Bill Dallas: And why should they come back to you, right? It can’t be product driven. You can’t just say, “Hey, I’ll give you a personal loan, knock you head over, do a student loan.” I mean, we can try all those things. So, I would ask you: if you were looking at the household balance sheet today, and you’ve got product, mortgage is one, mortgage is a … we have no idea when they’re gonna borrow ever again, right? And we don’t know if they can take cash out, and we’ve sold the servicing, generally speaking, right? People do retain it.

Bill Dallas: So how do we sell the transaction, keep the customer? So, my view is, you first welcome them, you tell them the servicing being sold, you tell them why you sold it, you ask for a survey on how we did, and you give them a loyalty packet. And if you read my last article on LinkedIn, I think we’re trying to make them debt advisors. I took that same piece of just saying if you took private banking at Wells Fargo and you looked at all of those people who are whacking at trying to disintermediate Wells, consumers are lost. I think we want a relationship.

Joe Welu: They want a central partner.

Bill Dallas: So how do I know I get a best price? And the only thing I figured out with the internet, ubiquitous, and all this information that’s out there, is: consumers are, when they choose their affinity, or their groups that they love, then they are making a bet on what they trust. And, my view of this is it’s all about trust. So, how can we build trust in our loan officer with the consumer portal? It’s easy! This is your portal, I’m helping you for the rest of your life, because buying a home, you either sink or swim, right? Most people, over time. So you need to learn to manage the amortization, you need to know how to manage the rest of your debt, and you’ll be worth what you owe in good debt in ten years – or not.

Joe Welu: So you’re focusing on some of the education piece.

Bill Dallas: Just staying connected and look at them, because they disintermediated banking, they have a car loan over here, they’ve got a personal loan there, they’ve got this. Whoa dude, you are impaling yourself on credit! So, what are loan officers good at? Managing credit, and getting them to improve their credit score, and they’re also good at DTI Management, right? They get a person on. They grab all this stuff, and they try to say, “Here, underwriter, what do you think?” And I think the challenge in what I’ve learned about mortgages, it’s mostly a conversation with the customer of who they trust.

Bill Dallas: So, we’re sort of going Angie’s List versus ‘go to the internet and just get your deal,’ right? So, how do we become the Angie’s List, where they come to us and say, “We trust this.” Because, really, it’s going to be for Finance of America, or all of us from a brand perspective, we have to orchestrate this brand through our trusted advisors who are at the point of sale.

Joe Welu: So you believe it’s still going to be important to have that human being in the community that can interact with the consumer.

Bill Dallas: I do. And I think trying to get rid of the Realtor and get rid of these people, and all of that stuff, everybody’s died trying to do that.