Many people believe that the only trait you need in the sales game is persistence. Just keep asking, just keep dialing, and just keep working those connections. Selling home loans, on the other hand, is different. The sales cycle is long and involves many hurdles and moving parts.

Truly great loan officers aren’t just persistent. They’ve developed additional habits that have put them ahead. Below are the three most important habits, based on my experience, helping loan officers create winning sales strategies.

1. The Communication Habit

The real value of a loan officer lies in the combined skills, knowledge, and experience that they’re able to share with borrowers and real estate partners. A big difference between being good and great is how the loan officer communicates that value.

The best loan officers stay in close touch with top agents in their markets and pay particular attention to what these agents need. When in the midst of a purchase transaction, these loan officers don’t sit around waiting for calls—they proactively update agents about issues they need to be aware of.

Great loan officers also know how to set a borrower’s expectations and communicate exactly the way each borrower wants them to—whether by phone, email, text message, or even Skype if necessary. They also keep track of the best times to reach each client, and stick to communicating during those times.

Finally, top loan officers communicate their value through social media and through marketing materials, which they use to educate past and prospective clients and partners about mortgage trends, new down payment assistance programs, and other important matters.

chris backe
Chris Backe, Business Development Director of Financial Services at Velocify.

2. The Performance Habit

After building relationships with top agents, great loan officers routinely out-perform and out-hustle all possible competitors in at least one or more ways. They know that a consistently excellent performance will earn an agent’s trust and the agent’s repeat referrals.

High-performing loan officers constantly educate their clients and anticipate their questions, so that each borrower is able to make the best possible decision at any given time. They avoid cookie-cutter service and spend time understanding each borrower’s unique circumstances, then find a way to surpass the borrower’s expectations.

Of course, a key factor behind providing excellent service is a timely response. Great loan officers perform well when they respond quickly to borrowers and their real estate partners, and they will use whatever tools they can find to reach new leads as fast as possible. For example, did you know that a response time of one minute can increase the chances of closing a loan by nearly 400 percent? Our own research has shown exactly that, and high-performing loan officers know it’s true.

3. The Experimentation Habit

The best salespeople understand that selling is part science, and like scientists, they are not afraid to try new things. Great loan officers constantly think about how to generate new business and keep their pipelines full.

From what I’ve seen, the most successful loan officers are leveraging the Internet and sales automation to build faster, stronger relationships with their clients and partners. They know that more consumers are searching the Internet for mortgages information every day, and that more and more borrowers prefer to do things online. These loan officers also know that without an online sales strategy, they will eventually be left behind.

Fortunately, today’s sales technologies can help anyone master the first two habits–communication and performance–by keeping loan officers constantly engaged with clients and partners. By experimenting with these tools, they can also measure the effectiveness of their marketing programs and sales processes, and continuously optimize for the best outcomes.

One thing is certain—the mortgage industry is undergoing massive change, forcing all mortgage professionals to raise their game. Whatever additional challenges come their way, the loan officers with the three habits I’ve listed above will always be in the best position to win.

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