As mortgage brokers look for ways to stand out in a competitive industry landscape, it’s increasingly important to consider the impact that clear and concise communication can have on service levels.
In this light, effective listening is among the best soft skills a broker can have to facilitate open and transparent communication with their clients in order to build a lasting business relationship.
Listening effectively can streamline communications by demonstrating empathy, creating trust and ensuring that brokers are committed to providing the best financing options for their clients.
In a report from the Keller Centre of Research at Baylor University, researchers acknowledged the importance of effective listening as it relates to empathy and trust.
“Research finds a strong positive correlation between empathy and salesperson listening, trust in the salesperson and satisfaction with the salesperson; trust and satisfaction, in turn, are positively related to future interaction expectations,” the report says.
For Home Trust Residential Sales Director, Brennan Trenouth, the ability to listen effectively is “extremely important, especially when you take into consideration that there are many pieces to the mortgage puzzle.”
“Each client is different, and they will each have a unique factor that will play into a broker’s approach.”
Maximizing the discovery meeting
One of the best points in a client’s mortgage journey to utilize effective listening skills is the initial discovery meeting. It is during the discovery meeting that brokers can listen to a client’s entire financial story, allowing them to understand their goals, needs and unique situation.
For Trenouth, effective listening during the discovery meeting is a great way to better know your client. The key is asking the right questions and listening to how your clients frame their story.
“As a broker, I think it’s important to not only ask about what you can see, but also what you can’t see,” he says. “I think getting into more uncomfortable questions can lead to ultimate truths. Asking questions about how the client makes their income, or what the cause of their bruised credit is, or where they got their down payment and connecting the dots is critical.”
Trenouth also believes that effective listening applies to a broker’s communications with the lender as well.
“I would certainly discuss potential applications with business development managers (BDMs) and listen to what they need to provide options,” he says. “Your BDM can inform you of the information required and give accurate timelines so that you can advise your clients accordingly.”
Working with the right lender
Another important component of effective listening is working with a lender that takes the time to understand your client’s story. The right lender will be transparent about their requirements and will work with you to help your client achieve their goal.
“The right lender is all about support,” says Trenouth. “To support you as you listen to your clients’ stories, letting you know what else might be needed. And to support you in helping them get them the best possible options in a timely manner.”
The Home Trust advantage
Trenouth says that the process of effective listening is “ultimately a two-way street.”
“On one hand, listening to your lender BDM is important to learning about the specific products, their guidelines and conditions, and the niches of each lender,” he says. “On the other hand, listening to your clients’ stories will help you as a broker when you are inquiring with your BDM about whether the application you have would be fit for that specific lender.”
For Trenouth, this also means establishing a strong partnership with a lender committed to making “commitments that stick,” such as Home Trust.
“Home Trust has been in the alternative space for over 45 years, so we know a thing or two about clients from a wide range of unique situations,” he says. “This means that if we have the right information and we commit to that deal, we are in it to fund and help that client achieve home ownership.”
Trenouth also highlighted the strength of Home Trust’s underwriting and sales teams, who are “well-versed in alternative lending and who are ready to assist and look at all options for your clients.
With both our Classic and Equity Line Visa products, we have solutions that fit a wide range of unique situations.
To learn more about what Home Trust can offer your clients, please visit hometrust.ca/weseeastory.