Building a Customer-First Approach

First impressions matter. Whether it’s a first date or a job interview, a person’s initial experience shapes their long-term impression. In terms of customer relationships, that first impression often comes from a salesperson and how they handle themselves can have lasting implications.

Mortgage sales reps who put their customers’ needs first are often rewarded with loyalty, credibility, respect and referral business. Those who don’t, tend to fall by the wayside.

The stereotypical salesperson is often viewed as dishonest and self-interested, but in reality successful salespeople are the exact opposite. They are relationship builders. In order to exceed–or even meet–buyer expectations in the modern age, sales reps have had to learn to connect with customers and directly address their needs. In the mortgage industry, this is even more important, as borrowers are about to execute one of the largest transactions of their lives.

People don’t like being sold to in the traditional sense, and don’t respond well to overt sales pitches. Generic, overblown messages simply don’t hit home anymore, and sellers have had to adapt. The salespeople who thrive today are those who focus on addressing each customer’s specific needs, developing relationships and adding value from the start.

The Sales Incentive for Prioritizing Customer Needs

It used to be that the end-goal in sales was simply to convert new customers, but now that’s no longer enough. Beyond just winning the customer’s initial purchase, sellers are also working to build customer loyalty, create opportunity for future sales, and turn customers into brand advocates. Customers who become the latter are perhaps the most valuable, as they help drive repeat and referral business.

Maintaining a Customer-First Approach 

In many high-growth companies focused on driving an ambitious sales pipeline, customer experience can take a hit in the sales stage. Reps who are under pressure to quickly bring in new business often prioritize quantity of deals over quality. It’s easy for these types of organizations to fall into the trap of bringing in bad revenue (such as customers who aren’t a good fit for the product or service) or putting customers into contracts that don’t match their needs. This strategy may give the illusion of success in the short-term, but will likely backfire later, as contracts expire and churn rates rise. Worse yet, this strategy can hurt a brand’s reputation, as customers spread word of their negative experiences.

Remember, the initial sales interaction sets the tone for the entire customer experience. By taking the time to understand what customers need and setting them on the right path, salespeople can lay the foundation for incredibly fruitful relationships.

How to Build Trust as a Salesperson

The first step toward building customer satisfaction is to act ethically. Professional integrity and reputation are your most valuable assets. Exaggerations early on might help close the deal, but they run the risk of alienating customers and hurt the relationship long-term.

A salesperson’s first job is to listen. When you can truly understand a customer’s needs, you can find a solution that satisfies them. You also want to foster a comfort level where the prospect feels like they can be honest with you about their concerns. This level of trust takes both time and nurturing, so don’t move too fast.

Mortgage customers will likely purchase more than one home in their lifetime—make sure you are their best resource each and every time. 

Partner with Ellie Mae to drive more effective borrower engagement

In today's market, the competition for borrowers has never been fiercer. And, as a lender, you have to take advantage of every opportunity. Ellie Mae’s Consumer Engagement solution allows you to target your audience with one-to-one marketing, prioritize leads that drive more business, engage homebuyers the way they want to be engaged, close more deals, and get your borrowers into homes faster.

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