Don’t Talk to Strangers
Regardless of how you generate your new business – there are SO MANY different ways to do it – there is one common thing that applies to all the referrals generated: they need to be qualified. (Even if they’re buying a home with cash, someone is going to step up in the beginning of the process and ask for proof, right?) When we make contact with prospective buyers to get them qualified, we experience a lot of different personalities and approaches to the process. Some are an open book and give you all their information without your even needing to ask – that can be a good thing, but it can get a bit cringe worthy when they go from providing information about their finances to providing information about their last colonoscopy, their divorce, which of their kids was fastest at potty training, and so on. Others, when you ask them for their personal information, act like they’re trying to determine whether you’re a spy from another country or some creep who’s going to stalk them.
Recently, an agent asked me to contact one of her prospective clients and help him qualify for a mortgage. We had a very pleasant conversation where he told me about his family and what they enjoy doing on the weekends (nothing weird, fortunately). However, when I asked him for his Social Security number, he went dead silent. I wasn’t sure if it was my phone going on the blink or not, so I asked if he heard me ask for his number, and he told me that he has never met me and didn’t feel comfortable giving me that piece of information. Before I could walk him through the process and the reason this piece of information was so vital, he hung up on me.
I called the agent immediately and told her what had taken place, and she assured me that when she had originally spoken with her client, she had told him that I would need these items to help him qualify. She promised to call him at that moment while the situation was still “fresh” to see if she could smooth things over. No more than five minutes later, she called me back and said he was less than helpful – she then recommended we wait a bit before running this one up the flagpole again.
For the most part, I don’t have trouble getting what we need to pull the credit report and determine whether a borrower qualifies or needs some help building/repairing their credit. Occasionally, though, I get folks who just don’t feel comfortable sharing their personal data with a stranger. (While I don’t find myself all that “strange”, I’m willing to accept the fact I’m an unknown entity to these good people, and they may have ample reason to be wary.) Because of that, we’ve come up with something that, I believe, everyone is going to love (prepare for the shameless promotion).
On our website, we have a short application that doesn’t ask for a birthdate OR a Social Security Number. Just the person’s first and last name, phone number, physical address (no PO Boxes), and email address. Yeah, that’s it. Once they’ve input and submitted that information, we can pull a credit report and have enough information to call your clients and start discussing options at that very moment. Sure, birthdates and Social Security Numbers are going to be needed at some point, but if we can call your clients and get them excited about their prospects, sharing those pieces of information won’t seem strange.
I shortened the link, and it’s easy to remember. Here it is: bit.ly/ezqual. Yeah, that’s it. They’ll type that in, click on the EZqual box, and there’s the application in its entirety – just the four pieces of information. Once they click on “Next”, they’ll get an email letting them know that we’ve received their information and will be contacting them shortly to discuss their options – that should warm up even the coldest of folks, right?
Having this option should practically eliminate a potential borrower being leery to share their information with us. It might even help cut down on the number of people who overshare, and that’s not a bad thing.