Your greeting to the customer should be positive, friendly and confident. "Good afternoon Mr. Smith, my name is John Doe and I am a Mortgage Loan Officer for XYZ Lender, how are you doing today?" Customer: "I'm doing fine, how about you?" "I'm doing outstanding thanks for asking."
Next, move into your questions and take control of the conversation: "Mr. Smith I understand you are interested in purchasing a home is that correct"? Customer: Yes. "Outstanding, what I will need to do is get a little more information from you and then if everything looks good I will be able to send you a pre-qualification letter and a closing cost estimate, does that sound good?" Customer: that sounds great. Here you are getting the customer in the habit of saying yes and you are progressing to the next step. You want to let the customer know that by answering all of your questions and divulging their personal information that are going to get something in return which is the pre-qualification letter they will need to make an offer on the home of their dreams. Your conversation with the customer should flow naturally, a tip is to smile when you are talking to the customer, they will pick up on your enthusiasm and will respond to it in a positive manner. Also, it is important to have good posture when talking with your customer, do not sit with your legs crossed and do not slouch in your chair. This may seem trivial but bad posture will negatively impact your conversation with your customer and the outcome of the call.
It is very important to establish the purchase price or price range that your customer is interested in very early in the conversation. To do this you might ask, "What purchase price or price range are you looking at?" Customer: Well, I'm looking anywhere between 90-$100,000. "Great, did you have a certain amount that you were wanting to put down on the purchase?" Customer, I have $5,000 to put down or I have between 5-$10,000 to work with. By asking these questions you are able to determine what different loan programs or products you will be able to offer your client. On a $100,000 purchase price, if your customer has 5-$10,000 to work with, you should be able to offer either a conventional or an FHA loan.
A good loan officer will discuss the pro's and con's of putting down a small or large down payment with the customer. A customer may tell you that they want to put down the least amount possible which further helps you determine the best loan program to offer them. When you hear this you might look to do a USDA or a VA loan which have no down payment requirement. It's very important for you as the Loan Officer to check all of the loan options that you have in your arsenal to offer your client. You don't want to offer a customer who is a veteran and is wanting to put down the least amount possible an FHA loan when a VA loan should be a much better product for them. Note that it is also not the customer's responsibility to let you know that they are a veteran, it is your job as the expert to find this information by asking the right questions during the interview process. Keep in mind that if you are not asking the right questions, your competition will be and they will be who your customer ends up doing business with.
After establishing the estimated purchase price and down payment amount you will want to determine the type of property your customer is interested in as this will also impact the loan application and the types of programs you will be able to offer the customer. You might say: "Are you looking primarily at single-family residences, condominiums or town homes?" Note that condominiums and town homes typically require a larger down payment than a single family home so if your customer is interested in this type of property you need to ensure they have enough money to the down payment requirement. Another important question to ask is the zip code that the customer is looking to buy in. The zip code and county that the property is located in can also impact the down payment amount and what loan programs you will have available. For example, many zip codes in major metropolitan areas allow you to go over $417,000 loan amount and keep the loan Conforming which will result in a much lower rate than a Jumbo or Non-Conforming loan. Don't offer your customer a jumbo loan if they qualify for a Conforming High Balance loan. Take a few extra minutes to research all of your loan options before simply offering the first thing or product that comes to mind.