How do you pop the credit question to a lead? You’ll need permission to pull their credit score early enough to avoid wasting everybody’s time. However, asking too early gets your number blocked.
Let’s talk about how to make a quick conversion feel like a slow build for the client as part of your bigger appointment-setting strategy. A credit application should always feel like the next step toward the goal instead of a test.
Keep in mind that this is never about tricking, bamboozling or rushing a client. It is about facilitating a swift, purpose-driven transaction that ultimately lets you both know where things stand. Good phone-sales practices leave leads with good feelings and you with a higher rate of applications pulled.
Here’s what your leads are feeling in the first few minutes of that first conversation:
- Afraid of Rejection: If they don’t have a perfect credit history, they may view you as a “no” waiting to happen. As a result, they’ll be hesitant to share specifics.
- Guarded About Their Credit Scores: They’ve just spent months reading “first-time-homebuyer blogs” warning them that credit checks can ding their scores. Don’t be surprised if they hesitate here.
- Excited: They know that they can own a home if they can get through this process!
- Vulnerable: They’re about to lay bare their deepest, darkest financial secrets to a total stranger.
If you’ve done your job, they will walk away from this same conversation feeling nothing other than fully ready to move forward. Let’s talk about how to inspire clients to move forward by making them feel comfortable and empowered in your competent hands.
This phase is never a “grand show” of your expertise. You are instead positioning yourself as the friendly ear ready to help your lead make a real plan to make their homeownership dreams real.
In addition to knowing what nurtures leads, you should also know about the common mistakes that LOs make that send some very sharp “danger” signals to leads.
Give as Much as You Take
Ready for honesty? Clients are on the lookout for sharks circling in the water. They know that they’re a paycheck to you. They also know that they need your services and expertise to get what they want.
While you can never erase the transactional nature of the LO-client relationship, you can almost make your client forget that you’re getting paid for this.
How do you do this?
Focus on putting them at ease. While this sounds simple enough, clients know when you’re just going through the motions.
Start by giving them an open invitation to share their questions with you to shift the focus toward what they’re getting instead of what you need to get from them. This can be a valuable conversation for your client because it may be the first time that they are actually crystallizing the details of their buying plan in a conversation with another person.
Here’s what to ask to nurture the conversation when the lead is still early in the sales cycle:
- Did you have some questions about mortgages?
- Where are you looking to live?
- How soon would you like to be in your new home? Let’s talk timeframes!
- How much of a monthly payment are you comfortable with?
- Will you be the only one on the loan?
- What does your monthly household income look like before taxes? Let’s get some numbers down on paper to see what we can make happen!
- How is your down payment looking?
These questions help your leads pin down what they’re really seeking from you. At the same time, you’re able to use the answers to decide if a lead is worth more of your time and to begin building a relationship.
You’ll get more honest answers if you frame the conversation as one of building a game plan even if there’s some work to do to get qualified than if you speak like a prosecutor coldly cross-examining a defendant. Your time gets wasted when clients lie and withhold out of the natural tendency to not look bad in front of strangers.
While you’re listening, don’t be afraid to chime in with tidbits of expertise that add value to the conversation as long as you’re not “taking over” the conversation. We call it steamrolling when you talk at a client instead of keeping a natural give-and-take pace.
Clients want to feel like they are being heard instead of being “talked over” by some know-it-all. Your job at this point is to simply take in the answers with affirmative nods and “yeses” without judging the numbers.
Remember! You also don’t want to make your leads feel like they’ve accessed all that you have to give during the first encounter. Stay away from specifics before the credit pull. This helps to keep leads coming back for more information.
If your lead has been vetted by an appointment setter, look over the notes attached and previous texts or emails before your conversation. Nothing is going to frustrate a lead more than feeling like you’re simply checking off a list by getting back to them. Show up with your research done. In fact, you can begin the phone conversation by repeating the reason why they’re seeking your services.
These will work as lead-in greetings:
- “I hear you’re looking for a home that has more room because you just welcomed your second child. Congratulations!”
- “I’m so excited to be a part of helping you to find your starter home!”
- “You know, you’re the second client I’ve talked to today who is ready to “right size” by getting into a smaller home that’s less of a hassle. My other client can’t wait to stop paying for heat and AC bills for a five-bedroom home after 20 years.”
You’ve started by acknowledging and affirming their motivation for what brought them to you. Next, you can ride the wave of rapport toward some important questions.
- “What made you decide to purchase in that area? A closer commute for you? What line of work are you in?”
- “Are you currently working with a Realtor?”
- “What are we looking at as far as a timeline for getting you into your new home?”
- Are there any questions you have before we get started?
Be present and engaged. Never sound like a robot processing clients through an assembly line. Being able to refer to ISA notes to show that you’re genuinely interested in the client’s background is going to help you go a long way with this.
Be Ready to Handle Objections
We now get to popping the credit-app question. Asking to pull credit is usually where most LOs get their first dose of pushback from a lead. This is where knowing how to frame a credit application as giving clients something to gain instead of something to lose is essential.
First, you can’t get to this phase until you’ve gone through the process of building rapport. Bringing up a credit pull prematurely is the fastest way to get ghosted. If you’re communicating through text or email, you should usually wait until you’ve booked a phone call to discuss the credit application. You might even get the application done over the phone if you can make the step feel natural enough.
Here’s a small checklist of responses when a client gets nervous about pulling credit:
- “Once I get your credit score in front of me, we can give you that number for prequalification that you can bring to an agent.”
- “Bringing your credit score into our game plan here will help us to get in front of any potential issues now instead of getting stuck after you find a home you want.”
- “You’re really going to be able to narrow your home search to the most accurate price range once we get the credit score taken care of.”
- “Worst case scenario, we can build you a game plan to get into a home as quickly as possible.”
Frame your response based on the client’s objection.
In many cases, they may say that they are simply nervous to pull credit. You’ll need to articulate that your own hands are tied as far as giving them anything more than a “range” until they can feel comfortable doing this. Also assure them that you won’t pull credit unless it makes sense to do so.
Some may also insist that they aren’t actually ready to buy for another six months to a year. Let them know that getting pre-approved today will set them up to jump on a gem that pops up before then. Tell an anecdote of a client who was thankful they were pre-approved when a dream home priced way below their budget came on the market in their neighborhood.
Reiterate that in the current housing market we’re in, agents don’t work with clients who aren’t pre-approved.
Create a Deadline for the Credit Application Without Creating a Deadline for the Credit Application
Don’t just provide an open-ended credit application. Ask clients when they would like to get the application back to you. This creates a deadline without imposing a deadline. After they pick the date, let them know you’ll give them a ring that day just to make sure they don’t have any final questions.
Even Athletes Watch the Replay Tapes to Learn from Their Mistakes
Use your lost leads as opportunities to improve. Record your calls. Can you pinpoint where you lost them? What was different about the conversations where you did get the credit pull? You’ll be surprised how different conversations sound in playback mode compared to what you experienced on the phone.
Final Thoughts on Finding More Success at Getting Permission to Run a Credit Application
Build up the credit application as a step toward a client’s goal instead of a “final test.” This avoids the need to talk a client down from test anxiety.
Empower ISA is here to help you walk into your conversations with the info you need to pull that app. If you are struggling while on the phone with too many of your leads, we provide coaching and real examples of successful calls. Book your live demo today!
We’ll see you at the top!
The Empower Family