12 Reasons Loan Officers Need Their Own CRM
So you’ve heard you should get your own CRM but you’re not really convinced you need one. Maybe you’re wondering what a CRM even is or what kind you should be looking for.
Whether you’ve heard of a CRM or not this guide will clear up what it is, what you should be looking for in a good CRM, and give you a clear picture of the benefits you’ll get by using one.
What is a CRM?
CRM stands for “customer relationship management” and is a system and tool that helps you to manage your day to day interactions with all of your contacts. A CRM organizes your leads, active customers, past customers, strategic partners, affiliates, and vendors in a single space and combines them all with a system that supports and helps you to fine-tune your sales process. The end result is an efficient workflow that improves your customer’s experience and increases your conversions in a highly efficient way.
This is especially important for loan officers because you already have multiple hats to wear in addition to having to deal with constant adjustments and changes to programs, policies, compliance, and economy shifts. With a CRM many of your customer and strategic partner interaction processes can be automated, and automation means a lot less things to worry about.
Why do I need a CRM?
For some loan officers, it may seem like the right choice to just keep on doing what you’ve been doing so far without your own CRM. Having your own CRM seems like an expense that initially may not seem worth the investment. You may think that your current process of manually managing customers, or using a company provided and controlled CRM is working well enough. Many loan officers still use the old school method of their own “manual CRM” which combines the use of email folders, contact info folders, spreadsheets, calendars, notepads, and post-it notes. It works (sort of), but it also significantly limits the capacity for growth. The “Manual CRM” process is not scalable and just about every process becomes a long, annoying, and complicated chore.
With a “manual CRM process’, when you get an inquiry via email or phone, you dig through email folders, search through multiple contact folders and files, scroll through what seems like an eternity of data in spreadsheets, flip through handwritten notes, and loan software data just to piece together a picture of that contacts situation so you could determine your next move. Maybe your computer screen is covered in color-coded post-it notes to remind you of critical items, but that only worked if there were one or two post-it’s, not dozens.
Notepads and post-it notes are great to jot things down on, they do not help you to prioritize required actions by jumping out at you to let you know when they are due to be completed.
In today’s world you have to streamline actionable tasks that you need to complete to stay ahead of the game. You may not realize you are missing out on opportunities to increase sales because you are so stuck in your busy ‘manual’ routine. In order to increase sales while giving your customers the same level of service, and better, it is not physically possible unless you are properly using a CRM. So for those of you out there that are still working 10x harder managing clients with a phone, email, pen, and paper, or giving up your hard won contacts to your company controlled CRM, please keep reading. Once you’ve invested the time to properly incorporate a CRM into your workday, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!
Here we go with the 12 Reasons Loan Officers Need Their Own CRM…
1. Are You the trusted advisor for your customer, or is it your company?
You are the resource that educates and guides your customers through the process of property ownership and their mortgage(s). You have had to spend hundreds of hours of training and gaining certifications to be able to provide the guidance your customers need. You need to stay on top of the huge amount of constantly changing information about programs, policies, and compliance matters. You work incredibly hard to build your customer base. Hours and hours of time on the phone or in meetings with your customers and referral partners. Hundreds of emails sent and read. You put priceless time into your career as a mortgage professional and you should vehemently protect your relationship with your contacts. Sure, you need a company umbrella to work under, a place to ‘hang your sign’, but you want your customers to remember YOUR name, not the name of your company, when they need assistance. Using your own CRM means that you can efficiently manage your day to day interactions and that you stay in control of all of your contacts information and their current and future business potential on your own radar.
2. Centralized information for the life of your career
With a CRM, all the information about your customers is in one place. It’s not on your separate computers, calendars, folders or notes in various locations. It’s not left behind at your last company or even on your last computer that had a hard drive crash. You don’t have to search for notes on your last conversation with a client or wonder when your next call or follow up with them is scheduled. In addition, with your own CRM you can say good riddance to that annoying process of having to review a variety of documents, emails, and spreadsheets from different sources, hoping that you are looking at the most current information. Remember, if your company provides you with a CRM, they specify how and what data you track, and if you ever leave that company, they keep all your contact data and continue to market to them. If you are entering all your prospects into your company’s CRM they will compete against you for your prospects business when you leave.
I have had many loan officers over the years regretting that they only used CRM provided by their company and did not keep their own CRM going as well. I can’t tell you how many loan officers were told “Sure, if you ever leave this company, we will send you a spreadsheet of all your contacts and their information”, only to either never get the spreadsheet, or get a spreadsheet with very limited and almost useless data. The continuity of your contact management and their information as you go through your career is priceless.
3. Searchable information
You can be great at recording everything in spreadsheets, notes in your calendar, etc., but if that information isn’t searchable, attempting to find a specific piece of information using that system becomes the proverbial search for the “needle in the haystack”. The highly specific organization of a properly implemented CRM system makes all your content searchable which saves you significant time and frustration by easily finding the information you need when you need it.
4. Easy sorting
Let’s say you want to see all the customers that closed a loan with a specific program or rate. If you’re not able to quickly filter through your own CRM with the information that you have tracked over time regardless of what company you worked for, good luck getting that done quickly and without leaving significant missed revenue behind. You control what you track in your own CRM and with a good CRM that you own and keep up to date, you can not only search specific information but you can also filter based on that info which makes grouping specific things, such as a list of contacts who would benefit from a refinance, a whole lot easier. So instead of wasting time looking through past client spreadsheets or searching through emails, you can quickly filter a list, and then send an email blast in a matter of minutes which leaves you with extra time to look for new prospects, nurture referral partnerships, or finish the many other things on your to do list.
Having information on your laptop or notepad at home is only helpful if you’re near your laptop or at home. As a loan officer you are essentially running a business inside a business (aka your contacts are your contacts) and anyone running a small business knows that business doesn’t stop when you step out of the office. With a CRM you don’t have to postpone replying to a customer until you’re back to your desk and able to check your notes. A CRM with mobile access brings your business contacts and ALL of their pertinent information with you. You’re able to access the info you need right from your fingertips. Instead of follow up tasks getting bottlenecked, delayed, or completely forgotten, due to limited access to information, you can do things as they come up because you have the info you need with you at all times.
6. Save time and money
One of the core values that a CRM brings to your business is the ability to create open spaces of time that you did not previously have by streamlining many of the marketing, keep-in-touch and sales actions that you would have previously spent hours per work week maintaining. These spaces of time can potentially become large enough that you will have the freedom to begin your next business planning or strategy projects ahead of schedule so you can focus on the growth parts of your business that you haven’t previously had time for. You save yourself time and increase revenue potential. When you use a good CRM, you’re creating a more productive work environment that helps you get more things done, help more clients, and grow your customer base without having to clone yourself or hire an additional person.
Manually managing customers means that you’re capping your growth because you’re only able to manage so many customers with the time and resources you have. By using a CRM you’re able to effectively perfect your sales process which means you can serve more customers with the same level of service, in less time. With a good CRM you’re able to scale your customer relationships so you can grow your business efficiently and at the pace you choose.
8. Peace of mind
Trying to remember all the little details of who, what, where, when, and why can drive you crazy. Who are you meeting tomorrow? What do you need to remember to ask them? When did you last meet with them and what was it about? What are all the loans you have done for them? What is the last loan you did for them? For a very small customer base you may be fine to do it on your own, but as you grow it’s going to be more and more taxing on your peace of mind and ultimately your ability to grow your business. By using a CRM you’re able to put your thoughts in a trusted, organized, and central system instead of having to rely on your own memory. A CRM gives you the ‘right to forget’ all the details you constantly deal with because you are storing them in a central system. This helps you to be calmer and more present when you interact with your contacts which helps you to bring the most value you can to every interaction.
9. Data goldmine
Digging out stats is difficult when you don’t have all the information in one place. You’re left to rely on hunches or your gut to tell you year over year production stats, which referral sources have been the most beneficial, what customers are the most profitable, what customers’ issues eat up the most of your time, etc. One example is that the referral source that sent you the most referrals in a given time may not actually be your most fruitful referral relationship. If only a small percentage of those referrals converted, the referral source may not be qualifying the contact well enough before passing along your phone number. Reports can help you clarify what, or who, is actually getting you the most return on your time and efforts. A good CRM comes with built in reports or tools that let you easily pull out the stats you need to make informed decisions.
10. More control
Your own CRM gives you control over your customer information. Even if you have a company provided CRM, they understandably will not permit you to store SSN or birth date year, but there may be a lot of other pieces of information you would like to store that may not be available in their CRM. Frankly there are important pieces of information that is key to your relationship with your contact that your company does not need access to because it is information that is none of their business. For example, you might store information about awards the contact has received, their hobbies, favorite places to travel, information about their children etc. These are pieces of information that support the bond you have with your customer. Whenever you speak to your contacts, being able to refer to these areas that they have shared with you is incredibly important. We all like to be remembered, and especially since you are a trusted advisor who knows the ins and outs of your customers personal financial information, being able to perpetuate your bond with them by ‘remembering them’ via your CRM is one of the ways you can stand out from your competitors.
11. Better customer experience
With a CRM you’re able to see the full picture of each customer. It’s easier to get brought up to speed on their history, quickly retrieve important details, and respond to them sooner. When someone contacts you, you don’t have to place them on hold, or delay a response, while you dig through emails, files, or notes to try to piece together a picture of what’s happening. All the information is in one place so you’re able to address their needs and react right away, giving them a better customer experience.
12. Potential retirement bonus
Only one loan officer that I know of in my 18+ year career as a CRM and marketing consultant for mortgage professionals has tuned into this and it was a huge win for her.
Your own CRM is a hard asset to your business. The potent information you can store in your own CRM is priceless.
When you are ready to retire, consider selling your CRM database. In the case of the loan officer I mentioned above, she sold her database for over $100,000 to a producing branch manager so he could pick up where she left off with a goldmine of data to draw from. The retiring loan officer sent out a retirement announcement to her entire CRM database with an introduction to the ‘replacement’ loan officer, and an option to opt in for communications from the ‘replacement’ loan officer. Of course, I am not promising that you will be able to sell your CRM data, however, if you have kept it up to date and robust over your career, it absolutely has value.
When you’re more organized and have more control over your business you create a more stress-free work experience that allows you to focus on the ease of doing business as well as the growth of your business.
So…whether you’re just starting out and need a way to manage your first few clients, or you need a tool to help scale your business as your client list grows, there’s many good reasons to move forward in getting your own CRM.
Contact us! We specialize in setting CRM and marketing for loan officers.