Since the average day of a loan officer entails interacting with a variety of people, including clients, colleagues, and partners, LOs need to have excellent communication skills. Being able to speak and listen clearly and effectively is crucial for LOs. Good communication skills can help you bypass many potential conflicts and confusing situations that can easily arise in the mortgage process. Utilizing these skills can help strengthen your customer experience as well as aid you in forming stronger partnerships. Being a great communicator can also help LOs to better interact with other members of their sales team as well as with managers. Since communication is vital to the job of a loan officer, you might be searching for ways to improve your skills and thrive. Here are some of the top strategies for LOs to improve their communication skills:
Be honest and clear
When people think of communication skills, they tend to focus on the words they’re saying and the ideas they’re expressing. In all of your interactions as a loan officer, you should aim to express your ideas more clearly and concisely. Focus on being honest and direct with people instead of beating around the bush and avoiding difficult conversations. When you have an issue or need to express disappointing news, it’s best to be upfront and proactive. Good communication will allow you to navigate these situations appropriately.
As much as the words you say affect your communication, your ability to listen may be even more important. Often, your ability to actively listen can say more about you than the words that are coming out of your mouth. Being an active listener means that you not only give the other person the chance to speak without interruption, but that you absorb what they are saying. You can try to create a mental summary of the other person’s ideas during your meetings and interactions to help you fully engage with what they’re saying. During important meetings, it can be helpful to take written notes. When it’s your turn to speak, you’ll have something to go off of and be able to respond thoughtfully. Listening well also gives you the opportunity to ask for clarification on anything you did not fully understand. All of these traits contribute to strengthening your relationships with other people, especially your clients and colleagues.
Use your body language effectively
One aspect of communication which many people often underestimate is the power of body language. Loan officers should be aware of the nonverbal cues they’re sending to other people and work to send the messages they want to be heard. Simple improvements like maintaining eye contact during an interaction and physically leaning in during a conversation can help the other person feel more connected during that interaction. Part of effective body language is showing the other person that you’re free of distractions, so make sure your eyes aren’t glued to your smartphone. Show that you’re present and invested in the conversation with your undivided attention.
Fine-tune your first impression
Having the right communication skills can affect how you’re perceived throughout your entire relationship with a client or partner, but it’s especially important during your initial interaction. By working on simple changes in communication, loan officers can make a more stand-out first impression. Simple things like a firm handshake and friendly smile will tell the other person a lot about who you are. As mentioned before, much of your communication skills are about listening, so make sure that you are expressing your interest in the other person during that first meeting. As they say, you only get one chance at a first impression, so fine-tuning your communication skills can really help you create the lasting impression you want to leave.
Loan officers need to be great communicators just as much as they need to be organized professionals who are skilled in finance. Even if an LO is able to fulfill his duties to his clients, if he can’t communicate effectively, he’ll likely leave his clients with a lackluster experience. Through both verbal and nonverbal means you can show the other person that you’re listening and care about what they have to say. All of these practices can help LOs improve the many interactions they’ll have every day.