You never know where your next client will come from. It’s surprising how often a conversation can turn towards buying a home. It could be at a friend’s barbeque, while dropping kids off at daycare, at a chamber of commerce meeting, a sporting event or during a book club meeting.
Many times, there’s a small opening to connect with somebody when you’re asked about what you do for a living, but it doesn’t always mean it’s the right time for a full sales pitch.
If you’ve ever had the experience of telling someone you’re a loan officer and then getting a blank stare or polite smile in return, you likely know exactly what we’re talking about. The conversation is usually over, and the opportunity is lost.
What is an Elevator Pitch?
Successful loan officers have a polished elevator pitch that’s simple and not pushy. Why is it called an elevator pitch? You should be able to say the entire thing in the time it takes for an average elevator ride—about 30 seconds to a minute. An elevator pitch is designed to create curiosity around what you do (enough information but not too much) to get the person you’re speaking with hooked and engaged, resulting in them asking you a question to further the conversation.
Why Loan Officers Need an Elevator Pitch
Developing a well-crafted elevator pitch is a valuable asset for your mortgage career because it gives people a snippet of what you do, the service you offer, and the people that you serve in just a few sentences. Once you’ve figured out how to frame your WOW factor in few succinct words, it’ll be easier to have a memorable impact, even with a very short interaction time. Let’s be honest, there are thousands of loan officers out there, but your elevator pitch is what sets you apart from the others.
A good loan officer elevator pitch follows this basic formula: who you serve, what do you do to help them, and how do they benefit. You can also think of it as problem + solution + proof.
Notice that the pitch is all about them, never about you. Example: “I help first-time home buyers realize their dream of homeownership by giving them the budgeting tools, credit resources and custom loan programs and products to fit their individual needs.”
Tips for Crafting a Loan Officer Elevator Pitch
Focus on Differentiators
People are intrigued if you tell them something different that they haven’t heard from a loan officer before. Do you have a knack for closing VA loans very quickly? Do you have a reputation for working with first-time home buyers? Do you have exceptional experience with jumbo loans? Tell people why you’re different from the competition without directly comparing yourself to the competition. And here’s a hint: you don’t have to have just one elevator pitch. Craft as many versions as you want and change them out to best fit the interaction you are in.
Tell a Story
People love stories, and every loan officer has some really good ones about clients. Maybe it was closing a tricky USDA loan for a long-time renter that was thrilled to finally be a homeowner. Maybe it was helping a client build substantial wealth over time through an investment portfolio so she could retire early. Or maybe it was working with a family for several years while they worked to build their credit so they could buy a home. These stories are powerful and easy to remember.
You can easily see the difference between, “I closed 60 VA loans last year in 45 days or less,” and “I closed a home last week with an army lieutenant who had just arrived home Afghanistan. He was reunited with his family and within a few days, he had signed paperwork on his new home at a fantastic interest rate. Because he was able to receive 100% financing, he is able to put in the pool his family has always wanted just in time for summer.” The latter story is so much more impactful and emotional than the first.
Enthusiasm for a job is contagious. Show how passionate you are about lending and helping others, and everyone will feel your authenticity. Tell people exactly what excites you about your job and why.
Make the Pitch About the Listener
Nobody wants to hear you talk about yourself. What they really want to know is how you can help them and why they should care. If your elevator pitch can’t answer the WHO and WHY, you’re missing the mark.
And remember, 9 times out of 10, industry jargon is not helpful. As an expert, it’s easy to lead with jargon that no one but you understands, but that is not what your listener wants to hear. Connect your message to the emotions of the listener by creating a scenario they can relate to and understand. That’s what will result in further conversation. Industry jargon will not.
Don’t Try to Close a Sale
Remember, an elevator pitch won’t close a sale in 30 seconds, nor is it designed to! An elevator pitch is about striking someone’s curiosity enough to make a connection, and in doing so, creating an opportunity for a further conversation and interaction down the line. This is a chance to open a door and invite people in.
Tweak the Elevator Pitch as You Go
A good elevator pitch takes time to perfect. Once you say it a couple of times in a real setting, you’ll often find the need to tweak your pitch. The best pitch is generally the most natural, so if it’s not rolling off your tongue, it’s time to rethink it. And as we mentioned, you may also need to create multiple pitches based on the audience you have in front of you. Knowing the audience is key to success, and with time, you’ll get better at adjusting the message to fit the audience’s needs.
For instance, a chat with a potential first-time homebuyer will be more about your ability to walk with them through the process or work on credit than it would be with someone who’s curious about how rates have gone down and might want to refinance.
Practice Makes Perfect
A perfect elevator pitch won’t land in your lap overnight. It takes practice to hone your message. Don’t be afraid to ask co-workers and family members if you can try it out on them. A precise, well-timed elevator pitch can become a powerful mortgage marketing tool in your networking and marketing arsenal.