When we think of communication, we often jump to how we share information. Do we speak clearly and confidently? Are we able to break down complex topics? These things are certainly important for loan officers, but I believe there’s an even more important skill when it comes to communication—active listening. It’s easy to overlook listening as a skill, but it’s an essential aspect of communication, and the better you are at it, the better experience you can provide your clients. So, what are some ways loan officers can step up their listening? Here are a few ideas:
When talking with a prospect or client, it’s great to have a notebook ready or a document open on your computer where you can type. While you’re likely already noting the most important facts, it’s also good to note some other smaller details of the conversation. They might not be necessary to the loan process, but they’ll help you strengthen the connection. Perhaps your clients have two young children, for example. You could note this and perhaps even include their names so that you’re able to reference them in future conversations. This will demonstrate your focus and show your clients they’re a priority.
While most conversations are happening over Zoom these days, body language still matters. It’s an important way to show that you’re giving your full attention to the conversation. Are you looking at the screen when the other person is talking, or are you engaged in something else? Do you nod your head to show that you understand what they’re saying? These things not only show your clients that you’re actively listening, but they also help you to focus more on the conversation as well.
What I mean by this is – don’t plan the next thing you want to say while the other person is talking. It will make you less attentive to what they’re saying, and it will show in your response that you weren’t fully tuned in. While you might have a general structure and goal for the conversation, allow it to flow naturally and respond to what your clients are saying rather than just replying with more information you have for them. It may seem obvious, but it’s a habit many professionals fall into when they’re used to sharing similar information with so many different clients.
Ask Follow-Up Questions
A great way to show that you’re really engaging with what the other person is saying is to ask follow-up questions. Asking some clarifying questions not only allows you to get a better understanding of your client, but it also shows them that you’re committed to delivering the best service possible.
How important do you find listening when it comes to overall communication? Do you have any strategies that help you listen more actively to your clients? I’d love to hear your thoughts!