I promised to talk about how to take care of our PAALs, or those who are “Pre-Approved and Looking.” Obviously, these are people you’ve already pre-approved who are on the hunt for the right property. Once you pre-approve someone, they typically go out looking for houses because they know what they can afford. 

Why do we need to talk about them in a serious and focused way? Because this is where we drop the ball as loan officers – sometimes we get so busy going after the next lead we ignore the leads we already have working. Ignoring the people we’ve pre-approved to go get more people to pre-approve can cause all kinds of unintended issues. 

First, we spend so much time, money and effort getting that lead and building trust that dropping the ball once they are a PAAL shows we are inconsistent. But it’s even more than that because to get the lead in the first place, we invested time in build the relationship with our referral partner. So what really happens is, once they’ve sent a lead, and we’ve done our due diligence and built trust with that lead and pre-approved them, ignoring them to look for more leads is a huge waste of time and money.

PAALs can also “ghost” us. When that happens, it’s an indicator they’ve found another lender, or worse, another lender and another realtor. If a realtor keeps sending you leads only to have those leads buy from someone else after you pre-approve them, then they’re probably to think twice next time about sending a lead your way. It’s a real loss when a referral partner starts referring their leads to someone else.

The bottom line is that, as responsible loan officers, we MUST follow up. Realtors have to be able to trust they won’t be losing sales by sending their leads to us. They’re relying on us to be attentive with their clients, which builds a beneficial relationship for everyone.

In our office, we like to call our PAALs every Thursday. Thursday works well because it gives us an extra day before the weekend to tweak things if we learn anything during our calls. We take it one step further because, once we call our PAALs, we also call the real estate agent to let them know we followed up with that person. We’ve found this to be a good way to build trust and demonstrate our commitment to our collaboration. 

Future Casting

Now, sometimes PAALs can drag out their homebuying process to the point it starts to hurt you and your realtor. For example, a PAAL might look at a property, then another, then another without ever deciding on one. When a PAAL sits on the fence like that, you can help them commit by future casting their dreams. 

Future casting is where you get your pre-approved potential client to envision themselves with their desired result. In this case, it’s about getting that PAAL to imagine themselves in their new home. You can work this into your Thursday touch base calls with something like, “Refresh me – what’s the purpose of the move?” When they share their dream goal, like maybe owning a pool home or living in a particular area to pursue hobbies or be closer to family, then you can help accelerate their decision by reminding them why they are moving by envisioning that pool, having fun with those hobbies or hanging with their family. 

Essentially, your goal is to get them to visualize what they’ll be doing when they’re in that new home, whether it’s swimming, having barbecues, saving money, or downsizing. There’s an old saying that demonstrates this idea well: 

Wherever your head is, your butt will soon follow. 

When you can get their heads into that house, it’s in their best interest. They’re not going to bite off something they can’t chew; instead, they’ll get off the fence faster because they know you have their back and they’re connected to their dream again.

Treat Your PAALs Like Pals

It might sound a little bit crazy but treat your PAALs like you would treat your pals – with respect, follow through and care about what they want in life. Would you let a friend go for a month without talking to them when you know they’re up to going after a big life dream? No. You would want to support them and find out how it’s going and see what’s up in case you can help. And that’s what you need to do with your PAALs too.

You’ve come a long way for them to become your PAAL – they came to you as a lead, you had one or more conversations where you built trust and shared information, you pulled their credit to see their financial life in detail, and you pre-approved them for one of the largest loans most people take in a lifetime. All that’s left is to lock in their deal… but if you don’t know how they’re doing, you can’t help them. 

To have a PAAL you need to be a pal. It’s just that simple. Follow through, keep the communication going, support them in seeing their vision, keep the dream alive and make sure they know you have their back when they find their ideal new property. That’s how you keep PAALs, and deals, in your business.

You’re Still Pals After the Deal is Done

Of course, once the deal is done, you are still pals because you will stay in touch with them. I’ve shared how to do that before but, in case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s how to use technology to help you stay in touch in a time-effective way – my newest book that I wrote with my buddy, Chris Johnstone. It’s called The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Ad Campaigns for Loan Officers: How to Use Social Media and Google to Generate More Leads, Build Your Network and Close More Deals. To get your copy, just click here now – you’ll be glad you did (IMHO). 

Do you have a strategy you use to stay in touch with your PAALs?

Carl White, Chief Officer of Coolness
Article Originally Posted on LinkedIn

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