“He who owns the lead controls the destiny of the loan.” I was speaking at my 1994 Sales Mastery Event in Palm Springs, California when the thought occurred to me. I recall being in the back of the room as 500 people began their departure from 3 days of Sales, Marketing and Personal Development training. I said to a group of loan officers, “If you want real power in your business if you want Realtors and builders to come to you if you want to eliminate call reluctance and the traditional reliance of others referring business to you, you must be in the lead generation business.”
Over the last several years, I have been suggesting that to insulate your business and secure your future, you must diversify. The days of relying exclusively on Realtors and builders for your business are a thing of the past. Diversification has become the strategy de jour. Today, as you think about the future, your future, diversification must continue to be at the forefront of your strategic initiatives.
I am still a firm believer that there can be very profitable relationships with Realtors and builders for years to come but each relationship must sustain continued growth in the areas of profit and productivity. Beyond the service commitments you make and deliver on to these relationships, there must be an increased effort to constantly add value in the form of profit. This can happen through assisting them in improved efficiency thereby increasing profits, and by becoming a critical component of referring business to them. One of the key tools for doing this comes through using an automated lead generation system.
Additionally, thousands of dollars in revenue and millions of dollars in loans are lost on a regular basis by not having a diversified cross-selling system in place. Every single loan that you are involved in represents a diversification opportunity. Mortgage industry masters use every loan application to gather critical advisor information so that they can cross-sell to those advisors, gain an appointment, and begin a referral relationship.
The key to the future is to have each of the above conduits represent no more than 25% of your total business. The remaining 50% needs to come from the third business pillar, Consumer Direct. This pillar is the most profitable of the three simply because it offers the types of business that can have the greatest leverage on the marketplace. In Consumer Direct there are two conduits: Database management and retrieval through an After-Sale Service Marketing Program, and, Direct Response through the placement and positioning of phone numbers that use call capture technology.
If you have been in the mortgage business for any reasonable length of time, you certainly recognize that 90% of this entire industry is doing the exact same thing! NO ONE HAS A DISTINCT ADVANTAGE!
Whether you are a top producer, a beginner, or somewhere in between and you want to capitalize on your mortgage business and maximize your opportunity and profitability…you can’t do what the 90% crowd does.
The approach most lenders use to increase business can be improved by 50% or more. I know what I am saying might sound impossible to believe, but this is exactly what students of the system we are about to discuss are doing. By incorporating the content of this article into their businesses, they have differentiated themselves in a unique way, increased volume, and changed the paradigm of how this business is done. Tens of thousands of dollars are being earned that in the past were simply left on the table for someone else to take. You cannot afford to be without this system. In fact, one of the members has increased his volume from $40 million a year to over $100 million per year in just 36 months. There is absolutely no limit to how this process can work profitability for you—your loans and income are about to go up!
Six Power Principles to Increased Loans in Your Mortgage Business
#1: INNOVATION IS THE FUEL OF COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
Isn’t it odd that in the very same town one lender says the market is depressed while another lender makes incredible amounts of money… hand over fist? Why is that? The secret is a simple ten-letter word: INNOVATION! It’s the Top Producer’s mindset always investigating new and innovative approaches! They continually step outside of the box, outside of their own experience, and look at things from a different vantage point. They are focused on creating new breakthroughs and taking old strategies and adding a twist to create quantum leaps in their effectiveness.
Top Producers are skillful innovators, keenly alert to timely opportunities. When they spot one, THEY CAPITALIZE! The Top Money earners are not working harder-just smarter. It only makes sense: innovators lead the way in every field!
#2: USE TECHNOLOGY AS A COMPETITIVE EDGE
The Internet, new advertising media, and interactive technologies have vastly improved marketing exposure and responses. Consumers are rapidly gaining awareness and beginning to understand the value of such marketing tools. The lenders who don’t employ new technology in their marketing and selling efforts will suffer a severe disadvantage.
#3: DEVELOP A STRONG UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION
Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is that distinct, appealing idea that sets you apart from every other “me too” lender in your market. If you are to rise above the crowd, you must set yourself apart from the 90% group. You must be what they aren’t, market like they don’t, and radically differentiate yourself.
Uniqueness is a powerful selling tool! For example, say you are trying to increase your Realtor, builder, or Affinity clients and there are four other lenders vying for the same business. All are offering traditional approaches and propositions while you are offering the same PLUS something unique and beneficial: 24 hours-a-day advertising exposure, complete accessibility, a system that captures all the necessary prospect information for follow-up, and direct response advertising to generate buyers. Who do you think is going to do business with that prospect? You.
Imagine this — NO MORE CALL RELUCTANCE! The simple truth is if you don’t have something that your targeted prospect needs from you to stay in the lead, to stay competitive, to stay profitable then you have no unique advantage, increased fear, and it’s unlikely you’ll approach that person with power, purpose, and passion.
#4: MERCILESSLY SQUEEZE EVERY SINGLE PENNY OUT OF EVERY ADVERTISING DOLLAR
Most lenders spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars per month on advertising without knowing precisely where the response was generated. They just continue a repetitious spending pattern with uncertain results. Is that the most effective way to spend your hard-earned advertising dollars?
A good question is…“If you can’t test and measure your advertising’s effectiveness, how are you ever going to improve it?” Media tracking technology eliminates guessing. No fear of the unknown…you know exactly what works and what doesn’t.
Lenders are responsible for all aspects of their business, lead generations, marketing, budgeting, advertising, closing. It certainly is not an easy job. However, lender after lender is willing to blindly spend ad dollars without measuring success (ad response) because that is the traditional way of marketing. No top-performing business in America would follow this strategy. So, if you want to be a top performer, why would you?
#5: ESTABLISH AN UNFAIR AND REDEMPTIVE ADVANTAGE
Be the first in your market to tell your prospects about processes inherent to the Mortgage and Real Estate business. These processes will be like a unique revelation to your prospects and you’ll score a huge victory over your competitors by taking the time to educate them about new innovative ideas that bring value to your service. The window of opportunity to become the “market leader” exists now… take advantage of it! “Call capture” technology is one of these processes.
#6: BE PROACTIVE TO OUTSELL THE REACTIVE
Stephen Covey in his bestseller, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, says in Habit #1: Be Proactive. A “Proactive” approach is the ability to take decisive action first, maximizing your earning potential. Everyone realizes the mortgage business has become much more competitive. Lenders are entering the market at a faster rate every year. With price and product approaching a “Commodity” atmosphere, you need to get to the consumer early on so that you can develop permanent rapport, establish trust, and build customers for life. And yet, if you are doing business the “old fashioned” way, you are prospecting in the smallest pool there is. The few lenders and mortgage originators who are succeeding in a big-time way are the ones who have expanded that pool. They are the ones who are not using outmoded marketing or sales call strategies but rather are proactively setting new standards.
The big question is twofold: First, why do so many mortgage originators and lenders fail? One key reason is passivity. Too many lenders wait for business to find them instead of aggressively pursuing it. The second question is: What are you doing to make sure that 12, 24, and even 36 months from now, you still have a viable business? That is perhaps one of the most proactive questions there is.
Whether lenders or mortgage originators are brand new or have been around for years, they won’t endure and prosper if they don’t adopt, adapt, and constantly implement “proactive” business-building strategies. What are you doing right now that is proactive? What do you need to do…?
Implement Call Capture Technology
Some lenders fight change while others embrace it. Who do you think will dominate the market in the months and years to come? I am talking about a progressive new outlook with an emphasis on rock-solid principles. Principles that when applied effectively revolutionize careers.
It’s a lot easier to be passionate and full of enthusiasm when there are plenty of commissions flowing across the table. To turn those commission checks into a raging river, it takes sound proactive strategies and a firm commitment to follow through with those strategies. Call capture technology is the roadmap that will position you to dominate your market for years to come.
Grow Your Consumer Direct Business, Increase Your Realtor and Builder Clients, Uncover FSBO Opportunities
Using the right call capture technology can specifically show you how to eliminate prospecting and become more dollar productive. How? By spending all of your time with the active market.
With this technology, you will uncover three to five times more homebuyers utilizing consumer direct marketing, which will give you leverage in recruiting Realtors and builders. The right technology will also provide you with one of the most innovative and aggressive FSBO programs in the lending industry that will enable you to generate potential homebuyers from every FSBO you target.
Establishing Relationships with The Consumers BEFORE They Contact a Realtor or Builder Gives You the First Opportunity to Control the Transaction
With many lenders, the traditional method for generating qualified homebuyers is the Realtor or builder. While both of these are a valuable source of business… relying on them as your sole source of business limits your income potential and makes your business vulnerable to shifts in the industry. It also perpetuates the lender-agent atmosphere in which the lender is perceived as ancillary and replaceable and in some instances can be a disadvantage to the lender. Many large real estate firms realize the loan potential and are setting up in-house lending relationships.
Suppose you make the initial contact with the potential homebuyer. You take the time to educate and answer financing questions before he starts looking at homes. You save him time, hassle, stress, and uncertainty associated with buying a home.
The consumer obtains confidence and assurance. You qualify them so they become a “cash” buyer solidifying their negotiating advantages with the seller. Now YOU have the first opportunity to control the resulting transaction. The key is to find the potential homebuyer first.
By consumer direct advertising with call capture technology. Home magazines, real estate classified newspapers, direct mail, corporate communications programs, infomercials, and billboards are some of the trails that lead to the people you need to be talking to.
Consider this: Every consumer has a natural reluctance to initially deal with a live salesperson. Think about the last time that a salesperson asked if they could help you…frequently your immediate response is one of hesitation. By offering your valuable information through 24-hour automated ads technology, this reluctance to deal with a live salesperson is removed.
By eliminating this natural hesitancy, THREE to FIVE times as many prospects will call your number… then, the revolutionary technology captures their phone number, name, address, ad medium they are responding from and delivers it directly to you within 22 seconds of their call while your prospect’s interest in purchasing property is at a peak.
Realtors who have used this technology will say that the conversion rate on home ads is somewhat low. What they are really saying is that the conversion rate of the prospect buying the home they call in on is somewhat low. It is no different than the age-old statistic that 1% of the homes held open actually sell to someone who came to that home’s open house. The truth is that the conversion rate of ad calls to buyers is really quite high.
As a lender, you are not selling the home. You simply need to identify homebuyers. Therefore, if you position yourself as the first point of contact, you will create a steady stream of consumer-direct leads. Homeownership has a strong appeal: tax advantages, equity, financial stability, and pride of ownership. The appeal is both emotional and logical. Most progressive homebuyers have several questions that need to be answered before they feel comfortable about the home buying decision.
Questions such as: How will buying affect my taxes? What type of credit do I need? How much home can I qualify for? What are my down payment and monthly payment requirements? How do I negotiate the best price? What is the best loan program for me?
Create an Irresistible Offer Based on Value
These are all important questions…and, this is where you as the lender have a substantial advantage over the Realtor or builder. You see, the potential homebuyer is purchasing the home, not the mortgage. So the Realtor or builder is perceived as a salesperson…while you can become the buyer’s confidant and consultant.
When you offer your expertise to the prospective homebuyer free and with no obligation, you will create a tremendous amount of value and ensure you have the first opportunity to control the resulting transaction.
Leverage your FLOOD of Consumer Direct Leads to Recruit Top Agents and Builders
Top Producing agents and builders are inundated by lenders. While pens and calendars are nice and $20.00 lunches and logo coffee mugs are sweet, they just don’t have any impact when recruiting TOP agents.
What you need is something more valuable — something so powerful that the agent will be calling YOU for business.
The answer: approved and/or qualified homebuyers. Once you have generated a substantial and regular flow of consumer-direct leads, you have the leverage you need to approach TOP agents.
Getting People To Respond in Today’s Market Requires a New Approach You Won’t Get From Any “Traditional” Source in the Industry!
By incrementally changing your prospects’ advertising from “traditional, me too” to “interactive” you’ll generate “warm” to “hot” leads 24 hours a day.
The FSBO program is a fantastic lead generation program and has been one of the best trends in the business over the last few years. What is so great about it beyond the obvious is that you can then take an FSBO that doesn’t sell and, because of the loyalty of the seller to you, help him by introducing him to one of your top agents.
TOP TEN SUCCESS STRATEGIES FOR CALL CAPTURE
I have mentioned several times throughout this article the powerful results that students of this system are getting with call capture technology. Here are some of the lessons they have learned:
Make sure the technology works. Prospects who call and can’t easily get the information they wanted won’t call again.
Make sure you know your numbers: If using the technology with Realtors, make sure you have enough listings being advertised. You’ll probably average about 5 calls per listed property per week, and 10–15% of your completed calls (you or your telemarketer
calling back and connecting) will result in appointments. If you or your phone pros are good, you’ll get applications from about half of the appointments. So, 20 listings will generate 100 calls, 10–15 appointments, and 5–8 loan applications.
Personal relationships with the right Realtors are a strong way to get a lot of leads. Their listings are the bait you use to identify prospective homebuyers. People don’t want to buy mortgages; they want to buy homes. So you have to be able to convince enough Realtors that if they work with you on this, they will make more money.
All callbacks to captured numbers must be made within 24–48 hours. After that, the success rates (in scheduling appointments) drop dramatically.
In the call, you must find out enough about the prospect’s situation to be able to offer them a compelling personal reason to want to meet with you.
Have a system in place to communicate with your Realtors and builders the results of your calls. If someone gave you a listing to “Test” your system, you would need 3 weeks to statistically ensure an appointment and as many as 8 weeks to generate an application to appointment to the closing scenario. So they need to be shown a “status” report on their lead activity on a regular and consistent basis.
Once you have a loan application pre-approved, you must communicate weekly between your customer and the Realtor and play the role of facilitator or coach to both. Otherwise, you will lose control of the transaction, and quite possibly the transaction itself.
Expand the use of your “mailboxes” (the mechanism that actually gives the caller the information they are looking for in audio format) to informational as well as educational. One of the hottest call capture mailboxes is “How much home can I afford? There is no limit to the number of boxes you have or the amount of free information you give to help inform the consumer.
Get sponsors who also need your leads to help you underwrite the cost. For example, at the start of a recorded message on “How much home can I afford?” you could have these words, “This recorded information on home qualification is brought to you buy ABC home insurance services”. This ad may run 500 times a month and ABC would love the exposure. The cost of your program can virtually be eliminated with marketing partners!
Expand the use of your number and associated informational mailboxes into Direct Response Marketing. This additional exposure gives you leads that need to be referred to a Realtor or Builder.