As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, March 2008.
Doctors supposedly make the worst patients. With this reasoning, salespeople should make the worst customers.
In recent years, however, many salespeople in the mortgage industry bought every new marketing gadget and program they could find.
While trying to discover that one perfect product, brokers can easily fall victim to technological clutter. When this happens, they need to step back and decide which methods they want to use and what kind of marketing-management system best fits their needs. Mortgage brokers must remember to harness technology, not be ridden by it.
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To decide what type of marketing-management system works best for them, brokers first should determine their preferred marketing methods. The primary options include:
E-mail: It's often free and easy to use but also easily ignored.
Fax: This may seem like a dying horse, but many real estate agents still use fax machines.
Personal visits and phone calls: The sales industry remains a face-to-face, relationship-based business.
Mail: This can still be effective for those who target the right consumers.
Mortgage brokers don't need to use all these methods, but they should use at least three.
Find a solution
Once they decide what marketing methods to use, brokers need a way to plan and track these efforts without getting lost in a technological mess.
At a minimum, brokers should seek a system that reminds them of important events, such as loan-anniversary dates, birthdays and ARM-expiration dates. Some e-mail systems provide this service, allowing brokers to program in appropriate dates and act when the reminders appear. More-advanced marketing systems will mine brokers' e-mail or loan-origination systems and enter this data for them. Taking it a step further, some systems automatically send marketing materials through brokers' chosen methods when the date reminders appear.
Keep in mind that as the level of user involvement decreases, the price of these systems may increase. To figure out which type of system is best for them, brokers should ask themselves these questions:
How much money are they willing to spend on a marketing system?
How much time can and will they devote to marketing?
Are they able and willing to do their own marketing?
Brokers should answer these questions by thinking about today's market and the future. After all, marketing needs may change when the housing slump ends.
Ultimately, brokers must find a system that works for them in terms of time and money. That could mean sitting in front of their televisions licking stamps and sending letters, or it might involve investing in a completely automated system.
No matter what they choose, brokers must track their success. For many, taking a cue from professional marketing companies' formula -- test, refine and repeat -- proves successful.
In other words, brokers should test and refine their marketing to discover what works, then use that tactic until it works no longer.
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The key to mortgage marketing is to do something, do it consistently and do it professionally. Brokers should build their system in such a way that they can track how much they spend and their return on investment. Most of all, they should eliminate technological clutter or risk becoming entangled in their own digital demons.
Dan Sullivan is vice president of sales and a managing director of Velma.com, a virtual marketing assistant for mortgage professionals.
He entered the industry in 1987 and has been a successful originator and a wholesale account executive for Countrywide. Sullivan has served on the board of directors for the Idaho Mortgage Lenders Association and the Idaho Association of Mortgage Brokers. Contact Sullivan at (208) 854-7905 or e-mail him at email@example.com.