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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   February 2004

How to Generate More Leads in Less Time

First of all, let me say that there is really no magic nor luck in the mortgage business. It takes a great strategy, a huge amount of desire, an incredible marketing plan, and a real attitude to succeed to achieve the results of champion loan agents. It may only seem like magic if you incorporate some of these marketing ideas into your everyday prospecting. 

I use the phrase “everyday prospecting” loosely, even though very few loan agents prospect or market themselves everyday. Fewer than twenty percent of all your competitors spend more than one hour per day in real live selling situations—PROSPECTING or MARKETING themselves for the purpose of generating loan business. Great loan agents spend more time prospecting and marketing themselves than average loan agents—PERIOD! 

Great loan agents have more appointments, not more skill, knowledge, or ability. They just see more people. Woody Allen said 80% of life is just showing up, and, in the loan business, it may be 90% or more. If you show up more, you will get more loans. Your marketing plan and selling efforts must put you in front of more people than your competition. 

I am still amazed that less than ten percent of all loan agents nationwide have a written sales and marketing plan. Without a written plan, I often wonder what directs their action everyday. Without a written marketing plan and clear goals, you will wander aimlessly, reacting to whatever comes along all day long. You probably know someone like this in your office. He/she is always getting ready to prospect, never beginning, just getting ready. Getting ready to prospect is not the same as doing it. There is less rejection if you are constantly getting ready—and fewer results. My definition of fantasy seems to be appropriate here: intention without action is fantasy; intention plus committed action equals desired results. 

If your marketing efforts are not producing the results you want, it may be time to make some adjustments. Great loan agents are constantly reviewing the results they are receiving and are quick to make the adjustments necessary in their strategy to produce better results. There is a saying I like: “You can’t walk a dead dog.” Everyday many loan agents are dragging around “dead dogs” called sales and marketing plans. They keep doing the same things over and over expecting different results; that is the classic definition of insanity. For things to change in your life, or in your loan career, you must be willing to change your actions. Too many salespeople will get up today and go into the field doing the exact same things that they did the day before, whether they worked or not. That is not a very smart use of time nor of energy. 

Effective marketing occurs only when both direction and execution are integrated. The key to success is being rigorous in the implementation of  objectives and goals, while being sensitive to the flexibility required along the way and being willing to respond quickly. The feedback you get from the execution of your marketing plan will dictate the direction you must take to keep moving forward toward your goals. 

This may be a good time for you to call a “time out” and assess where you are currently in your loan career before taking steps to upgrade your marketing strategy. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself before going any further: 

  • Are you currently satisfied with the results you are getting or the velocity of the results you are getting? 
  • Do you have a written sales and marketing plan with clear goals and objectives? 
  • Are you currently asking for referral business everyday? 
  • Are you managing your time effectively? 
  • Are you diversified in your marketing and prospecting strategies? 
  • Do you network on a regular basis? 
  • Are you willing to make the adjustments necessary to increase your results? 

The answer to all of the above questions is either “yes” or “no”.  Getting what you want truly begins with knowing where you are right now. There are really only four questions you must be able to answer to get what you want in any arena of your life:

  • Where am I?
  • Where do I want to be?
  • How will I get there (marketing plan)?
  • Will I pay the price? 

Unfortunately, the vast majority of loan agents have no idea where they are, no clue where they would like to be, nor any real marketing plan to get them there. There is no real price to pay. These agents are in the “waiting place”, killing time in the loan business, waiting for something better to come along. What a waste! 

Creating a Powerful Sales and Marketing Plan

Creating a powerful sales and marketing plan can be as easy as 1-2-3. You can use this “connect the dot” approach to get your marketing plan in action. 

Step 1 - Preparation

The key to a great season, a great game, a great day, or a great year is a great plan. You cannot achieve great results with a poor plan or no plan. Most loan agents spend more time planning their lunch than they do planning their marketing strategy. To arrive at the destination you choose, you must know how you will get there. 

Some of the most successful sports teams often do not have the best talent, but they always have a great plan. Many games are won by the best prepared team, and then they are called lucky. 

Success is no accident. When operating from a clear, well thought-out marketing plan you deserve to get lucky. Luck is one of those little words like walk, talk, cash, work. The harder you work, the luckier you will get. 

I must caution you about “over-preparing”.  Some loan agents never get into action because they do not have the perfect marketing plan. Get your plan written down and get to work; otherwise, it is ready, aim, aim, aim, aim. It’s better to operate from ready, fire, aim; you can make adjustments along the way. 

Step 2 - Participation

This is where the rubber meets the road, and it is where you move your marketing plan into action. Without this step, your marketing plan is no more than another idea that never goes anywhere except in your mind. You cannot make the necessary adjustments unless you get the feedback from your actions. The “over planners” never get to this step and then complain about their results. You cannot win the lottery unless you buy a ticket. 

Participation is where your marketing strategies take life in the form of prospecting and asking for what you want. In the loan business, or in life for that matter, you do not get what you deserve. You get what you ask for. Most loan agents expect business and forget to ask for business. 

Did you ever wonder why children are so persistent when asking for something? They have a high tolerance for the word “no”. They are not stopped when someone says “no”.  They just get more determined. Children participate on a high level and know what they want. They know that they will have to continue to ask, and they pay the price of hearing a “no” as a  step that brings them closer to getting their wants. They know how to reject rejection. We all had that same tenacity when we were young, but most of us have lost it. 

Be certain your marketing plan is diversified enough to keep you in action all day. Your prospecting efforts must include face-to-face contacts, using the telephone and direct mail, all for the purpose of getting more appointments. The more appointments you have, the more loans you will close. If you are not closing enough loans, start concentrating on getting more appointments. 

Your marketing plan has to include strategies, such as the following:  working with top Realtors, for-sale-by-owners, attorneys, financial planners, credit repair companies, and accountants;  using telemarketing, networking, public speaking, direct mail, door hangers, referrals;  attending educational and first-time home buyer seminars, etc.

I hope you get the picture: a balanced attack versus the big play. 

Do not spread yourself so thin that you become overwhelmed. Organize your time so that you spend most of it prospecting: 

5% of your time.......Planning
75% of your time.....Prospecting
10% of your time.....Making Presentations
5% of your time.......Following up and evaluating results
5% of your time.......Wasting time 

Manage your marketing plan. Do not let it manage you. 

Step 3 - Perspiration

Are you committed enough to pay the price? Nobody said it would be easy. Any worthwhile venture requires hard work. If the loan business was easy, everybody would be doing it. By the way, it’s impossible to die from hard work. You are more likely to pass out first. 

The average loan agent will not put in the time to be great. Stop putting off your greatness. Stop settling for less. Stop tolerating not having what you want. Too many people are willing to settle for a “C” rather than going for the “A”. 

A great marketing plan starts with a decision. It’s either the decision to upgrade your existing plan or to sit down and create a marketing plan that will move your career to the next level.  


 


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