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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   October 2005

Maximize Your Marketing

Keeping up with past clients while reaching out to new ones will keep you prepared in this ever-changing market

We have heard from Alan Greenspan and other top officials about how the 10-year yield is, in their view, “too low.” Take into consideration that China may buy fewer 10-year bonds from the United States now that it has revalued its currency, and that the Fed is again offering 30-year bonds, and you have a recipe for much higher rates in the future. The fact that interest rates are still at 40-year lows and will probably rise in the future defies most predictions. This means you have to be ready. Remember, people need loans regardless of what the interest rates are. Here are some steps to make sure you maximize your efforts.

Market to past clients

This is one of the most cost-effective ways to market for new loans. Past clients are more likely to refer loans or obtain another loan from you than anyone else. That is, of course, if you did a good job for them with their first loan.

Many brokers make the mistake of not marketing to past clients and only focus on new clients. Develop a system of postcards to keep in touch or mailers that offer new types of loans to past clients. If they are not in the market for a new loan, they may have a friend or family member who is. This is also true if you get leads from real estate agents, certified public accountants and attorneys. Let them know of loan changes and rates. Clients may call you a year later because of a flyer they saved.

Keep a database of all prospects

Include past leads for whom you may not have completed a loan. Continually market to new and past prospects by phone or mail, depending on your workload. Keep every lead generated or bought updated in your database for the most-efficient marketing response possible. This can be accomplished with many of the loan-origination-software products available or simply in a spreadsheet. Have sales reps collect e-mail addresses for future use. Make sure, however, to purge from the database the names of all those people who have requested to be taken off your list.

Contact prospective clients immediately

Many brokers buy Internet leads and telemarketing leads and send direct mail to a prescreened list. This is an expensive way to market, and the competition is brutal. It is imperative that your loan agents contact these prospects as soon as they get the lead.

Keep in mind that many lead generators sell the same leads to several companies, and you can bet the others are contacting prospects as soon as they get the lead. The first company “in the door” will usually get the loan.

The most-successful brokers are those who understand this concept and who contact prospects within 30 minutes of getting the lead. Every hour that goes by lowers your chance of having a successful application written.

Underpromise and overdeliver

I know how competitive the market is, and many brokers are tempted to overpromise and underdeliver to get a loan. You will probably not see any referrals or repeat business if you sell loans in this manner. Many brokers get caught up with making as much money now as possible and forget that referrals are the best leads. How many times have you lost a client to a competitor only to get the client back because the competitor promised something and didn’t deliver? It happens every day in our industry.

If you want to survive long-term in the mortgage industry, you need to think long-term and build great relationships with your clients and lenders this includes unhappy or problem clients. Take care of them when they call or write. The hardest phone call to make is when a loan gets denied or you have a problem with the loan file, but clients will appreciate your honesty and speedy response.

Choose your salespeople wisely

Many brokers spend tens of thousands of dollars on marketing but have a poorly trained sales staff handling the leads. You need to make sure your salespeople are knowledgeable about the products before they deal with clients. This will save you money and generate more trust from clients.

Having a strong sales manager is the key to helping salespeople when they have questions and complaints. Some brokers will have certain sales agents sell first-loan products, while other agents sell second-loan products. This helps ensure that the agents have knowledge of the products they are selling. We are in a business that is constantly changing; learning new products, laws and procedures comes with the territory.

Market the right products

Part of being a successful broker means keeping in touch with the market and with borrowers’ needs. For example, when interest rates dropped, refinances were hot. When home prices skyrocketed, stated-income loans were in. When interest rates move higher, borrowers will likely prefer longer-term fixed rates and cash-out products.

Knowing where the market is going helps reduce errors and maximizes profits. Read about trends in trade magazines and financial newspapers. Absorbing as much as possible from many sources will help you stay a step ahead.

Be efficient

Examine your company from top to bottom, including every employee and every operation. Many brokers overstaff and have several redundancies in their operations. Two jobs may be able to be done by one employee, or many employees can be cross-trained to do other jobs.

Can an upgrade in software save you money? Do you have employees who sit around or talk on the phone constantly? Can you outsource to save money? Are office supplies being purchased at the lowest price? Would certain employees’ salaries be better spent on marketing for new loans? These are some of the questions you need to be asking yourself.

No matter what the market does, you need to be the right size.


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