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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   April 2008

Effective Marketing Brings Results

To market yourself and your business effectively, follow five pointers

To achieve excellence in sales, you must start with an effective marketing plan. Without enough lead prospects, success is simply impossible.

Even more important than the quantity of lead prospects is their quality. The key is to find the right combination of both.

One of the most-common complaints among loan officers is that they don’t have enough leads. The truth is that you don’t need many leads to achieve success. In fact, many mortgage companies and professionals tend to overmarket. They spend too much time and money generating leads and end up with more than they need. This leads to cherry-picking leads and to more emphasis on churning applications than really selling deals.

What is Excellence?
In the months to come, Dale Vermillion's articles will tackle topics that correspond to each letter in the word "excellence."

Exemplify Integrity (January)

(e)Xpect excellence (February)

Continuously improve (March)

Effectively market (April)

Listen attentively

Lend appropriately

Educate continually

Never coerce

Create referral partners

Establish differentiation

 

In marketing, less is more. The higher the number of leads the loan officer handles, the less time that loan officer spends with each customer. This results in less time spent building relationships, establishing customer loyalty and providing sound options that lead to a quality loan offer. Ultimately, this leads to less -- not more -- loan production.

Once you have quality lead prospects, brokers need a solid, systematic and diverse marketing plan to market themselves and their business effectively.

It is beneficial to focus on traditional marketing methods that work in any market and that also create instant feedback. Here are five staple marketing tips, in order of effectiveness, that can help you succeed.

1. Self-promotion: One of the most-overlooked and underutilized methods of marketing is self-promotion, i.e., networking. Consider a few questions: How many people do you contact each week? How many people could you meet if you tried? How many are home-owners? How many are struggling financially or would benefit from improving their financial situation? My guess is hundreds.

The world is your potential customer. Everyone you contact could be your next customer if you asked. The problem is that we don’t ask. Promote yourself everywhere you go.

In today’s economy, almost everyone is looking for financial help from a trustworthy individual. What better way to help them than through their equity?

2. Client renewals: The second-most-overlooked and underutilized marketing approach is client renewals. We work so hard during the application process to build customer relationships. But as soon as the loan closes, we often never talk to those customers again.

Keep a database of every customer with whom you have ever worked. Follow up with them by phone every 90 days. Send them birthday cards, anniversary cards and periodic notes to let them know you are thinking of them. Send them a monthly newsletter.

By doing so, you not only further the relationship, but you’ll also likely get their business when they refinance or repurchase. Remember: Out of sight is out of mind.

3. Client referrals: This is another often-missed opportunity. Among all forms of marketing, client referrals have the highest conversion rate from lead to closed loan -- typically 35 percent, versus 4 percent to 12 percent for other forms of marketing. This is because referrals are leads generated by the endorsement of a trusted individual.

Your goal should be to solicit three referrals from every customer after closing. Based on the 35-percent conversion rate, by averaging three leads per customer you can double your production.

Plant the seed during the application process and then ask for the referrals after the loan is done. Why? First, if you ask during the process and don’t close, you won’t close the referrals, either. Second, once the process is complete, you will have established the greatest level of credibility and trust.

And don’t just ask if they “know anybody looking for a loan.” This is too overwhelming and almost always leads to “I can’t think of anyone now, but if I do I’ll have them call you.” Identify specific individuals you can target through friends, family and co-workers of your client.

4. Professional referrals: Referrals from people in mortgage-related industries are also important. This includes the:

  • Financial sector (certified public accountants, financial planners, stockbrokers and insurance agents);
  • Real estate sector (Realtors, investors, real estate-owned managers, relocation managers, and real estate and estate-planning attorneys);
  • Lending sector (mortgage companies, banks, credit unions and savings-and-loan associations); and
  • Credit sector (collection agencies, credit-reparation agencies, and consumer-counseling and credit card companies).

The best method for achieving success in this market is to start with customers with whom you have worked or individuals you personally know. They can endorse you to their colleagues and clients. Eventually, through networking, you will develop a wide base of individuals from whom to draw referrals.

5. Telesales: This is the oldest and most-effective form of marketing. The beauty of telesales is that it is immediate and interactive. Get a good, targeted list of prospects built around demographics that match specific products you have available and start calling. With a targeted script and a good list, your chances for success are high.

The key is to focus on a small amount of contacts in each area every day instead of spending hours on one area once a week. For example, contact no more than five to 10 prospects each day in each area. Most likely, you’ll never tire out, you’ll face minimal rejection, you’ll build consistency and if you have a mere 10-percent success rate, that’s five new leads per day -- more than enough to achieve excellence.


 


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