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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   March 2018

Master the Conversion Game

When you regularly turn leads into loans, your business life gets much easier

There’s an old saying that nature provides the nuts, but it doesn’t crack them for you. Oftentimes, the toughest nuts to crack in business are leads.

Sure, leads by themselves are great. They can be — and often are — the heartbeat of many who work in the mortgage industry.

When it comes to cracking those leads open — converting them into actual business — that’s a whole different game, however. Some leads can be tough to work with, no doubt. You can hammer, saw, squeeze, beg and downright grovel and still not shed the shell.

Efficiency counts

It’s a scenario that plays out over and over. A mortgage originator will get the first part in place — harvesting the leads — with an effective lead-generation system and plenty of pipelines, including digital and traditional advertising, direct mail, telemarketing and all the rest. Then, few leads get converted into business.

Think of all the time, money and effort that goes into getting leads only to see them wither away. It’s nonsense and a complete waste of time and resources. To make a good living in the mortgage industry, you have to be efficient. Leaving leads unconverted is the epitome of inefficiency.

There is good news, however. There are only three key elements of a solid lead-conversion strategy that you need to master: speed, persistence and satisfying needs.

Speed matters

You’ve heard the old adage, “The early bird gets the worm.” Well, when it comes to converting leads, that saying has never been truer. Studies have shown that when you’re quick to return a lead’s call, text or e-mail, you’re much more likely to convert that lead.

How much more likely? Well, research from the sales software company Velocify shows that if you get back to a prospect within 30 minutes, a conversion into business occurs 62 percent of the time. Wait an hour and that drops to 36 percent. Wait 24 hours to respond, and you get a 17 percent conversion rate. Get the point?

When you establish yourself as the first contact, you gain a critical sales advantage. Heck, if you just follow up, you’re going to be ahead in the game. Why? The Sales Lead Management Association reports that salespeople fail to follow up on between 75 percent and 90 percent of all leads.

So, lesson one is to make responding a priority. In essence, be quick on the draw, and you’ll enjoy more than your share of successful conversions.

Persistence pays

Any good lead converter will tell you that you rarely crack a nut on the first whack. In fact, it may take many attempts just to get a small crack in the shell.

Solid lead conversion comes down to persistence. You must accept that you will often have to follow up with a lead many times. Get this: 92 percent of salespeople give up after hearing “no” four times, but 80 percent of prospects say “no” four times before they say “yes,” according to small-business consulting company Marketing Donut.

Lesson two is learn not to get frustrated by having to make several contacts with prospects. It’s just par for the course. Instead, adjust your expectations accordingly and keep following up. More often than not, your persistence will pay off.

Sell by satisfying

The final — and vitally important — point in lead conversion is all about how you communicate with prospects after you’ve done all the work of connecting with them. As you’ve likely gathered thus far, getting to that point can be a fair amount of work. You don’t want to lose an opportunity after you’ve put in that much sweat equity.

Former Harvard Business School marketing professor Theodore Levitt is credited with saying, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.” Essentially, what Levitt is saying is this: Stay focused on what’s important to prospects.

If you keep your eye on satisfying prospects’ needs, you’ll be much more likely to convert them into a client who uses your services as a mortgage originator. Put yourself in a prospect’s shoes.

You don’t want to be sold. You want to be helped, right? Demonstrate that you understand prospects, and that you’re interested in them and their needs.

•  •  •

If you follow the few crucial steps outlined here, you can help ensure that all your work developing leads on the front end isn’t wasted. Mastering these steps will boost both your efficiency and return on investment.

As you settle into the flow of 2018, then, it pays to ask yourself some questions about your existing lead-conversion efforts if you want to close more deals. Do you feel you’re converting enough leads to reach the goals you want to achieve this year? Have you worked on your lead management lately? Are you putting enough thought and effort into managing and converting leads? Are you making changes to improve your lead management? What specifically have you done? You can even share your answers with a colleague or a friendly mortgage coach.


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