The mortgage market is moving, and if history tends to rhyme - it does - then these are a few sales and marketing things you should be working on to be well-positioned - maybe even gain market share.
Why pay attention to this list?
I was on the executive team at Quicken Loans from 2004 - 2005, brief for sure, but I witnessed the genius of Dan Gilbert’s future mind.
In 2004, they were an aggressively growing mortgage company and already a formidable name. But they weren’t a top 10 national lender (I don’t think).
The go-go days of the mortgage boom were, and everyone was fat, dumb, and happy. We were pulling in record numbers of loans and slopping around in piles of excess cash and expenses.
At that time, they, like many other “modern lenders,” ran a call center model and funded off of warehouse lines.
Yet, despite all of the success and record months, Dan Gilbert said, “We will build a better mousetrap.” And the Mousetrap Team was created with a mission to question every process and make them tighter, more efficient, and innovative with technology.
Yep, in 2007-2008 every other mortgage company in that model imploded (The Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter). Quicken Loans experienced pain but ultimately Rocketed (pun fully intended) to #1.
So, be like Dan Gilbert and Quicken Loans - start moving towards the future while everyone else is panicking.
1. Get Consumer-Direct ASAP
No one asks for a referral or gives a referral. When consumers want something, they search Amazon; if it’s not something you can get on Amazon yet, like a mortgage, they search Google.
Then, create a frictionless web experience that helps borrowers from research to pre-approval or rate quotes.
Give them content, reviews, rates, and an easy survey-style web form to help them set up that consultative loan application call.
Do not slam them into your POS - online 1003! That is a proven brick wall and my number one source of clients.
Prospect: “My website doesn’t generate leads!”
Me: “Yeah? Takedown the wall.”
Happy client: “Wow! That worked!”
Learn more about transforming your mortgage operations into consumer-direct in my 90-Day Mortgage Marketing Plan.
2. Leverage Your Retail Branches and Loan Officers
Stop skirting and hiding from your retail branches and loan officers.
Leverage their brands and local activity by enabling them with robust online profiles and tools. Give them mini-little consumer-direct websites and make sure they get the leads.
3. Lean into Innovative Products that Solve Market Problems
Most don’t see a release valve for the pressure on housing demand against historically low housing inventory. Builders aren’t building on spec, and housing starts continue to stay down.
So, while consumers and the job market remain strong, we might need to bring back some innovative products.
Little secret: no-QM lenders and markets don’t seem to be very digitally savvy, so we’re generating leads and buying media at a nice discount to conforming loan product targeting.
4. Use Data to Find Counterintuitive Trends
Whatever you believe about the market, media buying, lead buying, loan officer performance, lead distribution, and lead management is probably wrong.
You are making a half-dozen experience-based decisions that hurt your conversion rates.
Look at your data for the counterintuitive trends sitting in plain sight and let your competitors chase the last market with loan officers that are top performers anymore.
5. Focus Computers on Process and Humans on Conversations
Computers can very effectively and flawlessly scale processes.
Humans can’t. What’s more, they hate it and will quit.
Automate everything you can, from chasing leads to following up on pre-approvals to scheduling appointments.
Let your sales teams focus on talking to people.
6. Automate for Predictability
Automation has another advantage: Computers do the same task, in the same way, every time.
This discipline and predictability make for a rich repository of data optimized for data mining and trend finding—the seeds of strategic and tactical advantages.
7. Stop Making Gut Decisions; the Answers are in the Data
Finally, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are production-ready. Use these technologies to learn faster, make better decisions, and optimize on the fly.
Inside your CRM and lead management systems is the first, best place to start.
You are sitting on a pile of closed deals that you’ll never know about without AI/ML assistance. Even the most rudimentary machine learning algorithms can identify attributes in your leads and sales agents predictive of leads that will close.
Learn more about using AI/ML in your sales operations in my recent Executive Guide to Implementing AI/ML in Your Sales Operations.
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