Speed Matters in Lead Management

Often times we import bad habits from old business models as technology and consumer behavior takes us into new paradigms. Mortgage originations moving online is one such scenario.

LeadQual, a leader in lead response and lead qualification–hot transfers–proves that speed matters in lead management:

Does this scenario sound familiar? Bob the realtor gives Cindy the mortgage broker a referral. A young couple hoping to buy their first home. Cindy thanks Bob and suggests she treats Bob to lunch today (hoping to shake out another referral or two). Meanwhile, the young couple’s contact information goes on the yellow tablet next to the phone. Cindy thinks, I will call them tonight when they are probably home from work. Cindy proceeds to finish a few files in process, takes Bob to lunch, calls a few of her other referral partners now that Bob has put them top of mind. Cindy finally heads home from work, "oh, shoot!," she exclaims. "I forgot their number–oh, well I will call them tomorrow."

This might work, sometimes. More and more frequently I would venture this is a lost deal. Why?

Here is what is going on in the back story: The young couple has already pulled their credit reports and scores, they went to Zillow and found out what the home they want is probably worth, and done the math to know what they need in a mortgage. They found the realtor online to show them a couple of properties they have already pinpointed. Now they are waiting on the realtor and you to get your butt in gear.

No calls??? They get home and decide they are tired of waiting.

The couple goes to LendingTree.com at 7:00 pm after dinner with all of their information. They fill out the mortgage qualification form and hit submit.

Ten minutes later their phone rings. Hi, this is Jeff from Quicken Loans

The couple has a 20 minute informed conversation with a highly motivated and friendly loan officer, but insists that they are going to be prudent and wait for the other offers to compare with the three Jeff gave them.

Back to Cindy the mortgage broker. Cindy, like the other three mortgage brokers that got the LendingTree lead referrals make their call the next day. As they fumble along trying to make contact and tell them they will talk to their lenders and get right back with them–Right just like yesterday, huh?

This deal was gone last night and they are done taking mortgage calls. Don’t believe it? The California Association of Realtors reinforces this fact with its survey that affirms that 78% of consumers pick the first agent they talk to.

Speed matters! Get My Next Lead is your secret weapon when 5 minutes is the difference between Deal or No Deal.

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New Zillow Product Targeting Mortgage Professionals

The mortgage lead generation market is a notoriously crowded and certainly not as strong as in past years. This is punctuated in recent Experian reports:

The share of U.S. subprime mortgages entering default in the first quarter was the highest in almost five years, according to the U.S. Mortgage Bankers Association, as the country had its biggest house-price decline since the 1930s.

“The hit from the subprime mortgage market in the U.S. is quite worrying,” Seymour Pierce’s Lapwood said.

And IAC/InterActive reports:

LendingTree revenue fell 41 percent to $63 million because of the deteriorating mortgage market and a decline in real- estate values, IAC said. The unit posted an operating loss of $5.6 million and will have a loss in the fourth quarter, the company said.

“It will be a very steep mountain to climb to get back to any growth” at LendingTree, IAC Chief Financial Officer Tom McInerney said on a conference call with analysts and investors.

However, despite the gloom in the market Zillow appears to be headed headlong into this choppy water according to its brief teaser, "A New Opportunity for Mortgage Professionals," on the Zillow Blog.

Zillow’s announcement also seems to have a job opportunity attached to it. This has brought out a couple of bloggers that have put forward their best proposal (or rather a quest for good ideas) and opened discussion on what the "new opportunity" should be to interest mortgage professionals.

I won’t go into my thoughts on the topic here since you can read what I think is important to Zillow’s success in my comment to Morgan Brown’s excellent analysis. However, it sounds like you certainly should if you have ideas or are interested in the job since Drew Meyers and Zillow are paying attention and taking notes!

Seems like the right way to build a company, loyal and fanatical clients, and great products–IMHO.

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Try SmartHippo, Social Lead Generation

SmartHippo has extended a special offer to existing Kaleidico clients. If your are interested contact your Account Executive.

As you may remember, from our past introduction of SmartHippo, they are a new community approach to lead generation.

If you want to learn more about them they were featured at TechCrunch40 and LeadCritic did an interesting in-depth interview.

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LowerMyBills.com Improving Quality Despite Pundits

LowerMyBills.com has taken it’s fair share of abuse over the last several months. However, there seems to be a trend emerging in application rates that speaks for itself.

If you are not a LowerMyBills.com client or have been in the past you may want to take another look.

If you are selecting online lead providers or looking to add Internet mortgage originations to your current business don’t forget to build a plan and do the math. Lead Marketwatch is a big part of this equation–giving you objective numbers to calculate benchmark marketing ROIs.

If you need assistance or have questions about Lead Marketwatch feel free to call the lead management experts at Kaleidico: 866-667-5253 or http://www.kaleidico.com.

Also, don’t forget to check out the other consistently strong players in this stack:

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Commitment Can Stage Disaster of Consistency!

I snapped this picture as I sat down to one of the sessions at the recent Loan Toolbox Business Plan 2008. My first thought was, “this is great fodder for a post on upgrading your lead management system to tackle a tougher mortgage market.”

Lead Management System?
However, as fortune would have it my schedule prevented the original post. As is often the case in life, misrouted paths lead us to better things. And such is the case with this post.

On my latest trip to San Diego, I visited with a colleague and friend, David Schneider of ZipSearch!. During our chat I noted a book in his office that I have been meaning to pick-up: “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” by Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D. I mentioned my interest in the book and David said, “take it with you for the plane ride home.”

I did. And that has made this post all the more important for your success!

Cialdini’s book is a powerful tool (that means Buy It! ) in any sales person’s arsenal. Ahead of you getting the book and tying back to the photo above, I want to highlight one important Cialdini principle: Commitment and Consistency–Hobgoblins of the Mind. Cialdini quickly explains, in this chapter, this mental and behavior barrier:

“Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment.”

Boy, is that true!

I see a lot of old “systems,” like the one in the picture above, that worked in the heyday of the mortgage refi boom.

Sloppy systems that were good enough to catch a spoonful of water in a tsunami.

I hear day in and day out, “I only take referrals.” Then without even taking a breath, “yeah, the market is tough and my production is down,” yet loan officers refuse to take a referral from the Internet.

That’s right! A referral.

A consumer raising their hand to be called–if that isn’t a referral, I don’t know what is. Sure, you have to compete, but it is far more profitable than staring at your phone hoping some one will ring it to pay your mortgage this month.

Unfortunately, many are trapped in their minds and behaviors, as Cialdini predicts:

“When it [consistency] occurs unthinkingly, consistency can be disastrous.”

“…people will hide inside the walls of consistency to protect themselves from the troublesome consequences of thought.”

Are you going to take control of your success in this market? Or, huddle in your walls of consistency until you have to find a new profession?

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We Made it to San Diego and Back!

Our small feat to brave the San Diego fires that made it to road side was worth the opportunity to spend time with clients, prospects, and partners. These folks were amazing! Even amid evacuation, threat of losing homes, and some that had already lost their homes–they were spirited and ready to push forward.

Here is a picture of our passage from LA to San Diego:

I-5 on the way to San Diego

See more…

We’re Still Coming to San Diego

We are still coming to San Diego. It looks like our way is clear and we wouldn’t miss an opportunity to share a drink and meal with our friends in tough times. At least one of these friends has already lost their home and several others are still in danger. Everyone please keep our colleagues in your thoughts and prayers.

San Diego: Wednesday, 10/24, 6:00 pm, Morton’s Steakhouse