Category Archives: communication

Can you trust a man in overalls on Interest Rates?

I only posted this because it is an unshaven man in overalls giving serious, straight-faced advise on interest rates, the economy, and stock picking. It made me laugh and got me to sign-up for his free email commentary.

Internet consumers love raw, naked (not always figuratively), honesty in simple language. Sometimes the overalls and tin roofed front porch makes it more convincing. Market a little more raw (i.e., blogs, Facebook, YouTube)!


Better Closer Blog Featured in Enterprise Notebook

They asked Kaleidico to talk about the importance of corporate blogging. I think the most important, and most often missed, theme in this article is that blogs should be about YOU, my customers and engaging YOU in conversation about things that make YOUR business more successful.

What would you like to see more of on the Better Closer Blog?

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Internet Lead Workflows | Call Back Periods | Part 2

If you have ever seen radar or sonar work, or read a Tom Clancy novel you have a great analogy for understanding the first component in developing your Internet Lead Workflows–Call Back Periods.

The purpose of radar or sonar is to locate an object by continually sweeping a general area where you think that object may be. Then as you get a return signal or “contact” you refine your subsequent sweeps to be more precise and maintain contact. That is the concept behind Kaleidico icoSales’ call back periods. A concept that should be implemented in any lead management methodology.

Taking this analogy into the context of lead workflows you have three primary variables:

  • Call back intervals
  • Lead status
  • Mortgage production cycle

The creation of call back periods seems intuitive, but if you try to use reminders and calendars you usually end up with a garbled mess of flags and pop-up reminders that eventually get ignored or turned off. Not to mention you are still left to fetch the contact information and past notes. The best solution is to have those optimal call back periods prescribed and then have the appropriate lead at the appropriate call back interval surged into your lead flow when you are ready to make the next call.

Of course, that begs the next question: How do you change the pattern as contact is made and/or lost again? Simply by tracking the status or actions that are occurring on the lead. As these items change, your call back periods should be adjusting too. For example, if you have a lead in an attempted status, but has not transitioned to contacted then you need to broadened you pattern, perhaps calling it every 2-4 hours until you make contact and determine the optimal time to contact your customer. Then your pattern should refine again, perhaps to every 18-24 hours. Keep in mind these statuses will ebb and flow changing, moving in, moving out, and back into various statuses throughout the process. Make sure your call back periods adjust for these changes automatically or you will drive yourself and your customer mad.

This then brings up the final call back variable–mortgage production cycle. It is a fact of the business. At the beginning of the month you are laser focused on stoking the pipeline with new applications. Then as you transition closer to end of month close out you are similarly focused on getting those packages back and fundings scheduled. What does this have to do with call back periods? Simple, typically you want your call back intervals to tighten on “contacted and no application” at the beginning of the month and your intervals are longer for “application and no scheduled closing.” This means you are focused on and working most frequently on the top priority leads based on your production cycle. Then, of course, these intervals begin to shift as the month progresses.

Begin using call back periods to manage your LO lead workflows and you will immediately begin giving your LOs an edge in getting better and more consistent contact with your prospects. In addition, it will allow you to automatically focus each LOs lead flow on the leads that need the top priority.

HOW-TO Develop Internet Lead Workflows | Part 1

Jason Stoffer just gave me a perfect introductory question Calling Internet Leads: How Often, How Much? to start my new series on HOW-TO Develop Effective Internet Lead Workflows.

I agree with Jason’s current conclusion that there is no “holy grail answer” to the question because “each company, industry, and consumer segment comes with it own unique characteristics.”

That is why I will seek to engage my answer starting with his second potential source of finding an answer:

“what approach or methodology should I use to arrive at an answer?”

My answer? Dynamic Internet Lead Workflows built on the fundamental premise of the problem–How to effectively meet someone in a strange place:

So, you purchase Internet leads and you are frustrated with contact and conversion rate. Have you considered that the majority of that conversion effectiveness is in how you manage that lead into a contact? Have you considered that the process of getting that contact is largely a well-researched mathematical problem? Does your lead management system give you the ability to maximize the probability of that contact?

Kaleidico has baked the optimal solution to this mathematical problem into icoSales.

Here is the premise of the math part–don’t worry it won’t hurt a bit.

Rendezvous Dilemma

The rendezvous dilemma is a classic dilemma of game theory (maybe you remember the movie “A Beautiful Mind”). It is simple to conceive and you have probably experienced the problem yourself. Two people agree to meet at a park, or mall, or other reasonably large public place. However, upon arriving they realize that the designated meeting location is much larger than they anticipated and can not directly survey. Consequently, they can not find one another.

Now they have few choices:

1. Both can chose to stay in one spot and do nothing, then of course they will never connect
2. Both can begin to walk about and look for each other, possibly they will meet and possibly they won’t
3. Finally, one can stay in one spot and wait while the other searches for them, as a result (theoretically because this assumes there is no time constraint) they will eventually connect

Now that you have the mathematical foundation, let’s build in our real world problem.

A consumer comes to the Internet looking for a mortgage or at least information about rates, refinancing, purchase, or other related matters. They enter information about how to find them. However, they may get anywhere from zero to only a website URL to find you. At this point, you are both in this great big space called the Internet looking for one another.

Time to create your search strategy and pattern. Obviously, you are not going to chose strategy #1. Strategy #2 is probably equally futile, because they already did their part to find you by submitting a fair amount of personal information. That leaves you with strategy #3, but just wandering about will leave you and the consumer just as frustrated.

So, you need to construct an effective search strategy or pattern that will maximize your contact rate and reduce your time to contact. This is where lead workflows become critical.

This will be the topic of the next few posts…

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Create a Conversation with Your Prospects

Priceless video of how most of us approach our prospective customers. We treat them as statistics, demographic segments, and dialer targets. If you are not willing to have a two-way conversation they may be leaving the table because of you not your product or service.

Blogs are famous for this. It is hard not to fall trap to talking about ME and not YOU. Telling you instead of asking questions. So, has anyone out there used any creative techniques to create two-way, interesting, and engaging conversations with prospective customers?

The Most Productive Sales Line…

Wisdom from Sales Evolution:

The most productive sentence in any salesperson’s vocabulary always ends with a QUESTION MARK!

Remember the extra 5 minutes you spend preparing good questions and asking good questions is often the difference between a sale and brush-off.

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Climbing the “Distrust Mountain” with Internet Leads

Morgan Brown gives us another excellent post on The lead to loan cycle of an Internet lead aka Distrust Mountain.

When you read the full post I would pay particular interest to these comments:

We’ve developed and implemented systems and processes to effectively convert Internet leads in to customers and those customers in to repeat and (hopefully) long-time clients.

When you are working with an Internet lead never lose focus on the objective of winning that client as a long-term professional relationship. I can’t tell you how many LOs that I see focus only on the monthly quota and never build a sustainable book of business.

As an originator, when you first receive an Internet lead, you must understand that although that person has expressed a varying degree of interest in some part of the refinance or purchase transaction they haven’t expressed any interest in you or your company.

You and/or your contact team must immediately begin building a base of trust and rapport around you and your company. Intermingle this conversation with short burst of integrity and credibility statements and longer burst of listening. Prospects will generally give you hints very early into the call about their fears. That where you start.

This is the most difficult part of the transaction for inexperienced loan officers. The ability to climb that first, nearly insurmountable, face of defense on Distrust Mountain is what separates the good loan officer from the average one who is struggling to earn a paycheck. I call it scaling the face. Scaling the face requires all sorts of special talents including building rapport, telling a compelling story, having a unique selling proposition, displaying excellence and professionalism, building on small commitments, and numerous others. The tactics for doing so is a topic for another post, but needless to say, that wall is there and needs to be scaled.

Are you building these skills in your personal growth plan?

Each phone call returned, each action that occurs when it is supposed to, each reassuring communication and positive step towards the completion of the loan brings you down Distrust Mountain towards trusted advisor.

My only direct and shameless plug–this is where a high quality lead management system is critical. We make sure you are spot on in fulfilling everyone of those trial and benchmark commitments along the sales process.

There is a lot more good stuff in this post. Read it now.

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