Category Archives: events

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

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LendingTree’s Secret to Industry Leading Conversion Rates

Mission 007, The Extraordinary Experience was LendingTree’s context for this year’s Partner Summit. However, neither the mortgage nor the lead generation business is synonymous with ecstatic consumer experiences. In fact, recent media coverage and tests from consumer reports tend to indicate an appalling blender of unfulfilled promises, missed expectations, and maybe even deception.

In contrast, at the recently concluded LendingTree Summit, consumer experience seems to be the strategic focus of LendingTree under new CEO C.D. Davies. Unfortunately, reversing the tarnished perception of a battered mortgage industry, where only 11% (according to one summit presenter) of customers will chose to return to the same mortgage company, will not be an easy task.

Emphasizing Consumer Experience

Certainly the since of urgency, priority, and a focused framework for execution has been set forth by LendingTree. Built on a pyramid of service, value, and trust, Jessica Ordeman (Senior Director of Consumer Experience), laid out the roadmap that LendingTree is confident will create a more positive consumer experience, higher quality inquiries, and ultimately repeat customers and promoters.

Focusing on Service to Create Loyalty

In the domain of service, a notable paradigm shift was presented. A transition from assessing consumer experience as satisfaction to one of loyalty. To do this LendingTree will begin using a concept, used by other major consumer brands, known as a net promoters score. This score relies on one fundamental question: Would you recommend us to a friend, family member, or colleague? The assessment on a scale of 1-10 is then compiled into the percentage of promoters (9,10) and the percentage of detractors (0-6). The net of that number is the net promoters score (NPS).

How is LendingTree doing today? Based on all consumers that closed a loan that score is 53%, which is considered very strong when benchmarked against other highly regarded brands like Southwest Airlines, at 60% and Enterprise Rental Car, at 53%. However, when assessed against all consumers that submitted an inquiry for a mortgage to LendingTree that score dramatically plummets to -20%. This number should strongly illustrate the logic underlying many of the changes and commentary coming from LendingTree’s leadership.

This current negative NPS certainly underlines comments from LendingTree Executives during the summit concerning the strategy for managing the lender network and recent announcements of price increases.

Closers create loyalty. Closers create repeat customers. The effects of a network full of Closers advantages the consumer, LendingTree, and the lender. Consequently, if a lender is not managing the LendingTree consumer inquiries and experience effectively; therefore, not closing–then the new price structure will not work for their mortgage business. And LendingTree is okay with their logical departure from the network.

Ensuring Value and Expectations

As the strategy presentation moved to value, the message was clearly a need for reliable expectations and then delivery. This seems a strong contrast to the current online proliferation of unrealistic payment teaser advertising. The mechanism for driving consistency and compliance? Offer standards. Standards that are monitored and enforced with advanced analytics. Keeping tabs on discrepancies in comparative offers and the initial versus final offer. The bottom line was obvious. LendingTree’s research shows that speedy delivery of an offer and consistent delivery on that promise converts and creates loyalty.

Trust is the Foundation to Loyalty

Trust seemed to be the most challenging of the three initiatives to articulate. I think this stems from the relative uncertainty of what builds trust online. A whole new channel for the concept of trust.

The most obvious first step was to allow consumer the ability to verify the lenders that are directly responding to their LendingTree inquiry. This was referenced as an improved lender verification process. This process was labeled as a direct response to the increasing impact of credit trigger leads to crush the consumer with unsolicited calls for mortgage services.

Now it’s about Execution

All in all, I was impressed with the new cast of leadership and strategic thinking that LendingTree is bringing to the market. It seems consistent with my philosophies for the new market, presented over the last year–put the consumer at the center, create expectations you can deliver on, effectively manage the lead experience, and create transparency. Now the proof is in the pudding. What will execution look like?

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Join Me at the Online Lead Quality Summit

I am a lucky man! I have a market full of mortgage and lead generation companies sweating bullets over the current environment and I get to give the opening session at TargusInfo’s Online Lead Quality Summit on "Surviving the Mortgage Implosion."

So, why exactly am I lucky? It’s in Las Vegas (September 19-20). And because, I do have a roadmap and it is not a survival plan it is a growth plan!

Here are some of the things I will be covering:

  • The reality of the market
  • Can you get your share and meet your goals?
  • Lender opportunities
  • Building trust online
  • Changing your marketing paradigm
  • Lead provider opportunities
  • Building a better lead
  • Getting off the roller coaster and start "stocking the pond"

If you want to hear it along with a lot of other smart ideas and people, register here.

If you are a lender and want the "friends and family" price email me at bill.rice [at] kaleidico [dot] com. If you are a lead provider I have some limited discount too.

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Surviving the Mortgage Implosion Presentation

I am polishing up my presentation for the TargusInfo Online Lead Quality Summit and I nearly forgot my most valuable resource in preparing my thoughts–My Readers!

The topic: Surviving the Mortgage (Subprime) Implosion

The teaser: “Online lead generators and buyers in the mortgage space learn how to overcome the challenges of generating quality leads in today’s existing mortgage marketplace.”

So, here are my questions to you:

  • If you were in the audience what would you want to hear about?
  • If you were giving the presentation what would you talk about?
  • What are your biggest fears in this market?
  • What do you see as the biggest opportunities?
  • What are you doing to survive?

Here are a few things I have already written about the mortgage implosion.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or directly to me at:
bill.rice [at] kaleidico.com.

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Leads2007 Only 3 Weeks Away!

Leads2007 is only three weeks away and there is assembling a great mix of some of the smartest individuals in the Internet lead industry; ranging the full spectrum of lead supplier to buyer. If you have not yet registered please do so as soon as possible so we can get an accurate count for the sponsored events and room sizes. It’s only $99, what are you thinking about? Register here!

Leads360 will be kicking things off with a great pre-event mixer! Starting at 7:00 pm on Sunday, August 12th at a great Tampa venue–Big City Tavern in downtown Tampa.

If you have not checked out the current sessions agenda at the Leads2007 Wiki here is a quick rundown:

See you in Tampa!

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Bob Dylan on Sales Excellence

I went to my first Bob Dylan concert last Thursday and like most who have experienced the “Poet Laureate of Rock ‘n Roll”–I was inspired!

It all started with the fans and the enthusiasm they exuded before the show. They were not coming to hear their favorite song from some album they were there for THEIR show. They were coming to experience Dylan as he never comes through on a CD (not even a live album).

By the second song in Dylan’s set, “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” I knew there were lessons to be learned.

What does this have to do with sales (or business) excellence? Simple. Bob Dylan has shown us how to captivate a fanatical fan base and a create a converting experience for first timers–all in the same show. Here is the formula:

Do it with Passion

Do it with passion. You should enjoy what you sell. You should be fanatical about getting better. You should want to know all of the ways you can help your fans (past clients) or your first timers (prospects).

It was refreshing to watch an artist grimace a little when something isn’t quite tuned, grin a little when he knows he hit it just right, and make it a little unique for each venue and date.

Do it a Little Different (Even a lot Different)

People naturally identify value with different. No one wants to buy generic. They want to feel like they got something special. Something that you can only get from one place.

Dylan doesn’t care what the music industry says. He doesn’t even care what the fans say if they don’t get it. All the while, he delivers his special brand. And those that get it are: fanatical, at every show, and know that there is no where else to get it.

Make Every Experience Unique

People like to feel like you are talking or working only for them. To accomplish that you have to create a system that allows you to improvise, mix and match, and recall as if every conversation is the only one you are having for the day.

Dylan is a master at creating and reinventing new experiences. From the days of quite acoustic folk songs under a single strobe; to masterful electric guitar and keyboard (even the occasional drums) riffs. The result? You had better keep coming back and if you only go to one show you are guaranteed it is like no other–ever!

Looking for a few examples of Mortgage Industry Bob Dylan’s?

  • Lead Critic, stepping into the Internet Lead Market where no one has gone before
  • The Diff, Quicken Loans looking for the difference that makes excellence wherever it may appear
  • LeadPoint and RootExchange, changing the way we look at the lead generation market

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Announcing Leads2007, The Event of 2007!

A unique, new event to the lead buying and selling marketplace–Leads2007. When asked to explain the event I am describing it as an “on-demand” “unconference.”

On-Demand
Delivering instant gratification and immediacy of use based on you creating and participating directly in the agenda of the event.
Unconference
Leads2007 takes the “experts” off the stage and engages the daily operators in the “audience” to discuss real needs and solutions

Kaleidico has gotten the ball rolling, but this is YOUR conference. There is a lot to do in a short amount of time so if you want to make this valuable to you, you need to participate.

Administrivia

This blog will have notes on the day to day planning and details and some comments on the event as it comes together, but the real work is getting done on the Leads2007 Wiki (remember it is your conference so you get to edit it anyway you want it).

There is a minimal fee–$99, which you can register and pay in the upper right-hand corner of this page. This is to defray the cost of renting the rooms at the University to support the sessions. This is intended to be a break-even event for Kaleidico, not a revenue stream.

Where?

The University of South Florida has agreed to allow our use of their Graduate School of Business. This was chosen to reflect the get it done, working nature of Leads2007. The focus is to spend two intense days together discussing real challenges, big ideas, executable solutions, and building relationships and frameworks that make the market better for all involved. We will all party together at AdTech and the MBA.

When?

August 13-14, 2007

Get an edge on the Market–REGISTER NOW!

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