Category Archives: lead management

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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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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Kaleidico is coming to Los Angeles and San Diego

Keith Burwell and I will be in California most of next week and we would love the opportunity to get everyone (lenders, lead providers, etc.) together for dinner.

Any suggestions for good places to gather?

Here is the tentative schedule:

If you can make it and/or have an idea for a location leave a comment, call, or email me.

UPDATE: Feel free to invite anyone that you think will be interested. These are informal, fun, and full of networking opportunities!

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Putting Love IN the Game

Last night, I had the pleasure of experiencing Roy Firestone. What a great way to wrap up a week with thousands of loan officers motivated, even in a down market, to grow their business! 

During this memorable final evening at the Loan Toolbox Business Plan 2008 conference I took away a key concept that I want to share with you. This is an idea that will enrich your business and your life.

Loving what you do–you have probably heard this advice. Encouraged to take a walk-about in life and find that thing that you are passionate about and make it your business. Face it, that can be hard to do. Do you really think that mortgage professionals are passionate about taking 1003s and funding mortgages. No, of course not.

Let me alter this phrase a bit and I bet I can find what you are, or can be, passionate about:

It is not as much the love of the game as it is the love IN the game.

My guess is that you are passionate about helping people obtain the dream of owning a home or helping them get back into a stable financial position. This is about putting love in the game. If you are looking for a great example take a look at how Capt. Denny Flanagan puts love in his game, in one of the worst customer satisfication industries, the airlines, puts love in his game.

Stop focusing on how your job is mundane or routine. Stop focusing on how your commissions checks are lighter than six months ago. Focus on putting loving into the game. Sharing that love and passion with each and every client and all those negatives will go away. Your job will no longer be mundane or routine. And your commissions will come roaring back, bigger and better than ever.

Put love IN your game today!

Lead Quality Decline or Market Change?

There has been a bit of discussion over "declining" lead quality. Of course, it is easy to lay the blame of declining app and funding rates at the feet of lead providers. I must admit this was my initial reaction.  However, I then got curious and decided to think a bit broader and dive into the data from our client network and tie it to market news during the period of decline.

Here is the chart:

The most notable observable points in this summary is that lead providers tend to stay very close to their general trend line; however, there was a general trend of decline on or about August 18, 2007. I would also suspect as we look at final September data we will see all of the lead providers returning to their typical trend lines.

So, I am not certain that the general assertion that lead quality has declined over the past several months is supported by market data.

However, if you do make the hypothesis that there has been a sudden precipitous decline in lead quality something must have changed–methodology, market, or consumer. We often assume and stop at lead generation methodology. Did lead providers radically alter their techniques and methodologies on August 18, 2007? No, but your application rates did decline in the short-term.

Something obviously changed. That leaves market conditions and consumer behavior. This is where I put my chips (I am currently in Vegas and down $100).

On that day, the mortgage market was being shook to the bone by Countrywide’s announcement they were tapping a credit line to fund loans. Notice the relative correlation between the Countrywide stock trend line and the lead provider application rate trend lines. At the same time, general news and panic media coverage is shaking the confidence of the consumer. Then, the for the triple threat–loan programs are disappearing for the majority of the borrowers needing financing and FHASecure has not arrived yet.

This is what happened to lead conversion rates. Not poor marketing, but poor market conditions and consumer confidence. They inquired, but got shocked, paralyzed, or left without a program.

The ironic part of this story? As rates stay flat, the mortgage market stabilizes, confidence returns, and programs come back, who is going to write about the dramatic, mysterious improvement in lead quality?

By the way, hopefully you have a good lead management system that is allowing you to manage these consumer inquiries over this longer sales cycle because they are ready to apply now!

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