Category Archives: real estate

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.

Tags: , , , , ,

Advertisements

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!

Tags: , , , , ,

Helping 2000 Mortgage Professionals Build Their Internet Business

If you are attending LoanToolbox’s Business Plan 2008 in Las Vegas make sure you introduce yourself at the Kaleidico booth. We will be helping hundreds of mortgage professionals build their Internet mortgage origination’s business.

In addition, we will be offering special, at the event, pricing and instant implementations. You may even close a deal while you are building your 2008 business plan!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Cold Calling 2.0

Aaron Ross, creator of Salesforce.com’s $20 million tele-prospecting team, is teasing out the concept of cold calling 2.0. Now, besides the tired nature of the 2.0 idiom, I am a bit interested.

The Internet has caused an odd brand of customer engagement that is not cold calling, but has many of the challenges and pitfalls of this brand of sales. Here are a few of the elements that I think are central to a discussion of "cold calling 2.0":

  • Automated account (consumer) context generation
  • Demand-based lead inventory and sales capacity management
  • Intelligent lead distribution
  • Prospecting automation
  • Effective prospect qualification
  • Effective transfer methodologies
  • Trust building (foreshadowing and fulfilling promises)
  • Agent fatigue
  • Account (consumer) fatigue

But, until a good discussion can be flushed out you can start building your tele-prospecting team today. Take your newest 10% and you bottom 10% and put them on the prospect team. They should warm and pre-qualify each lead and transfer to top performers.

This introductory tele-prospecting team build two important foundation principles within the sales force:

  • Performance is rewarded
  • Creates a sense of appreciation (value) for leads

Happy hunting!

Tags: , , , , ,

Bill Rice talks about Kaleidico with Online Mortgage Blog

I spent time with Owen Raun of the Online Mortgage Blog talking about the history of Kaleidico and some of the advantages Internet lead buying and our lead management software brings to a declining market.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Throw away your loan officer web pages!

You know the ones I am talking about. The one page you or your company has set up that has a nice professional photo of you in your nice suit. The one with your name, address, and phone number. The one with a contact me now form. In fact, you may not even know you have one or what it looks like anymore because you never get any leads from it!

These pages don’t do anything for you, the loan officer, or the client. Let’s briefly look at each of these users’ desired experience.

The Loan Officer

  • Ability for prospective borrowers to find them
  • Prospects to submit their contact information–leads
  • Submissions (leads) to be willing and able to close on a loan

The Client

  • A low risk way to find out about mortgage financing
  • Help understanding what to expect
  • Someone that is knowledgeable and competent, but most importantly someone I can trust

Loan Officer Web Pages

With just these few wants and needs you can see the typical loan officer falls down on the job. Now for my suggestion, and you are going to love it’s price–free

I will give you two levels, beginner and advanced. However, both will accomplish the primary goals:

  • Increase your search visibility–prospects can find you with Google
  • Create compelling reasons for borrowers to contact you
  • Make borrowers more comfortable contacting you

The Beginner Level

Let’s start with the easiest option:

  • Set-up a LinkedIN profile and a Facebook account
  • In LinkedIN, create a strong introduction about what you can do for borrowers (the pitch, search)
  • In LinkedIN, completely fill out you employment history (experience and credibility)
  • In LinkedIN, load up your address book and start linking aggressively (connections = trust)
  • In Facebook, show your personality (comfort, lowers anxiety in contacting)
  • In Facebook, install fun, interactive gadgets (engagement)
  • In Facebook, load your address book and start "friending" (trust)
  • In Facebook, put all you contact information (search)

The Advanced Level

This takes a little more work, but a much bigger bang

The Result

Unquestionably, in a matter of 30-60 days you will be easier for clients to find, appear more credible, convey trust, and seem much more approachable. The result? You guessed it, a bunch of free leads!

Tags: , , , , , , ,