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Everything we know about the lead business from everyone at the Leads360 family. From online lead providers like LowerMyBills.com to Mortgage Lead Management best practices. We'll tell you what we know and what we've learned.  

One consumer, multiple leads…

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An interesting blog post popped up on the Lead Critic today. It concerns the monetization of leads by lead providers. The spotlight is on BigMortgageLeads right now. In question is their apparently new(er?) lead form. A traditional mortgage lead form has around 30 fields of basic information and is sold to a mortgage company. The BML form takes this and expands it a little bit, but this is hardly the first time we’ve seen this. For example, the form asks the question “Are you behind in payments” in regards to your mortgage. If you select “Yes”, it prompts a few more questions that prod a little deeper. One of which is “Would you consider selling your house to avoid foreclosure?” If you answer Yes, it will once again prompt more questions about your home.

I’m sure that you can see where this is going. I would assume that initially, a consumer would think that they are filling out a lead form to be matched with a lender. As they proceed, if they answer questions that prompt more questions, it quickly becomes evident that there are other service providers that this information can go to, and at the bottom right before the submit button, there is an acknowledgement of that.

So the question is…is this bad for the consumer, the lead buyer, both, or neither. I guess that depends on who you ask. I cut my teeth in the mortgage industry selling mortgage leads for a few years. I started at the bottom and worked my way up to management. In doing so I had a lot of view into how leads are generated, and even more importantly, how they are monetized. This is where it gets interesting. I guess most people wouldn’t think of it, but this kind of data is a goldmine and is worth $$$$ to lots of people. Where there is a way to make money, there are people who will make it.

So is this a bad thing? That depends on how you do it, mainly. BigMortgageLeads isn’t the first lead company who has done this and certainly will not be the last. From my experience, the way that BML is doing this, namely by putting the information in front of the consumer as they are filling out the form and then telling them that the lead may be sold to other service providers, is much cleaner than some that I have experienced.

At the end of the day, the numbers will speak for themselves. I am sure that we have some readers who use BML leads and I would urge you to share your experience versus more “traditional” sources.

Furthermore…and this one is maybe playing devil’s advocate here…perhaps this is actually better for consumers than other kinds of lead forms. Why? Well let’s take a look at the past, say, 3 years of experience in the mortgage industry. 3 years ago when a consumer was in any kind of financial trouble, what did they do? They mortgaged their house and used their enourmous home equity like a checking account. Now fast forward and take a look at the state of the industry today, and see where that kind of practice left us. Now take a look at BML’s process. A consumer may be exposed to not only a mortgage lender, but a tax advisor, a real estate agent, a debt counselor, etc. And the operative word here is “may”, because not all leads will spill onto the desks of all providers of course. What does this do for the lead buyer? Does it degrade the quality of the lead? Perhaps. Does it enhance the consumers ability to get the RIGHT help? I would argue yes.

If I owe $25,000 in back taxes and I am uneducated on the subject, maybe my first thought would be to refinance my house and take out cash to pay it off. Is this the right solution for me? Maybe. Maybe not. But without really digging into the subject and talking to multiple people, I may never know. So you could make a valid argument on both sides of this subject and be right I think, but at the end of the day, I think the consumer may actually be better served given the option to take advantage of different avenues if they so choose.

This of course is going on the assumption that even if a consumer fills out the portion of the lead saying that they are behind on payments and want to sell, that the lead is still being sold to a mortgage company. I tend to think that this may not be the case, however.

My two cents, take it as you will.

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  1. I am the head of marketing for LeadPoint UK. I think this article raises a lot of interesting questions. In the UK, the mortgage lead generation industry is a few years behind the states. Lead buyers expect much higher conversion rates and most leads are sold exclusively (despite the fact that there is no such thing as a 100% guaranteed exclusive lead).

    The issue that you addressed which I think is the most important one is the issue of educating the consumer. As lead generation evolves on both sides of the Atlantic and regulators continue to scrutinise the industry I think the consumer experience will become more and more central.

    It is very easy for regulators to cry foul but one of the problems is that consumers needs and financial situations are far more complex than the information that can be captured in a simple data capture form. Consumers need to be informed and lead down the most appropriate path. The more relevant a lead is the more valuable it is. It will be interesting to see how this side of things develops over the next few years as regulation, conversion rates, etc are all pulling in different directions.

  2. The up-sell and cross sell is a common practice among lead generators. Adchemy has a debt offer that follows their mortgage application. Doesn’t the consumer get pounded in that situation as well? How many upsells or cross sells are too many?

    The biggest challenge now for generators is how to monitize sub-prime traffic. Pushing them into a mortgage lead simply doesn’t work anymore as no one buys them. Their multi-product execution seems to be an attempt to monitize that sub-prime traffic.

  3. [...] One consumer, multiple leads… I would assume that initially, a consumer would think that they are filling out a lead form to be matched with a lender. As they proceed, if they answer questions that prompt more questions, it quickly becomes evident that there are … [...]

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