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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.  

How to run a mortgage company in 2008

I read a very interesting blog this morning over at the XBroker. Jeff over at the XBroker talks about some radical changes needed in this market to run a shop, keep your head above water, and most importantly gain consumers trust. No doubt, he will take flak from people who are stuck in the past, but still worth the read.

Think Inside The Box - More “2.0″ Thoughts

Photo Courtesy of Winding Road.

A popular discussion topic around the Leads360 building has been prioritization, focus, and the popular Strengths Finder 2.0 book. Many people are taking a closer look at their own abilities and figuring out how to better leverage them for the benefit of our clients-and to make themselves happier and more productive.

The idea of 2.0 is often seen as a focus on being “outside of the box” and rewriting the rules. The recently deceased Business 2.0 Magazine was all about new companies, new ideas, new approaches, new solutions, and embraced a general theme of change. Ironically, but rather predictably, it came to an end by being forced to abandon its mission - by being forced into the old model of business: the corporate conglomerate “efficiency” machine. Mark Glaser of Mediashift writes:

To best understand the final demise of Business 2.0, you need to go back to April 2006 when Time Inc. announced with great fanfare a new Business and Finance Network that combined the sales forces of Fortune, Money, Fortune Small Business and Business 2.0 magazines, along with the CNNMoney.com online portal. The idea was to have a unified group selling all the titles so there would be less overhead costs and a simpler pitch to advertisers from one person instead of four.

But for Business 2.0, the Time Inc. strategy was the kiss of death. The magazine lost its dedicated sales force, and Fortune salespeople were less interested in selling Business 2.0 than Fortune. Worse yet, the people who could have made the new strategy succeed — the magazine publishers atop each publication — were demoted to regional sales staff positions, demoralizing them, according to one former longtime Business 2.0 staffer. (The former employee would only speak to me without attribution because of the sensitivity of the subject.)

“They took all these people who were publishers, which is as high as you can get without going to corporate,” the source said. “They took all these people and basically bumped them down to fancy regional sales managers. The very people who would have implemented the plan and made it successful had just been demoted…The salespeople were told, ‘You’re going to sell Fortune and Money and Business 2.0 and Fortune Small Business, and do package deals with CNNMoney.com.’ Which is a good idea in theory, but in practice it didn’t work out.

“The Fortune salespeople just didn’t give a f—- about selling Business 2.0. The Money people didn’t really know Fortune and the Fortune people didn’t know Money. I don’t know how much they saved, but they lost more money than they saved. It was all pressure from Time Warner to show earnings growth at Time Inc….So a year later, Business 2.0 wasn’t getting any ads. The plan had been disastrous.” Read the rest of the article here.

Business 2.0’s strength was being different, being more sensitive to new trends, smaller companies, and looking to the stars of the future, instead of celebrating the stars of the present. Time Inc. did not respect the strength of Business 2.0 and did not enable it to succeed. Business 2.0 provides a great parable: no matter how good your product is, you must have the right vision-and the ability and commitment to follow it.

I see 2.0 as a commitment to seeing “inside the box” as clearly as we look outside of it.

At Leads360 our core competency is making our clients successful. Our success or failure will be determined by our ability to be faithful to our strengths… 2.0.

Goals, Goals, Goals!

We all have goals. Personally, I want to win the lottery one day. Every time there is a huge lottery payout won by someone whom I don’t deem deserving of it, I sit back and think “Man, if that were me who won that…” and go off into a day dream. True, a goal of mine is to win it, but I will never achieve that goal.


Well, because I don’t play the lottery.

How can I win the lottery if I never play it?

This post is about setting realistic goals that help you achieve your end goal. In order to close a deal, you need to lay out a goal path that will allow you to do so as efficiently as possible. You need to play the lottery if you want to win it. And you need to set systematic goals in order to close a deal. The shotgun approach is for amateurs, and the days of the one call close are over. It takes a goal oriented process, a series of milestones relevant to your sales cycle, to close a deal.

At Leads360, on the Sales 2.0 floor we’ve taken a step back from the old way of selling, interwoven the new “selling for success” [of our clients] method, and put together a process of mapping out goals and milestones in order to close good deals…not just any deals. And it works, our clients are successful, so we are as well.

Sales 2.0


2.0 this, v2.0 that…whatever you want to call it, it’s evolution. Survival of the fittest. Only the strong survive. And other aphorisms that make you think of 80’s era Schwarzenegger and Stallone films.

At Leads360, our Sales Department is evolving swiftly into a true Sales 2.0 team. We’ve realized that our company, and our clients are one in the same when it comes to our experiences in selling. As the market changed, you changed the way you sold a loan. It got more challenging to match your offerings to a prospective borrower, much as it got more challenging to match our offerings to a lender or broker.

The old approach of ABC - Always Be Closing! just doesn’t work any longer. There has been a shift in the concious of the buyer that neccessitates a shift in the concious of the seller in order to see any positive results. With this in mind, we’re undergoing a rapid evolution into the mythical Sales 2.0 team. Selling for the success of the client has trumped the ABC approach. The stages of the sale are now mapped out strategically, with the success of the client in mind. You know, an old sales trick which works a lot is the take-away. You know what I am talking about, the guy who seems to always be sitting on the fence but refuses to tip in your direction, so you just take it away, and all of the sudden they wany to buy. Yeah, that guy. Well, we’re working with a modified version of the take-away, but unlike the traditional sense of the tool, it is not geared to make a prospect lean our way. It is a straightforward - “Jim, I don’t think we’re a good fit at this point. Based on my experience, I think you should contact [name of software company] and discuss [name of software solution] with them.” Yes, you really did read that. If we do not think a client will see the success that they are seeking with our platform, we will not do business with them. And we will go so far as to refer them to a competitor if we think they will be able to offer a better solution. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like it happens often and when it does, it is normally because the prospective client doesn’t need much more than a basic contact manager, but still…unless the prospective client will extract the value that we offer, and see the success that we make possible, we would rather send them somewhere that can give them what they are looking for. It’s all a part of selling for the success of the client, and we’ve also realized that the more you do this, the better the relationship you have with the client.

Over the past few months Leads360 has changed from being a company that had a killer piece of software to offer, to a company that has a killer piece of software to offer along with 40+ talented professionals from all walks of business-life with experience and knowledge to lend to clients who are hungry for it…and it all starts on the Sales 2.0 floor.

Happy Thanksgiving from the team @ Leads360!

Hey folks, we just wanted to pass along the message as many others do. To our readers, thank you for stopping by. To our clients, thank you for allowing us the pleasure of doing business with you. To everyone else, enjoy the holiday, reflect on what you have to be thankful for, and stay safe!

DoublePositive Raises More Money - Bright Future For Lead Generation?

Courtesy of Lead Critic, we heard that our good friends at DoublePositive have announced that they have taken an additional $4M in funding to continue to grow their business. We know that our customers have been satisfied with DoublePositive’s approach and we know that they will continue to thrive, despite the current market conditions. Congratulations!

Internet Advertising Boom Continues - Rough Waters for Big Lead Generators?


So internet spending is still going gangbusters, including 26% rise in spending year to date…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. Internet advertising revenue rose 25 percent in the third quarter to about $5.2 billion, a new record, according to data released on Monday.

The report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP showed online advertising revenue has hit new highs in each of the first three quarters of 2007.

Revenue for the first nine months of 2007 totaled $15.2 billion, up nearly 26 percent from the $12.1 billion recorded during the first nine months of 2006, the report said.

“The continued robust growth of the industry indicates that marketers increasingly understand and appreciate the benefits of interactive advertising,” IAB Chief Executive Randall Rothenberg said in a statement. “Marketers large and small have come to accept digital media as the fulcrum of any marketing strategy.” Click here to read the article.

This article caught our attention as internet advertising is how a lot of our partners do their marketing.  As ad spending on the internet rises, the costs of internet advertising real estate will also rise, although not necessarily in proportion.  As spending and competition for spots on wide-net popular internet sites increases, the cost of doing business for internet lead generation companies is increasing steadily, or at least for those who are dependent on banner ad and CPC expenditure.

Companies that NEED to do internet advertising are running into an ugly predicament:  more and more big companies, with large ad budgets, increasingly WANT to do more advertising.   While the internet maintains some advantages for smaller companies (hyper-targeted ads, low minimum expenditure), the prime mainstream ad spots will be increasingly eaten up by the big boys of the ad world; Toyota, GM, Ford, Nike, Honda, Apple, Microsoft, Fox, and so on.   This movement will push lead generation companies to be increasingly niche or increasingly large, or both.   Either way, it will challenge and push the industry to innovate, or else.

Selling, and living…in a down market.

You sell to live, but you also live to sell. You are the kind of person who plans to stay in the mortgage industry even though things right now are…well…challenging. While your former co-workers have elected to take the easy way out, you have decided to be steadfast and continue doing what you love.

Now before we go any further, let’s take a step back and come to a realization: Your title is Senior Mortgage Consultant, Real Estate Lending Professional, Home Loan Consultant, etc. When you wake up in the morning, you’re a Sales Professional. When you go to sleep at night, you’re a Sales Professional. When someone asks you what you do for a living, you should feel proud, and tell them that you are a Sales Professional. It seems like sales $@%# is a four letter word, and right now, it seems like ‘mortgage anything’ is even worse. Before you can take control over your present and future, you need to be comfortable with the fact that you are a salesman, or saleswoman. There’s nothing wrong with that.

So with that in mind, you need to understand how certain traits of a good salesperson will help you sell, and live in a down market. There are many key traits to a typical Type-A sales professional. If you do not currently possess them, you need to align yourself with a mentor who does, and pick them up. Some of them are as follows:

- Dogged persistence: so you’ve called a good lead or referral three or four times with no response…so what, they have a life too, don’t stop calling them until you have identified that there is no opportunity for business, and this does not mean that you called three times in one day, and never got a hold of the prospect.

- Hunter mentality: you see an opportunity, and you capitalize on that opportunity. You cannot rely on someone else to do all of the gruntwork for you and deliver the picture perfect prospect. Find your business, it is out there, but you need to open your eyes and absorb.

- Cannot be backed into a corner: know your products, and know what kind of questions, comments, and concerns are typical with each kind of borrower. The last thing that your prospect who is preparing to make the largest financial committment in their life wants to hear is “Ummm, hrm…uhhhh….well lemme…..hold on…………ummmm……I don’t know.” One trait of a good salesperson is being able to admit that you do not know the answer, but you will make every effort to get that information to the prospect as expeditiously as possible. So, know your information…and if you don’t know it, don’t pretend you do. Be honest.

- You are refined and organized: these are vital. Disorganization promotes lost opportunity. Of course, the first thing that you want to do is call us and talk to us about a Lead Management System. Cut the fat. Get a process in place and stick to it. Don’t clutter your workspace, make a schedule to check and return emails and phone calls, and only set appointments and meetings that you have to be at. Everything is good in moderation, but don’t overwhelm yourself.

- Understand your value proposition: and communicate it accordingly. Why will Mr. and Mrs. Smith have the best and easiest transaction with you and your organization? What will you do to make their situation better? Make them understand that.

- Know your competition: this goes with the previous. But don’t ever trash them. And if you cannot do anything for your prospect, refer them over. I know, this sounds crazy, but your prospects will respect you, and will think of you in the future. Here at Leads360, we do our best to qualify a prospect before we sell them a Lead Management System. If the prospect is qualified, bring it on! If they are not qualified, we will refer them off to our competition if we think that there may be a synergy there. Of course we want everyone’s business, but we are not greedy and find it to be more advantageous to the prospect and ourself if we keep their best interest in mind. On the flipside, our knowledge of the competition allows us to steer fence sitters in our direction more often than not. See where I am going here?

- Network!: www.linkedin.com, www.facebook.com, www.myspace.com, www.wannanetwork.com, these are all great places to network if you do it correctly. Carry your business cards with you when you go to a bar, a restaurant, the mechanic, Disneyland, etc. But don’t be pushy. Be suave, and make friends and acquaintences. The referrals will start coming in. Go on Realtor caravan’s, go to local NAR meetings, bring Realtors cookies, print up flyers for them to use on open houses, offer to sit their open houses for them, etc.

These are just a few traits of an effective salesperson who will see success in this and every market. We’ve all got to live with the fact that it isn’t as easy to close a loan as it was a couple of years back. But we all have to eat, right? The above are some ingredients that need to go into the meal to make it delicious. Sure you may be able to make it without them, but you know what happens when you sway from the recipe…you never know what you’re going to end up with, and when it comes to getting a paycheck…predictability can be a nice thing.

More to come. Stay tuned to the blog and tell your friends.

- Morelli

Bad Lead = Good Lead? Because hidden oportunity is the best kind.


Our own Lead Guru has written a great post about the hidden opportunity in bad leads, over at Lead Critic.

Purchased internet leads have a bad phone number percentage that ranges from 8% to 22%. Do you just return these leads without trying to salvage a deal? NO, NO, NO. Email that borrower assuming they entered in the phone number incorrectly intentionally.

Read the whole post here.


We devote a lot of our time and resources to helping our customers get to leads faster and more efficiently than their competition. In other words, day in and day out, we help our customers do the same thing that everyone else is doing, but we help them do it faster, better, and smarter. Lead Guru brings up a good point. There is often an equal or greater opportunity in knowing what your competition is NOT doing. Leads with bad phone numbers are likely to be ignored or given lower priority than those with valid phone numbers. Thus, for any lead that is sold to multiple brokers, a lead with a bad phone number may result in a higher chance of closing a deal. As Americans increasingly spend more time online, B2C sales must adjust their workflow to reach their customers in the way that they would like to be reached.

Powered by Personality

We like our brands like we like our friends; with a personality.

Andy Sernovitz (word of mouth marketing expert) wrote a quick note about Zappos which has been successful, in large part, because of the personality which it has created for itself.

Here is the juicy part:

Call their customer service number: 800-927-7671

Every day a different employee hosts the phone calls. Today (Halloween) you get singing:

“Trick or treat, smell my feet, Zappos Customer Service can’t be beat. Hi, my name is Amber, and my name is Kimberly, from our product information support team, and we’ll be hosting today’s daily greeting on this spooky October 31st.”

Plus, every call ends with “Press 4 to hear Zappos Joke of the Day.” Two more employees tell you a joke.

Zappos is not afraid to say that they have a personality, and that’s just the kind of company that people want to deal with.

Zappos is a company that is an inspiration for us at Leads360, because it is built on customer service. When Zappos was just starting up they knew that an incredibly high level of customer service would be required to let people buy shoes, without trying them on. They developed a class-leading organization which revolves around making it as painless as possible to buy AND return shoes.

“We’re a service company that just happens to sell shoes.” Read the whole interview at Inc.