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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.  

Share your closing ratios with your lead providers…

The Lead Critic made a very good post earlier this week about sharing data with your lead providers. As a lead management system company, obviously we have a good idea of overall performance. I say overall performance because it would be unfair of me to say lead performance, because a lead is only one ingredient in the mix. More on that some other time…

From 2004 - 2006 I spent my week days selling mortgage leads to loan officers, brokers, and lenders from coast to coast. I sold leads to the mom and pops shop around the corner, and to a handful of the largest direct lenders in the nation. Out of well over 100 clients, only a few of them would share data with me. How many loans have you closed out of the leads I sent you? What is your contact rate? What is your application rate? How about speed to contact, how long does it take you to respond to a lead on average? Getting an answer was like pulling teeth. I think it was a mix of “I don’t want to tell you I’m doing great because you’ll jack my prices up” and “I don’t want to tell you my metrics because I am afraid others are doing way better and I don’t want to hurt my ego.” Whatever the reason, my intention for asking was simple: With your information, I can make my product better.

It’s almost 2008, advertising online is pretty mature, and it is easy to tell what campaigns are producing quality leads, and what campaigns are not. But the only way for a lead provider to know what campaigns to target is to tell them what is working, and what is not. Just so you understand how this works, most lead providers that I know of can target a specific lead back to it’s specific source. Let’s say that a lead provider has 250 campaigns running at any time online. If you send them a list of leads that were pure crap, they can track them back to where they originated. If most of them came from a specific campaign, they can pull the plug on that campaign and end your misery.

Let’s go out on a limb and say that if you do share this information, and the product gets better, your prices DO go up. So what? You’ll be closing more loans, you’ll keep your loan officers happier and more amped to get on the phone with a lead faster, and at the end of the day your life will be easier. So you spend a few bucks extra per lead, it’s not the end of the world. When a lead provider is able to produce better leads, you’re going to win in the end, but if you do not share this information, you’re only going to shoot yourself in the foot chasing not so great leads around. The rewards severely outweigh the risks in this scenario. Do yourself a favor and tell your lead provider how you are doing. If you’ve ever filled out a survey after buying a car, a large TV, or even called one of those “How Am I Driving?” 800 numbers, you’ll know why…

Are you ready to fastpitch your startup?


 Benjamin Kuo of socalTECH.com wrote about the upcoming fast pitch event that we were honored to participate in last year.

Tech Coast Angels is now taking applications for their Fast Pitch event coming up in January. For entrepreneurs who aren’t familiar with what a “fast pitch” is, it is a very short, 60 second “elevator pitch” on your company. The idea behind the competition is to pit a number of entrepreneurs — all looking for funding — in a competition to see who can best convince an investor to make an investment in their company. It’s very informative, entertaining, and actually a useful skill to have. Visit socalTECH here.

You can listen to Leads360′s winning pitch from last year here, courtesy of Frank Peters.

Working on pitching your company can be a big drain on your day to day resources that you need to devote to your business.  It is tough to pry yourself away from the daily grind to focus on the big picture, do the research, make the right connections, and have the important conversations.  Yet, we find an enduring value to the big conversations as they continue to give us new insights into how to mold our product and consulting services to better meet the needs of our clients.  There is always room for us to improve the performance of our customers and that means devoting time and energy to new ideas.

We highly recommend competitions like Pitch the Angels because they represent a great chance to explore the big ideas which are integral to your business.  You will have the opportunity to talk through your ideas and be confronted with things you may never have thought of.  Don’t be afraid to pitch!

Current and Past Clients, your best source of business…

Do you have a marketing strategy in place to touch past clients? How about current ones? Are your current clients aware of your new products and technologies? What are you doing to keep your product[s], your company, and most importantly YOU, on their mind?

The easiest, most trouble-free, and best business is return business. It is relatively simple to get if you know how to get it, and it breeds new referral based business.

Furthermore, what’s the easiest way to lose business to a competitor? Become just another part of someone’s day. Become a nameless, faceless feature of someone’s operation. This makes it easy for your competitors to walk right in, and kick you right out.

What are you doing right now to keep in touch with people whose trust you have earned in the past? Let’s talk about it. E-mail me at mmorelli@leads360.com or call me at 310.256.2947 so we can discuss some Best Practices.

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!