The 10 Commandments of a Successful Internet Lead Strategy
In an ever-changing mortgage environment, the days of printing money are over; buying and converting internet leads is getting harder and harder. Here are the 10 things you can do to grow your company in a tough business climate using internet mortgage leads:
- Understand Leads: Many mortgage brokers and bankers rush into buying leads without thinking their reasoning through. Simply put, buying mortgage leads is buying the contact information of people who have expressed some interest in getting a loan. By receiving this information you are not getting done deals delivered to your salespeople. These potential customers are actively shopping many different loan providers and offers. Getting the lead should be the beginning of your sales strategy, not the end.
- Understand Lead Buying: The purpose of buying leads should be to increase your sales flow and revenue. If you want to increase your revenue you should have a robust lead buying program. If you are not buying leads it should be because you are not equipped to utilize electronic leads or because you distrust the lead sources. Unfortunately, many brokers and bankers do not buy internet leads for other reasons. Maybe they are intimidated or have heard horror stories. Perhaps they have been burned by a lead provider in the past. Prudent lead buying isn’t rushing in blind; you must have proper planning, staffing and software to distribute and track leads to conversion.
- Analyze the Leads that You Buy: Research shows that mortgage companies which implement standard best practices achieve a very good return on investment (ROI) on the leads that they buy. That said, not all leads or lead providers are of the same quality or appropriateness for your business. To be successful in lead buying you must monitor and analyze the performance of leads that you receive. That means comparing lead providers and monitoring the quality of leads over time. You must track which lead providers give you the best leads at the best price. To get that information you need accurate data and reporting. If you don’t have easy access to data about your sales performance, you need lead management software to measure your ROI.
- Measure Lead Quality: The simplest way to understand lead quality is that it consists of two components: contact information and an indication that this person has an interest in your product. It is imperative to track the quality of your leads. What percentage of leads are you contacting? How many did you take an application on? Which converted into loans? If you can’t answer these questions quickly for each lead provider and track their performance over time, you don’t have the information that you need to make good lead buying decisions. These metrics can be easily obtained using lead management software.
- Work Leads Faster: Once leads are sent out, you are in a race to contact them. Data suggests that when leads are contacted in the first 15 minutes are 50% more likely to close. That means you need to route leads to the right sales person as quickly as possible after receiving them. This can only be achieved by intelligent lead distribution software. You should consider having two teams as well, one to make initial contact and one to sell loans. This will dramatically improve the speed to contact and keep your efforts more streamlined.
- Monitor Loan Officer Performance: A successful lead program is only as good as the sales people working the leads. Getting good people is the first step, but ensuring that they are working leads quickly and effectively is the key. Manage, monitor and analyze loan officer performance daily. How fast are your people contacting leads? How frequently do they disposition a lead? How many calls are they making each day? Are they nurturing leads? All of these questions can be easily answered if your leads are stored in a lead tracking software.
- Nurture Your Prospects: Not all potential customers are ready to get a loan the first time you call them, but research shows that more than 40% eventually close. It is important to develop lead nurturing programs to cultivate leads that are not ready to buy. This means communicating with them regularly with relevant and useful information. Whether it is a few weeks later or twelve months, when you send emails, do follow-up calls and direct mail, prospects think of you when they are ready to buy. A good lead management system can turn cold leads into customers for life.
- Use Lead Management Software: The decision to start buying leads for the first time or after you’ve been burned is a big one. The mental shift required for your organization to be successful is also significant. The processes you implement must be followed by everyone in your organization for the program to be successful. Using lead management software enables you to develop a rigid workflow and track every aspect of sales pipeline. You establish an organization of accountability and make it easy for people to follow the rules that work. Without these controls in place, you cannot scale with an internet lead program.
- Uniform & Disciplined Approach: Combining the right leads with effective technology is critical. But, without a consistent and disciplined approach to working those leads, you are setting yourself up for failure. Like most things in business the 80/20 rule typically applies. 80% of your deals are being done by 20% of your workforce. You can increase the effectiveness of your team by implementing a culture of discipline and uniformity. Implement and enforce proven processes and watch your conversion rates increase across the board.
- Hire a Program Champion: You may be too busy steering the ship to focus on these nine commandments every day. Implementing a successful internet lead strategy requires corporate buy-in, discipline and hard work. And, if you want to move with velocity, you need a champion to manage it. Having someone in your organization that is accountable for implementing and managing your lead program will payoff in short order.