Selling Mortgages Is Not Rocket Science: Refi Today, Gone Tomorrow?Dave Hershmanrefinance, referrals, market response, value I have seen this occur too many times in the mortgage industry during the past 20 years. Last year, refinance activity was down, and although the housing market was strong, price competition was fierce and many Mortgage Brokers left the industry. This year, rates are down and refinances are booming. My office is receiving a great volume of phone calls, with individuals asking, "How do I get in the mortgage industry?" and "Do you have any books on how to become a Mortgage Broker?" The cycle goes on-and-on... Do you want to make sure you break this cycle? There are numerous Mortgage Brokers who make a good living in the industry, regardless of interest rates or economic cycles. Year-after-year, they continue to thrive while others rise, then fall. What exactly is the key? I believe there are actually four keys: 1. Marketing Response; 2. Asking for the Business; 3. Systems for Keeping in Touch; and 4. Delivering Exceptional Value. ++Marketing Response Whether you advertise in a newspaper, use direct mail or rely on your Internet presence--marketing costs are expensive. You must receive maximum response for your marketing dollar. When business slows down, you will have less money to advertise, and if your marketing is not effective, you will be caught in a vicious cycle. Now is the time to question the effectiveness of your marketing response rates, when you have the resources to make a correction. Do you think that because business is busy now, you should not be marketing? Think again. Now is the time to lay the foundation for the leaner times ahead. Chances are you will not have the resources to experiment and make adjustments during the leaner times that may lie ahead. ++Asking for the Business You can create all the leads in the world, but if you do not convert these leads to customers, you will be wasting your two most precious resources--time and money. The key to conversion is to ask for the business! Top salespeople ask for business and referrals on a constant basis. Asking for the business is more complex than stating, "I make my living from referrals," or "Make application with my company today." It is a matter of timing, needs assessment and value delivery. Asking is an important skill to learn. ++Systems for Keeping in Touch As you refinance the world, you will build a precious resource--a strong customer base. I have always stated that you cannot keep in touch with your customers using post-it notes. You must have effective contact management systems set up to make sure the job is accomplished effectively. This means contact management software, not just entering names and addresses on your computer. There are software systems designed to help you organize your contacts and include everything from built-in mail campaigns to automated reminders. ++Delivering Exceptional Value To contact your previous customers is one thing, but to deliver value to them on a regular basis is another story. You should be busy this year (if you are not, refer to the Marketing Response section) and will not have time to develop valuable assets to deliver to your customers. Whether you send articles, newsletters or special offers from your synergy partners, make sure you have a regular source of value development. It does not make sense to have a system to keep in touch with no value to send. If you do not send value to your customer base regularly, you can be sure someone else will. Are you selling your loans to a big conglomerate? They will keep in touch with your customers for sure. These rules are easy--get maximum response, ask for the business, set-up a system and send value. Of course, if you are too busy to follow any one of these rules, are you going to risk fighting for your career when things slow down? There are resources available to help right now, and they do not necessarily cost a lot of money. For example, visit www.OriginationPro.com, where you will find several free articles explaining how to ask for business. Just visit the Performance Library. If you do not recognize it, I just inserted a marketing response mechanism. This is just one key to increase marketing response rates. Your job is to cover all four aspects of success now, before things take a turn for the worse. Those who have been in the mortgage industry for 20 years, like I have, are smart enough to get ready now. Dave Hershman is the vice president of sales and training for Ellie Mae. He is also a top industry speaker and best selling author. To obtain free samples of his highly-acclaimed newsletter, visit www.OriginationPro.com or call the Hershman Group at (800) 581-5678.