Why the high turnover among loan officers?
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Why the high turnover among loan officers?

December 6, 2004

Utilizing direct mail for soliciting new borrowers and maintaining your current databaseRyan Belddirect mail, marketing, digital print technology, strategies
Once upon a time, the one-size-fits-all mode of direct mail
marketing had its place. Today's more informed consumer still has a
place for itunder the kitchen sink. Before even being opened, most
generic mass mail efforts wind up covered in coffee grinds.
Postcards bearing meaningless images or no graphics at all are
chucked without an iota of curiosity. If your goal is to become a
six-figure super producer, consider how dynamic digital print
technology and one-to-one direct mail marketing, which commonly
delivers a 20-30 percent response rate over mass mailing's typical
one or two percent, can help get you there.
Acknowledge current customers as
individuals
While a quick online search will inundate you with resources that
"unveil" the secrets of Lexus-driving lenders, the bottom line is
that building personal relationships and establishing customer
trust is what leads to high-value referrals. Trust is earned. The
more your customers believe that you understand their goals and
obstacles, and the more satisfied they become with your attention
to details and service, the more willing they will be to try new
programs you offer or to refer your services to others. Marketing
on a personal level to this existing client base is easy because
you already have their data. Loan application forms provide all the
information you need to get started. Stored in a database, this
rich resource is seldom used to its full advantage.
However, database engineers, graphic artists, digital print
experts and mailing service consultants can be merged online to
customize an efficient software system that can digest and
disseminate the information youve collected about your customers.
By flowing selected data variables such as "annual income,"
"gender," "age" or "marital status" through this flexible tool, you
can tailor on-demand direct mail pieces that engage your customers.
The software automatically adjusts font, images and text to
correspond with these variables in a flexible marketing template of
your design.
For example, you could mail a professional single woman who
closed on her first home a few years ago a refinancing brochure
that features a woman admiring her house on the cover and inside
text about traveling or home improvements. A married couple with
children could receive the same basic refinancing information,
although their brochure could open with a family image and include
a blurb about saving for college or investing. Send alerts to
customers who are primed for refinancing whenever rates drop. Even
if they opt not to follow up, they're likely to know people who are
considering it.
Do you send out a newsletter each quarter that doesn't offer
more than a generic greeting and quote to live by? Why not provide
news that your customers can really use, enlivened by images that
hit home? Begin with a personal greeting"Dear Bill and Joan, can
you believe it's already November?" Depending on where they live,
your feature story might include an emergency preparedness
checklist, explain the differences between a mortgage and a line of
credit, or highlight a new home improvement loan. If they're young,
you might include money-saving tips. If they're empty nesters, a
blurb about financing a vacation home could be inserted.
Monthly mortgage statements offer another opportunity to market
relevant programs or enhance your role as trusted consultant,
"Diane, did you know that laws exist to protect your rights under
the Fair Credit Reporting Act? Heres how to make sure your credit
is protected."
You can also choose to communicate personally with customers
through portable document format files (PDFs), e-mail or Web pages.
In any case, your offers are bound to come across as interesting,
if not irresistible, when they speak directly to your
customers.
Build your database
To be most effective, one-to-one marketing requires an accurate,
current mailing list. While it would be nice to rely completely on
referrals, you can acquire new mailing lists in several ways. The
U.S. Census Bureau provides geographic information for specific
regions within each state, including gender, household size,
marital status and education statistics. Companies that specialize
in electronics information techniques can help you capture this
data and put it to use.
Becoming friends with a successful real estate agent is great.
But you also can hop onto the Multiple Listing Service and create a
list of homes selling in different geographic areas. You may not
know your prospect's name, but you do know where they live now.
Rather than sending out a generic postcard, your marketing piece
can include an image of the suburbs, lakeshore or a city loft.
Because they relate to this lifestyle, your prospect is likely to
feel more comfortable with you. You also know how much their home
is worth. If they are selling a $350,000 home, you can assume
they're more apt to be interested in some services as opposed to
others. Market these in quick, bold bullet points. Emphasize how
you can help make the move less stressful by handling the mortgage
and other areas they haven't even considered.
Experiment with sending out personalized newsletters to those
who can help build your database: homebuilders, real estate agents,
human resource directors and bankers. Do your research and then
demonstrate that you understand their key markets through targeted
text, font and imaging. Describe services you offer that could
benefit their clients. There also are, of course, plenty of
mortgage mailing lists at your fingertips. Investing in a service
that helps you identify your best market prospects and provides you
with data that extends beyond income and marital status also can
jump-start your direct mail campaign.
One more thing: Don't forget your envelope. "High Priority:
Express" envelopes, custom mailers, quality paper and engaging
graphic design all help steer your direct mail piece clear of the
coffee grounds.
Ryan Beld is a one-to-one marketing expert and technology
sales representative for Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Integra. He
can be reached at (616) 459-4142, ext. 145 or e-mail
rbeld@integrausa.com.

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