Taking the lead in the do-not-call eraRyan Buellgenerating leads, do-not-call list, live leads The lending community is undergoing enormous changes. As interest rates rise and the ephemeral refinance boom begins its rapid decline, the once-abundant crop of refi prospects is disappearing. Mortgage brokers know that their membership base has exponentially increased, resulting in unprecedented competition for a rapidly declining pool of prospects. Savvy brokers, hoping to maintain their market share in the competitive and over-saturated landscape, must now seek out the few proven and well-established lead generation providers. With the advent of the national Do-Not-Call registry, purchasing data from unknown sources exposes loan brokers to substantial loss, not only for monies paid for the leads purchased, but also up to $11,000 per lead that violates the national law. Large loan brokers, let alone solo operators, can ill afford to make the costly mistake of purchasing lead data that is not compliant with the new laws. Buying bad leads may now put you out of business. Implementation of the Do-Not-Call registry and restrictive state e-mail marketing laws signifies the end of widely-used industry marketing techniques such as purchasing older data lists, pounding the phones with a telemarketing force or conducting large-scale e-mail blasts. Today, loan brokers can ill afford to conduct marketing with these anachronistic methods. How, then, does the savvy loan broker continue to use modern marketing technology while remaining complaint with the Do-Not-Call laws? Welcome the era of "live leads." Live leads, which are generated in real-time, command a premium. However, the ability to contact a prospect who submitted a request only minutes or hours earlier, is of significant value in a multitude of ways, and mitigates the risk of you violating the Do-Not-Call law. As a lender or broker, you must now exercise extreme caution when identifying a lead provider that is right for you. Ask any prospective lead provider whether they generate their own leads; moreover, don't just accept "yes" for an answer. The potential monetary penalties mandate that you demand proof of lead generation. Ask to see the provider's lender request form. A reputable provider will gladly show you their online application and methodologies used to generate applicants. Internet leads are an effective and cost-effective method to generate new sales. Just be sure you are choosing a proven and established lead provider. Your business depends on it. Ryan Buell is CEO of Alansis, a La Jolla, Calif.-based provider of mortgage and debt leads. He may be reached by phone at (858) 597-3041 or by e-mail at [email protected]alansis.com.