Zoot Enterprises reports record year
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Zoot Enterprises reports record year

March 29, 2007

First across the finish line: The secret to beating your competitionJeff Solomoncommunication, dilligence, technology
The housing boom of the previous five years provided
unprecedented business for the mortgage lending industry. Although
the industry enjoyed this prosperity, it also triggered a false
sense of security for long-term success. This leads to more relaxed
business practices and less reliance on diligence, persistence and
detail.
While it didn't impact mortgage lenders then, those practices
are going to dramatically decrease the number of lenders in
business over the next five years. How can you keep your company
out of danger and continue to close a successful number of loans?
The answer is simple: you have to beat your competition in the
follow-up race.
The quick and the dead
In the mortgage lending business, the successful companies will be
those who know their prospects and quickly establish relationships.
That means you have to be able to instantly distribute leads,
quickly make the initial contact, communicate consistently and
personally with prospects, and track and manage the progress of
every lead from initial contact through closing. If you're still
doing this with a paper trail, your company is going to die. Your
process is simply too slow.
If you make one investment in your business this year, it should
be lead management software (LMS). LMS allows you to automate the
entire follow-up process and dramatically reduce the time it takes
you to move leads through the sales cycle. This means faster
response times and higher closing rates. While your competitors are
still faxing out leads to loan officers, you'll already be sending
a second or third communication to your prospects. You're halfway
to closing before other lenders even acknowledge the lead! Western Capital
Mortgage, a mortgage lender in Southern California, knew that
their lead processing operations were slowing them down. Wanting to
make a change, they invested many hours reviewing 20 different LMS
applications to find the one that would work the best for their
company and their 100 agents. Since adopting the LMS, they've
noticed a huge change in their business.
"The speed of this system enables our agents to talk to
customers within minutes of receiving the lead," explained Aaron
Leffler from Western Capital Mortgage. "It also holds everyone
accountable because we know who is working on what and how they are
doing. It gives us flexibility to make adjustments in how we run
our business by enabling us to evaluate our strengths and areas of
improvement."
Maximizing your marketing investment
In addition to speed, LMS also gives you the marketing tools you
need to professionally and personally communicate with your
prospects and turn them into borrowers. One of the most exciting
innovations of technology is what it has done for communication.
You can send 1,000 personalized e-mails in less time than it takes
you to put a stamp on an envelope. And we're not talking about
spam.
With automated marketing, you can determine your campaign and
let the software manage and track the implementation. Without even
thinking about it, you can engage your prospects with consistent
follow up, build relationships and close more loans. Plus, you'll
be able to determine what messages generated the greatest return.
LMS helps you to make smarter marketing decisions and refine your
messaging to each prospect.
For example, you could automatically send an e-mail from your
loan officers to your prospects immediately after the first
conversation. The e-mail could introduce the loan officer, tell a
little about his qualifications and experience, and make sure the
prospect has his contact information. The next e-mail would be
educational about the borrowing process or a series of FAQs to make
them feel more comfortable. Whatever messaging you implement, the
key is that your campaign is consistent, ongoing and
personalized.
These automated marketing tools also give you what you need to
maximize your investment in leads. Heartland Financial, one of the
nation's largest independent brokerage firms, realized that they
didn't have a definitive way to track the return and effectiveness
of their advertising campaigns. When the company adopted a LMS,
they instantly had tools to track the leads generated. "We're
spending $150,000 per month in advertising and we needed to make
sure our leads weren't falling through the cracks," said Jay
Dunsing, president of Heartland Financial. "We now receive custom
reports that allow us to see exactly what is happening with each of
our leads."
Outpacing the competition
The key to speeding ahead of your competition is efficiency.
Nothing gives your mortgage company efficiency like the technology
of lead management software. And while LMS is finding its way into
hundreds of mortgage firms each month, there is still time to be
among the early adopters and secure your success. Automated
marketing is the lifeline that will keep your mortgage company
thriving regardless of market conditions.
Adopting LMS now will ensure that your company stays at the
front of the pack. The ones in the back will not only lose, they
won't even finish the race.
Jeff Solomon is chief executive officer of Inglewood,
Calif.-based Leads360, a
provider of lead management software to mortgage, insurance and
secondary education companies. He can be reached at (888)
508-4462.

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