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Zoot Enterprises reports record year

National Mortgage Professional
Mar 30, 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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