Today's mortgage market is extremely challenging-in just a year's time, the focus of the industry has changed drastically. Not too long ago, a Mortgage Broker's revenue came entirely from new home purchases-today, half of your business is refinancing, compelling brokers to approach business in a much different fashion.
As mortgage lenders, your business objectives are to sell mortgages and refinancing packages, identify additional products to sell, and serve as the lender of choice when your clients purchase homes. Not only do you need to develop a short-term perspective on packaging and promoting your products, but you must also exercise a long-term view if you want to see any repeat business.
Successful Marketing Strategies
When it comes to marketing, most mortgage firms employ a variety of strategies to help to identify prospects, promote products and close deals. Mortgage Brokers must devise an approach to distinguish those prospects who are refinancing from those in the market for a new home-successful companies will map out an integrated marketing approach to pursue clients interested in refinancing. Monthly mortgage newsletters and semi-annual telephone calls are fundamental to exploring a client's financial situation, as well as their plans for the future. This contact helps lenders determine whether their customers need any additional services to help them improve their credit.
In addition, gifts packed with personal financial management tips, like monthly clients-only newsletters, will help to maintain a friendly rapport while keeping channels open for communication.
In order to identify clients in the market who are looking to buy a new home, top companies will target a select market area, and mail monthly postcards to each resident-hopefully, this should grab the attention of those who are making plans to purchase a home for the first time. Another proven strategy has been to cross-market with partners in compatible industries-communicating regularly with real estate agents, accountants and financial planners will keep your company on the front burner when a client is ready to take out or refinance a mortgage.
Moving From First Sale to Long-Term
Once you have closed a sale, it is critical to maintain a relationship with the client, positioning yourself as their lender of choice for any future mortgage-related business they may have. Not only will this supply you with a steady stream of loyal clientele, but it will also provide a referral base of family and friends. Some companies provide fresh and effective marketing approaches to maintain communication, by sending personalized magazine subscriptions to past clients as a thank-you to anyone who has sent a referral. Strategically-placed, customized messages will enable lenders to stay fresh in their clients' minds.
Many mortgage lenders present gifts to clients as a thank you for new or return business. Since most companies do not set very much money aside for such things, pre-paid gift cards are good, cost-effective ideas. All gifts should reflect similar values and aim for amusement and usefulness. Additionally, originators must remember not to violate any Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act guidelines, which prohibit direct compensation to the referral source.
Effective Holiday Gifts
As we enter the holiday season, many brokers will purchase gifts for their clients. It will be helpful to your business to buy gifts that:
1. Appeal to a broad base;
2. Are easy to order and deliver;
3. Are inexpensive yet provide a personal touch;
4. Attract attention; and, most importantly
5. Avoid directly pushing financial products and tax returns.
In a recent study comparing the values of different business gifts, some of the most notable incentives reviewed included bottles of wine, day spas, flowers or gift certificates. Day spas rank high in sophistication, while the rest of the list ranks medium or low. Furthermore, gift certificates rank relatively high for price value, although are considered low for repetition and longevity.
As a mortgage lender, your greatest aspiration is to have a strong client base filled with repeat customers who actively refer you to their relatives and acquaintances. In order to accomplish this, you must maintain contact with them throughout the year; continually finding new ways to reach out without beating them over the head. You need to be more than "just the mortgage guy," by demonstrating that you are genuinely concerned about getting the best deal possible.
You need to overcome the weights, points and technicalities involved in your industry, and learn to know your clients. When you successfully treat them as more than just loan numbers, you will have their future business in the palm of your hand.
Ivy Cohen advises companies on strategies and programs to build their reputations across the country and around the globe. She can be reached by phone at (415) 637-8595 or visit www.ivycohen.com.