When I talk about opportunity in the mortgage and Real Estate business I’m really talking about lead generation. As you all know, a lead is the name and contact information for someone who is potentially a future client. Generating leads should be your primary focus whether you are a loan originator or a Realtor®. Any referral you receive can be thought of as a lead, but not all leads have to be referrals. A lead can come from a service like Zillow, or it could be from a cold call list for a particular area you bought from a marketing firm.
Leads are either unqualified or qualified. An unqualified lead is someone who may be simply “shopping.” They may not know what they need or they may just be curious about what the market is doing and what’s available. It could be they don’t understand what you offer versus the rest of the industry or your programs may be out of their budget. They might also be someone who was referred to you as part of a networking group who may not even be looking for a home or a mortgage. While it’s possible to convert unqualified leads, the conversion rate is low and the time to convert is long.
Qualified leads on the other hand know exactly what they are looking for. They have a general idea of the solution they need and are most likely aware of your company. Qualified leads often come from your referral sources or other sources where someone specifically is looking for a home or a loan. They are much more desirable and far easier to convert.
Identifying their unique conversion rates will help you create a better stream of sustainable business because you will be realistic about what is in your pipeline. Some people brag they have a huge list of leads, however many of them will never convert. Separating them within your Customer Relationship Manager and marketing to them differently will ensure you maintain long term success.
Finding the Right Leads
Garnering the right leads for your business requires knowing who your ideal customer is – age, income level, business owner or employee, education, etc. Once you know their demographics and attributes you can share the vision of your ideal client with your referral sources so they can send more of these types your way.
The easiest way to determine your ideal client is to go back twelve months and spend time thinking about all the transactions that you’ve done. Which ones had clients that you really valued working with? What was it about them you enjoyed? Were they better educated? Were they willing to trust your advice? Were they all first-time homebuyers or retirees looking to downsize?
The next thing you want to do is determine your “why.” Why is it important to you to help these families? What can you do better than anyone else to service them? Your first inclination will probably be that you want to make money. But that’s rarely the real reason why you do what you do. Dig deeper. Clients instinctively know when you are truly interested in being of service to them rather than simply lining your pockets. Having a clear understanding of you why will help you stay focused on the vision of your perfect client and bring you more joy in working with them. You get to choose where you get your business so choose wisely.
Do Unto Others
This old adage is as true in this industry as it is in everyday life. If you want to get consistent, highly qualified leads from your referral sources you need to be willing to do the same for them. The more you give out the more you will receive. We have far too many self-centered sales people that only want to receive and not give. The Law of Reciprocity is a great one to study because you won’t feel as disappointed as much. You may refer out to someone, but then you might end up getting more referrals from another source. Don’t worry about measuring reciprocity one on one…just know if you continuously are adding value to others businesses it will come back to you eventually.
I also encourage you to refer within your own specialty as well. There is more than enough business to go around. For example, maybe there’s a homebuyer who doesn’t fit into any of your loan programs. Don’t leave them hanging. Refer them to another loan originator who does have a program that will suit them. Our maybe someone comes to you who wants to buy a home in an area that you are unfamiliar with or is further than you want to travel for showings. Refer them to someone you trust who does sell in that area. Whenever you help someone meet their goal, they will look favorably on you. Keep that person in your database and reach out to them regularly. They could end up referring someone to you who does fit. Holding onto lead that are not in alignment with your business plan may take away from helping more people that are.