Internet mortgage leads are a different BEAST than what most loan officers are used to. From the intent of the prospect to the approach of the loan officer, these leads are far from the norm.
However, this doesn’t mean they are more difficult or take longer to convert. It simply means the leads are being reached higher in the funnel.
Most of these leads are searching online for the answer to, “how much home can I qualify for?” in some form or another. As we all know, the answer to this question does not exist in black and white. Simply put, their initial intent isn’t to speak with a loan officer.
This begs the question…
How do the best consumer direct mortgage companies convert internet mortgage leads at such a high volume?
Lucky for you, we secret shopped them. Here is what we uncovered…
Speed to Lead: Automated Follow-up
As obvious as it may be, their “speed to lead” is the first thing that stood out to us.
After filling out Quicken’s online form, the lead is directed to a thank you page. Before the lead even has a chance to leave the page, a representative from Quicken reaches out to them via phone.
Without a call center and staff, it is nearly impossible to replicate this experience within most mortgage businesses. Not only that but who has the time to manually dial each lead immediately as it comes in?
The good news…
With automated follow-up, you can make providing this experience a reality. Ideally, you want a system that supports automated text messaging, ringless voicemail drops, and automated emails.
Meaning… your lead is contacted immediately upon a lead completes your form and hits the thank you page. The best part is, you don’t lift a finger. The system does it for you.
This enables you to execute nearly the same strategy as Quicken, at a fraction of the cost.
Approaching the Lead Once Connected
During our secret shopping, we found one interesting hurdle that both Quicken Loans and Loan Depot constantly find a way to overcome.
Both of these companies have to navigate leads through unlicenced representatives and bankers. The unlicensed representatives make the initial contact with the lead. They then have to gain permission to transfer the lead to a licensed banker.
Loan Depot’s approach was very assumptive to the idea that we were actually shopping for a home. In fact, the representative stated, “I’m here to help you with your home loan.” In a sense, it felt as if they were pouncing on their prey.
As the rep read through the form that we filled out, he continued to mention “shopping for a home”. After roughly seven minutes of this, he finally attempts to connect us with a licensed banker.
The biggest flaw with this approach is centered around the intent of internet mortgage leads. Most internet leads are not shopping for a pre-qualification.
Mortgage internet leads are generated at the point where the user is looking for information to arm themselves before speaking with a loan officer.
For someone inquiring about home affordability, this approach is likely to scare them off.
Quicken Loans handled this hurdle WAY better. Quicken’s rep begins the conversation with, “How can I help you today?”
No assumption here.
We made it known that we simply had some questions centered around home affordability.
The rep responds, “Great, I have someone who can answer those questions for you. I’ll transfer you now.”
The rep then transfers us to a licensed banker. Not once did we feel pressured.
This is where you have the upper hand…
You don’t deal with this hurdle! You don’t have to make a live transfer.
Yet, there is still something to learn and/or model from Quicken’s approach.
So many loan officers start conversations by asking, “where and when are you looking to buy?” This sounds more like Loan Depot, right?
Assume that they didn’t go online to speak with a loan officer.
The first thing you should day is…
“Hi, I’m following up to help in any way that I can. Were you looking for an idea of what you can afford? Or, were you just looking for a basic idea of the process and requirements?”
Position yourself to appear as a resource, as someone who can answer their questions.
Help them understand, that the answers to their questions aren’t going to be found by searching online. Even if that means breaking down what an AUS is and that it determines who does and doesn’t get a loan.
Ultimately, your goal is to make them comfortable. Downplay the entire process. From the initial introduction to the collection of application information, go about it casually.
BE A SALESPERSON, NOT AN ORDER TAKER!
Do the secret shopping yourself.
Don’t just take our word for it. Start to identify what the best companies are doing, and see if you can come up with an even better model.
As always, thanks for reading, and we’ll see you at the top!
Michael McAllister – Founder of Empower Funnels