How To Convert More Leads Into Applications

From: Ameen Kamadia


I am witnessing an alarming trend.


More and more loan officers are relying on email as their primary and sometimes their only way to communicate with their prospects.


Don't get me wrong. Email is great. I love email. It's free, fast, and you don't have to play phone tag. With a client whose loan is already being processed, email and a few phone calls is enough.


But email is not enough when working with prospects. To me, a prospect is someone you know is interested in a mortgage but has not committed to working with you.


I was going over the follow up plans of one of my coaching clients this morning when I noticed that even though he had 6 steps in his follow up plan with hot prospects, 5 of the 6 were by email.


As loan officers, we use email and the Internet all day, every day. But not all of our prospects do. If you are only following up with clients via email, you are missing the boat. But at least you are following the trend. As more and more loan officers follow up only through email and phone, this gives the smart ones a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd.


If you want to stack the odds in your favor, I suggest you find ways to WOW your prospects. WOW them to a point that you are their only choice for a loan. Is it hard to do? No. But it takes creativity and a little work.


Email is the lazy loan officer way to follow up. The lazy loan officer thinks, "Hey, I'll just write the emails once, load them onto an autoresponder, and whenever I get a lead, I'll add them to the list. The autoresponder will send out the emails for me and I can sit back and relax."


That would be true is email alone was enough. But it is not.


Put yourself in your prospect's shoes. Say you are looking for a financial planner. You can find ads for investment advice and planning everywhere you turn. They offer free seminars and free consultations. They will advise you for free on how to structure your portfolio to see if you are diversified enough. They will send you free information until you beg them to stop. Sounds just like the mortgage biz doesn't it?


So let's say you visit a planner and like what he has to say but can't decide to pull the trigger. After all, you don't want to choose the wrong planner. You might get ripped off for several thousand dollars. So you tell him you will think it over.


As soon as you leave the planner adds your email address to his email list and you start getting emails once every 4-5 days. You read the first couple. They are well written and make good sense but without a compelling reason to hire him right now, you act like most normal people act and you put off making a decision.


The next weekend, your brother-in-law hears you are looking for a planner and says you've got to talk to his guy. "My guy's a financial wizard!" he tells you. And your brother-in-law even goes as far as to give your phone number to his guy, who calls you on Monday. You arrange to meet with him and he says pretty much the same thing the first planner told you. So you decide to go ahead with him. This guy comes recommended, he is about the same as the first guy, and how many more planners are you going to interview anyway?


When you get home you have another email in your inbox from the first planner. You skim it and hit delete. You hope the first planner never calls you because you will feel guilty telling him you went with someone else. And lucky for you, the first guy never calls. All you get are his emails, which after three weeks, don't even get opened anymore.


This same scenario plays out in the mortgage business everyday. Two or more loan officers fighting for the same loan and neither one stands out. Neither one offers a compelling reason to choose one over the other.


If you want to win more battles, if you want to stand out – don't settle for the lazy way. Incorporate other forms of follow up besides email. Here are some examples:

  • postcards
  • thank you notes
  • a singing telegram
  • a letter
  • a bobble head of yourself
  • a huge box delivered by UPS with nothing it but a fake check
  • a bouquet of flowers or balloons
  • the list is only limited by your imagination


The more unusual, the more you will be remembered and the more applications you will be processing.


Let's go back to our fantasy scenario. Rewind back to when you leave the office of the first planner. In addition to putting you on his email autoresponder, the planner takes five minutes to write you a thank you note and mails it so you get it the day after meeting with him.


Two days later you get a large envelope from him in the mail with a cd in it. As you drive to work the next day you listen to the cd which is of the planner interviewing several of his clients who are raving about how great he is and how wonderful it is to work with him.


Seven days after meeting with him, you get a FedEx envelope from the planner. You open it to find a letter with a $100 bill stapled to the top. The letter says that it has been a week since you met and that by not using him, you have cost yourself several hundred dollars. But being the nice guy that he is, and knowing how busy you are, he is offering you $100 as payment for another meeting. He then calls you later that night to schedule the meeting.


A couple days later your brother in law tells you about his guy and you go to meet with his guy on Monday. But you can't sign up because you like the first guy and you already accepted $100 to meet with him on Tuesday.


You do meet with him on Tuesday and he convinces you to work with him.


By taking extra steps and being proactive in his follow up, the first planner converted you from prospect into client. It cost him a little: $1 for the thank you note, $2 for the CD, and about $110 for the FedEx Letter, but when the commission is several hundred or thousands of  dollars, isn't it worth it?


Happy Originating! 







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