In this article, we asked 5 of the top experts in the real estate and mortgage industry the following three questions and this article is the result!
1. What strategies or tactics have you seen implemented that significantly improved mortgage businesses?
2. What are the most common mistakes you see mortgage companies make?
3. What advice would you give mortgage businesses in today's market?
Katherine has over 20 years of marketing, digital promotion, and technology experience on a national and global scale.
Chief Marketing Officer for AnnieMac.
The most important consideration today in mortgage technology is to understand that there are two journeys we are creating for companies. One is the journey of the consumer and the other is for the loan officer. They use the same tools for very different reasons. Additionally, the executive team needs the BI out of these tools to consider not only the ROI from them, but where in the process a borrower may drop out of the funnel. The strategy I implement is an end-to-end fully integrated solution with SSO (single sign ons) for both journeys. A borrower may end up touching 11 technologies from web analytics to ratings and reviews, but it should feel like one seamless, simple solution.
The most common mistake mortgage companies make is allowing departments to review and select their own technology. Most department managers do not have the experience to understand the scope of integrating technology nor the consequences of not. Additionally, to please people, management has often allowed multiple products with redundant capabilities. This creates segregated data, a break in the workflow, and multiple logins. Tools like Shape, the all-in-one business management solution, are new contenders in our industry and help tremendously with aggregating content, workflow, data, and above all – expense! All company technology should go through a vetting process with a CDO or CTO.
Don’t ignore the inevitable in this tough market. We are all digital clients in every other industry. We do not drive around looking for a travel agent office to buy plane tickets with our checkbook. Many companies are stepping up, even in the midst of this economy. They are re-building or ramping up their digital solution with tools like Shape and a bot like Botsplash which has a Chat GPT experience already built-in. If you stay stagnant, or if you let your contracts expire, you will not be behind the times when the market picks up again – you will be left in the dust.
Eliot is Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer of Nobel Partners. He has invested and managed over $10 billion of assets over his 20-year career.
Managing Director, Nobel Partners
Here are my top three:
1) Set up your triggers and automation - Businesses that take the time to set up their software with the right automation will always outperform businesses that spend more time trying to “outwork” their competitors. Set up your text, email, and call cadences within your CRM to make your life easier.
2) Focus on referrals - Referrals will always be your best bet for high quality business. Referral tracking, co-marketing, and referral updates are vital to pull through as much referral business as possible.
3) Use a Borrower Portal or POS - Mortgage businesses that use a digital 1003 or client portal are able to convert more loans and shorten their closing cycle. Using software to handle the tedious task of gathering information and documents lets mortgage businesses focus on what they should be doing – talking to more potential borrowers.
I’ve seen mortgage businesses spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on bringing leads in, they close what they can and the rest basically goes in the trash. After referrals, remarketing is always going to have the highest ROI of any of your marketing efforts and using text and e-mail automation to remarket them is the most efficient way to scale any real estate or mortgage operation.
Focus on conversions not volume. In today’s market, mortgage volume, purchase and refi business has all been turned on its head. Instead of looking outside for more leads, focus internally to convert better. Using tools like Shape’s Lead Engine allow you to close more loans and increase your revenue with the same (and sometimes even less) lead volume.
Mike is a Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB) with the Mortgage Banker's Association with 20 years of mortgage industry experience and is the former CMO of Mr. Cooper, the country's largest non-bank servicer.
Former CMO of Mr. Cooper
Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of getting a behind-the-scenes look at many lenders’ marketing teams, and what I’ve noticed separates the really successful ones from the rest of the pack is clean reporting. Knowing which marketing campaigns are delivering a positive ROI and which are not is critical to success. Especially in a volatile rate environment, being able to identify which campaigns to scale and which to scale back can make the difference in being profitable and growing your business or being stuck in a rut (or worse!). My advice is to take the time to get reporting right and understand which campaigns and customer segments are best for your business.
Through Verse, David’s mission is to help companies thrive by connecting with prospects and customers through AI-powered texting.
Co-CEO of Verse.io
A campaign can live or die solely based on script design and optimization. It’s one of the most important and overlooked aspects of lead conversion. Not only do we A/B test for phrasing and messaging, but for types of questions, response rates, opt-out rates, qualification rates, and many other variables.
The difference between a poorly designed campaign and one that has been professionally designed and optimized can sometimes double conversions. It’s that important.
Another huge factor in increasing conversions, and it’s not sexy, is due to building out our carrier relations team. Deliverability and compliance are non-negotiables when trying to scale two-way SMS campaigns and direct contact with the carriers to ensure messages are getting through is crucial.
A lot of mortgage companies are falling behind in adopting marketing and sales automation. While other industries have embraced automation in lead generation, CRMs, and marketing, there are still a lot of mortgage companies doing things manually or in outdated ways.
New leads are being routed to humans who do manual outreach or the engagement automation is one-way and basic. The technology for sophisticated consumer engagement is out there, but the mortgage industry has only recently begun leveraging it.
Be patient and stick to your plan even if you have to slow down and cut costs. If you have created something of value, the headwinds will become tailwinds.
Also, respect and promote consumer choice in your marketing funnel. People who inquire about getting financing may just need advice and may not be ready to enter the market. Be grateful they inquired with you, be kind and curious about their goals, and create a path via automation and personal outreach to help them make an educated decision when the time comes. You’re planting seeds, so make sure you nurture them in a way that will help you both grow.
Luke is the co-founder and CEO of Clever Real Estate, the nation's leading real estate education platform for home buyers, sellers, and investors.
Co-founder and CEO, Clever Real Estate
The crux of what we do at Clever is give Lenders the tools, technology and relationships they need to win in a purchase market: to retain their buyers, increase their profits, and achieve their goals.
The starting point for that is our Agent Matching Platform, or "AMP": we give Lenders a platform through which they can match their buyers up with vetted Lender-Certified Realtors anywhere in the country.
We put these realtors through a certification program before they can receive any clients from our partners, and then we hold them accountable to documented standards and performance scorecards to stay in the program. They're expected to provide regular updates and deliver exceptional service to both the client and the loan officer.
When you give Loan Officers the ability to tap into a vetted, reliable and personalized realtor match for every buyer — in any local market where they have a client! — it gives Loan Officers radically greater flexibility to build relationships and grow their pipeline.
With that foundation in place, we add unique analytics and marketing capabilities to help lenders capitalize on the ability to monitor and manage the entire buyer journey through our realtor network.
There are two main mistakes we see lenders making — or to look at it from the flipside, there are two things that we see lenders do right that help them succeed even in this tough environment.
First, successful lenders own a niche.
The most common mistake we see is trying to be all things to all people. Buying any lead you can. Marketing through every channel you can. Chasing after every realtor you can.
The most successful lenders we work with pick a niche to focus on. Maybe it's the lower-priced USDA loans that other people overlook. Maybe it's finding investors who can help them offer a unique product alongside their FHA loans, that is a perfect solution for a specific set of consumers they want to serve.
Second, successful lenders focus on relationships before transactions.
The second common mistake we see is taking a short-term, transactional mindset to managing the business. This was especially easy to do in the heady refinance boom of the last two years — but the party has a rough hangover for those who didn't manage their business with a long-term view.
The most successful lenders we work with focus on getting their Loan Officers the tools and solutions to nurture and retain their relationships — not just focusing on getting more leads in the door, or recruiting more loan officers. Companies that provide their originators with solutions that help them convert better and build better relationships have an enduring competitive advantage in any market conditions.
There is not a choice between technology and relationships. You need to excel at both. Many companies tried to automate human connection out of the real estate process — and it failed.
But many others are relying on the old ways of building relationships that worked 15 years ago, before buyers learned that they can research mortgage rates online, or came to expect instant responses to text and phone calls around the clock.
Lenders need great technology infrastructure to deliver great relationships in a digital era, when so much of our communication and collaboration has gone remote. Clever offers one part of that: a platform from which to manage realtor relationships and control the home buyer journey. But we're just one piece of the puzzle. Lenders also need CRM tools that help them capture data from their sales process, and roll out new processes and best practices effectively across an entire team.
The lenders who succeed are not afraid of driving process change within their team. Loan Officers often resist new technology, new tools, new processes. That's natural. But lenders who create the buy-in within their teams to overcome that resistance will adopt technology and improve faster — and come out on top of the pack. Relationships matter inside your company, as well as out in the market.