Regardless of your experience working with mortgage lead referrals, nothing can prepare you for the beast that is internet mortgage leads. Simply put, these leads require a different kind of TLC. Attempting to work internet mortgage leads the same way you approach your referrals will result in wasted time and money.
For this very reason, we’ve decided to share our strategy that will help you make the most of internet mortgage leads.
Follow Up Frequently & Within a Concentrated Timeframe
First and foremost, we need to understand that internet leads are real people, with real schedules, real distractions, and real problems. Having this level of awareness is critical to converting leads effectively.
These leads don’t know you, have no reason to trust you, and live in an age of unlimited distractions.
Thus, being TIMELY and CONVENIENT with your follow-up is the only way to attract their attention and earn their commitment.
With our system here at Empower Funnels, we automate the initial contact with the lead. However, in this case, we are talking about the communication AFTER YOU GET A RESPONSE to the initial contact.
The leads that respond are going to state that they’re interested, that they have questions, or that want to know what they can get approved for.
When you respond to these leads, they seemingly fall off the face of the earth. Unfortunately, the fact is it happens. Knowing this, there is no need to take it personally, and you must continue your follow-up efforts.
Look at it this way…
I’m sure you have family or friends that have texted you a few times without getting a response, right? Or maybe you’ve been on the other end.
If we’re willing to put off responding to someone we know until it’s convenient, what makes you think our leads won’t do the same to us?
In response, we’ve developed follow-up strategies to keep leads from ghosting you in the first place.
For example, we create urgency by following up frequently. We tell our clients to call and text a prospect that ghosts them 6-7 times inside of a two-week period before writing them off. Doing so contributes to the nagging sense of urgency in their head.
When calling 6-7 times inside of two weeks, we want to call on different days of the week, at different times of the day. This gives us the best shot to reach a lead at a time they are available. In other words, we are attempting to contact them at a time that is convenient for them to respond.
Attempting to follow up with these prospects sporadically and at our convenience will only lead to wasted time and money.
Again, we want to be timely and convenient with our follow-up efforts. We want our communication to be frequent and within a concentrated timeframe.
Downplay Commitments & Offer Alternatives to Keep it Moving
When it comes to internet mortgage leads, our primary goal is to collect an application as soon as possible. Receiving an application from a prospect signifies their commitment to us through this process.
Thus, it is absolutely crucial for us to position ourselves as a resource and provide the prospect with everything they are seeking.
However, prospects look at this in a different light.
Most leads think that buying a house is like buying a car. They think they should withhold their information until they feel like they’re ready to go. Then once they are comfortable, they submit an application.
Certainly, we know the opposite to be true, but how do we work around this?
Our strategy is centered around downplaying the commitment and keeping them moving towards an application.
1. Downplaying the commitment:
First, don’t call the application an “application”.
In a prospect’s mind, the word “application” triggers a sense of commitment. Avoiding this is simple by developing a more creative name for an application. For instance, you could use something like “Prequalification Questionnaire”.
An alternative technique is having them jump on a “10-15 minute phone call” where we casually collect the details of the application during the conversation.
Once we have the information we need, we can prod for their DOB and SSN, using the promise of a potential qualification range and a solidified approval as leverage.
Ultimately, we want to make the process seem casual and non-committal, in order to avoid scaring them away before getting the opportunity to help them.
Once qualified, we find these prospects suddenly become a lot more committal moving forward.
2. Offering alternatives to keep it moving:
Most loan officers prefer a 10-15 minute phone conversation over texting back and forth when trying to get a lead to move forward.
When prospects’ initial engagement is made via text, we suggest following up with something like, “There are a few factors that play into an estimate. Do you mind if I ask a few questions via text? If everything looks good we can get a quick 10-15 minute call down on ________’s calendar to see what options might be available.”
We’ve had some of our lead gen clients think the leads text us strictly out of convenience, not necessarily out of preference, and try everything they can to get the prospect to agree to schedule a phone call, but to no avail. What we see in the leads that our clients are generating is that anymore, the majority of online mortgage shoppers prefer text messaging.
We know that limiting communication strictly to text messaging can make it difficult to build a relationship or establish enough rapport with your lead to get them to take the next step after inquiring (usually a loan application). But it is a great way to get them used to answering questions and making a commitment for a phone call.
Offering alternatives such as this provides convenience for the prospect.
Give Just Enough to Win Their Commitment
Keep in mind, people do not go online to talk to a loan officer, they go online to get questions answered.
The objective is to answer their questions while stressing the importance of reviewing the full prequalification questionnaire. We educate the prospect on our limited ability to answer those questions without it.
Be willing to discuss their situation and provide estimates. However, don’t tip your hand by providing precise amounts or exact answers on whether or not they’re approvable without reviewing a full application.
For example, a prospect responds saying, “I’d like to know what I can get approved for, without impacting my credit score.”
There are a few different ways we can respond to this.
- We could try and sell them on the value of pulling their credit right away. In which case we’re not downplaying the commitment level, and we’re likely to get ghosted.
- We could offer them information based on their monthly income and liabilities, as well as the preferred loan program based on a down payment, credit score and etc.
- Or, we could take a hybrid approach. This involves giving them a large range based on the information they submitted initially. Meanwhile, we will ask them if they would like to hop on a call and answer a few questions that would help us get more specific.
The third option allows us to get into basic income/liability calculations. At this point, the most we give them is a $50k-$100k range.
Let’s face it, the DTI possibilities based on loan programs, as assessed by the different AUS’s, vary enough that you shouldn’t be offering more than this ANYWAYS.
With realtor referrals, it’s not uncommon for LOs to provide estimates without reviewing enough information.
However, internet leads are different…
With internet leads, you don’t want to provide precise information for 2 reasons.
- They’re more likely to lie or not tell the whole story.
- An estimate is all they think they need right now. Once you provide an estimate close enough to what they are looking for, they have no use for you.
In summary, our goal is to follow up frequently within a concentrated timeframe. This ensures we are timely and convenient for our prospects. Then, we need to downplay commitments while offering alternatives to keep the process moving forward. This breaks us through the trust barrier. Finally, we give just enough to win their commitment. Use their curiosity as leverage for their commitment.
If working internet leads is new to you, or you haven’t done it in the past couple of years, you’re likely to get frustrated by the amount there is to know.
However, with this strategy at your disposal, your internet mortgage leads are sure to convert.
As always, thanks for reading, and we’ll see you at the top!
The Empower Family
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