Yes, being the go-to local lending expert is something to strive for in this industry. Many LOs have made very healthy livings with this strategy.
We’re not suggesting you abandon your immediate market. However, in a time when technology has made it just as easy to connect with someone across the country as across the street, putting “money in one stock” doesn’t have to be the default.
It’s crucial you start thinking outside the box. Let’s talk about opening distant markets with exclusive mortgage lead generation.
Why Look to Distant Markets for Mortgage Leads?
Stability and growth! It’s really that simple.
You don’t want your lifeblood hinging on one market staying viable month after month, year after year. While having a “home” market is great, you can maintain better numbers by dipping into more than one market. This strategy allows you to insulate yourself against hyperlocal lows while benefiting from “distant market” highs.
Nothing illustrates the benefit of spreading to distant markets like the story of our fastest growing client, Fairway Independent Branch Manager, Roy Burr. Truly having a growth mindset, Roy looked at what he thought would be interesting markets outside of Arizona. He slowly picked up markets in Colorado, Oregon, Wisconsin, Texas, New Mexico, and most recently Alaska.
We asked Roy why he chose to move outside his home market? And Alaska?
He shared that he was left scrambling after inventory became short in his bread-and-butter markets of Phoenix and Scottsdale. Each time he picked up a new market, it was like his business flood gates opened. He was able to not only keep his LOs busy, but he needed to add additional LOs and personnel to keep the business run smoothly.
Why Alaska? After some research, Roy noticed that the Alaska market was underserved by LOs and locked it down. He immediately found clients in a market that was heavy with inventory. An added benefit was the lead cost there was much lower than in his market.
His method can teach all LOs something important.
Roy shared the benefits of his strategy with us:
- Insulation against sudden drops in your local market.
- Buffering your mortgage business against seasonality.
- There is more inventory in many parts of the country.
- Opportunities to collaborate with new agents.
- Lead costs may be a lot less in other markets.
- Ability to work with “higher” or “lower” buyer qualifications.
- It’s the fastest way to scale your mortgage business.
Is the plan perfect? It’s close.
Roy did share some obstacles. The biggest one is simply not being local.
It can require some work to wiggle your way into an unfamiliar market. It’s essential to spend time building strong bonds with local agents to make sure they don’t bring the leads you provide for them back to their favorite local lenders.
The good news is that you can overcome all of the obstacles of expanding lead generation to a distant market if you’re smart about it.
How Do You Overcome Problems and Thrive in a Distant Market?
Conquering new terrain is never easy. Keep in mind that you don’t have to become the top LO in your new market. You just have to capture enough leads to create healthy supplementation for your main market.
Close the Distance Gap by Building Connections Right Away
Your biggest tool is communication:
- You need to focus on being the best communicator with both agents and clients. Be so friendly, available and responsive that they forget you’re not actually sitting in an office a few streets over.
- It’s important to get a mobile number with a local area code for the city/state you’re trying to break into. This will erase that sense that clients are working with someone from out of town.
- Make sure they see your face! Use Zoom, video chats and a great CRM to your advantage to always be “present.” However, don’t let technology be a replacement for actually becoming a presence in the market.
- Yes, you will need to fly out there to meet with people you want to establish relationships with early on in the process. It’s worth making the trip to connect on a few business lunches with local agents. If your lead system grabs big-ticket clients, flying out to sit across the table from them in person is a strong closing move!
Generate Exclusive Mortgage Leads
Having a lead gen system in place should actually be your first order of business. This is how you’ll get those big-ticket leads that are actually worth flying out for in your second market.
Do not try to enter a distant market cold without an exclusive lead-gen system. Having a never ending source of leads is your ticket to a new market:
- First, it’s how you’ll steadily book appointments with leads who actually show up ready to choose you.
- Second, this is how you will woo agents. Agents won’t care if you’re calling in from Jupiter as long as the referrals you give them are quality referrals. They’ll happily choose you over the local go-to LO if you bring the goods. Remember to get at least a 1 to 1 return ratio for the leads you hand out to agents.
Don’t Let the New Market Steal All Your Time
The point of expanding to a distant market is to bring more stability to your loan business. You don’t want to end up redirecting all of your energy to trying to “start from scratch” someplace new. You’re only going to be able to pull this off if you’re smart enough to outsource the parts of your job that are time thieves.
This means the “paper pushing” that goes along with appointment-setting. Give it to technology to handle. In addition to saving you time, appointment-setting services like Empower ISA will simply do it better than you can.
The LOs that fail when trying to open in new markets take on the burden of working two jobs when they could just use automated services to break into a new market without increasing the number of hours worked per week outside of direct client and agent interactions.
Be Smart About Online Marketing
You have to establish your business presence online in a way that makes you locally searchable. Using a tool like Google My Business to manage your business profile is the easiest way to sculpt your online brand across the Google ecosystem for free.
As you close with clients in your new market, ask them for referrals and reviews. A few referrals can be enough to jump-start your new market. Regular Google reviews from happy home owners will quickly get you ranked in that area.
Find a Niche You Can Dominate
Know where you’re going when you head to your new market.
Is this a spot that draws in lots of transplants because of a specific industry? Be the LO that can offer advice on financing relocations.
Is the area known for its charming and historic houses? Get those blogs on how to finance restoration projects rolling!
The only way to beat the established competition in your new market is to avoid competing at all. Offer what they don’t to get the client’s they can’t. This means sculpting your SEO plan around anticipating the questions that people moving to an area for specific reasons might have.
The Even Better News
Moving into other markets not only protected Roy’s business from low inventory, it also buffered them against seasonality, due to the variety of geographic location (is it ever not winter in Alaska? snow won’t slow them down). Roy Burr’s mortgage business started as a 3 man operation and transformed into a company that needs 18 employees to keep up with all the volume they handle each month.
Have You Picked Your New Market Yet?
Don’t get trapped by the limitations of your own market. While trying to conquer two markets may have been impossible just a few years ago, automated lead generation makes it possible to be in “two places at once” as far as providing communication, connection and service.
Lead-generation marketing can do the digging for you based on geographic location even if you’re physically thousands of miles away. If you’re looking for technology that offers everything you need to convert exclusive mortgage leads anywhere, Empower LO has you covered. In fact, we are excited to announce that DesignRush has named us one of the top 20 lead generation companies for 2022.
An ISA service can then fill your calendar with one-on-one bookings. Our Empower ISA service converts your leads into a schedule full of qualified appointments. All you have to do is sell them on the application process. How does that sound for breaking into a new market without taking on a second full-time workload? Schedule your Empower ISA demo today!
See you at the top!
The Empower Family