Becoming a top producing mortgage professional in today’s saturated market is a feat that requires strategic planning, dedication, determination and work ethic. In my many years in the mortgage business, I have talked with countless loan officers who feel they have plateaued, unsure of what they need to do to take their business to the next level.
One major area of concern for today’s originators is conversion. They may work tirelessly to obtain qualified leads, but what are the best practices to convert these leads into the new customers that will grow their production?
Creating a strong conversion strategy is an area of development that is commonly overlooked.
By learning how to improve in this one area, loan officers can reduce the time they spend pursuing new leads and focus instead on capturing more business from the leads they have currently.
What you will read here are some of the best strategies for converting leads that are used by the most elite top producers across our industry. As I have worked with loan officers throughout the nation, I have seen these practices put into action and the incredible difference they can make on production.
By implementing these conversion strategies, loan officers at any level can increase their production by learning to maximize every lead they receive.
One critical action to immediately increase lead conversion is executing an optimal response strategy. There are three components that comprise this strategy:
• Number of attempted contacts
• Time of day
Most mortgage professionals know that the client feels a sense of loyalty to the first person they speak with. When they establish themselves as the first contact, loan officers gain a critical sales advantage. In fact, speed-to-call is the single largest driver of conversion for new customer leads.
Studies show that returning a call from a new customer within the first 30 minutes produces an average of a 62% increase in conversion rates. If called within one hour, this percentage drops to a 36% increase. If called within the first 24 hours, the increase drops to 17%.
This means 88% of lead conversion happens when contact is made within the first 24 hours. Every loan officer should share this one ambition: return every single customer phone call as quickly as possible!
Number of Attempted Calls
Mortgage professionals are often guilty of underestimating the power of persistence whenever calling prospects. An analysis of over 15 million sales leads by Velocify reveals that whenever salespeople make two calls instead of one, their chances of contacting a lead increase by more than 87%.
By attempting to contact a lead six times, they improve their probability of conversion by more than 500%! Most of the time when prospects say “no,” what they are really saying is “not yet.” By continuing to make contact, loan officers will find that a “no” can turn into a “yes.”
Properly timing the contact of leads greatly impacts the success of conversion. Try this strategy: contact them three times on day one, once on day three, again on day four, and the final time on the 11th or 12th day.
Both my personal experience and the experiences of countless other top producers have proven that conversion percentages see a serious increase when loan officers contact new leads immediately and again in two subsequent time windows during the first day until contact has been made.
Time of Day
Many salespeople are under the assumption that prospects do not want to be contacted after normal business hours. Actually, research shows that when leads were received and responded to outside of traditional work hours, prospects were 11% more likely to be converted.
More specifically, prospects who received a response between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. are 42 to 92% more likely to convert. Even if the typical workday is over, responding on the day of lead capture is still a much more effective strategy than waiting until the next business day.
Another assumption many salespeople make is that they should never contact a prospect over the weekend. In reality, for loan officers who want to make first contact, immediately calling a lead they receive on a Saturday or Sunday is a key strategy for conversion.
Studies show that weekend mortgage leads are 20% more likely to close than those who are contacted throughout the week. For one, these leads are likely more serious about wanting to do business. Also, the number of loan officers who are actively connecting with customers is severely reduced on Saturday and Sunday, meaning the competition to make first contact is significantly lower.
In fact, more than 60% of mortgage companies do not have a strategy in place for following up with the leads they receive during the weekend. As a result, it takes them 71% longer to reach out to these customers.
By picking up the phone on the weekend, loan officers can gain a serious head start over their competitors. With most sales teams waiting until Monday morning, the originator who calls a lead on Saturday has a huge advantage.
The numbers do not lie. Executing an optimal response strategy is crucial for originators who want to maximize their lead conversion.
Whenever loan officers begin making their conversion strategy a priority, they no longer have to spend all their time fishing for leads and can instead cultivate the leads they have into sustainable business. This does not mean they have to immediately hold a full a conversation with a customer or complete a loan application. Simply talking to a prospect for a few minutes in order to schedule a follow-up call to have a more in-depth conversation at a later time can make all the difference.
By implementing these best practices and prioritizing the contact of new leads within the same day they are received, mortgage professionals are sure to see a serious increase in conversions and loyal customers.