Generating leads is one thing. Following up on them is another. A broker might field what feels like a thousand calls a day, but unless she has a system in place to efficiently and effectively pursue them, those leads can quickly turn cold.
“People have the best of intentions to call you back, but they get distracted by life,” says Mortgage Alliance’s Sarah Strauss. “They mean to call you again for their mortgage renewal or refinance, but before they know it, they’ve met another mortgage broker who’s maybe better looking or seems to have a better personality and then they go with them.”
Strauss says one reason many of these potential clients are allowed to wander off is because brokers don’t feel comfortable initiating contact. That could be because of a fear of rejection; it could also stem from the mistaken notion that consumers will reach out for more information when they’ve decided what they need to know.
“Consumers don’t know what they want to ask for,” Strauss argues. “It’s our job, as seasoned mortgage professionals, to turn that table a little bit and give them more information based on what they asked for first.”
Strauss, who also coaches brokers, says taking a proactive approach to following up leads is as simple as it is effective. She likens her system to the one most people would be familiar with from booking dental appointments: a gentle text reminder, an email follow-up, maybe a call if the first two messages go unanswered. It’s an unobtrusive approach that most patients greatly appreciate. Why wouldn’t homebuyers?
In the two weeks after a lead comes in, Strauss will organize as many as six scheduled touchpoints, which can be automatically managed through a broker’s virtual calendar or chosen scheduling app. She typically uses a combination of calls, texts and emails, with her sixth and final touchpoint being a light-hearted reminder – “Without sounding like a stalker…” is a typical opening for Strauss – that she is still interested in working with them, despite their inability to connect. That last step has been hugely effective in drawing clients back into the conversation.
“If I haven’t heard back from them on the other five touch-points, I most often hear back from them on that last email,” she says.
But brokers, many of whom have been conditioned to think unscheduled calls, texts or emails are unwanted annoyances, may still be hesitant to reach out more than once to an unresponsive client. Strauss says this reluctance to take the initiative is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for brokers new to the business.
“You’re not bugging people by following up with them as a lead. You’re simply doing a service for them by reminding them you’re there,” she says. “Nobody is going to yell at you for following up with them, or call you a nasty name. The worst they’re going to do is say, ‘I’ve changed my mind and I no longer need your services.’”
Leads are the lifeblood of any mortgage business. Strauss believes the most successful brokers in the industry are likely to have in place systems that make sure that blood is properly circulating.
“Don’t count your income by the amount of funded deals you have,” she says. “Count your income by the amount of leads you have coming in, and make sure you have a proper system to follow up with them.”