Having started in the industry as a Loan Officer then AE, I know full well that trudging through difficult mortgage markets like today is daunting. And, over the last year it has been difficult to see Loan Officers become increasingly paralyzed in their fight to effectively drive sales in today’s mortgage market.
Increasing sales today requires a multi-faceted process that requires careful planning, discipline, and execution. Here are some strategies you can consider for boosting your teams’ sales.
Understand your target market: Gain a deep understanding of your customers’ needs, preferences, and pain points. You may have to dig deep to really find those specialized or niche opportunities or undeserved markets (VA, FHA, Construction). Tailor your products to meet the needs of a market that has a careful balance of need and opportunity.
Improve your product or service: Continuously work on enhancing the quality, features, or benefits of what you offer. You cannot afford to be one dimensional (just offering mortgages). Find that thing that elevates your service standards or adds another dimension to your product. This can involve conducting market research, obtaining customer feedback, and implementing improvements based on their suggestions.
Develop a strong value proposition: Clearly communicate the unique value your product or service brings to customers compared to your competitors. Highlight the benefits, advantages, or solutions you are offering to your target markets, to attract potential buyers.
Optimize pricing strategies: Analyze your pricing strategy to ensure it aligns with the value you provide and meets customers’ expectations. Consider pricing restructurings or operational restructurings to help lower your overall operating costs that help you offer a better rate, are you able to bundle other benefits so it is not just a mortgage they are getting from you?
Expand your marketing efforts: Get creative and implement a comprehensive marketing plan to increase your brand visibility and reach a wider audience. Remember that a brand is not just a logo, it represents all of what a firm can expect when they engage with your business (service, support, education, professionals, etc.). Is obvious to be sure your team is utilizing various channels such as social media, content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, and paid advertising to generate leads and drive sales. Hire subject matter experts in video strategies, etc. Lot of areas here to be creative to drive the sales funnel.
Enhance customer experience: Provide exceptional customer service before, during, and after the purchase or refi transaction. At BlackFin, we subscribe to a set of Gold Standards that align with the Ritz Carlton Gold Standards. This includes prompt responses to inquiries, personalized interactions, a customized Client support methodology. Provided that 85% of our current customers are former customers, we can say that satisfied customers are more likely to become repeat customers and refer others to your business.
Establish strategic partnerships: Here again, get creative. As we have helped lenders with setting up new Joint Ventures, they have been surprised to see how much business is out there. Again, collaborate with complementary businesses or influencers in your industry to reach new customers and expand your market reach.
Offer incentives and rewards: Implement loyalty programs, referral programs, or exclusive discounts for existing customers or referrals. Does not always have to be about cash or gift cards, could be an experience as people look to get outdoors this summer. This encourages repeat purchases and turns satisfied customers into brand advocates who can help attract new customers.
Streamline the sales process: Ensure the buying process is easy, intuitive, and efficient. A common issue we see in sales organizations is the pain that has evolved in ‘how they’ve always done it.’ Optimize your website or physical store layout, simplify your sales processes, and provide multiple strategies that will reduce friction and increase conversions.
Track and analyze data: Utilize analytics tools to track your sales performance, identify trends, and gain insights into customer behavior. While this feels like an easy decision, all too often we find lenders are again paralyzed with what to do, or how to effectively look at their data and strategize accordingly. This information can help you make data-driven decisions and refine your sales strategies accordingly.
While in large part the mortgage industry has a repeatable framework for originating and closing a mortgage loan, there are numerous ways to find a creative market advantage today. Remember, it is also ok to experiment with a couple of strategies and adjust as you learn more on the way to finding the strategies that work best for you and your team. Stay adaptable, monitor your results, and be willing to adapt your approach based on feedback and market conditions.
Keith Kemph is President and CEO of BlackFin Group, a management consulting firm serving the Banking and Mortgage Industries. He leads a growing team of industry consultants and can be reached at [email protected].