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Community Lenders See Clients Return Again (and Again and Again) with Top of Mind

Dec 23, 2020

Based in north Georgia, Buford Finance and Mortgage is a small, community-focused lender and provider of consumer financial services. Owners Toni Flory and Jack Williams founded the business in 2000 out of a desire to provide their local community a comfortable place to apply for a home loan.

“The entire process of applying for a mortgage or personal loan can be stressful and uncertain — even with the best of credit,” said Flory. “We wanted to create an atmosphere of warmth and trust while being straightforward and direct.”

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Since Flory and Williams are the firm’s sole originators, they knew early on they would need all the help they could get marketing to new customers, communicating with in-process applicants and maintaining customer relationships for repeat and referral business. So when Flory and Williams met Top of Mind founder Mark Green at a trade show in 2004, they were intrigued by his young company.

Back then, Top of Mind had not yet launched Surefire CRM, which would grow to become the mortgage industry’s number-one customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation platform. But the company was already making a name for itself as a bootstrapped provider of post-close, follow-up solutions.

Once Flory and Williams signed on, Top of Mind quickly set up automated follow-up marketing communication for each Buford Finance and Mortgage customer, starting with a personalized closing gift delivered directly to the borrower’s new home and culminating with 60 months of high-impact emails and postcards. In the early days, the closing gifts — personalized address stampers — were handmade by employees, including Top of Mind co-founder David Orsini’s mom.

This service lives on today as Surefire’s popular Client for Life Workflow, which now includes personalized voice recordings powered by Surefire Power Calls and dynamic text messages leveraging Surefire Power Messaging. In all, the Client for Life Workflow provides more than 100 distinct opportunities to stay connected with borrowers over a five-year period.

Surefire data shows that Top of Mind has helped Flory and Williams pull in nearly $43 million in additional volume from repeat business. More than 190 people have returned to do a second loan with either Flory or Williams, and some customers have done as many as four loans with the duo in the last 16 years.

Buford Finance and Mortgage recently celebrated its 16th anniversary of working with Top of Mind — and over the course of those 16 years, they’ve reinvested into every loan they’ve closed with the Client for Life Workflow.

“We constantly hear from our clients that they love the address stamper,” says Williams. “People love the postcards, too. Who doesn’t like getting mail that’s not junk? We get thank-you notes from clients who appreciate being thought about.“

“Absolutely it’s a key component to getting that total lifetime value from customers. The email blasts and other touches help us stay top of mind. It brings great value to our business, and it’s such a small investment. The fees are so reasonable, it’s a no-brainer,” agreed Flory. “We love your service.”

In celebration of Top of Mind’s 16-year anniversary with Buford Finance and Mortgage, we’re inviting clients to check out the new Surefire Spark Referral Program. Surefire users who refer a colleague can earn $50 off the cost of an annual subscription for each successful referral. Your colleague will also get $50 off their Surefire subscription along with a free Client for Life workflow on their first closed loan (another $50 value).

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