It goes without saying that lead generation is a top priority for loan officers. And buying mortgage leads can be a powerful tool for building out a new business or growing an existing one. That said, buying mortgage leads is not a one size fits all solution and requires due diligence. Consider these five things before using your hard-earned money to buy mortgage leads:
1. Identify your target customer
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Before taking the plunge to buy mortgage leads, determine who your ideal customer is. Are you looking to cast a wide net or do you prefer a specific type of business? Do you want refinance, purchase business or both? Or do you prefer working with first-time homebuyers with FHA loans or prefer VA loans? Once you establish your target customer is, set specific goals for lead generation.
2. Real-Time or Aged Leads
For those new to the lead buying game, real-time leads may seem more desirable than aged leads because there exists an opportunity to capture consumers at the outset of their homebuying journey. However, there are two sides to every coin, and just as there are benefits to pursuing real-time leads, there are drawbacks. Real-time leads who are just dipping their toe into home financing are often bombarded by lenders hungry to capitalize on their business. Also, many consumers at this stage in the lending process aren’t ready to pull the trigger and will require you to cultivate a relationship over time.
The good news is that for a loan officer utilizing customer relationship management (CRM) software, both real-time and aged leads can be cultivated with a similar amount of effort. Since real-time leads are likely at the outset of the homebuying journey, they provide the opportunity to nurture the relationship and educate the borrower. With the right CRM, these leads are easily nurtured with automated ‘set it and forget it’ features.
Aged leads may be further along in the home buying process and can be an equally great opportunity, at a discounted price, allowing you to fill your CRM and potentially increase your closing rate. All in all, figure out which lead works better for your business and research accordingly.
3. Quality Over Quantity
Money can’t buy everything, and in this case, we’re talking quality leads. As you shop options to buy mortgage leads, be sure to investigate where the company sources its leads. Oftentimes companies recycle leads, meaning they resell the same lead multiple times. This is likely to leave you with a stale lead and a low closing ratio. It’s important to know how leads are sourced upfront before purchasing a company’s mortgage leads. Whichever company you decide to use, ensure the leads you receive are of quality, contain complete and accurate information, are generated by a real person shopping for a mortgage and are cross-checked against do-not-call registries.
4. Return Policy
Review a lead company’s return policy thoroughly. If you receive a lead with fake contact information, either make sure you can be refunded or make peace with losing that money. A lead that has bad contact information is bound to happen on occasion, just be sure you’re aware of the company’s policy for these cases. An easy way to find out this information is through lead site reviews and asking around.
5. Exclusive vs Nonexclusive Leads
Exclusive leads are leads that are sold to one or a few loan officers. These leads typically have the highest success rate because competition is smaller and the quality of borrower details enable better marketing, for example by providing insight into the lead’s desired timeframe for buying or refinancing a home and the type of financing they’re looking for. However, exclusive leads often come with a higher price tag compared to nonexclusive leads.
Nonexclusive leads are typically sold 3-5 times, so while you may save a couple of bucks, you’re competing with several other mortgage companies. However, most leads don’t get the proper attention after the first week, leaving plenty of opportunity for a persistent loan officer with a powerful CRM.
6. Lead Format
With any significant volume of leads, a CRM is extremely handy. Make sure your lead generation company is able to deliver leads in a format that’s compatible with your CRM. A lead is only valuable if you do something with it, and this is where your CRM can shine.
Now that you’re closer to a decision on buying mortgage leads, make a plan of action for your generated leads. This is where building your marketing funnel and leveraging the power of marketing automation are important, especially if you plan to bulk purchase leads. A CRM like Surefire can help lenders from lead generation to closing with its quick response times, round-robin lead assignments, scoring-based prioritization and educational and nudge campaigns.
See how you can generate leads automatically using Surefire’s built-in tools by scheduling a demo today.