Lead qualification is part and parcel of any loan officer’s day. Anyone that will become a serious prospect worthy of valuable time spent needs to be vetted. Categorizing leads relative to the seriousness of intent, purpose, loan type, time frame, source and basic qualification is important and should be completed as part of a first conversation or interaction.
Getting to the Point with New Mortgage Leads
You don’t want to waste time with lead qualification, and that goes for you and your prospects. To get to the heart of things as efficiently and professionally as possible, here are 5 of the top questions to ask:
1. How did you hear about me?
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This may be obvious based on the channel through which this lead arrived. If your newest mortgage lead came via a form response on a particular landing page, dedicated ad response system or social media channel, you may already know and can move on to the other info needed. If not, it is valuable to know if this new inquiry is from a referral partner, prior client, friend, family member, etc.
Knowing the source of the lead generation not only helps you thank the right person responsible for sending the lead but also makes initiating a good conversation all the easier if you already know you have a mutual friend or business associate. As well, good mortgage loan officers will track where their best leads are coming from in order to assure they’re giving proper attention to that channel. You always want to expand your best sources, and when necessary, trim any that use time yet aren’t producing benefits.
2. What are your goals?
There’s no better way to find out what a new mortgage lead respondent is interested in and perhaps even more than asking about their intent in this fashion. Not only will you discover if they’re looking to refinance or purchase, but with an open-ended question like this, you’ll also give them the chance to expound on that.
For instance, some people might say something more inclusive like, “I want to get the best rate and lowest costs for a 30-year fixed-rate loan for my new home purchase.” That gives you more info than just, “What’s your best rate?” Knowing as much as possible about what’s important to your new mortgage lead prospect will help you determine how to cater to them and provide assurance that you’re capable and proficient in assisting them with reaching those goals. Lead qualification is a discovery process and the more you learn the better and the more your mortgage pipeline will benefit.
3. What is your time frame?
Whether it’s a purchase, a refi or a pre-approval inquiry, every new mortgage lead respondent will likely have some expected time frame for their transaction and/or your performance. A pre-qual lead may want an answer immediately. Rate shoppers may be non-specific, but that’s okay, as it can let you know right away if you might be wasting your time with them. Purchase leads may have just had an offer accepted and will be ready to go ASAP.
The bottom line is that knowing what they want is tantamount to your being able to set, manage and hopefully exceed their expectations. Just as well, discovering this time frame during lead qualification helps you to properly assign the right workflow for automated follow-up. A steady stream of properly triggered workflows can provide a steady stream of applicants into your mortgage pipeline.
4. Are you familiar with the process of mortgage qualification?
During lead qualification, we’re really asking two questions here. The first is as it sounds, yet the answer to it can also reveal far more. If they say yes but are a first-time homebuyer, it tells you that they’ve either spent some time digesting all of your online educational content (you do have that, right?) or that they’ve also already spoken with your competition.
It’s a subtle but effective way of knowing if you’re being shopped. No harm, no foul, if so. Lots of prospects do this, of course. But again, it’s helpful to categorize this lead as a warm referral that’s sincere and ready to work with you or as someone for whom you have work to do yourself before a deal is going to happen.
5. Do you qualify?
You’re not going to ask it that way of course. Question 5 is really a series of questions you must ask to initiate and complete the actual lead qualification and financial qualification process. If your new mortgage lead candidate has not yet been through the process, this will be very revealing to them. It’s also a chance for you to show your stuff. Explaining the “why” behind some of the questions can help loosen people up when it comes to talking about personal financial details, especially with a relative stranger.
Nonetheless, you’re investing your time here, too, and you need to be sure this person is worth that investment. You can’t give them a loan and they won’t be able to achieve their goals unless they can actually get the intended loan. By being thorough and letting your mortgage lead respondents know what to expect now, you can save them from heartache later. You want well-qualified applicants in your mortgage pipeline, not borrowers that won’t end up approved for what they want or need. That helps no one.
Beyond these questions, and ultimately as you categorize your leads, it pays to have a mortgage CRM like Surefire from Top of Mind Networks to instantly start your new prospects on workflows that will either get them right into the application process or continue a process of education and nurture until they do reach the point of readiness.
After distributing your educational content and workflows, your prospects will never be more than one click away from getting directly back to you. Why not schedule a Surefire demo to see how easy it can be to have this system working for you today?
Brian’s entire professional career has centered on real estate. He’s designed, built and brokered homes. He’s provided over half a billion dollars in mortgage loan financing to everyone from first time-buyers to the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies He’s a published author with articles in periodicals, hedge fund websites and trade publications.
Brian has traveled the country and been on broadcast radio to speak in front of hundreds of his industry contemporaries. He’s also created and developed hundreds of educational products from print to digital used throughout the U.S. and beyond, which make the process of buying and financing a home easier for all. Brian is a father, real estate investor, outdoorsman, pilot, skier, golfer and plays ice hockey in several men’s leagues every week of the year.