Mortgage Professionals Should be Optimistic About the Future

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18 | Th e M Rep o RT Feature Massachusetts Institute of Technology, online marketers who respond to prospects within five minutes have a 79-percent lead con- version ratio. In contrast, for those responding in 30 minutes, that conversion time drops to 34 per- cent. MIT data also shows that if a consumer chooses to pick up the phone these days, which they are doing less and less, and don't reach a real person, they'll hang up and presumably try somewhere else. Embrace your smartphone. It's a powerful tool, know how to use it. If your prospects are on their smartphones, your loan officers need to be as well. Young buyers don't talk on the phone; they read texts. Loan originators need to become savvy about texting, chatting, video conferencing, etc. Emailing is no longer a preference. Texting is—and it requires clarity and brevity. Smartphones also provide access to images, which you can save, use, and forward. They also allow users to embed links. Make sure loan officers' data plans enable them to do this anywhere, anytime. Have an app. Borrowers expect lenders to push relevant informa- tion to them. Develop a down- loadable mobile app for them. It should provide appropriate securi- ty when transferring information, but also offer borrowers automatic status updates. A PwC Experience Radar reports that three out of five borrowers want their lender to offer a mobile app. They will help you as much as anyone else. The right sort of app can mini- mize the time spent updating bor- rowers, offering improved service to referral partners while leaving additional time for loan offers to prospect for new clients. Vet your website. Take your cue from successful retail sites. They feature fewer words and more images, videos, checklists, calcula- tors, click-to-chat, and data-capture features. An online application should be just one click from the home page. It bears repeating: Digitally minded consumers have short attention spans and free, easy online access to other sources of information. If your site doesn't deliver what they need, they will go elsewhere. Use your website to teach, as well as to sell. Be accurate. Offer engaging facts. Demonstrate pro- cesses using graphics and icons. Provide robust calculators that deliver what potential borrow- ers need to know. For instance, a monthly payment calculator should include escrow informa- tion, or at least make it an un-click option. It should provide average HOI and property tax rate tables for the municipalities where you're licensed to give a true picture of monthly mortgage costs. Above all, ensure your website reflects responsive design, is programmed to effectively translate to mobile, is easy to view, and can be used on smartphones and tablets. Always think digitally. Test new digital ways to reach borrow- ers. Apply those methods when it comes to putting information where borrowers can access it. Look at open-house fliers with a different mindset. Consider putting a QR code on the for sale sign that links to those fliers. This makes house information, along with loan information and comparisons, por- table and always accessible. Then use the same QR code on property postcards, etc. Digital advertising is another way to reach prospects. Lender quick-link contact informa- tion appearing at the bottom of local realty apps or listings can put shoppers in touch quickly. Surviving and growing market share during a purchase market is always hard work. The truth about this new purchase market is that borrower tools and behaviors changed dramatically while lenders were buried in the refinance boom. A recent report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies predicts that millennials will drive the next purchase boom. Lenders need to get to know those buyers now to capitalize on their future home-financing needs. It's time to get acquainted with new digitally minded borrowers who do their own research instead of simply trusting lenders to do it for them. Lenders not only need to de- ploy new tools, but the also need to invest in training loan officers to be comfortable and responsive in this new digital DIY environment. Kristi KovalaK is the director of marketing at Lenders One and has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and communica- tions. She is responsible for the marketing strategies at Lenders One, developing marketing programs for Lenders One members and manag- ing the member marketing services team. It's time to get acquainted with new digitally minded borrowers who do their own research instead of simply trusting lenders to do it for them. 3MReport.indd

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