June 1, 2018

4 Reasons Clients Forget Their Loan Officers (and how to fix it)

As a Mortgage Professional, you understand that an average of 50 - 70% of your income comes from your past clients through repeat business and referrals.

You are a true professional. You work incredibly hard to build relationships with your buyers before and throughout the home buying process. You act as their number one advocate, trusted mortgage advisor, and maybe even their friend. When you finally get them to the closing table, you smile to yourself knowing that you've done your job to help them achieve their dream of homeownership.

As time passes, and the honeymoon phase after closing dwindles, you and your clients begin to lose touch. There are less check-in calls, less e-mails, and no more friendly text exchanges. You call them on their birthdays and send them coupons to their favorite neighborhood restaurants, but in response, you only hear crickets...

At first this seems to be only natural and temporary distancing. You are certain, that when the time is right, and your clients are ready to make a move, they'll call you. After all, you've been there for them all along. 

Until, one day as you're browsing the internet you come across the unimaginable. Your favorite first-time homeowners have upgraded to become full on real estate investors. They just purchased their second home and first investment property and in their social media shout-out, have tagged their favorite lender and your competitor, Mike MortgageMan. Your clients forgot about you and chose another lender in your absence.

Does this story sound familiar? It's not just you. One of the most common marketing problems Mortgage Loan Officers face today is that 71% of their total clients will forget about them within 13 months after the transaction.

From a variety of sources including research, Loan Officer interviews, and homeowner interviews, we found that there are 4 Reasons Homeowners Forget Their Clients and How You Can Fix This.

1. Your content might be irrelevant

All egos aside, try to be honest with yourself and your business. In an effort to understand how your clients are experiencing your marketing material, you must first put yourself in their shoes. Start by asking yourself one, simple question:

"If you were a Homeowner receiving your current business marketing pieces (monthly emails, recipe postcards, etc.), would you be excited to receive them?"

If you answered 'No', Congratulations! You've taken the first honest step in improving your marketing, for good!

Back to those of you who answered "No," don't worry- a lack of relevancy in content is a common theme for all marketers, and it spans beyond industry borders. It's not that you're not providing content, it's just that your content isn't relevant enough to engage your users on a regular basis. A beautiful birthday card is a thoughtful gesture and your regular 'Weekly DIY Home Improvement Tips' are fun, but at the end of the day, neither of these pieces are designed to create an important enough reason for your clients to pick up the phone and call you to discuss a new mortgage or refinancing their current home. Furthermore, you might actually even be deterring them from calling you at all.

Marketing is an essential part of growing your business and staying in front of you clients, however sending irrelevant content that doesn't:

a) Provide value

b) Create a call to action

Ultimately, over time will hurt your engagement efforts and widen the gap between you and your clients. They will begin to disassociate you as their trusted advisor, because the content doesn't match the messaging. You want to remind your clients who you are, what you do, and how you can help them continue to save money and build wealth with their home.

2. You're not talking to them regularly enough

After you’ve tailored your content to be relevant, engaging, and personalized you’ll want to create structure around your delivery. It's common to fear that by contacting your past clients on a semi-regular basis you are being intrusive and maybe even annoying.  We live in the age of technology and automation, and any company that is working your clients (a consumer) through their own marketing funnel is no doubt, sending automated e-mails, and they certainly aren't shy about it.

In the time that you've been reading this, you probably received at least two automated e-mails from two companies or organizations. Large and successful marketing companies understand that in order to stay in front of your clients, and remain top of mind in a large sea of competitors, you have to be bold and speak to your audience on a fairly regular basis.

Understand, there is a fine line between between being persistent and being overbearing. With the right content and the right frequency, you can communicate with your clients in an effective and dependable way that reinstates the trust between you and them. If your clients only hear from you every six months, they might assume that you're too busy to check in with them, that perhaps you just don't care or even worse, that you're no longer originating loans! Without a frequent or semi-frequent reminder, you may lose your clients to the flood of mortgage messaging going on around you and before you know it, someone else has swooped in and taken away your business relationship and transaction.

E-mail frequency is not a one size fits all scenario as it varies from product to product and person to person. If you're The Skim and the nature of your business is to be a trusted news source that keeps readers updated and engaged on a daily basis (something readers manually opt into) then you're definitely okay to create touch points with your clients every day. As a Loan Officer, you know that this is far too much and far too intrusive.

For lending and real estate, it's all about finding the sweet spot. Think of sending marketing material like you send a newsletter and your important updates. Your newsletter is your staple content- your clients can expect to see it every month, around the same time and date of each month. When there's a special occasion for it (such as a birthday, and anniversary, a Holiday or big news) you want to share it, so you do a special send on a less predictable date.

When it comes to frequency of content, there's two types of content:

1) Staple content

2) Exceptional content

Ask yourself this: 

"How will I structure my marketing content around these two types of sends (staple and exceptional)?"

Now that you've identified what content you are sending on a regular basis and what content you send on a special, semi-frequent basis, you can attach meaning to both pieces and nail down your plan moving forward. As you begin to pick how often you are going to send your materials, consider a few things:

1. Are my clients actually opening the e-mails that I am sending them?

2 . What responses (or lack of responses) have I seen from my clients related to my marketing materials?

3. Have any of my marketing efforts lead directly to a new transaction the last 6 months, year, or longer?

If you're not getting the answers you want to these questions, it's time to reboot not only your content ( #1), but your communication schedule! When you truly take the time to course correct and you begin to hold yourself to a schedule, you will find much happier clients and a larger ROI from marketing yourself as a professional.

3. You're utilizing the wrong medium

There's no shortage of bad marketing pitches. As an experienced sales professional, you know better than ever that there's always a new shiny tool that deems itself, "Your secret to generating more leads!" You've invested hundreds, if not thousands of dollars into marketing yourself and you've experimented with a number of shiny tools. Perhaps some of these tools worked well for you, and perhaps some did not.

Think of your favorite marketing tool. Ask yourself:

"How much of my own personal time and money did I have to invest in this product to make it work for me?"

Think of your day-to-day roles and responsibilities. You have a responsibility to take care of yourself, to take care of your loved ones, and to take care of your Clients. You're a busy bee and you manage a large team of Loan Officers, processors and business development reps. The last thing you have time for is a new system that requires long and tedious training and daily refinement just to keep the wheels rolling. Chances are, you don't have the time for this, and even if you did you'd rather be spending your precious time doing what you want to be doing.

The process of buying a home is human, and if you can't be there for your clients because you're buried in a new system that's burning up your time and energy, you might be slowly losing them. If you find yourself constantly having to maintain a system that isn't yielding ROI, it's time to re-evaluate your marketing medium.

The goal of effective marketing is to make your material work for you not against you. Even deeper than that, you must create content that works for your clients and is of actual value to them. Have you found that of your 100 e-mails sent, only 2% of them were opened? You received zero responses minus John Smith who politely asked you to take him off of your e-mail list. Reluctantly, you thank him for responding and remove him from your list, wondering if you've severed the relationship all together.

In addition, your beautiful newsletter on "5 Ways to Clean Your Gutters" took you 5 hours to put together (or took your Marketing Coordinator a solid day of work to write and design). Just as if you didn't feel the loss already, you look down at your phone and notice that the company that you design your newsletter through, dings you for another monthly fee for using their service. This is not uncommon and this type of high investment, little return on marketing will leave you feeling defeated.

We interviewed a number of Loan Officers here in the Denver Metro area, and asked them, 

"If you could create something out of thin air that helped you generate more repeat and referral business, what would it look like?"

As you can imagine, we received some pretty great responses, but our favorite response came from one of Colorado's Top 25 Producing Loan Officers, Matt. He said, 

"If you could create something that was so easy and helped me spend more time with my family and less time chasing down my clients and asking them for my business, AND it actually helped me generate more deals, I'd pay for it, whatever the price." -Matt, Loan Officer

We drew one central insight from Matt's response, and actually found similar themes among multiple Loan Officers. Loan Officers want something simple, effective, and helpful to both them and their clients. Content relevancy, dependability and ease create pathways for meaningful touch points with your clients before, during and after the transaction has closed.

4. You might be lacking a marketing process

Remember that clever formula we shared about frequency and relevance? It's time to turn that into a regular heartbeat for your business. Your marketing touches should be constant and rhythmic, rather than sporadic.  You must make a process around every stage of your marketing. Making calls when you can, writing emails when feel like it, and engaging other vapid check-ins with clients will be ineffective if it’s inconsistent. Consistency is everything in this industry, and it's not just with your clients but your realtor partners will appreciate your organization and reliability.

If you find yourself frequently running out of time during the day to make your regular phone calls and e-mails, or you constantly have to train and re-train your team to learn a new process, you might not be best leveraging a marketing process. It sounds boring and mundane, but trust us here. If you define a process early on and keep with it quarter by quarter, the merits of your hard work are sure to pay off (even if that means solely that you feel less scattered in your day-to-day workflow, or you feel more in control of your day).

Your aim should be to institute a system of contact that is consistent and dependable. Creating content that’s valuable, and managing a monthly process of touches can be extremely hard work.  Doing things “right” can be time-consuming, and costly (otherwise you would have these 4 points nailed already [and maybe you do...]). The truth is, you need to be spending your days doing what you do best; engaging your clients and real estate partners and making sure that you get your buyers get to the closing table. You should be running your day, not letting your day run you!

Messing with complicated technology or trying to wrap your mind around today's marketing trends will take away from your true job as a salesperson. Thankfully, you can leverage the right technology that will act as your solution (and it doesn't have to fill your calendar with more labor).

This is where Homebot comes in.

The Solution For Loan Officers

With Homebot’s artificial intelligence, your clients can receive exactly what they need from you:

  1. Branded monthly emails that come straight from you
  2. Valuable content that is tailored to their exact loan and their exact home
  3. An interface that positions you as the expert and drives sales conversations
  4. A platform that drives referral business and new leads through the door
  5. Exceptional insights that help your clients save money and/or build wealth

Homebot checks all the boxes: it’s frequent, relevant, customized, and it helps strengthen the most valuable relationships in your business.

The best part is, Homebot basically runs on auto-pilot…

Schedule a one-on-one online demo with our team, or sign up for one of our upcoming Loan Officer webinars to discover how Homebot can keep you top-of-mind, so you’ll never be forgotten again…

Click HERE to schedule your demo and see the power for yourself.

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