Lean on leads, referrals in lean times

by Ryan Smith19 Aug 2013

As the buy-to-rent sector expands, many mortgage professionals find it harder to find borrowers who can compete with cash investors. That’s where having a good referral network and a healthy stream of leads comes in.

Josh Bopp, CEO of focusIT, a tech company servicing the mortgage industry, said good management of a referral network was critical.

“If you’re in the business of jamming folks through a call center and doing refis, it may not be that important,” Bopp said. “But or most mortgage professionals, it’s critical. The ability to build and keep referrals is the difference between making a little money and a lot of money.”

Bopp’s company makes Pulse, a software system that helps build and manage referral networks. He said keeping those networks vibrant was vital to help mortgage professionals ride out the lean times.

“When rates do go up and that refi network dries up, you really have to have that referral network in place – retailers, past clients that you’ve treated well,” Bopp said. “Having those networks in place helps you when there aren’t tons of leads out there, when there aren’t tons of new clients.”

“Getting leads even through referrals is extremely important in being competitive,” agreed Kelly Booth, mortgage division managing director at Velocify. “What’s even more important is having the knowledge of who your customer is and understanding what the stage is where they are in the process. It could be someone who just wants to know and they haven’t even started looking … or you could have someone who’s sold their house and is frantically looking for a new house. Being able to understand those as a lender is a huge benefit.”

Booth also stressed the importance of maintaining professional relationships.

“I think it’s extremely important to the lender and their level of success to have good relationships with their lead providers – not only a good relationship, but knowing who are the preferred lead providers out there,” she said. “…Also, on the flip side of that, if I'm a lender right now, my best way of helping the borrower is to make sure there’s a stable and consistent communication line between myself and the realtor.
“It comes down to being a relationship business,” Booth said. “It always has been, it’s always going to be. Technology just enhances that.”


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