Are brokers making the most of digital? The good, bad and ugly of buying leads online

Acquiring new customers is no easy feat in the mortgage business. For years, brokers have relied on their referral channels — a past client who’s up for renewal, for instance, or a friend or family member of said client looking for a new mortgage

Acquiring new customers is no easy feat in the mortgage business. For years, brokers have relied on their referral channels — a past client who’s up for renewal, for instance, or a friend or family member of said client looking for a new mortgage.

But there’s another way brokers can grow their book of business — one that many may not be taking advantage of: online lead-generation. Word-of-mouth referrals are tried and true, so we understand the reservations mortgage brokers may have about buying leads online. In fact, we hear them every day.

Some are skeptical about the quality of leads that aggregators generate. For many years, these websites have been known in the brokerage channel as the “race to bottom” (i.e. aggressively buying down rates and earning very little commission) , and for a time, we were one of those culprits. Some aggregators continue to pursue the race-to-the-bottom model, but we at have changed the way we operate. And the results of this change have been positive for both brokers and consumers. Brokers can still make good commissions and earn competitive payouts while offering competitive rates to users.

At, we provide a tailored rate based on the user’s personal situation. We believe that a diversified stream of leads is the best approach for brokers to have, which is why we’ve put together a guide mortgage brokers can use to determine if partnering with an online lead-generation business is the right choice for them.

Buying online leads is right for you if:

  • You want to delegate digital marketing to experts. A partnership with a lead-generating platform is like having your own in-house digital agency. Maybe you’re already spending money and time on marketing initiatives, but you want to reduce your cost per acquisition while investing in the growth of your business.
  • You’re looking for consistent lead flow and can handle A-clients. Consistency can be particularly appealing to brokerages with larger teams and/or brokers who want to grow their book of business. Brokers should understand that A-clients do their homework when it comes looking for purchases, refinances, renewals, and pre-approvals.
  • You can offer competitive rates and are willing to invest in a lead-management process. Brokers who buy leads online must be willing to at least entertain the idea of buying down rates somewhat to acquire new business. Most brokers do that to the tune of five to 10 basis points and still enjoy more profitable commission than before. That said, brokers must also have a process in place to handle the increased volume. Receiving leads is one thing, but managing them as they pile up is another. Not all lead generation providers will be generous in their support to help you manage your lead efficiently and optimally. is committed to the success of our partners, and for this reason we invest heavily in sharing best practices so our brokers can put an effective lead management process in place.
  • You have the capacity to speak to more clients every day, and you want to build genuine relationships with them. If you’re willing to make yourself available for customers (even on weekends!) and you do this right, you've just unlocked a new and profitable source of referrals for your business.
  • You’re looking for a partner to support a scaling/high- growth strategy. Buying leads gives you the option of increasing your volume of leads per day rather easily, which translates into being able to support growing a team and adding talented brokers.
  • You want to diversify your sources of business. This can ensure that you aren't 100% dependent on past clients referring you new business, or realtors liking you enough to send homeowners your way. Buying leads online doesn't mean that you won’t continue to work on generating referrals from your current book of business. Rather, it complements your marketing mix so that you can continue to grow month over month.
  • You’ve done your research on the business’s credibility and mission. Make sure that the lead-generation website you’re considering partnering with has been around for a while and has a proven and positive reputation in the marketplace. Beyond that, you’ll want to partner with a business that’s dedicated to helping Canadians save money. At, our mission is to become the first place Canadians go to when they have a financial decision to make. Since 2011, we’ve helped Canadians save over $1 billion on personal finance products, and we’re proud to have been named one of Canada’s fastest-growing companies year after year.

Buying online leads is not right for you if:

  • Your schedule doesn’t allow you to call back leads as soon as you receive them. Ask yourself: do you or your team have the capacity for more conversations? If the answer is no, then online leads are likely not the best route for you.
  • You’re not interested in investing your time in managing your leads. The reality is: not all leads will close. As a broker, you have to be willing to accept that there will be times you'll be speaking with rate shoppers and tire kickers. You don't get to pick and choose the leads you receive, but you have to reach out to all and manage your leads. Most serious leads will close on funding in 60 to 90 days. Other quality leads will fund in six months. Understanding these timelines will help manage your expectations, communicate effectively with customers, and allow you to find serious people who will trust and work with you.
  • Your rates aren’t competitive. Borrowers are becoming more and more savvy when it comes to mortgages, and spend time comparing their options. If you are unwilling to be competitive or transparent, then partnering with a lead-generation business isn't for you.
  • Your main area of focus is private or B-lending. Most consumers who end up closing on are A-clients: those who pay off their credit cards regularly, are able to come up with a down payment, and have a solid credit score. These are consumers who are trying to educate themselves about the right product, and understand that there’s more to a mortgage than just the rate. Because this is typical behaviour of people online, brokers will likely get more A types than B types when buying leads online.
  • You want complete control over the types of leads you receive. For example, maybe you only want to receive leads from those looking to renew their mortgage, or maybe you only want mortgage leads for homes over $500,000. If your parameters are strict, then buying leads online may not be in your best interest.
  • You’re focused on making deals that require little to no effort. If you think online leads are an easy slam dunk and that every deal will close smoothly, you won’t be making the most out of your lead-generation partnership. Naturally, this means you should invest your time to understand clients’ needs. So if you’re interested in pushing high-commission products or don’t have the patience to work with first-time home buyers, then online leads are not right for you.

Making the decision to buy leads online is a personal one. But it shouldn’t be confusing. If you have any questions, feel free to contact one of our industry experts for more information on how going digital with your leads could improve your bottom line.


Idriss Bouhmouch, Mortgage Business Development Manager
[email protected]