Online origination: How do you bring customers to your site?

by MPA21 Aug 2014
By Adam Stein
Special to MPA

Editor's note: Over the next few weeks, we'll be running expert online origination advice from Adam Stein, CEO of LoanTek.

Thanks to companies like, eBay, and others, today’s internet consumer expects a high level of clarity with respect to what they are buying online. Beyond the attributes of cost and granular details about the product or service, the consumer will also likely want to validate what other people have said about you. Today’s internet consumer has been conditioned to know every aspect of cost, product or service being delivered, and how well you have performed at ‘delivering the goods’ in the past. This sea change represents the end of the dancing alien gif stating ‘refinance now’.

You can see this change today, and how many different lead providers are either leading the trend, or transitioning to it. As an example: LendingTree, the industry front runner of this consumer validation, launched their ‘Long Form Lead’ in the 1990’s. The Long Form was, and still is, a very good way for consumers to get the cost of their mortgage; however, it lacked the consumer’s exclusive selection and ratings. As good as it is the Long Form still has many of the attributes of the commoditized lead.

In an evolutionary step LendingTree launched ‘LoanExplorer’. In so doing LendingTree created currency with respect to the demands of today’s internet consumer. Everything that today’s consumer expects to validate regarding a loan can be found on LoanExplorer. And so this process goes on for all online originators. Online originators need to stay current with the consumer’s value proposition.

All of these efforts have this purpose in mind: to meet the value proposition of today’s consumer and to improve the advertisers’ return on investment. Note herein: LendingTree’s success at meeting this value proposition is no less key to their success than it is to your own.

Providing validation on a local level

So what does a traditional lender do? Many lenders cannot compete with the margins of the national lenders present in the prominent rate tables – nor do they want to! Does the mean that they’re out of the game? Not at all! There are a number of ways to acquire the technology and get consumers into this experience (see Part I on acquiring site visitors) - including leveraging your existing agent and builder contacts. Every lender can (and should) deploy technology that meets your customer’s expectations and creates new business.

Moreover, you can do this without having to match some other lender’s compensation plan to transact effectively. By presenting your offers in your own site and landing pages you can create exclusive contacts that are highly validated and welcomed by the consumer. These contacts are the highest converting leads with closing rates 6X greater than the traditional commoditized lead.

Converting to a validation model

Converting to a current validation model requires a fresh look at your consumer-facing technology. Start with your current website or landing pages and work the same processes into your CRM. Every contact that comes from the website needs to receive the same validation from your CRM’s automated responses.

Depending on one’s technical abilities a lender may be able to accomplish most of this without hiring out. Choosing not to contract the site’s validation redesign out assumes that the lender has both the time and ability. The coefficients of a lender’s time and ability, however, can be greatly affected by their pricing engine provider.

Most lenders’ abilities, with respect to integrating pricing into a robust web environment, are limited by their pricing engine provider and the provider’s platform. Further if a lender wants to create something more ‘out of the box’ than what is supported by their current pricing engine one could expect the cost of the project to increase exponentially based upon the number of features to be supported. Note herein: producing a validation model doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult if the lender has the right pricing engine (LoanTek is the only pricing engine currently on the market that has a turnkey, fully editable, mortgage pricing interface – easily customized into any lender’s website).

Regardless of which pricing engine you choose the end result must be the same: allow the consumer to fully validate their loan request and act upon the information. Finally, once completed the validation model can be used to provide results across all channels of origination consumer direct, referrals from builders, agents, and other affiliated referral sources.

Adam Stein is the CEO of LoanTek.


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