Getting back to the basics of lead generation

Broker Deepak Bansal has some advice to share when it comes to lead generation: head back to the basics

I received a piece of advice from a sales coach that I’d like to pass along to all the overworked, overwhelmed and overcommitted mortgage professionals out there:
“Learn to get people talking about you, and you’ll get more referrals.” Your existing clients should be your No.1 source of referrals, as they will likely be the most effective leads you can find; these are “warm” leads, since they come with a substantial recommendation.
That’s great once you have an existing clientele, but if you’re new to the industry and don’t have any existing clients to cultivate, where do you start? Reach out to friends and family to let them know what you do and then ask for referrals!
Network and build your “COIs” (Centres of Influence): Your COIs are people within your network who can open the right doors for you and refer leads. A small list can include financial planners, contractors, tradesmen, photographers, wedding planners, divorce lawyers, and, of course, realtors.
The list can go on and on, but remember to use your creativity when networking. When building a COI relationship, follow the Law of Reciprocity, or the “givers gain” approach:
Give and you shall receive. Of course, to properly employ this, you both must be in a trusting business relationship. I don’t expect referrals from my COIs, but I use every opportunity I can to make a referral to them. One of my favourite motivational speakers and sales trainers, Zig Ziglar, once said: “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”
Generating leads exhibit at tradeshows:
They are a great opportunity for brokers to promote themselves and generate leads. Be well-prepared! Tradeshow success is determined by your marketing plan, “elevator pitch”, creativity and most importantly, your post-show follow-up.
Host seminars and ‘lunch & learn’ sessions:
Be known as the “expert” in your field. In addition to home buyer seminars that generally cater to first-time buyers, get creative and put together seminars for existing home owners as well, with topics such as refinancing fordebt consolidation, using home equity for renovations, financing rentals and vacation homes, just to name a few.
Brokers can also approach small business owners offering to provide a “lunch and learn” session for their staff. It’s a great way to get in front of a crowd that could have a good mix of both first-time buyers and existing homeowners.
There are many other marketing initiatives from which to generate referrals. By getting the lead and funding the deal, you’ve only won half of the battle.
In my opinion, the equally important other half is to ensure the service you provide throughout the entire interaction is impeccable. No matter how a lead is generated, I am always sure to provide clients with remarkable service so they become my “cheerleaders”. After all, I want them to refer their friends and family.

In one of my favourite books, Purple Cow, author Seth Godin speaks on transforming your business by being remarkable: “You’re either a Purple Cow or you’re not. You’re either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice.”
Be remarkable and the leads will come.
Bansal puts his money where his mouth is
These potential clients may have more pressing things to worry about than mortgages, but one broker is using a unique strategy to get before consumers as they prepare to make the biggest commitment of their lives.
“It’s my third year (having booths) at trade shows and I have personally found a lot of success,” Bansal says. “I’ve been to the bridal shows, reaching out to first-time buyers; young couples looking to get married, are eventually going to be buying their first home and they need advice.”
In some cases, these bridal shows are flooded by hundreds of thousands of potential first-time buyers and although Bansal knows mortgages aren’t a top priority when they’re snaking through wedding-themed exhibits, buying a home is often a logical next step.
“At these shows we have giveaways; we get people to fill in ballots as a means for lead generation,” Bansal explains. “Once they’re at our booth, we talk to them very briefly because we know that mortgage financing is probably the last thing on their mind but we actually take it offline afterwards, we give them a call, thank them for coming to the show and set up an appointment to get them a preapproval.”
It’s a strategy he’s seen more and more brokers pick up on.
“The first year I didn’t see any brokers (at bridal shows), but last year I did see two other brokers and this year I noticed two other brokerages there,” he says. “I feel that more and more brokers are starting to see the benefits. There is a large cost involved and I think that’s what makes a lot of brokers shy away from it.”
And he doesn’t stop at bridal shows, either, noting that a very different potential client can be reached at home shows.
“The home shows attract existing homeowners (who may be looking) for mortgage renewals, refinances, equity take outs – it’s a different market,” Bansal says.