Rarely do you hear sales folks complaining about having too many leads? But, we’re definitely in this rare season.
Consumers are rushing to the web looking for once in a lifetime deals on mortgages and insurance. A perfect storm of silly low-interest rates, a surprisingly financially strong consumer, and spare time is creating an incredible oversupply of Internet leads.
This creates problems and opportunities for mortgage lenders and insurance brokers as they adjust sales operations in response to this flood of leads.
We’re going to devote most of this article to discuss the challenges of managing a crushing flow of inbound leads and demand. But, before we jump into that I want to briefly mention some of the unprecedented opportunities that are currently available.
Oversupply creates downward price pressure
As I talk with lead providers, they are all wrestling with an oversupply of mortgage and insurance leads. As a result, they are taking aggressive measures to reduce supply and find lead buyers to respond to these consumer inquiries, to fulfill their promise to consumers looking for rate quotes.
These unusual market conditions are lowering real-time lead prices and creating more availability of cheap, undersold aged leads.
The obvious opportunity here is to quickly and cheaply fill your CRM database with mortgage or insurance customers. To maximize this opportunity and ROI it’s essential to combine cheap leads with an effective lead nurturing program.
Optimizing sales for too many leads
Too many leads can be a double-edged sword.
It gives you enormous opportunities to grow your mortgage and insurance business.
However, it can also have a negative impact. If you can’t deliver a responsive consumer experience at this level of demand, customers will become frustrated, form a negative opinion of your brand, and bounce to competitors.
Maximizing the opportunity and avoiding negative customer experiences requires some smart prioritization and sales and marketing automation.
Let’s take a look at a framework for quickly implementing these optimizations.
Optimizing Lead Paths
I’m a big proponent of using progressive web forms (I recommend FlipForms.io) to capture leads. Not only is it a proven way to convert a lengthy or complex form, but it’s also the most flexible way to optimize quality and quantity.
Here are two adjustments you should make to your form to better segment for prioritization.
Filtering for urgency
Ask when they plan to buy or refinance their house.
Anything less than 3 months should go straight into your call center.
Those that are 3-6 months should be asked additional questions to determine what questions or decisions they are working through.
Those that are 6+ months or “no time frame” are the trickiest. You want to answer their questions and assist them with their research, but you don’t want to necessarily trap a loan officer or agent on a long call with no opportunity for an application.
Instead, I recommend routing them into the call center or a short-term outreach (text and email) campaign to determine what questions they were trying to get answered. Once this is determined, answer the immediate questions and use this discovery process to segment them into an appropriate long-term lead nurturing campaign. The goal of these campaigns is to prepare them for a smooth mortgage or insurance application experience.
Filtering questions from loan applications
Sometimes consumers fill out online forms simply to satisfy their curiosity. They have questions but aren’t ready to apply. Or, they are simply curious about the current market and what interest rate they can get.
These kinds of consumers can take up a lot of time from loan officers and agents that are already overwhelmed. This is why I recommend always starting your lead response with a nearly simultaneous voicemail, text message, and email combo. The goal here is to pull out the “burning question” and determine their timing.
Here are a couple of approaches I use.
Lead with this text message contact sequence:
“I’m currently on a call with another client. Are there any quick questions I can answer?”
Then follow about 20 seconds later with…
“I’m about to wrap up, when is the best time to call you?”
You can do a similar thing with voicemail and email:
Send a voicemail drop like this…
“This is Bill from HometownLender. Give me a callback. I’ll also send you a quick text message and email in case it would be more convenient for you to schedule a time.”
Follow that up with a text message and email. In this message ask them if they have any immediate questions. This will help you route the appointment. Then offer a Calendly link to schedule an appointment.
Your goal, in these times of crushing demand, is to structure your lead intake to quickly segment and route apps into loan officers and agents and questions into frontline sales development reps or text message and email sequences.
In All Cases, Try to Create a Good Customer Experience
A couple of final notes on crafting a system for different markets, both feast and famine.
You should always craft your lead management and nurturing systems to deliver the best experience possible, given the resources and capacity of your team and technology.
Here are a couple of additional considerations to keep the quality of that experience high for your customers and productive for your loan officers or insurance agents.
Prepare Consumers for a Productive First Call
In that first voicemail, text, or email tell them what to expect on that first call and any information they should gather to make it more productive.
Send a follow-up email to that first contact that gives them a more complete checklist and outlines the entire process moving forward.
Finally, in every text or email message ask them, “Do you have any immediate questions?”
This is really helpful in pulling out the urgent and burning questions that could frustrate the customer if they have to wait for hours or days, but if known can often be quickly answered by an assistant or sales development rep. These questions can also help you prioritize and segment them into more appropriate sales workflows.
Use a Front Line Call Center
If you are overwhelmed with leads, a front line of sales development reps can be a powerful force multiplier. These folks can sort, segment, and schedule. This will keep your customer loving your responsiveness while keeping your loan officers and insurance agents only working on taking applications and closing deals.
What did I miss? What clever things are you doing to efficiently work through leads and keep your customers and sales team happy?
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