As loan officers, the word "lead" is by far one of the most common words we use during the day, it is the topic of many of our conversations, it is praised and cursed, it is good and it is bad, it is loved and it is hated, on bad days it is hard to find, and on good days it falls right into our lap.
The lead is a specter that haunts us constantly, we can't get enough of them, no mater how many or how little we have, we are constantly searching for more.
In a perfect world, a lead would be waiting for us every morning on our desk placed there by the lead fairy, along with a complimentary cup of coffee and a morning paper. With a waive of her magic wand she would ensure that every lead would turn into a deal and we would end up with a 100% closure ratio.
Unfortunately this is not the case.
As a loan officer starting out in this industry, I came to work on my first day and expected the leads to just come out of no where, as you can expect, nothing happened. On the second day, I came to work, and again I expected the leads to just start coming out of no where. As you can imagine, nothing happened.
On the third day, I decided to make a move. I began the process of throwing myself into the world of networking. Although the concept was quite simple, I knew that reaping the rewards would prove to be a much more difficult task.
Lets face it, we can never have enough leads, we want to ensure that our pipe line is healthy at all times, with at least one closing per week.
One of the first groups I became involved with was a networking group called "All Business" and that is exactly what it was, all business. This particular group consisted of a President, a Vice President and a treasurer, along with a few other officers whose meaningless titles I cannot recall. The premise of this organization was to filter out any kind of conflict that could result from to many people belonging to the same industry, therefore only one person from a certain industry was permitted to join. As luck would have it, "All Business" did not have a representative from the mortgage industry, and after a two week screening process I was voted into the group.
The officers style of running this organization was militant, but effective. All members had to adhere to strict guidelines. For instance every Wednesday we met at a local diner at 7:00 am sharp, and upon arrival you could only speak of business and nothing else, and if you were a minute late you were fined five dollars. If you failed to show up with out a lead from the previous week, you were fined two dollars, and if you missed two consecutive meetings you were dismissed from the group.
Every Wednesday I was permitted to give a two minute speech before the group and familiarize them with the products I had to offer so they could then sell it for me, and once a month I was given the floor for twelve minutes to really wow them with what I could offer.
I loved to see their eyes pop when I spoke of cofi's, cozi's, and interest only loans, products they did not know existed.
Of course this organization came with a price, the annual fee was $500.00 paid in installments quarterly, but none the less, it paid for itself many times over by the leads I received from this group, which was basically a twenty five person sales force I had working for me.
Over all this was time and money well spent.
My next step was to join my local Chamber of Commerce. We met every Tuesday afternoon for lunch at a popular local restaurant where a room was rented to accommodate us and serve iced tea and rubber chicken. The chamber was very large and consisted of many members, more than two hundred. It quickly dawned on me that this was an organization where I was going to really have to bust my but to get results, the chamber was loaded with competition, there were many bankers and mortgage brokers I was going to have to compete with, so I was going to have to be better than the rest, especially when I didn't have the luxury of a company picking up my tab of $300.00 per year and the $15.00 I spent on lunch weekly, to me this was more than just time out of the office.
In time my persistence began to payoff, and the referrals and leads began to come.
One thing I learned very quickly, was that the best way to receive a referral was to give one. Nothing is for free!
Over time my exposure through these organizations provided me with many very useful contacts in the banking and real estate industries. These contacts along with the referrals I was receiving from my family and friends, and also, referrals from former customers, my book of business began to grow at a very nice pace, and business was good.
One of the last things I decided to try was investing a couple of hundred bucks in a mortgage lead company. I didn't save them for last because I didn't have any faith in them, I waited until I had closed a few deals so that I could allocate some money toward this venture.
By the time I was done investing in lead companies, and I had dealt with quite a few over the course of my loan officer career, I found that the experience was not as pleasant as the networking organizations I had joined, and a lot less rewarding.
I can't say that they were all bad. A few were quite good. But the few that were good, were only good in the areas of customer service and liberal return policies. However, the ones with the liberal return policies replaced my bad leads with other bad leads.
Part of this was my fault, I made the mistake of diving in without doing any kind of research before I made my purchase. The internet is filled with sites that I should have accessed to get on line reviews and surveys of just about every lead company out there, along with commentaries from loan officers who have used particular lead companies.
My quest for leads went from sitting around idle to something that rivaled the quest for the holy grail, and my quest continues to this day. This is not the end. It is just the beginning. By visiting my site at www.jconners.com, you can check out some of the lead company reviews we have posted, and get an idea of what to look for in a lead company.
Jay Conners has more than fifteen years of sales and marketing experience in the banking and mortgage industry, and is the owner of J. Conners, Mortgage leads reviews. He is also the owner of http://www.callprospect.com a mortgage lead company, specializing in fresh leads. Jay Conners can be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com