Mortgage referrals probably generate a significant portion of your business. However, you may still be missing out on potential new leads from your best resource: your customers. Maintaining a great relationship with all your borrowers, past and current, will help you reach new customers.
For example, if you delight a single customer during the loan process, they might recommend you to 2, 8, or 10 of their friends and family. These are people who may choose to do business with you. And you didn’t pay a penny to get in contact with them!
Leveraging these customer relationships isn’t just good for your volume, it’s good for your brand. In the highly competitive mortgage industry, standing out as a loan officer can be challenging. If you are generating a lot of positive buzz through your customer’s word-of-mouth interactions, new leads will be much more likely to choose you as their mortgage officer.
How Do You Maintain A Customer Database?
Gone are the days of the Rolodex or phone book. Today’s world requires much more dynamic contact database techniques. To be a successful loan officer, you need to determine how you will manage your contact list. For most, you’ll want a system that provides more tools to you than just a simple Excel table.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
Enter cloud-based software programs. By using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database, you have the ability to easily track and manage all of your client’s data.
A CRM offers you a lot more than just that, however. Perhaps you want to know which of your customers have been in their home for more than a year, and have a loan with a rate of 4.25% or above. With a CRM, you can run a report to include contacts with only these features.
Features such as this, and more, allow a loan officer to not only manage their contact database but also segment it into target groups. Your contacts are a goldmine resource to you, so don’t let them slip by with a less than stellar management system.
What Are Customer Referrals and Testimonials?
Happy clients are customers who will sing your praises to their friends and family. These mortgage referrals and testimonials don’t just send new business your way. Creating an amazing brand image through word-of-mouth is also an excellent way to build your business.
Loan officers rely on customer referrals very heavily, and for good reason. People are much more likely to pursue a business if someone they know recommends that business. Plus, it’s also an excellent way to bring in highly convertible leads.
Unlike other leads you might try to convert, referrals from past customers normally convert very highly. This is because they were probably pretty serious about their loan needs when they started asking for recommendations. By the time their information crosses your desk, they are probably ready to move forward in the home buying process.
Why Should You Care About Customer Referrals and Testimonials?
According to Esteban Kolsky, a Customer Strategy expert, attracting a new customer is 6-7 times more expensive than retaining a current one.
In the mortgage world, this may not feel quite as applicable, since applying for a mortgage only happens a few times in the lifetime of most customers. However, this theory can be applied to the idea of client mortgage referrals.
Earning a client’s mortgage referrals may take a lot of time and effort, but ultimately, it could gain you a new customer (or multiple new customers) without a penny going directly to the lead generation process.
How Do You Earn Mortgage Referrals from Customers?
The first step toward receiving great word-of-mouth mortgage referrals is providing customer service that is rave-worthy. After all, think about the last time you recommended a product or service to a friend or family member. Most likely, you had an excellent experience with the company, and couldn’t help but share that with others.
As a loan officer, creating a customer service experience that will delight your clients can feel difficult. Many people may think that the loan process is fairly cut and dry—how “delightful” can it really be?
We beg to differ! Not only is an amazing loan experience possible, it should be your goal to cultivate one. There are many ways that you could choose to pursue this goal, but here are a few ideas to get you started.
Stay in Close Contact
We talk a lot about client communication here at Jungo, but there’s a good reason for that! Staying in close contact with your borrowers increases their trust in you, and keeps them updated at every step of the way.
No one likes feeling like they’re left in the dark, and this is even more true when it comes to a huge financial decision such as applying for a mortgage and buying a home.
Make a plan for how you will stay in touch with your clients before, during, and after the loan process, and then stick to it. Whether you call, email, text, or meet clients, or use a combination of these methods (our personal favorite!), defining your goals and how you will reach them is the first step toward success.
Provide Digital Tools
Giving your borrowers digital tools to help them through the loan process is a great way to cultivate an amazing user experience. According to Ellie Mae’s Connecting with Borrowers Online study, borrowers who utilized digital tools during the loan process were far more likely to report an excellent loan experience. Additionally, online loan portal users were 18% more likely to return to that same loan officer for another loan.
If you want to read more about how digital tools for your borrower can streamline your loan processes, check out this article.
Invest in Post-Close Marketing
Once a client’s loan has closed, your customer service plan shouldn’t come to a grinding halt. It will take some extra time and effort, but investing in post-close marketing will pay off in spades.
Send a Thoughtful Gift
One of the ways that you can continue to delight customers even after they have their new home’s keys is through gifts and cards. There are many ways that you could approach this technique, such as sending holiday, loan anniversary, and birthday cards. Or, you could put together small gift packages for certain past borrowers.
If you don’t have the time or resources to provide this service yourself, Jungo’s Concierge program can take care of it for you! With one click of a button in your Jungo account, you can send branded cards and gifts straight to your past customers door. Want to learn more about the Concierge packages? Click here.
2. Provide Valuable Information
Looking for a more digital option for keeping up with your clients? Placing your past borrowers on a drip marketing email campaign is a great way to stay at the forefront of their minds. One of the best ways to approach this is to send them emails that provide value. For instance, you could send home DIY tips, or facts about building your home’s equity. Not only will your customers love to learn more from you, they may even forward that email to interested friends and family.
Jungo’s automated marketing campaigns do the heavy lifting for you. With over 400 prewritten email templates, you can quickly and easily place customers on a variety of marketing campaigns to match their current stage in the loan process. The Keeping in Touch campaign allows you to automatically send helpful emails to past customers, without even having to open your email account.
What Are The Steps to Leveraging Customer Referrals?
Make a point of asking for them
It’s difficult to get many customer mortgage referrals if you don’t ask for them. There’s a fine line between badgering past or current customers for referrals, and staying silent on the topic all together.
One great way to reach your goals is by being thoughtful when you ask for a referral. For instance, after a really great phone call, you could mention that you would appreciate them referring anyone they may know who is interested in buying a home. Or, during the final stages of the loan process, you could ask if any of their friends or family might need a mortgage.
Just remember that asking for mortgage referrals is a delicate process. Because of this, not every borrower is going to be a great candidate for providing a glowing recommendation. If their loan process was bumpy, asking for a referral may seem unaware.
Suggest creative ways to give testimonials
Once you have a customer who wants to give a testimonial, consider the methods they could use to recommend you. Beyond the obvious word-of-mouth referral options, there are many other ways that customers can boost your volume.
For example, if a customer is willing to write a review of you and your business on Yelp, Google, or Facebook, take them up on it! If a potential borrower Googles your name, you want them to be blown away by all your positive reviews!
Additionally, you could ask if your borrower would be willing to send you a brief quote about their experience with you. This testimonial could then be placed on your website, social media, or other marketing materials.
Lastly, if you have a technologically savvy customer, you could even ask if they would record a video testimonial for you! Videos are incredibly impactful. Studies show that faces sell more than words. So, posting a video to social media is a great way to engage with your audience.
Just remember, keep it short and sweet. So, testimonials should be between 15-30 seconds. You wouldn’t want your audience to be bored, now would you? After all, a video testimonial’s main purpose is to put a face and a smile to all of the new homeowners you’ve helped out.
Utilize Listing Alerts
Imagine getting an instant notification every time someone in your database puts their home on their market. If it sounds like a pipedream, think again!
With Jungo’s Listing Alerts, you can be in the know right away. Therefore, you will be able to follow up immediately, which means no more missed opportunities. Clients will be impressed with your timeliness. Plus, they will be more likely to trust you with their mortgage needs in the future.
Earning and using customer mortgage referrals and testimonials is an excellent way to pursue organic lead generation. You will need to invest time, energy, and resources into a great customer service experience. However, the leads and word-of-mouth influence you receive in return will make it more than worth it.