Sales and Consumer Engagement
Guest Blog: Common pitfalls in lead follow up and how to avoid them
Author: Scott Payne, SDP Solutions
It’s important to evaluate your post-contact strategy as part of your borrower experience during the home loan process. That is, once contact is established between a borrower and salesperson, what do the next interactions or points of engagement look like. Are your sales reps actually following up? Are they accommodating borrower communication preferences? These are important questions that leaders need to have the answers to. Even more, there needs to be a guarantee that what you expect is happening on the sales floor, is actually happening. Because if not, you’re leaving money on the table.
What exactly is a post-contact strategy?
A post-contact strategy is how a sales rep follows-up with a lead after contact is made. Here are three examples of what that looks like:
- A sales rep takes an application with a borrower, quotes pricing, the borrower says that they need to speak with their spouse, and asks the rep to call back tomorrow.
- A lender purchases leads from a real estate or loan-shopping website. The lead enters the loan officer’s queue and the loan officer calls the prospective borrower within 30 seconds.
- A borrower begins to fill out an application for a home-equity line of credit, but closes out of the application halfway through.
When I conduct borrower experience screenings, I test these areas of engagement (see how in Customer Experience Screening Introduction). Out of the 300 customer experience screenings that I've completed and requested a call back:
- 50% of the time, I don't receive a phone call at all!
- Over 80% of the time, I do NOT receive a call back on time when I've asked for a call back
- Of the 50% of the time that I receive a call back, 85% of the time I don't receive a second call
How do you ensure your sales team is not missing out on revenue that’s knocking at your door?
Here are three strategies that will help you convert more leads.
1. Take advantage of automation and technology
There are tools that can help a lender be prompt with their follow up — and the most competitive businesses are taking full advantage of this. Lead management systems can schedule dials that lock salespeople into dialing borrowers at specific times. You can even set up a smart contact infrastructure that leverages your unique business rules when it comes to the prioritization of follow-up. For example, you can have your loan officers prioritize certain products or leads from certain channels.
Technology is out there to automate and simplify tasks. It’s important to take advantage to compete and not miss out on revenue.
2. Consider a call screener model to increase speed-to-lead
Over the last 10 years, technology adoption has caused the borrower-lender relationship to evolve. More and more often, borrowers are finding their lender directly, without a referral from a realtor or friend. With technology at their fingertips, borrowers have become accustom to fast, seamless experiences and now expect their lender to provide the same level of service. To ensure prospective customers are responded to quickly, it may be time to rethink how you manage your leads. By leveraging a call screener team, you can ensure a first line of engagement with a borrower before a loan officer is involved. This team can help support scenarios like these:
- Taking calls when a loan officer is busy with another borrower (avoiding voicemail)
- Responding to a new inbound lead immediately, before your competition can
- Conducting an initial screening to evaluate which loan officer would be the best fit for the particular borrower
3. Meet your customer where they are
We live in an omni-channel world. The way we absorb and gather information isn’t just via phone, text, email, online, etc. Your borrowers use all the same channels you use every day, so it only makes sense to develop a solid omni-channel strategy. Here are some ways to optimize your communication across multiple channels to make sure you’re effectively engaging with borrowers after initial contact is made:
- Send an automatic confirmation email with your sales rep’s contact information in it after every appointment scheduled (bonus: include a link that allows them to add it to their calendar)
- Send an appointment reminder via SMS message to the potential borrower 30 minutes before the calendar event
- If your rep calls back on time and the customer is unavailable, send a missed appointment email/SMS to the customer asking them when a good time would be to follow up next
Most companies don't take advantage of these opportunities to engage potential borrowers and this is a huge mistake. The potential borrower has already expressed some level of interest and it is your sales team’s job to not let these leads fall through the cracks.
Overall, there are many things organizations can do to ensure their borrowers have a fantastic experience. I've found that the ball is dropped most of the time after contact, and companies must have strict standards in place to ensure they aren’t leaving money on the table by not following up with borrowers.