When giving advice to sales people who are looking to improve (or are trying to blame the leads), I always first make it very clear that it’s not the leads, it’s you. After starting our strategy with an overview of the importance of sales culture and contact time – let’s dig into the ever-important realm of business communication when working leads.
Sell yourself and your company. Start with a warm and enthusiastic greeting, as it is important to get the consumer engaged in the process and build rapport. Be sure to articulate why you are better to work with and why your company is better to work with… How the experience you or your company provides is different than other companies they may be speaking with… Why your process is easier on the borrower. Think about these things, and differentiate yourself. Be the product expert.
The biggest problem most sales people have is that we like to listen to ourselves talk. I know I’m guilty of this sometimes. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason, so ask open-ended questions about the things a borrower would use the funds for, their bucket list, their needs, and their dreams. Your job is to discover the problem(s) they may or may not realize they have, and to demonstrate how a reverse mortgage can not only solve that problem, but benefit their retirement over time by providing a better quality of life. They will tell you how to close them if you pose the right questions. Qualify, qualify qualify!
These are my basic steps to the sale:
- Develop a relationship.
- Sell yourself, sell your company
- Analyze the needs of the client.
- Educate the client on the product, and use real world stories of how the product was used to buy a business, pay expenses, retire early, travel the world, buy a second vacation home and so on, tailored to each client’s goals.
- Identify and provide a solution to solve the borrower’s specific need
- Earn the borrower’s trust and business by being the “expert,” credible, and compassionate.
- Gain commitment.
- Ask for a referral.
Leaving an effective voicemail. This is an often overlooked, but critical part of the follow-up process. Have a plan or script for this as you often won’t reach a borrower on the first call. Think about how you check your own voicemail. I know I quickly check mine without listening to the entire message. We are all busy. If it sounds like a sales call from someone I don’t know… I delete it before I listen to the whole thing. And so do you. So engage the consumer and leave a positive first impression that relays that you are following up on their request. It’s important when leaving an enthusiastic voicemail to say something like this:
“Hi <borrower name>, I’m following up on the Internet Request you made today for more information on a Reverse Mortgage (confirms their request and personalizes). Based on the preliminary information you submitted (reaffirms their request), I have some great ideas and information to share with you, but I need to have a few additional questions answered so I can provide you all of your options and the information you requested (we need to speak). (Next, provide a benefit): You may be aware that a Reverse Mortgage loan allows you to… End the message by advising the client to look for your email, provide your contact information, and be sure to use the consumer’s name a second time and say that you will be calling again. Repeat your phone number two times slowly.
Email follow-up. Sending an introductory email either before or immediately after your call is critical with Internet consumers. Remember, they chose to transact online, and it should be an important part of establishing your credibility and your sales process. Create a reusable basic email template that you tailor to each prospective borrower. Your email should accomplish the following objectives, but with your own personal flair:
- A personal introduction to you and your company.
- Confirm the process is underway.
- Provide your full contact information, ideally with a professional picture of you.
- Target buying motivations (fear of loss, hope of gain, benefit).
- Establish urgency.
- Send a 3rd party link to a positive story about the product. IE: See articles in the nowitcounts.com/money/reverse mortgage channel (don’t send more than one link as SPAM filters may catch it)
- Assume a relationship (…together we will work toward sharing information and providing a solution that makes sense for your situation and goals, Mr. Jones).
- Ask two questions (elicit a response).
Example: What are your plans for using the funds so I can prepare for our call?
- If sent before you call: warms customer for upcoming phone call and to look for your caller ID.
When you do make contact with the consumer, send a thank you follow-up email detailing next steps and confirming your next appointment. Set expectations, but make sure you meet or exceed them. Alternatively, call and email the prospect until contact is made or the lead goes into your aged lead queue. Call and email uncontacted leads frequently during the first two weeks, tapering your efforts out to 90 days to maintain DNC Safe Harbor compliance. Trickle email thereafter. Once you make contact and establish an Existing Business Relationship (EBR), you are free to call until the consumer revokes that right and opts-out (DNC) – Check with your compliance attorney, as I don’t provide legal advice (My attorney’s make me say that!).
In summary, these are what I consider to be the basic steps of working Internet leads effectively. Although there are a lot of ways to be effective that may differ from this, it’s always worked for me. What’s important, however, is that you have a plan and are able to differentiate yourself from your competitors, as well as effectively position the product as a solution for the borrower. In Part 2 of this series, I will address strategies for squeezing more revenue out of your ad spend with methodologies to work your lead data as it ages, as well as ways to manage the phone conversation.