Back to Basics—How To Grow Your Business In Any Market

Back to Basics—How To Grow Your Business In Any Market

As underwriting guidelines were loosened and exotic loan products designed for a very specific borrower were extended to 25% of the population, the mortgage industry prospered in the short term at the expense of the long term. Now we’ve returned to basics with a conventional, a-paper market with very strict underwriting guidelines. Some think this new market limits growth, but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to.

As we all know too many lender prospects are sitting on the sidelines. Why? They’re nervous about what technology to invest in and how to market their services. When sales were coming in left and right during the boom times it was more about order taking and less about true selling. That strategy doesn’t work in today’s highly competitive market. However, new market conditions are calling out for automated solutions and vendors have to respond to that by returning to basics themselves. Here’s what they need be focusing on:

1. Don’t Forget Business 101. Companies need to get back to basics to grow in this environment. Basic concepts such as cross selling to current clients, proactive lead generation, selling value instead of features and functions and understanding how to maximize trade shows must be properly executed. Some companies have these principles in place and are having no trouble adapting, but others are too used to leads just falling in their laps.

2. Your Client Database Is Your Friend. Everyone has a client list but many companies lack a comprehensive database that sales & marketing can easily access to cross sell and market to those clients. Why is this important? For example, if your company rolls out a new product all of your existing clients should know about it and be using it. It’s amazing to me how many existing clients aren’t using their vendor’s newest product or full suite of services.

3. Lead Generation Matters. Everyone that hopes to grow in any market needs a process for lead generation. A lot of companies haven’t focused on developing specific parameters to develop a dynamic database or have not scrubbed their database recently. They are using past trade show lists, old prospect lists and excel spreadsheets which include many companies that are no longer in business. They don’t have rules to target specific lists. They don’t know who their target market is. When there isn’t a good CRM tool and strategy in place there tends to be poor follow up and the company can’t track campaign results and seize sales opportunities.

4. Outdated Pitches Don’t Work. Companies need to review their marketing materials and website. You’d be amazed at how many companies have old materials that are no longer effective for today’s market conditions. What worked even just two years ago doesn’t work today. What does work? The prospect cares about what’s in it for them. They don’t care about all the features and functions, which vendors do a good job of articulating. Instead vendors need to better articulate their value proposition, what differentiates them and what need they are filling.

5. Trade Shows Aren’t A Silver Bullet. It surprises me that companies spend a lot of money to go to a trade show and have no plan to get traffic. You should never go to a show without pre-booked meetings. Is this a show to get leads or to strengthen partnerships? Gone are the days when trade shows will bring in thousands of lenders so you have to have a clear strategy going in.

In short, companies need to focus on the fundamentals first. Cover the basics and move forward from there. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with your results.