q2databaseconsulting

Starting and Building Your Database

In ACT!, CRM, CRM Best Practices, Database Management, Drip Marketing, drip marketing CRM Mortgage Mortgage marekting to clients mortgage markeitng to realtors, Loan Officer, Loan Origination Software, Marketing tools for loan officers, Mortgage, Uncategorized on August 12, 2016 at 5:37 pm

Across the mortgage industry, there is a fundamental truth that you may have heard of on more than one occasion.  This truth is build your business by design, not by accident. This is true for any business and is especially potent in the mortgage industry. This is because providing mortgages for people is almost more relationship driven than it is transactional.

As a mortgage professional you are privy to some of the most private information a person has, their financial status, their financial dreams, and since personal and financial is so closely interwoven you usually end up knowing a lot about their family, personal relationships etc. In order to provide the highest service levels, you must be able to keep track of not only the data on their loan transaction, but also all the related information about their life, their dreams etc., as it pertains to their financial needs. You also need to stay in touch with them between loan transactions. The only way to do this effectively is with a database tool.

If you have any fear about building your database or don’t consider yourself to be “good with systems”, you should stop thinking that way. It can be what stands between you and high sales volume, as well as a quality life/work balance. Most of today’s contact management tools are much easier to use and navigate than ever – and that’s great news. A contact management tool can be something as basic as an Excel spreadsheet or Outlook or something more robust like the ACT! contact relationship management (CRM) tool.

Below are 7 tips for building your database. Go at this task with confidence and get help when you need it!

Top 7 Tips for Building Your Database from Scratch:

  1. Start with the list of names and numbers in your phone and email system. Add them into your database.
  1. If you have any hard files or printed applications transfer those contacts into your database. Sound time consuming? Hire your kid, one of your friends’ kids, post the project on local college job boards, Craigslist, or any of the many job sites on the internet.  Depending on your comfort level, you can give them direct login access, have them enter data, and then change your password for security reasons afterwards.  A tip is that after you show them what you need, check the results after they enter about 10 names with contact information to make sure there is nothing missed or incorrect. You do not want to wait until the project is done to find out they were entering information incorrectly. Not comfortable with someone accessing your database directly? You can still scan and send your hard files over a secure online document center like www.Hightail.com , and have them manually enter the information to an Excel spreadsheet which you could then import into your database. There are many loan officers that have a variety of separate Excel files with contact information. Hire someone to compile them into 1 cohesive Excel worksheet for easier data import.
  1. Gather names, address, email and phone information from your family, friends, work out buddies from the gym, people from your church or place of worship, community groups, and more. Simply let them know what you do and ask for their permission to send them mortgage and financial strategies tips from time to time.
  2. Start with people you know, then network to get to the people they know! Ask your relatives and friends for the contact information for any of their friends, co-workers, and other acquaintances that they feel comfortable sharing with you.
  1. Utilize social media. Before you start, make sure you have social media pages you are happy with. Facebook and LinkedIn pages should be enticing, professional and clear. These sites need to highlight your skills in helping people realize their dreams of property ownership. If you are not a marketing or social media expert, good news! As mentioned in item 2, http://www.Fiverr.com is a great resource for projects. Use search keywords like “Improve” and “Consult” along with the social media site you need help with and see the long list of results that show up. For example “Improve my LinkedIn page”.  Again,most projects are only $5.00!

    Next, search social media sites for anyone you have crossed paths with, even if they do not live in your market area. Ask to be their friend in Facebook and ask to link to them in LinkedIn. Your contact may not be local but may know someone who is. While that contact may not be a great lead or referral source right now, they have the potential to become one.

    You would be surprised how getting the word out about the services you offer,without holding back, will help create new leads.

  1. Branch Out. Perhaps you have heard mixed reviews on getting involved with networking functions and groups. However, do not let the experiences of some people deter you from having your own. One of the most well-known networking groups is http://www.bni.com. Business Networking International (BNI) is one the largest worldwide companies that offers meetings and services to connect professionals and business owners in a particular community. Even better is to join groups that you are passionate about and then take opportunities to offer your services, such as veterans assistance groups, hospital volunteer groups, animal rescue groups, bike clubs, book clubs, the list is endless. Your passion for the cause or group comes first. Getting new business from the group is secondary. This will absolutely expose you to more opportunities to help others with the expertise you offer.

    Procure another mortgage originator’s or real estate agent’s database. Do you know of a mortgage professional or realtor that is about to move or retire? If so, they may be willing to sell you their database, along with a co-branded transition and introduction email to their entire database. This is a powerful way to get qualified leads that are usually immediately open to checking out you and your services.

 

We can help you with any of your contact database management and marketing needs. Contact us today to learn more!

Donna Quisenberry is a Certified Consultant with Q2 Database Consulting Service. Q2 is a full service company providing complete solutions for your database and marketing management needs. Reach Donna at info@proassistmarketing.com, or (760) 434-3431.

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Why a “Drip” Is Hip – 5 Important Factors in Support of the Drip Marketing method

In ACT!, Drip Marketing, Marketing tools for loan officers, Mortgage on April 24, 2015 at 12:37 am

When it comes to marketing and staying in contact with your current or prospect customers and referral partners, there is no magic bullet that will perfectly reach out to each person in your database at exactly the moment they need help with a loan transaction.  Considering the value of your time and money compared to the reward, one of the most effective sales/marketing methods currently available is drip marketing.

Drip marketing began shortly after email technology became prevalent around the world. Drip marketing should not be confused with SPAM! Drip marketing is a system that is designed to send relevant and interactive content that informs your clients and associates based on where they are in the sales process.

Ask yourself this question: Do you have the time to create and provide customized client-specific articles to each and every contact regarding specific lending opportunities or items of interest? Do you have time to create and send out customized Realtor articles to each of your current and prospect Realtors in your database on a one-on-one basis? The fact is no one has time for this type of high-touch sales nurturing, especially considering every single person that visits your website sends you an email, has done business with you in the past, finds you via Google, LinkedIn, ActiveRain, property search, loan program search, or met you at a conference or networking event.

This is where drip marketing takes the crown as the top marketing and sales technique used by mortgage lenders and myriad other business models – because it gives you the ability to stay on the minds of your contacts/customers, and keeps them on your business radar.

These are some of the most important factors that support the decision to implement a drip marketing campaign for your business:

# 1 – It is critical to stay in touch with your prospects, customers, and referral partners.
There is a huge marketplace for just about every service and product in existence. If you do not consistently stay in touch with your contacts, there is an incredibly high probability that you will lose them.  This is true not only because they are likely being constantly contacted by competitors, but also because if you let these contacts fall off your communication radar, it sends a message that they are not important to you and your business.

# 2 – Consistency is key.
Imagine a desert – it is an intensely hot and arid terrain. Rain showers are few and far between, but when they come they flood the landscape, plants begin to grow and life is abundant. This spark of growth is very short lived as the intense sun begins to beat down on the terrain again and the vegetation immediately dries up and dies. Does this scenario sound like your current marketing efforts?  Do you remember you should be ‘doing something’ to market your services, so you get an article or two sent out to hundreds of people, and then over the next weeks or months or years…nothing is sent out?

The contact that is not ready to do business with you today may be ready next month, or in 2 years, or at “XX” time in the future. If they do not hear from you consistently, they will forget about you. The best approach is steady, thoughtful “stay in touch” contact with your customers, not a flood every once in a while in between long periods of drought.

# 3 – It is impossible to stay in touch with your customers by phone or ‘ad hoc’ individual emails and remain competitive.

The time that it takes to make a single thoughtful phone call or write an email to a client seems like no big deal. But multiply that single person by the number of people you have in your entire business database and we begin to see some serious work hours. Hours that no business model can spare when there are so many sales to lock in, active pipeline issues, as well as Realtors and referral partners to develop sales strategies with.

#4  – Availability. Thanks to technology, sophisticated drip email marketing systems are available to everyone with an internet connection.

Not too long ago, only large corporations were able to spend the incredible amounts of money necessary to constantly reach out to customers.  This was mostly done through mailings, radio and TV commercials.  Small businesses and sole proprietors were very limited in their revenue growth potential because without the proper funds to invest in mailings, TV or radio marketing, their reach into the market was confined and restricted – never mind the quality of their product or service.

Boy, have times changed! There are many database and marketing solutions available to take you from a flood/drought marketing method to a sensible, effective and consistent “stay in touch” technique without requiring lots of ongoing time, effort, or expense.

#5 – Internet and email is pervasive in Western culture: Shouldn’t your business be too?
The internet is everywhere. It’s free at restaurants and coffee shops, and cheap and available to the masses. And with the recent net-neutrality win with the FCC it will only become more so. With these changes coming fast, email (and social media) marketing remains the lowest-cost and highest-yield method for communication and marketing. Since some email marketing tools on the market include an option to automatically post email drip campaign content to your social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, you are able to market your business through two major channels at no extra time or cost.

In any economic climate drip marketing is a proven method for helping to drive in new business, as well as providing ongoing nurturing of your relationship with prospects, current customers, past customers and referral partners.

If you still aren’t quite convinced you should implement drip marketing, all you have to do is ask yourself:  What am I doing to keep in touch with the 85% of my prospects who aren’t ready to move forward with a purchase or refinance today, but will likely be ready at some point in the future?

Want an automated drip campaign system for your Clients and Realtors turned on by tomorrow? ProAssist Marketing is a ready-to-go solution for you that incorporates the unique and relevant monthly Loan Officer Magazine articles into an automated drip system for you.  Please check it out at: http://www.proassistmarketing.com/

Free Stuff. As a special bonus, sign up for a free 60-day E-Marketing trial through the site below, and get one consulting and training session for free, PLUS your first billable month basic subscription fee is covered by Q2 Database Consulting Services.

Top 5 Habits of a Database Power User

In ACT!, CRM, CRM Best Practices, Database Management, LinkedIn, Loan Officer, Loan Origination Software, Mortgage, Power User, Synchronization on June 6, 2014 at 6:48 pm

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With all the time and effort required to close a loan, it is more imperative than ever to have a powerful and easy to use contact and marketing management database system with the most evolved and easy strategies in place. Below are the top 5 habits of database power users. A key measurement for determining a ‘database power user’ is an increase in business revenue in synergy with greater efficiencies and time savings.

1. Use a ‘Command Center’ type of database tool.
There are a multitude of systems available now claiming to be a ‘CRM’ aka Contact Relationship Management tool, however, most of them only provide part of an overall database and marketing strategy. Some are good marketing only tools, offering automated marketing as well as the ability to create and send your own marketing, but they do not have all the other components of a day-to-day contact management tracking and marketing tool. Power users use database tools that provide not only the ‘broad’ marketing components, but also modern day-to-day tracking components. Day to day tracking components include, but are not limited to: conversation tracking, central email history tracking, calendar and shared/team calendar capabilities, data mining and/or ‘lookup’ abilities, creating categories or groups, drip and targeted marketing (automated and/or manual) social media connections, mobile device access etc. There are tools available today that provide all your needs in what I like to call a ‘command center’ fashion. Whenever possible, it is the most effective and efficient to centralize your day to day tracking needs, as well as your marketing needs from one system. Not only do you not have duplicate data entry requirements for separate systems, you also have complete information visibility including individual contact information, follow up tools, calendaring, tracking, reporting, marketing etc from one central system.

2. Seek Expertise.
This is something you likely wish your own prospects would do more often. Would you recommend someone looking to refinance their house should get program and rate information from their dentist, a well-intended relative, or anyone who is not a professional mortgage planner ? Picking the right CRM /database tool with the right marketing automation solution is critical to increasing sales. Don’t get distracted with the ‘shiny database and marketing objects’ for mortgage professionals. Getting the right help from an expert is critical in making sure you do not get burdened with inefficient complex processes that can end up being incredibly expensive. These systems can not only be expensive ‘out the door’, but even more so because they do not work and/or are complex to manage, and then you have to start all over again with a different tool.

Two people at computer top 5 habits

Hand in hand with this is the willingness to get some training.   Top producing database power users include some level of training from an expert in their database management strategy. It does not take much, usually just one or two hours of training can provide you with a quantum leap in using your database tool to get new business, as well as effectively keep previous customers. An expert can be a professional consultant such as myself, or if you are lucky enough to have a database power user in your midst, they may be willing to show you the ropes as well.

Training videos and manuals are great as support to your abilities, but nothing replaces hands on training to bring together the mechanics (ie click here to create a template), but much more importantly, the strategies, for how to get the most from your database every single day.

3. Open Your Database and Use It All Day, Every Day.
Believe it or not, this is not stating the obvious. You should be opening and using your database tool every day. Here’s the power users morning regimen: coffee, open email tool, open database tool, open loan origination system. Some database tools, such as ACT!, interface seamlessly with your email system for even more synergy in your daily communications. Your database is your daily command center where ‘everything ‘ goes including new contacts, updates to current contacts, conversation logs, calendaring, marketing, tracking, reporting, follow up strategies etc.

4.  Be a “Grouper”.
Power users always have some type of database segmentation or grouping strategy. This not only provide a way for quick visibility to the various types of contacts, it also helps support smarter marketing efforts based on a customer’s profile. The only time an email blast to your entire database may be effective is if you are sending a major market update announcement, an announcement that you changed companies, etc. Please note that I did not mention newsletters. There is no market data to suggest a monthly mortgage newsletter is a business creating strategy in modern times. Newsletters via email used to be the new cool thing in about 2006 and for a few years afterwards. Statistics show that now they are tossed before reading in most cases, and actually can lead to an increase in opt outs. The information overload syndrome brought on by the Internet Age affects most of us and a newsletter is a more obsolete ‘mass consumption spoon feeding’ communication method. Consumers are much more sophisticated in how they get their information than even 3 years ago. Information sharing used to be all about publishing and pushing, now it is about publishing and delivering pertinent content to different groups, and/or consumers reaching out and seeking information that applies to them in a very specific way. If you feel certain sending newsletters are helping to drive in business, that’s great, but make sure you are monitoring results to see if it is still as effective as it used to be for you. The key is to keep the information flow from you to your contacts a positive experience overall. Consumers are just more apt to read about something you are sending them that is specific to their particular situation than a generic newsletter. With the right tools it is also a lot easier than ever before to segment your database so you can not only have visibility to contacts in your different categories, but also create or copy an email template and quickly send it to people in a particular group that will get the most from that particular content.

Some examples of database groups or categories in the prospect pillar alone includes, but is not limited to: purchase shopping prospects, first time home buyer prospects, debt repair prospects, investor prospects, apartment dweller prospects, etc. You can see how within just the prospect category alone, there are many segments that each would benefit from a different approach with specific and targeted marketing and follow up strategies.   For example, it is much more powerful to send your debt repair prospects tips on how to improve your credit score or tips on creating a budget etc, than it would be to send that same content to your investor prospects.

5. Stay in Touch.
Staying in contact with prospects, current customers, and customers that you have completed transactions for, is a proven path to increased and recurring sales opportunities. The sales and business advisory firm giant, Forrester Research, has quantified this by stating that those who excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost than those who don’t. A lead includes any contact that you have not done business with yet, all of your contacts currently in a transaction, as well as all of your closed transaction contacts. It is faulty to think that once you have completed a satisfactory transaction for a contact, that they are no longer a lead. A lead is a lead before and after a transaction. The attention in courting them should never diminish. A lead that you have completed a transaction for should immediately be one of your advocates. These ‘post close leads’ are now a virtual member of your sales team, not only coming back to you for their future transactions, but also referring other leads to you. It is a mistake to either let a ‘post close lead’ fall off your radar, or to just throw a ‘closed’ contact into a generic marketing campaign like your newsletter list, thinking this is all that is needed to keep you on their radar for the next transaction. The transaction needs to be one they were pleased with of course, however, you also need to begin to re-court them as a new lead as soon as the transaction is over.

So how do you approach this sometimes daunting task of creating, improving, and most importantly implementing your power user database and marketing plan ? As usual, the best approach is bite size pieces. Below are some important building blocks in your overall database and marketing plan. Hopefully these ideas will help you begin or fine tune your database management and marketing processes. Please don’t be a ‘deer in the headlights’, if you are not sure how to start or how to expand your current stay in touch activities, please seriously consider getting help from a marketing and database management expert such as myself. The time and money you save by getting your database and marketing plan actually implemented will far exceed what you thought you were saving by ‘tinkering’ with putting the pieces together on your own, reinventing the wheel, or not doing anything. Just as I seek out a mortgage professional when I need help with a property transaction, it is prudent for you to leverage an expert in this critical part of your business strategy.

Stay in Touch Plan Building Blocks:

  1. Have a central master command center database and marketing tool
  2. Enter all contacts into your tool, and/or have an automated synchronization from your other applications (ie LOS, web sites, email systems, smartphones etc)
  3. Learn Best Practices for your particular tool from an expert and/or peer
  4. Segment your database into specific ID types or groups based on their profile
  5. Obtain, review and modify marketing templates.
  6. Set up a follow up system and/or utilize an automated marketing solution
  7. Be CAN-SPAM compliant. For ‘mass’ emails, make sure your database tool has a professional white label email service component. For example, ACT! has an E-marketing option for sending CAN-SPAM compliant emails directly from your ACT! database.

We can help you with all of these elements, please contact us today for more information !

Donna Quisenberry is a Certified Consultant with Q2 Database Consulting Service. Q2 is a full service company providing complete solutions for your database and marketing management needs. Please contact Donna at donnaquisenberry@sbcglobal.net, or (760) 434-3431.