1. Does the mortgage leads company seem reputable?
If possible, find out how long the company has been in business and who the principals are. Check the contact info. Do they have a physical address or just a website with a somewhere-out-there cyberspace location? Do they have a toll-free number AND a standard phone number? If you can't contact this company in the real world, that could be a red flag. Beware offers by email or posted on forums that don't provide a company website address where you can get more information. I've actually seen outrageous offers on mortgage forums for free mortgage leads or cheap mortgage leads where the contact is an email address at hotmail and you pay them through paypal. Scary.
2. Where do the leads come from?
Find out how the company generates their leads. They can come from several areas generally as responses to direct mail campaigns, website inquiry forms or telemarketing. On one forum, I followed a thread where a leads provider was being questioned about the source of her company's leads. She said she was sure they were great leads but she didn't have any idea where they came from. Yipes! How can you judge the quality of the leads without knowing where they come from? No sale.
3. How many times do they sell or recycle the same lead?
This may be a bit hard to find out. If you get a lot of reassurances on the quality but no direct answer on how they're distributed, it's time to move on. Otherwise, you'll learn the truth when you make a few calls and people scream in your ear, "I refinanced 6 months ago. Stop calling me!" Those are stale, recycled leads. Run away. Look for a mortgage leads company that limits distribution, guarantees "freshness" or offers exclusive mortgage leads.
4. How about exclusive mortgage leads?
Exclusive mortgage leads exist and, of course, cost more. Think about return on investment. How much are you willing to spend to generate one successful loan, one commission check? Also, ask what "exclusive" means. It may mean being sold to three to five loan originators. If that's considered exclusive, you can imagine how many times non-exclusive leads are recycled.
5. Can you cherry pick or filter your mortgage leads?
Being able to view the essential factors in a lead before you buy is called cherry picking and it's a real plus. You may be able to cherry pick leads to suit a particular niche you're working. Filtering allows you to specify certain criteria and have matching leads emailed to you. It's only logical to pay for leads that suit your specialty and loan programs. Filtering or cherry picking are great tools that should improve your conversion ratio.
6. Is there a guarantee?
If all the leads you receive from a particular mortgage leads company are bogus or six months old, do you get your money back? Or do they offer replacement leads or credit a dollar amount to the account you have with them? If you're receiving enough good leads to make it worthwhile, replacement leads and dollar credits are acceptable, but if you're getting garbage, replacing it with more garbage isn t much of a guarantee.
7. How much will each mortgage lead cost?
Remember the adage, "you get what you pay for"? It's particularly true for mortgage leads. You need to think percentages. It's a numbers game. You can't honestly expect to close every lead you buy for $20. Watch out for minimum requirements; some companies may require a non-refundable deposit upfront of several hundred dollars. Start small and test the quality before you make a big commitment.
8. What exactly is your financial commitment?
We see contracts online everywhere now, from installing software to signing up for forums, so it's easy to become numb to their importance and just click on "I Accept." This is one instance you want to take the time to read the entire contract. You may be agreeing that you will never request a "charge back" to your credit card or a "stop payment" on a check. (Note: Credit card "charge backs" are done WITHOUT the vendor's agreement. Most vendors prefer you work with them on a refund, not go directly to your credit card company. And incidentally, most credit card companies will not "charge back" a disputed amount under $50. In fact, it's a good idea to never pay $49.99 or less for a service or product you're not sure of unless you're prepared to kiss that money goodbye.) Be cautious when giving anyone permission to bill you monthly without reading every word of the contract. You could be committing to a long-term contract with expensive cancellation penalties.
When it comes to success with mortgage leads, the one element many loan officers overlook is their own contribution. A sales person who can sell ice to Eskimos will do much better than one can't give away water in the desert. Paying for mortgage leads makes no sense if you can't convert the prospect, get the application and close the loan. Polish your phone sales skills until you're comfortable with your presentation. Commit to acting promptly when you receive each lead. And, of course, follow-up with the details all the way to closing. A mortgage lead is only the beginning; it's not a done-deal until you make it so.