As politicians can surely attest, headlines aren't always helpful. On a recent episode of Expert Strategies, Joe Welu discussed how even industry-focused trade publications don't present data in ways that can help mortgage loan officers and their Realtor partners in business.
Recent back-to-back headlines based on data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the S&P Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index shouted, "Home sales are down" and "Home prices are slowing." These captions can easily be misinterpreted and cast doubt on the health of the market, but MLOs should dig deeper to uncover and present what consumers need to know in current conditions and leverage education-based marketing to stimulate interest and propel production.
Tips for Using Education-Based Marketing to Propel Production
A review of the data used in the darkly-headlined stories actually reveals great fodder to engage potential home buyers and sellers:
- For people concerned about rising home prices, history is not repeating itself.
- “Housing is not repeating the bubble period of 2000-2006: price increases vary across the country unlike the earlier period when rising prices were almost universal; the number of homes sold annually is 20 percent less today than in the earlier period and the months’ supply is declining, not surging. The small supply of homes for sale, at only about four months’ worth, is one cause of rising prices. New home construction, higher than during the recession but still low, is another factor in rising prices.” - David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
- Sales are happening; people want to buy homes.
- Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops showed June's sales pace at 0.7 percent above a year ago. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun interpreted their latest data from two perspectives: "The demand for buying a home is as strong as it has been since before the Great Recession. Listings in the affordable price range continue to be scooped up rapidly, but the severe housing shortages inflicting many markets are keeping a large segment of would-be buyers on the sidelines. The good news is that sales are still running slightly above last year's pace despite these persistent market challenges."
Producers need to look beyond the headlines and have a general understanding of trends and data on a national level, and they must also must know everything that's going on in their local market, including what's on the minds of target customers. Reviewing pain points and consumer concerns with respect to current area and industry events on a regular basis is key.
MLOs need to be students of the industry and study their target customers rather than simply reacting to what's going on in the business. It's easy to forget that average consumers buy and sell homes fewer than ten times throughout their lifetimes, so concise, simplified dialogues that speak to their real-life issues and goals will get you further than quoting NAR and Case-Shiller.
Using the News to Connect with Prospects and Clients
There are three basic steps to adeptly 'use the news' as an MLO to connect with prospects and referral partners:
- Stay on top of the data and stories, nationally and locally.
- Identify consumer pain points in light of current events and conditions.
- Develop talking points and solutions that address concerns your target customers have.
Headlines will happen, but motivated MLOs can use them to start meaningful conversations that differentiate them from their competitors. For more on this, check out our podcast, Expert Strategies: Using the News.