As efforts to make big changes at the agency tasked with keeping the lending industry on the straight and narrow are making real progress on Capitol Hill, there's a sort of bait-and-switch out there that vexes consumers and even mortgage professionals: advertised interest rates. The perfectly legal practice of publishing interest rates for people with excellent credit and 20% down payments often leads to consumer confusion and headaches for mortgage loan officers (MLOs).
Buyers who qualify with lower down payments don't read the boring legalese in tiny type and get disappointed when what's available to them doesn't match the teaser numbers they see online and in print. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau was launched to rout out and punish actual abuses, but companies and MLOs who want to build trust and serve the public must find ways to manage - or avoid altogether - this consumer letdown that the industry brings on itself. How can companies and loan officers capture and convert leads - without misleading? Educate and proposition them.
Henry Ford once said, "Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right." This is particularly sage when it comes to home buying. There's no marketing that will make a qualified consumer instantly decide to stop renting and buy a home; however, there's a lot of valuable information that people can relate to that will open their minds to opportunities they wouldn't otherwise realize they have.
Whether people are operating under the incorrect assumption that it takes a 20% down payment to purchase a home, lack understanding of the process or they're unaware of the benefits of building equity versus paying rent, there's an infinite number of opportunities for MLOs and their Realtor partners to simultaneously dispel misguided assumptions and establish themselves as trustworthy resources. Consistently-executed education-based marketing will help you capture consumers' attention without sensationalism.
"Asking for the business" becomes easier after you've already delivered propositions to the consumer: value propositions of homeownership and your unique selling proposition (USP). All of your marketing collateral should incorporate your USP…when was the last time you reviewed or revised it? Get quick tips on how to evaluate the way you're coming across on this episode of our Expert Strategies for Mortgage and RE podcast: Audit Your Brand.
Companies and MLOs seeking success over the long term avoid gimmicks and hype. Today's solid professionals communicate the benefits of what their services provide clearly and honestly in ways that allow consumers to grasp the most critical thing - "What's in it for me?" The right messaging and marketing powered by great technology and follow-up will trump "rate and switch" tactics every time.