by John Egan
The parent company of Quicken Loans recently made a deal heard ’round the mortgage world.
Detroit-based Rock Holdings Inc., which owns Quicken Loans, agreed in January to buy LowerMyBills.com, a generator of mortgage leads and other finance-related leads, along with ClassesUSA.com, a generator of higher education leads, from Los Angeles-based Core Digital Media. The pending purchase marks Rock Holdings’ entry into the lead acquisition market; Quicken Loans already was a “featured provider” on LowerMyBills.com.
In the business of mortgage leads, the LowerMyBills.com deal could be a harbinger of things to come.
Mortgage sales trainer Dale Vermillion, CEO of Vermillion Consulting, says the deal “will probably result in more companies trying to do the same.”
“Developing your own lead sources will become paramount in 2017 and beyond. Therefore, having in-house lead generation telemarketing and portfolio renewal will be big players [in the mortgage industry],” Vermillion says.
At LeadsCon Las Vegas 2017, Vermillion will moderate a session titled “Are Mortgage Sales Ready for a Tesla Moment?” The session will explore how technology is reshaping the selling of home loans — particularly when it comes to millennial buyers, who lean toward online transactions.
Vermillion says technology and online lead generation are playing a bigger role in the mortgage industry. These tools will be especially important as mortgage lenders gird for a rise in interest rates, he says, and for a subsequent drop-off in mortgage leads.
In the refinance sector, the on-the-horizon hikes in interest rates mean lenders will “have to move to relationship-based, solution-oriented, cash-out refis,” Vermillion says, “and get very aggressive on expanding products and guidelines.”
Ahead of the rate hikes, homebuyers will be scrambling to secure mortgage loans before interest rates climb too high, according to Vermillion. This pending increase should move many homebuyers “off the fence,” he says.
In a blog post on B2B Labs, writer Ben Bradley suggests that to compete in the mortgage sector amid increasing rates, lenders (and, by extension, lead generators) should tweak their strategies to focus on first-time homebuyers and special financing programs (such as FHA and VA loans).
“The refinancing market may be slow today, but there are always new homebuyers looking to enter the market,” Bradley writes.
“Having the right resources and tools at your disposal for potential homebuyers can be the first step in increasing your mortgage leads with first-time homebuyers,” he adds. “It also increases your chances that when the refinancing market is ripe again, those customers will come back to you to serve their mortgage needs.”
Against the backdrop of climbing interest rates, Vermillion envisions online lead generation growing in importance in the mortgage business, as many traditional forms of marketing, such as direct media, become harder to execute.
Given the potentially challenging mortgage environment triggered by rate increases, Vermillion offers this advice to mortgage lead generators: “Get your ‘A’ game on.”
“You have to really target-market and segment for those borrowers you can create value for, build a powerful relationship and value-based approach, and expand your repeat and renewal opportunities whenever possible,” Vermillion says.
Click here to register for LeadsCon Las Vegas 2017.