Have you ever thought about your business hours? Not your company’s hours of operations, your business hours. Are you a 9 to 5 type? Or do you put in 70 – 80 hours a week? How would you define your hours of operation to your customers?
Too often the mortgage industry is seen as open during “general business hours”, or a typical 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. But is that how you see your business? Is that how you want your customers to see your business?
Wouldn’t you like to have your business open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year? Wouldn’t you like it if customers could see you, do business with you, any time of the day or night? Do you think your business would increase? Do you think your customers would find value in that convenience?
I know what you must be thinking. How can I be available 24 hours a day 7 days a week? It would cost a fortune to have staff members available all hours of the day. And really, how much mortgage business will there be at 2 or 3 am? Good considerations. But in today’s business world you have the ability to offer your services on a 24/7 basis, and not have to stay up all night.
The proliferation of the Internet and the acceptance of the general public to use the Internet as an acceptable way to do business, can extend your business hours to 24 hours a day. Having your own website, not just a company site, will allow you to actively interact with your customers, 24/7. But to do this properly, your web site must be more than an advertisement or static website with nice pictures but very little value to the visitor.
Your customers must know that your personal website is just like your personal office assistant, it connects them with you and your business directly. The site should illustrate how you conduct your business, how they as a customer will be treated. So how you build a website is crucial. Your site must include certain elements:
a. Interactive. The site has to allow your customers to interact with you in describing and fulfilling their needs. From content to activities like taking an application, the site has to allow your customers the ability fulfill their needs.
b. Relevant Content. Your customers must be able to find content that is important to them. This could include interest rates, loan status, educational content and current mortgage market information. The content should be easily found and delivered in a format best suited to your customer.
c. Communication. Customers need to know you are serious about staying connected to them. They should feel that you treat their loan with absolute priority and that you use the website to help you accomplish this.
d. Security. For your customers to rely on your site as an extension to your office. They must feel their information and communications are private and secure. Each customer should have unique access to obtain and provide information.
Your business day doesn’t have to end when the office doors are shut and locked. Your business can continue to grow as you sleep, relax or take a vacation. Proper use of the Internet will truly allow you to conduct business 24 hours a day, and with those hours where will your business be 1-year or 5 years from today?
Today’s economy may provide your customers wealth building opportunities they may never have considered in the past. With traditional investment sources, such as the stock market, falling to 15 year lows, many consumers should consider moving their money to “Their Own Bank.” No not the bank down the street, but rather they should become their own bank. Many people who have liquid assets continue to buy big ticket items, like cars, boats and furniture, and end up borrowing the purchase from their local bank. If they became their own bank, the interest they would pay these institutions could go to benefit themselves and build wealth along the way.
Here’s what I’m talking about, let’s say Joe has $10,000 in his stock fund, and he wants to buy a car that requires a $10,000 loan. If he were to get that loan from his bank, it would be at 7.5% interest over 4 years, and he would have payments of $241.79 per month.
If Joe took the $10,000 from his stock fund and bought the car; then executed a loan to himself from the “Bank of Joe,” for $10,000 at 7.5% for 4 years, at the end of the 4 years Joe would have paid himself $11,605.92. This would mean his $10,000 returned him 16.05% over 4 years TAX FREE, potentially much better than the stock market would have done over the same period of time.
With a falling stock market and uncertain financial times ahead, your customers need to change how they view money and how they utilize debt to their advantage.
With our current economic times, we as consumers and business owners must become creative in our decision making. MTI has recently begun a blog series designed to provide sales tips for the residential mortgage finance industry, and ideas these professionals may use to benefit their clientele. Each week a tip or idea will be posted, check back often.