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At least once a year, usually around Groundhog Day, I think about the enduring comedic genius of Bill Murray and how I should find some time to rewatch his classic 90’s comedy movie of the same title. While the film is ultimately about how we ought to live life, it’s also about the struggle of feeling like you’re living the same day repeatedly which, for work-from-home professionals especially, resonates deeply! Part of the beauty of the story, both for Murray’s character and in our own lives, is that you keep getting new chances. And change won’t happen until we try something fresh and different. Of course, sometimes it takes a lot of tries.
Our question this month: What new things can lenders and loan originators try to change up their results in 2024?
January 2024 has been a bit of a rude awakening for many lenders. After a year of making hard budgetary and staffing cuts, there seemed to be an underlying (albeit unsupported) belief that better things were in store for 2024 and that the turning of the calendar would magically usher in better times. In my post-holiday conversations with several lenders, there has been a sobering sense that the pressures of payroll and other overhead expenses still loom, and will likely continue to for some time — when are those rate reductions coming again? And since no lender has ever “cut their way to success,” industry leaders are beginning to accept the reality that repeating the 2023 strategy of cutting and right-sizing won’t be enough to achieve success in 2024.
Bill Murray’s character in “Groundhog Day” figured this out too. He couldn’t keep doing the same things and expect a different outcome. He had to try new things, grow, and ultimately evolve. In the mortgage industry, that may mean embracing social media strategy or real-world AI applications, or perhaps focusing on what the data says is most important to the borrower to create advocacy — making the process smooth and easy.
It may be time to widen our thinking about social media strategy from “testimonials and five-star reviews” to “expanding our circles of influence.” What can you do to create shareable content? If you’re a loan originator, maybe you could start by creating a video introduction of yourself that talks about your “why” — your reason for doing what you do and why you’d love to work with the person viewing it. Then share with every past client and referral partner and encourage them to pass it along to their friends, family and other potential referrals. And don’t forget to post on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok (you’re on all of them, right?). If you want social media strategy to work for you, you can’t sit back and expect your testimonials to drive new business to you. They won’t. It’s actual word-of-mouth referrals that will fill your pipeline, not silent reviews sitting on a website.
There has never been a better time to create helpful, educational, instructional content for your borrowers and potential borrowers. A quick Chat GPT prompt could give you the basic content for a two-to-three-page PDF “Borrower’s Guide” that walks people through the steps to finding financing and purchasing a home. Just make sure to put it in your own words and use personal stories, anecdotes and humor where appropriate — it needs to have intrinsic value above and beyond the AI-assist, since borrowers now have access to those same AI tools. Make everything you create shareable to expand your reach.
Every January, I make two lists; one that’s titled “Goals” and another that’s titled “Habits.” Guess which one is the more successful list each year? Without fail, it’s the habits list. In fact, over the past five years, it’s running at about a 90 percent success rate vs. 20 percent for my goals. I attribute this to several factors:
So, what are some fresh habits that will help smooth the process for your borrowers this year?
Pick three small-change habits that you can immediately incorporate into your routine. Here are a few more ideas to get your wheels spinning:
In today’s market, the lenders who are intentional about creating a positive customer experience will be the ones that grow the fastest, protect their margins and gain coveted market share. If you’d like to discuss STRATMOR’s MortgageCX program in more detail, email me at email@example.com or find time on my calendar to set up a time to talk.
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