internet marketing

How to Understand Your Mortgage Customer's Appetite

The mortgage business puts food on the table for most of our readers. By 
understanding your clients' needs, you can help you bring home a few extra 

Are you going to eat that brownie?

Imagine two people at a mortgage business luncheon. The first person has a sweet tooth, and the other is a very skinny, health-conscious, individual. Mr. Sweet Tooth missed breakfast and loves brownies and noticed that dessert will be the 'Double Chocolate Supreme Brownie.' He casually (strategically) sits next to Ms. Health Conscious. They have a pleasant lunch conversation about the mortgage industry, interest rates, customers, etc. 

When dessert arrives he notices that Ms. Health Conscious simply pushes the untouched brownie away from her. Mr. Sweet Tooth gazes lovingly at the large, double chocolate, nut-topped, freshly baked supreme brownie, and then casually asks, "Are you going to eat that brownie?"

"Why, no," she replies. Then after a brief silence she asks, "Would you like it?"

"Thank you. I think I will." He says, barely under control, "I like brownies."

A few bites later he looks at Ms. Health Conscious and asks, "What was your name again?"

Questioning the question.

One of my business partners taught me this obvious (but extremely valuable) business lesson about potential customers. She told me, "People ask questions for a reason. Listen to the question, then determine why they have asked it... and you will understand what they really want." 

She went on to explain that if you ask yourself ' why someone is asking the question', you may be able to better address their true concerns. It is more than an understanding of the "What is in it for me" concept. It is a skill that (when properly applied), allows you to understand what potential mortgage customers truly want to know.

In our 'brownie' example above, Mr. Sweet Tooth wasn't really concerned if Ms. Health Conscious was going to eat the treat. 

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He obviously was concerned about his own well-being. When you receive inquiries from your online customers, you have the opportunity to understand what it is they want and fulfill their need. You have to practice...

Hearing between the lines. 

If you listen close enough, you will find it can be like a 3D chess game... you have to think on multiple planes. First listen for the question. Then make sure you answer the customer's question. And then offer any additional information that will help your customer make an informed decision.

Assume you are a Phoenix-based mortgage company and you receive the following call from a potential customer in Dallas, and let's apply the brownie-technique:

Brownie-less: Customer: Do I have to sign up online? Response: We put it online for the convenience of our customers.

Using the 'do you want that brownie technique', the conversation should have gone like this: What customer meant: Do I have to sign up online? [I don't trust sending personal information of the Internet... or I am too lazy to do this, can't you fill out the form for me? What response should be: We put our application form online for the convenience of our customers. We can also mail you the paperwork. Or if you prefer, you can give us the information over the phone and we will complete it for you.

 Brownie-less: Customer: Oh, I see your company is located in Phoenix; I used to live there. Response: Yes, Phoenix is a great town. I just love it here.

Brownie-technique: What customer meant: Oh, I see you are located in Phoenix; I used to live there. [I am in Dallas, you are in Phoenix, I wonder if you are reputable company ] What response should be: Yes, Phoenix is a great town. I just love it here. Our company has been in business for 14 years and last year we did over $600M in business. We are also a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau. What town do you live in?

E-mail: a great tool to understanding what your clients want.

Your e-mail can save you thousands of dollars in research and market studies.

You can read about 'the complex dynamics of marketing to Internet buyers,' or 'on balancing the diverse characteristics of Internet buyers' and 'how to develop your online lending site's marketing strategy based on the user demographics.' But if you use your e-mail as a marketing research tool, you can specifically understand the needs of your clients; quickly and inexpensively.

E-mail is a great source of understanding your customers' desires. E-mail offers a brief, non-demanding format, so customers can get right to their question. Simply pay attention to what your customer is asking and why.

For example if a potential customer writes an e-mail, "Do I need a credit check to get a loan?" You would assume that they have some credit problems you need to address.

Our rule of thumb is that if you are asked a question more than once, you need to include that information on your web site. So if you only do 'A paper' loans (no problem credit loans), then you want to put this information on your site to save you and your customer time. 
If a customer asks, "Do you make loans in Texas?" You should make sure you include a web page that lists all the states in which you are licensed. Seems pretty straight forward, but it amazing how many large mortgage companies waste valuable employee time ($$) responding to the same e-mail questions. 

A final bite...

Pay close attention to what your customers are asking in their calls and in their e-mails---they are asking these questions for a reason. Don't just offer an application online, your company also needs to offer answers to your customer's needs. The more you are of value to a customer, the more likely they are to conduct business with you.

Now isn't that sweet?


Rod Aries and Robert Farris are co-founders of a leading Internet based marketing provider to the mortgage industry. Web site: offers web site lead generation services, proven Internet marketing techniques, and search engine management strategies to mortgage brokers, bankers, and lending institutions. Home

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