The Future of Small
Globalization and Cowboys
When we were growing up, our mothers and fathers taught us many
lessons that were true - one of which is that the earth is
round. It was easy to believe and understand. We could see
pictures from outer space and every class room had a globe. We
in turn, taught our children that...
The World Is Round... Or Is It?
At first, humans believed the world was flat, because everything
they saw was flat. If the world was round, one would most
certainly fall off. Then, after Columbus and Magellan, man
learned the world is round, and this information was handed down
through the generations. While we believe the world is round,
should we really be teaching our children this?
And Now, We Find The World Is Flat Again.
Thomas Friedman, a globalization expert, writes in his new book
"The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century"
that world is no longer round. Here is why.
We Be Smart, Ain't We?
It used to be that America was smart and other countries
(especially third world countries) quite frankly we not so
smart. A high school drop-out on welfare would earn more money
than almost anyone else in the world. Overseas labor was cheap,
but it was too far away.
Now countries like China and India produce more engineers per
year than America. Our "advantage" over these countries is
Cheap Labor Is Now One Day Away
There are two ends to the income spectrum. First, there are over
2.5 billion people living in China, India and Indonesia. This is
about 41% of the world's population. The vast majority of these
people have an average per capita income in the $1,000 - $4,000
range. At the other end are the countries like the U.S., Japan,
Germany, France, Canada and the UK. This group totals over 500
million people and, depending on the country, has an average
income in excess of $11,500.
Geography is becoming less of an issue as we can either put a
document in an overnight delivery pouch and have it seamlessly
delivered anywhere in the world for less than $30, or we can
wire funds to an overseas bank in minutes. Ships carrying
container trucks flow from Asia as easily as we drive from the
suburbs to downtown. This is further demonstrated by looking at
Wal-mart. It has over 6,000 suppliers. Of those 6,000 suppliers,
5,000 are in China.
How a Flat World Impacts Your Mortgage Business
A flat world means that your mortgage business is open game to
competition. The same way in which call centers, engineering
projects, IRS tax preparation and living trust documents have
been out-sourced to offshore companies indicates it is only a
matter of time before foreign corporations come into the
mortgage market by establishing a domestic presence, while doing
all the processing out of, say, India. It is hard for a mortgage
owner who pays a receptionist $14,000 - $20,000 a year to
compete when the ENTIRE staffing costs of an overseas mortgage
entity can be subsidized for the same amount.
Of course the U.S. branch office of an overseas company will
employ a facade of Americans as the "in-office" salespeople. But
all of the processing work (and probably customer service) will
be handled by more cost effective labor alternatives.
MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE
We suggest that our clients compose template responses to emails. Most companies will require 5-10 standard responses such as: “Our current interest rates are,” or “Here are the loan application steps.” When constructing your emails be sure
NOT TO SHOUT (all caps) and don’t use excessive punctuation like this!!!!!!
One of the problems with visitor created email is that they generally don’t know everything to ask, i.e. “I asked for this, but I really meant...” By developing a comprehensive FAQ list and incorporating the FAQ’s into your email (and onto your web site) you can be of great service to your customers.
UP FRONT AND PERSONAL
There is a joke that goes as follows: “My spouse keeps complaining that I never listen, or something like that.”
When a potential customer visits your web site and requests information; are you really sending what they requested? The critical aspect to using a template response is to place the answer to the customer’s question first and at the top of your email reply. Even though the answer to the customer’s inquiry is embedded in your comprehensive FAQ; copy and paste the answer and place it at the top of the email so they customer can easily find it.
The moral of the story is to answer the customer’s question FIRST. If not, all your efforts to build a web site, drive customers, and to convince the visitor to give you information...is lost.
I'M LATE, I'M LATE. FOR A VERY IMPORTANT DATE.
Your response time to a customer inquiry is crucial. If you expect to gain additional business from the Internet you need to respond in a very timely manner. And in Internet time, that generally means within a few hours.
I BE PROFESSIONAL. IZ YOU GUYS?
A professional appearance is vital so your customers feel comfortable working and completing their loan with your organization. Your email response must be free of typos and utilize proper grammar. Items such as missing punctuation, layout problems, and capitalization of words, should be corrected before sending to the customer.
LEAVE A TRAIL FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS
One of the most overlooked aspects of a great email response is the "signature" at the end of the email. It should comprehensive so the person can contact your company via email or phone or so they can go back to the web site with a click of the mouse.
The elements of an effective signature are:
- name, title
- mailing address
- email address
direct, fax & toll free numbers
- hyperlink back to your web site
And finally, you may want to consider a little competitive intelligence work and visit those sites that offer the same mortgage services as you. Complete their application forms (using a Hotmail or AOL address) and receive their email responses. You may be surprised at what you find.
You are in a very competitive business (some say cut throat), so by using the full power of your follow-up
email's, you can make a 'killing.'
Web site: www.mortgagepromote.com.
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