Mortgage Marketing Sins That Kill Business Growth

By: Doren Aldana

Little things make a big difference. That's true in marriage, parenting, and in marketing yourself as a mortgage professional. Too often as entrepreneurs we get caught up in the "thick" of "thin things" and we lose touch with what really drives success in our business.

In the little time we have together I want to remind you (or surprise you) of eight deadly marketing sins that mortgage professionals commit that could be crippling your business growth.

Sin #1 - Working "In" Your Business Instead of "On" Your Business

I was working with a consulting client recently who was in a sales slump. I decided to perform a very simple diagnostic. I simply asked him to send me detailed list with all of their activities for the next three days, email them to me, and then give me a call back. He did his homework and I received email listing all his activities and how much time he spent on them.

With an immediate glance I could tell exactly what his problem was - - he had forgotten what business he was in. After reviewing his activities it was clear that he was in the "putting out fires" business because that's where most of his time was spent. Rather than working "on" his business he was working "in" his business.

This mortgage professional (and you) should be spending more time working "on" your business doing things like "planning and marketing," which have a higher long term payoff.

In his popular book, "7 Habits for Highly Effective People" Stephen Covey hammers this point home using his famous "Time Management Matrix." Dr. Covey emphasizes that too many business owners spend their time doing "urgent - but not important" activities when they should be spending their time on "non-urgent- but important" activities.

Non-urgent - but important activities, such as planning and marketing, generate continued and sustainable long term growth.

Sin #2 - Failing to Create and Use a Marketing Plan

Last year I was speaking at a national mortgage conference and had about 100 mortgage professionals in the room. I asked the crowd to hold up their hands if they had a current marketing plan that they use and refer to on a consistent basis. Only three hands went up!

Even I was shocked. Studies have shown that small businesses that create and consistently use marketing plans experience an average of 30% higher sales than their competitors. Wouldn't you like to increase your sales by 30%?

Here are a few tips to help you create your marketing plan.

Tip # 1 - Start your plan choosing a specific niche market to focus your marketing efforts

Tip # 2 - Identify your niche market's problems, fears and frustrations

Tip # 3 - Create a marketing message that offers free information (i.e. special report) that is relevant to your to your target market

Tip # 4 - Break your plan down into mini-plans such as "referral marketing plan", "advertising plan", and "postcard marketing plan."

Tip # 5 - Block schedule 30 minutes every week to review your plan.

Sin #3 - Failing to Implement Systems
A system is a business process that generates predictable, consistent, and replicable results day after day. If you want to see a good example of a system simply visit a fast food franchise like McDonalds or Wendy's. Notice how they do the same things, the same way, every single time.

Unfortunately, most mortgage professionals never take the time to "systematize" their business, which results in duplication, waste, chaos, and ultimately lost sales. Sin # 1 is partly to blame for not getting around to creating and implementing systems.

Sin #4 - Not Marketing to Your Client Database
Many mortgage professionals believe that once you "close the deal" and the happy client walks out the door, then the deed is done and you need to move quickly on to the next prospect. While that's true, your next prospect might have just walked out the door!

Many mortgage professionals tend to think, "My client just financed their home through me - - they're not going to buy another home any time soon so why waste my time on them. Let's find a new prospect." The fact is that you should be getting 60% to 70% of your business from your current clients through referrals and repeat business.

In your marketing plan you should be including customer appreciation events, monthly or quarterly newsletters, and greeting cards all designed to stimulate repeat business. In addition, every small business should implement systems that generate "multiple streams of customer referrals." If you need more ideas for referral systems you might want to visit

Sin #5 - Not Testing and Tracking Your Marketing Efforts

John Wanamaker's famous 1886 quote sums it up very well:

"I know that 50% of my advertising is wasted...
...I just don't know which half!"

There's nothing worse than spending money on a marketing campaign and not knowing whether it worked. It's even worse when you continue to spend money on a marketing campaign that you think is working, but really isn't.

The only way to invest in your marketing efforts with confidence is to test a campaign, track it, and measure your results. That's why I recommend always offering something of low risk, like a special report, seminar, or audio CD to get people to respond immediately via the phone or your website so that you can track your response.

This strategy also allows you to capture your prospects contact information so that you can continue to follow up with them.

Sin #6 - Not Following Up with Your Prospects

Studies have shown that 81% of all sales happen on or after the fifth contact. If you're a mortgage professional and you're only doing one or two follow-ups imagine all the business you're losing.

Not following up with your prospects and customers is the same as filling up your bathtub without first putting the stopper in the drain!

Here are 4 keys to developing a successful follow-up system:

1. Create a lead capture system that is accurate and reliable.
2. Develop compelling follow-up marketing literature that will drive traffic to your website or phone calls.
3. Systematize the process so that the process happens day in and day out, the same way every time.
4. Automate the system as much as possible using a contact management system and/or an outside mailing house to do your mailings.

Sin #7 - "Spraying and Praying"

Believe it or not, not everyone is a good prospect for your mortgage services. If that's the case, why would you spend your precious marketing dollars trying to reach them? It doesn't make sense. If everyone is your prospect then no one is your customer.

Unfortunately, too many mortgage professionals send general marketing message using media like radio, bus stop ads, non-targeted unaddressed mail drops, and general newspaper ads to "spray" their message to everybody and "pray" that enough people see or hear it to make it worth the investment.

Instead of spraying and praying, narrow your focus onto a specific niche market that actually has a need for mortgage financing and then market to people just like them. If your ideal prospect is an apartment renter paying 900+ per month, then find the apartment complexes where those people live and market only to them. Your response rate will go up and your cost per sale will go down when you begin to target your market.

Sin #8 - Not Differentiating Yourself

Did you know that your prospect receives, on the average, over 3, 000 marketing impressions a day! With all that clutter that you have to compete with, how do you make your mortgage business stand out?

How do you differentiate your business in a way that separates you from the competition? Is it with ads that say, "best rates", "best service ", or "unbiased advise?" Everyone else is saying the same thing! You need to differentiate your business in a way that stands out from the crowd and gets noticed.

A simple way to do that is to keep a close eye on the marketing that really captures your attention and make a note of it. Then borrow and modify those strategies and ideas to create your own unique and compelling message.


It's true the majority of mortgage professionals are committing one or more of these marketing sins, but you can repent and improve. My challenge to you is to take just one or two sins that you're committing and focus on improving them. When you've got them nailed move on to another sin and overcome it. Business success usually results from commitment to making small incremental improvements over time.

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