It is important to note that advertising is not marketing. Marketing is getting the right message to the right market (your target clients) using the right media – hopefully in a profitable way. Advertising is just one possible component of marketing.
What I had done was to be an early adopter of the latest new media, the internet. I learnt some effective methods of online advertising but that is a giant leap from understanding effective marketing. And everything I was doing was very easily replicated by other Brokers and I wasn’t able to stay ahead of the pack.
As more and more Brokers started setting up websites and advertising online — even with the support of search engine optimisation and Google Adwords experts who knew a lot more than I did – the cost to generate each online inquiry became more and more expensive. And the prospective clients we spoke to were more likely to have also visited other websites making the sales process ever more difficult.
Also, even in the best of times, it was clear that the responses we got to our advertising were very tentative and required a lot of sales effort to convert them to clients. We had no real differentiation from other Brokers, so prospective clients approached us with no commitment to us and we had to ‘win them over’ with a strong sales performance over the phone.
Effective marketing should bring you client inquiries that already know a lot about what you do, how you do it and why you are a better choice than all the other options they have. When they contact you they are already strongly predisposed to use your services making the sales process easy. We all know this is the case with people who have been referred to us by their friends who have previously used our services. What we need to do is to create Initial Marketing processes that create similar ‘warmed up’ clients.
I had made the same mistake that many Brokers do in having one primary source of business which was easy for my competition to also use. I had no point of difference. All I had was a place I was advertising with a generic ‘Trust me! I’m a Broker with a lot of lenders’ message. My share of inquiries was therefore simply a reflection of how many other Brokers were also advertising in that space with the same message. How many we converted to clients was simply a reflection of how good we were at the sales stage.
Whilst I was very successful at online advertising and settled billions of dollars in loans through it, it was clear I had to take my marketing to the next level.
The great advantage I have had is that the early success of my business has given me the luxury of time to educate myself extensively on marketing methods. And not just on those used by Mortgage Brokers, but also from other industries to see what can be customised and applied to our industry. I have also had the resources to build marketing assets and test new methods, working with over a hundred Mortgage Brokers along the way to see what really works.
Additionally, my educational background in Psychology, I believe, gives me a different perspective than many people who predominantly have financial experience. In the main, this is because the Mortgage Broking industry is NOT a finance business — it is a sales and marketing business. Sales and marketing is what gets your clients to you, finance is just the service you provide.