Ask anyone in the mortgage business, whether it’s a broker, packager, technology company, service partner, or lender, and they’ll tell you all that it is a market based on communication.
Brokers in particular will regale you with cases that seemed doomed but managed to get past it with a phone call or email to the right person.
However, I think it is fair to ask whether the communication between the various elements of the mortgage market today is as good as it should be. Not on a case-by-case basis, but broader communication – are lenders, distributors and others doing the best job possible of explaining exactly how they work and what they stand for?
I’m not so sure.
When I think back to the state of the market before the financial crisis, things were rather different and not just because the major trading headlines were all thick print publications. At the time, many of the names representing mortgage companies, taking on the role of spokespersons, were marketers.
Today, however, it is usually the people closest to coal, business managers and heads of middle departments who also act as spokespersons and figureheads.
Now, I can see the value of that for brokers: you get that feedback straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Sales managers are well placed to offer real insight that can help inform how a broker operates.
All communication channels are important
This is the case when it works well, of course, when that spokesperson also happens to be an effective communicator. However, for some, no doubt, communicating with the press and brokers in general is just another task on their to-do list, and if we’re being brutally honest, a task they really don’t want to do.
After all, any sales manager will tell you that their performance is measured in raw numbers, sales made, rather than in response to a thoughtful blog to Mortgage solutions.
It seems easy to forget the true importance of effective communication, but brokers will know for themselves how crucial it is in their own advisory process.
They will know all too well the lenders and distributors who present a confusing image – names that don’t seem to really know what they want to be, unlike the mortgage companies who have a consistent message.
Using a marketing professional as a spokesperson for the trade press offers mortgage companies many advantages.
First, it means these middleman bosses can focus on their day-to-day work, rather than fielding phone calls from reporters looking for the inside scoop. This means devoting all their energies to providing the best possible experience for brokers and their clients.
It also means that these mortgage companies will be in a better position to communicate with the market as a whole, explaining exactly what this lender or distributor really wants to offer.
Good communication leads to good results
When communication is good, brokers will know precisely which lenders are best suited to help certain types of clients to whom they can provide a smoother, stress-free borrowing experience. Additionally, as it is part of their day-to-day work and an important part of the marketing mix, press engagement will no doubt be more proactive, leading to greater coverage and eventual awareness among brokers.
That’s why we created the Mortgage Marketing Forum last year, a community for marketing professionals from across the industry to come together, share ideas and champion the benefits that good marketing can bring. The response the forum has already had in its first six months is cause for optimism – this industry is filled with professionals who want to learn, who want to understand how to get their message across in a rapidly changing environment and develop the skills that will allow them to do just that.
When you have been in the mortgage market for a long time, you obviously risk seeing the past through rose-colored glasses, lamenting that these are no longer the “good old days”. But in many ways, the mortgage market is actually in a much healthier and more sustainable position today than it has ever been.
Yet it is also important to learn from the past. I strongly believe that mortgage companies can do a much better job of communicating with their customers – whether brokers or borrowers – by bringing in professional marketers and making those people the senior executives of the coming.
This will give companies more depth and more insight, knowledge and experience in their sales and marketing operations.