Are your lead generation strategies really effective?

Zak Wilford is a specialist recruiter that works with both commercial and residential finance brokers, sub-aggregators and other groups to help them grow through hiring great people. 

I recently read an article from a highly experienced Aggregator BDM; someone that has been on my radar for a while because I’ve seen how he operates on LinkedIn and admire that for someone with so much experience in the industry is adopting new approaches and using new channels to market himself. 

However, this recent article posted around lead generation for brokers had me itching. It was an article following a seminar run for entry-level mortgage brokers in which they developed a list of ideas on how to generate leads. 

The first: a very vague and, I imagine, slightly blurred and misunderstood idea - a Facebook marketing campaign. With Facebook’s complex marketing platform and a range of different options available on the campaign strategy and audiences to target, I found myself wondering what it was they discussed and how it is they intended on leveraging this powerful channel. 

Did they talk about running Facebook dark posts targeted against those that work for real estate companies? A great way to get your brand in front of potential referral partners. Or, was it something more consumer focused?

Or, maybe it was something linked to the second suggestion on the list - “speak to hair dressers”? Maybe they were considering running the dark posts against hairdressers as ”they can be good referrers”?

Number 4 was “produce labelled water bottles”. I’d be interested in seeing the ROI on this one. I dare say it wouldn't be advice I’d give to entry-level brokers looking to develop a lean start up business with minimum expense during the initial few months of finding their feet, but maybe I'm missing a trick. Another was to leaflet drop!

There was no other mention of social media. I’m passionate about this kind of stuff because I’ve seen brokers fall flat as a result of tired, old advice around how to develop referral partners and generate leads. Conversely, I have also seen success as a result of leveraging digital strategies. 

It is not that I am looking to humiliate or put down this BDM or the approach of brainstorming lead generation ideas. I’m not. It’s more that I am constantly reminded of how far behind the mortgage broking industry is, and how much potential exists. Potential for success, potential to out-perform, potential to be the best operator. 

I showed the article to a friend of mine who I sometimes work alongside. She is a Director of Marketing for a not-for-profit group and suggested I let the article pass and to not say anything, but whilst admittedly controversial, I felt compelled to comment.  

We are living through such a huge culture shift right now and businesses can leverage so many different channels that already have consumer attention. Attention is like currency, it is absolutely key!  Channels like Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, Linkedin, Periscope, Snapchat. Don't get me started on 360 Video, virtual reality and how they will eventually become tools for marketing, especially in an industry so aligned to selling property. They exist, they are successful and it is where your consumer is! 

No broker has built a business based on having his face on a coffee cup and whilst, unfortunately, it’s too early to say a broker has built a business off the back of a YouTube channel or a Snapchat following, I have absolute confidence it will happen. As soon as a young, up and coming broker recognises that his competition are promoting their business by “speaking to hair dressers, putting their face on coffee cups and water bottles”, he will take advantage of the attention already being paid to more lucrative channels and leverage them to create a measurable, scalable lead source. 

At the risk of ruffling feathers and unfortunately maybe causing offence I had to make the point that times are changing and if brokers don't adapt they are going to lose. The industry as a whole is rife with opportunity; success is there for those who are ready to adapt and do things differently. I strongly believe that. 

Zak Wilford first stepped into the mortgage industry in 2013, aggressively targeting aggregators and headhunting their brokers and groups to join the then start-up aggregator Finsure and 1300Homeloan. After a year with Finsure, he joined recruitment agency Drake International, and a year later he stepped out on his own to fill a gap in the market – to start a recruitment agency specialising in working with finance brokers. Find out more at www.zakwilford.com.
Add your comment
  • Ben Fragar30/03/2016 10:20:34 AM

    I was part of that b-storming session, and found it really helpful, informative & diverse. I actually tabled the fb idea, and wanted to give you some context regarding the session. You noted in your article you weren't seeking to sledge (none taken & none intended), still I'm not sure you grasped the concept of a b-storming session or the secure environment it fosters to table ALL ideas, good or bad, then score those ideas relative to your own strategy. The fb campaign idea came from 2 sources 1. my wife, A marketing manager of 16 years, with experience in multiple industries (broking included) 2. A fellow member of a networking group who specializes in fb adverts. This member had recently showed me some numbers: over 1.4 billion users actively engaged, logging in up to 14 times a day, offering 14 opportunities to get your brand in front of potential clients. 798mil mobile users, with an annual growth rate of 25%, ROI for retail adverts of 152%. pretty big huh. As a fairly new broker myself, I'm looking for diversity, and that's what I got from the session.

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  • SM31/03/2016 12:41:46 PM

    I think a major point to remember is that a lot of financial services products, including mortgages, inherently retain a complexity that simply does not lend well to clean advertising campaigns. If you could simplify financial products to a point where the product could sell itself in a punchy one poster snapshot, then you would be on/ in the money like never before. The alternative become to sell the seller. I agree with your questioning of the strategies that you were aware of, but for me I always see the "huge potential" in financial products as a tricky item to sell, and really, it does need to come back to the selling the seller, (as things are in this arena). This particular seller sold himself to you over time while you were watching the state of play. I'm not sure how you would go about making a short term sale, but I do think he was trying to address short term, rather than unravel his long term strategies. Maybe that wasn't the right avenue? Or wasn't the most valuable advice he could have given, but I will say it was the type of advice he had set out to give.

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  • Shannon M31/03/2016 4:46:37 PM

    I think a major point to remember is that a lot of financial services products, including mortgages, inherently retain a complexity that simply does not lend well to clean advertising campaigns. If you could simplify financial products to a point where the product could sell itself in a punchy one poster snapshot, then you would be on/ in the money like never before. The alternative become to sell the seller. I agree with your questioning of the strategies that you were aware of, but for me I always see the "huge potential" in financial products as a tricky item to sell, and really, it does need to come back to the selling the seller, (as things are in this arena). This particular seller sold himself to you over time while you were watching the state of play. I'm not sure how you would go about making a short term sale, but I do think he was trying to address short term, rather than unravel his long term strategies. Maybe that wasn't the right avenue? Or wasn't the most valuable advice he could have given, but I will say it was the type of advice he had set out to give.

    3

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