Here we are—more than a month into our mandated quarantine. A difficult, but necessary adjustment made to slow the spread of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, outbreak. Businesses around the world have suffered heavy hits as a result of the required social distancing and stay-at-home orders.
According to the Washington Post, about 70 percent of small businesses have already applied for the CARES Act loan, a stimulus package that has created more than $350 billion in loans and grants for small businesses affected by the pandemic.
Just before the Coronavirus chaos, lenders were beginning to see mortgage rates drop at historic lows—applications were on the rise and refinance volume surged. Now, with the in-person work restrictions, there’s been a dramatic slowdown in buyer and seller traffic, and as market volatility continues to increase, mortgage servicers have started to give an extra turn to lending standards. To top it all off, non-bank lenders are facing severe liquidity stress.
A recent McKinsey report stated that we may be “in the midst of the largest drawdown in demand since the Second World War. The pendulum might not swing back fully once the outbreak has relented.”
No doubt these are trying times with long-term consequences. But, let’s get positive, here. What are some ways we can stay ahead of the Coronavirus, and adapt our sales and marketing strategies to protect our mortgage businesses? Let’s explore.
Be Mindful of the Economic Impact on Other Businesses
To start, it’s important that organizations cultivate empathy, maintain optimism and develop a gratitude mindset in face of the Coronavirus. We’ve seen the economic impact that the pandemic has had on other businesses. We’ve experienced the disruption first-hand…
In a Facebook Live episode, marketing expert Mark Schaefer said, “the businesses that survive are the ones that transcend these chaotic times. […] We need to connect with people as though they’re grieving, like they are at a funeral. How would you connect with somebody… how would you sell to somebody… if they were at a funeral? You wouldn’t offer them a coupon or a discount.”
Consider how you can improve and adjust the tone of your messaging to borrowers, and communicate with empathy, optimism and gratitude.
- “What are some of your biggest challenges right now and how can we support you to overcome these difficulties?”
- “Here is some information that we think could be useful to you during these uncertain times.”
- “Thank you for your support as we work through the challenges of the Coronavirus together.”
Kristy Fercho, EVP and President of Mortgage at Flagstar Bank, told The M Report, “If a homeowner is facing a hardship, it’s important for us to engage early in that conversation and say, ‘What’s happening? How long is it going to last? How do we help you through this?’ Then we can develop solutions together.”
Preserve Reliable Communication with Remote Teams
Strong leadership is key in sustaining reliable communication between remote teams. Having the emotional intelligence to focus on what we can manage—our time and our teams—can motivate and prompt new ideas.
A recent Forbes article encourages leaders to help “people stay calm, focused and engaged. […] Bring people together and help them expand their focus with a broader context. Give concrete suggestions and make pragmatic requests.”
- Encourage video conferencing for brainstorming sales and marketing strategy sessions
- Commit to achievable tasks
- Restructure timelines for deliverables
- Schedule regular check-ins to review progress
- Utilize messaging for anything in between
Beyond leadership, businesses must implement the proper technologies to be able to operate to their full potential. By using the BeSmartee Mortgage Point-of-Sale (POS) platform, lenders can ensure business continuity by managing remote access for their loan originators.
For example, with BeSmartee’s BeAutomated plan, originators can collaborate with borrowers to search for rates in real-time and deliver immediate results. By automating the mortgage process, and allowing borrowers to submit their loan applications from the comfort of their own homes, originators can focus their attention on improving the borrower experience, processing more loans and cutting costs.
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Fercho supports mortgage businesses going digital, saying, “The focus needs to be on continuing to digitize the mortgage process and remove the paper. According to NAR, 90% of consumers now search online when looking for a house. We are all more accustomed to utilizing technology in our daily lives, so to continue to have a paper-based mortgage process simply doesn’t make sense. eMortgage, eClosing, eNotes, remote notarization—all of those parts of the digital experience, from front-end to back-end—that’s where the industry needs to focus on.”
Reimagine Sales and Marketing Efforts
Agility is more important now than ever. To ensure you are driving direct sales outcomes, align your sales and marketing teams, re-evaluate existing tactics and get creative.
According to Salesforce, social selling expert, Jill Rowly famously said, “The new reality is that marketing needs to know more about sales, sales needs to know more about marketing, and we all need to know more about our customers.”
Tightly aligning sales and marketing departments allows for better management of marketing assets and their purpose for sales. Understanding which pieces of content support different sales strategies is crucial when having to pivot and collaborate to develop new, relevant campaigns.
Rand Fishkin, CEO and Co-founder of SEO company, Moz, spoke to the need to redirect campaign strategies: “Don’t keep your tone and tactics the same right now. Oh, yes, I think that’s kind of madness as well. I would urge you, as you’re creating all this potentially good stuff, new stuff, stuff that plans for the future and that speaks to right now, go ahead and audit your marketing. Look at the email newsletters you’re sending out. Look at the sequential emails that are in your site onboarding cycles. Look at the overlay messaging, look at your home page, look at your about page. […] I don’t think every page on a website needs to change right now. I don’t think every marketing message has to change.”
How do we change the sales and marketing messaging? Tap into your data! Data-driven insight can help identify high-value audiences and drive direct sales outcomes.
Finally, as creativity is central to innovation, further your efforts by injecting imagination and originality into your data findings to deliver a memorable message to your borrowers.
The Coronavirus pandemic may have impacted our businesses for the long-haul; however, it’s important to stay positive and continue to be resilient for our peers, partners and clients.
Reimagining sales and marketing strategies for continued success, in times of economic uncertainty, begins with empathy and continues with a stronger connection and revived brand interest.
Final thoughts… remember to:
- Over-communicate and personalize your messaging—with empathy, optimism and gratitude
- Stay connected through strong leadership and advanced mortgage technologies
- Align your sales and marketing teams, and increase content production to support sales strategies
We’ll get through this! To learn more about how BeSmartee can support your mortgage business during these uncertain times, email email@example.com or call our direct sales line at (888) 276-1579.