When I am training originators on how to prospect in today’s marketplace, there is always a discussion on what is considered timely or best practice when contacting consumers. In the past, when there was not as much competition and information was not as easily obtainable, being slow to respond did not impact an originator’s success. Now, everything has undergone a dramatic shift. The typical response time of hours has shortened to minutes and even seconds if an originator wants to win the business. More importantly, being reactive isn’t enough anymore when there is limited loyalty to a lender and its sales people. Hooking the consumer earlier in the buyer’s journey is what really matters.
A recent report by McKinsey observed that, “ because it is easy to compare products, consumers are considering someone’s else’s offerings more often than you realize. ” According to McKinsey, loyalty is fleeting regardless of how many transactions the sales person might have done in the past because more choices and technological advances have changed the equation: The proliferation of digital tools (including online recommendations) “encourages even the best consumers to shop around and changes paradigms that marketers have counted on for years.
McKinsey further states that the “elusiveness of loyalty suggests marketers need to place more emphasis on the moments when consumers are initially considering which products or services to buy.” This means marketers and sales professionals need to understand how best to enter “the initial consideration set” if they want to compete and succeed.
According to McKinsey’s analysis, the vast majority of consumers —a whopping 87 percent —are shopping around. Moreover, roughly 60 percent of those “shopping” had switched vendors. These numbers are shocking on many levels for most sales firms and a real game changer.
I think it is no surprise that consumers are less loyal to previous providers. Just look at your current personal portfolio of providers. Do you have the same vendors that you had 10 or even five years ago? I know I don’t. Whether its air travel, insurance or banking, companies will have a difficult time maintaining their customer base if they do not change their mindset regarding the timing of their initial outreach. Waiting until the customer is ready to make a purchase is simply too late. As McKinsey noted, “it is vital to be included in the set of brands that first come to a consumer’s mind when he or she is triggered to make a purchase decision. These brands in the initial consideration set were more than two times as likely to be purchased as were brands considered only later in the decision process.”
What does this mean for mortgages companies and their originators? McKinsey claims that brand awareness isn’t enough. Providers or originators must make a clear case of their unique benefits and value. So when consumers are considering a purchase, they already know what the company will bring to the table. The best producers recognize that differentiating themselves in the market must be done as early as possible in the buyer’s journey.
Are you committing to being in the initial set of considerations for your prospects?