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How to Turn Your Leads Into Conversions

More leads! More leads! More leads! The mantra in the mortgage industry seems to be: more leads solve all problems. That doesn’t sound too bad. What’s wrong with getting more leads?

First, when I talk to people and ask them what they need help with, about 50% say, “I need more leads,” and about 50% say, “I’m running around putting out fires all day and don’t have time to prospect.” That putting out fires thing is a whole other topic, but of the people who say they need more leads, I’d bet that 80% of them actually have plenty of leads already.

Getting More Leads Won’t Solve Your Problems

So, if they have enough leads, then what’s the actual problem? Either they: 

  1. have the wrong kind of leads OR
  2. don’t have a follow-up set in place.

Let’s say I wave a magic wand and you now have 500 leads. Does that solve all your problems? No. Who’s going to call all those people? And when you get to lead #4 and you’re selling all by yourself and putting that loan through the process, who’s calling leads #5-500?  You’ve got to have a team to carry all these leads.

I can’t tell you how many loan officers I’ve talked to who are bringing in 40 leads a month and closing 6 loans. That’s a 15% conversion rate. What if your conversion rate was 25%? That’s 10 loans a month. And you spent zero extra dollars. You’re just getting better in your process, better in your scripting, better in your loan consultations. 

Your referral partners are going to love you because you’re converting more of their leads. Another loan officer might be converting 1 out of 10 and you’re converting 1 of 3. Who are they going to send their next 10 leads to? You. And you just turned that agent into a top producer. Word is going to get out about you, and you’re going to get more realtor referral partners.

If you’ve got 80 leads and you’re closing 15% of them, that’s just 12 loans a month. If you can bump that to 25%, you’re closing 20 loans a month. How do you convert more? There are a lot of ways. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you sending out a video to introduce yourself? 
  • Are you setting up a loan consultation that sets you apart as an expert? 
  • Do you have a clear mortgage plan to help clients reach their goals? 

Touch the Lead, Touch the Partner

As you close a higher ratio of these loans, referral partners will send you more because you’re actually closing them. Once you get known as a Conversion King or a Conversion Queen, you attract the leads. We talk a lot about attracting leads, not chasing them. And each time we touch a lead, we touch the partner. Every time. And we don’t automate this. We pick up the phone and make a two-minute call. 

“Carl, hey, listen. I just got off the phone with Tammy Smith. Number one, thank you for the referral. And two, I just sent her the link. She’s going to complete the app tonight and be in a loan consult tomorrow. We’ve got her booked at 3pm, and I’ll call you right after with a full update.”

That two-minute call builds trust. Small kept promises are how trust is built. The problem is we’re not setting up opportunities to build trust. And, honestly, you don’t have to be the one making the call. If you have someone on your team who can do it, that’s automation. My definition of automation is “I didn’t do it.”

We do this every single time. Touch the lead, touch the partner. Every single time. Don’t worry about being too proactive. No one is going to tell you that you communicate too often, too well. It’s a lack of communication that bothers people. Touching the partner every time we touch the lead has made a huge difference in our business.

A Helpful Exercise to Evaluate Your Leads

Half of my leads are pre-approvable. Let’s say I get 10 leads today. Five can get pre-approved. We close about half of those. The others decide not to refinance or buy or use another leader. If I want to close 10 loans this month, I need 40 leads.

What if we were able to convert even more? What would that look like for us? The baseline is 25%. If you drop, you’re probably not evaluating your conversion quickly enough. It could be a referral source problem or a scripting problem. 

I’d love for you to do this little exercise. Grab a piece of paper and write down the word “leads.” How many leads did you get this week? Write that number down. The next word is “conversations.” Write down how many conversations you had. Look at your leads and look at the conversations. If you’ve got leads coming in, but very few conversations, there are two potential problems. 

  1. you have a bad lead source
  2. follow-up. 

If you call someone once, then get so busy with the next lead that you don’t follow-up, it’s likely that you don’t have enough people on your team. My friend Steve does call, text, email, call, text, email, call, text, email. It’s nine touches in three days before he stops. And he gets the realtor referral partner involved. The first call, text, email happens immediately. Then you call the partner and say, “Hey, listen, we just tried to reach out to them. We’ll let you know if we hear back today. If not, we’re going to circle back around tomorrow to get your help.”

We also measure how many credit pulls we get to do. So, if you’re having conversations but not many credit pulls, you have a scripting problem. You’re not converting them. They don’t trust you enough to complete the application. You need to build trust in three minutes or less with the right scripting. Am I trustworthy? Am I building rapport quickly? Do they understand their next clear step?

After leads, conversations, and credit pulls, write down pre-approvals. If you’re getting credit pulls but can’t pre-approve them, what’s the problem? Your lead sources. You can’t just go after everyone breathing. You can’t fish in a muddy pond. You have to get out of your comfort zone. Is it a self-worth issue where you don’t feel worthy of going after high-end clients? Are you going after the right people who are servicing the right types of clients that allow you to have volume?

Years ago, I had a referral partner who gave me so many leads, I thought of her as my best referral partner. Then Diane on my team asked, “Do you ever close any of those leads?” She did some digging and found out I’d closed two in six months. She wasn’t a good lead source after all. 

Last week, Steve’s team had a conversation with several agents and said, “Hey, we love you and value you and think you’re amazing. But, if the lead situation doesn’t change, we’re going to do something different.” 

The next thing we measure is closings. If you’re getting a lot of pre-approvals but not a lot of closings, what’s the problem? Scripting and commitment. People make assumptions. We do all this work, then we lose them because of rate shopping. We need to ask for commitment.

If you’re closing less than 25% of your leads, you need to fix the hole in the bucket before dumping more leads in. Once you fix that and get on the north side of 25%, then you can focus on leads.

The number one challenge I see with loan officers is they’re too busy chasing the pay stubs and don’t have enough time to follow up on the leads that are coming in. They need to let go of control and hire people to help. Don’t try to be a one-man or one-woman band.


If you’re currently trying to manage things on your own and need to build a team, we’d love to help. If you have the leads but need more conversions, we can help with that too. If you need some loan officer scripts to make your communication more effective, we’ve got you. Give us a call TODAY to schedule your FREE loan officer strategy call.