Why Loan Officers Should Invest in Their Mortgage Brand
We all intuitively know the power of a strong brand. It’s the reason we order a Coke and not a cola, or buy Kleenex and Band-aids, but not facial tissues and adhesive bandages. Those are category-defining unicorn brands.
You don’t need to be one of those companies to have a strong mortgage brand that works for your business.
A brand is really the persona created by the stories your customers tell. It’s what comes to mind when a prospect hears the name of your business. Hopefully, it’s what makes you different from your competition.
The most difficult part of developing your mortgage brand is being patient. This is not an overnight process. This is a multi-year endeavor that requires commitment and investment in order to be successful.
Why put the effort in to build your mortgage brand?
The positive effect of a strong brand on your business is something that people have struggled to quantify, but nonetheless know to be true. There are a few major reasons that you should invest in developing your mortgage brand:
• Customers will be willing to pay more for your services.
We hear from loan originators all the time that they refuse to compete on rates, but that their homebuyer experience is why people do business with them. Those LOs are leveraging their brand!
When your product is excellent, customers will be willing to pay a little more for it.
The exact opposite is true as well. The worse the stories people tell about your business, the more you’ll be forced to compete on price. Don’t let that happen.
• Increased word of mouth awareness.
The holy grail for any business, but particularly sales-oriented businesses, is to grow organically via word-of-mouth marketing. Having a strong mortgage brand in your community makes it far more likely that your business will come up in related conversations.
When your customers truly believe in your brand and the product that they got from you, they will spread the word. Free marketing!
• Repeat business
You’ve seen it before, the “cult” of branding. When people are invested in a brand, they will defend it, and they will repeatedly buy that brand. Apple is a great example of this type of phenomena, and are famous for developing a cult-like brand following.
How did they do it? Great question.
How to develop your mortgage brand
There are three major tenants of brand development that even a one-person business can follow. In fact, they’re just good principles for businesses wanting to grow organically.
Commit to a high quality product and customer service.
You would think this is a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many businesses are motivated purely by profits even when they come at the expense of the quality of their product and customer service.
When the product and experience don’t deliver, people will not value your business, will not tell stories about their experience with you, and will not recommend their friends and family to work with you.
Seek to continuously improve.
In order to ensure your brand continues to grow, you’ll need to constantly reinvest into your business. Make sure your business has everything it needs to go the extra mile and provide a top notch experience to your customers.
Stagnation is the death of brand growth. Not every dollar can go in your pocket during the early years of brand development when reinvestment is so important.
Develop a unique selling proposition.
Developing your unique selling proposition (USP) is one of the most difficult parts of brand development, but also one of the most important. This is your big competitive differentiator. When we say that your customers should tell stories about their experience, part of that will be because of your USP.
Remember that your USP is meant to differentiate, but not devalue your business. While you could consider lower rates to be a USP, saying “we have the best rates” is devaluing your process, experience, and brand.
Conversely, saying “we leverage state-of-the-art technology to provide a quick and transparent homebuying experience” bolsters your reputation and shows that you’re committed to your product and customer journey.
It is critical that whatever your USP is, you deliver on it.
Finally, while it’s not completely necessary it is advised to have a trade name or trademark that can be associated with your business. Make sure your branding is front and center at all times during your relationship with a prospect or borrower.
We’ve made Floify a highly brand-able platform that allows you to display your logo and custom design elements. This is standard across all of our plans because we feel that it is that important from a business development perspective for our customers’ mortgage brand to be visible.
Developing a strong positive brand for your mortgage business is a long process that requires sacrifice and persistence. If done right, your business can thrive for years while reaping the benefits of free word-of-mouth marketing.