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By R.E. Brunet
Boost Business by Offering Incentives
Spicing up a deal with travel or other gifts often means more originations
Incentives often increase sales. To work as effectively as possible, however, companies offering the
incentive must clearly tie it to the action they want to accelerate. They also
should create urgency and communicate specifics about the incentive and
how it can be earned.
In the case of homebuyers and refinancers, an exciting incentive can
increase sales by 15 percent to 50
percent. Business boosts such as
those can create powerful impacts for
mortgage brokers, especially in today’s
Almost anything can be an incentive.
In many cases, intangible incentives
work better than cash. One reason for
this is that the incentive’s perceived
value is more than the actual cost. This
can allow brokers to motivate sales inexpensively but effectively.
If you’re considering offering incentives, think of ways to do so on
a regular basis. Your campaigns can
change, but the principle of using
them to increase production shouldn’t.
Understanding this is crucial to bucking
the down market.
Incentives for buyers and refinancers
can help bring back past customers and
engage new ones. Offering incentives
to borrowers — rather than to loan originators or other employees — also helps
brokers avoid violating Real Estate
Settlement Procedures Act prohibitions
By some estimates, sales incentives
meet 75 percent to 99 percent of the
objectives set by those who provide
them to their customers.
Mortgage brokers have used sales
incentives successfully in many ways,
• • Increase•new•loans•signed;
• • Increase• specific• types• of• loan•
business, such as purchases or
• • Distinguish•their•business from the
• • Create•a•better•response•rate to ad-
• • Increase•referrals.
As you consider the advantages of
offering incentives, take note of the following seven methods of creating excitement. By following these, you can
increase your likelihood of success.
1.• Use• a• campaign. Offer a specific
incentive, such as a travel package, for a specific period of time,
typically 30 to 90 days. During your
break from one campaign, offer a
2.• Tie• incentives• to• your• advertising•
to•your•sales•force and create excite-
ment around it.
4.• Communicate• the• incentive• clearly•
and• passionately• to• prospective•
5.• Make• it• exciting. Be bold in your
marketing, and make the incentive stand out on your Web site and
6.• Create• urgency. Implement a time
limit and stick to it. Otherwise, you
fail to motivate people to action.
At this point, you might be wondering
why more mortgage brokers don’t offer
borrower incentives. The two most-obvious reasons are fear and expense.
Although some brokers merely want to
survive, not thrive, others can’t justify
adding expenses in a down market.
Those who fear success might be beyond the help of any incentive program.
Those who struggle to justify the cost,
however, should pay careful attention
to intangible incentives. Remember,
they can create powerful motivation at
a minimum cost. One reason for this is
that mortgage brokers can tap intangible incentives for much less than the
This is particularly true when it comes
to travel, which also has a sizzle factor.
Spend cash and it’s gone. But the memories that come from travel live on.
By offering incentives, brokers can
help create those memories — or otherwise call borrowers to action — and
bring more loans to the closing table. •
R.E. Brunet is a business-owner and writer.
His company, REB Marketing, has operated
as a manufacturers’ representative for high-tech products for more than 25 years. He has
successfully used a variety of incentives,
including cruises. Brunet has a master’s
degree in business administration from the
Haas School of Business at the University
of California, Berkeley. Reach him at bob@
By Nicholas J. Del Torto
Executive vice president
The Secret to Success:
The Right Partnership
Focus on fundamentals to succeed in any market
mortgage brokers can’t bank on
low interest rates and refinance business forever. They must make sure
they’ll have business after rates increase and should start focusing on
something they’ve likely been neglecting for the past year — purchases.
The best loan originators are still
working on the fundamentals of the
business — networking and marketing
— to make sure they still have business
when the market slows. Although the
refinance boom likely has increased
their income, those top-notch loan
originators haven’t forgotten about purchase business.
With fewer mortgage brokers and
lenders in the industry than a few years
ago, consumers are receiving the short
end of the stick as banks face less
competition. When an industry cuts
to the bone like this, customers suffer
diminished service quality and have to
pay higher fees and service charges —
it’s simple supply and demand.
Nicholas J. Del Torto is executive vice
president of Inlanta Mortgage. Previously,
he was president of American Foundations
MortgageBanc Inc. until it merged with
Inlanta Mortgage this past July. Del Torto was
president, CEO and a founder of Amerihome
Mortgage Co. LLC. Amerihome Mortgage
was founded in 1997 as a mortgage-banking
enterprise providing funding for residential
and commercial loans until the company was
sold to Generations Bancorp in 2009. Reach
Del Torto at email@example.com or