Commercial Loans Blog

How to Nurture Commercial Loan Leads

Posted by George Blackburne on Tue, Jan 29, 2013

This article is designed to help commercial lenders and commercial mortgage brokers close more commercial real estate loans.

First let's define a term:  Lead nurturing is the process of repeatedly touching a sales prospect and gently encouraging him to buy.  Commercial real estate loan officers are salesmen, and financially-strong commercial property owners are our sales prospects.

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To understand the concept of lead nuturing, let's consider an example.  Suppose you're a commercial mortgage broker, and you receive a lead call from a good, potential, commercial mortgage borrower, who is kicking around the idea of borrowing against his free-and-clear office building.  It's a really good deal, and you are sure you can provide him with an excellent commercial loan.  You make your sales pitch over the phone, and your potential borrower tells you that he'll think about your offer.  Now what?

The wise commercial mortgage broker will then nurture this lead.  He will touch the borrower at least six times over the next six weeks or so.  A touch can be a personal visit, a phone call, a letter, or an email.  The Notches on the Belt Theory of Marketing suggests that people seldom buy until they have thought about buying on at least six, separate, independent occasions.  Hence our strategy is to touch this borrower at least six times.

Your lead nurturing campaign might start with a follow-up email.  "Dear Mr. Swartz:  Thanks for chatting with me today about your commercial loan.  I am sure that we can accomodate your needs.  Below is my contact information for future reference."

Then, because snail mail takes a day or two to arrive, you might print out a copy of this email and throw it in an envelope hand-addressed to the borrower.  You should also probably throw in two business cards.  This will be your second touch.

Three days later you might telephone the borrower and see how he's coming with his loan package.  That's touch number three.

You could send him a second email thanking him for chatting with you again, which would be touch number four.

For several decades I kept an envelope box, filled with envelopes addressed to potential borrowers.  In the upper-right-hand corner, right where the stamp goes, I wrote in pencil the date that the envelope was scheduled to go out.  None of the envelopes were sealed, but each contained a follow-up letter and two busines cards.

Every morning, right after I made my coffee, I would sit down and go through these pre-addressed envelopes that were scheduled to go out that day by snail mail.  If I had already received a package from the borrower, I did not send out a follow-up letter.  Instead, I opened the envelope and saved the two business cards.  Later I would re-use the envelope by covering the address with a label.

If I had NOT yet received a package from the borrower, I would glue a stamp over the date and send it out.

Now let's go back to our lead nurturing example.  So far we have touched the borrower four times.  Using a "Timed Mail Piece" follow-up system (the envelope box), I might send him two more snail mail follow-up letters.

Modernly I no longer use snail mail at all.  Instead I use this wonderful software designed by Hubspot.com.  I have already written six follow-up emails, and to nuture a good lead, all I have to do is enter the borrower's or broker's email address into Hubspot.  It's pretty cool.

You now know one of my greatest marketing secrets.  Once I find a good lead, I nurture that lead religiously at least six times.

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Topics: lead nurturing

Get Ready for Commercial Mortgage Mania

Posted by George Blackburne on Mon, Jan 14, 2013

The second half of 2013 should be an extremely busy time for the commercial mortgage industry.  In fact, the commercial loan business may be poised to enjoy one of its busiest spurts in history.

  1. U.S. commercial banks are sitting on over $2 trillion in excess reserves.  In plain English, they have lots of money to lend.
  2. Part of my job as the owner of C-Loans.com, the largest of the commercial mortgage portals, is to call bankers on a daily basis and solicit them to join C-Loans.  Every bank with whom I have spoken for the past three weeks had an appetite to make more commercial real estate loans.
  3. It takes two to tango.  Even if our commercial banks are in fact hungry to make more commercial mortgages, they cannot force business owners and investors to borrow.  The limiting factor today is a lack of demand for new commercial mortgages by borrowers.  Few borrowers are applying for commercial loans.
  4. By mid-2013 it should become clear that the U.S. economy is roaring back, and business owners and commercial real estate investors should start dusting off their borrowing plans.
  5. Why has the automotive manufacturing business been so robust for the past two years?  The answer is that the auto industry produced relatively few new cars between 2007 and 2011.  Demand for replacement automobiles built up.  I believe that the same thing is happening is commercial real estate finance.  Commercial real estate investors have almost fully-depreciated many of their commercial properties.  If they don't trade-up soon, they will face painful taxes.  Business owners have put off expansion plans for six years.  If they don't expand and innovate pretty soon, many of them no doubt sense that they will fall fatally behind their competition.  It's innovate-or-die time.  To do this they will need cash.

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For the reasons outlined above, I predict they the second half of 2013 will be just about the best time in history to be in the commercial mortgage business.

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Topics: Commercial Mortgage Mania