Selling Loans in Cyberspace

By Cooley, Scott | Mortgage Banking, December 1995 | Go to article overview

Selling Loans in Cyberspace

Cooley, Scott, Mortgage Banking

Many companies are rushing to build marketing sites on the Internet. Mortgage lenders are building home pages and getting comfortable with the idea of nabbing new business over the Net.

Traditional marketing techniques are going the way of the deep-sea diver who was heading to the surface only to meet his ship, which was sinking. In other words, expect some changes in the immediate future.

Incredible advances in communications technology are rapidly changing the way business is being done now and the impact will be even greater in the future. Traditional selling techniques are being changed and, in many cases, are made obsolete by the Internet and other on-line services. The Internet is forcing the mortgage industry to rethink its marketing strategies.

Members of the industry also are raising some valid questions regarding the Internet. What role will it play in mortgage marketing? Why will consumers use it to find you? What will they expect? What will your results likely be? What is it not good for? How will its use support your existing methods for originating loans? How can you get started?

No longer is it a question of if you will have a presence on the Internet but when. Today, virtually every major corporation and thousands of small businesses have set up shop on the Internet, and more specifically, the World Wide Web. What's even more amazing is how many web sites, or "home pages," are currently under development.

A home page is simply the first page of your company brochure. From the home page, you can use a mouse to jump to an unlimited number of other pages containing content your customers will find helpful. It's similar to an index in a book where you can search topics and choose the topic desired.

As the technology industry goes, so goes the rest of the business world. It was the technology industry that first made prolific use of PCs, that used local area networks, that embraced e-mail, and has now embraced the Internet.

It's amazing how quickly things change. Just a few months ago, computer programmers would search magazines and request demo disks and brochures for software tools they needed. Today, it's taboo to request printed materials or demo disks. Every programming tool provider includes its Internet address in its advertising. Programmers can download any demonstration programs, research product details, ask questions and, in short, find everything needed. Brochures are virtually obsolete. While it always takes time before nontechnology industries adopt these ways, it inevitably happens.

Forty million households

No doubt you have seen the constant barrage of Internet-related articles in the press. Internet addresses are even being included in TV commercials. More than 40 million households (40 percent) have PCs, and a large percentage of these have access to the Internet. Recent statistics show there are more than 30 million users with access to the Internet. Just recently, America Online, CompuServe, Prodigy and Microsoft Network (built into Windows 95) have all added Internet access capabilities for their users.

So why is it so important for mortgage companies to consider the Internet? The Internet is the perfect medium for consumers to research and learn about everything related to the homebuying process. Some of the most popular sites on the Internet are locations where consumers can research products before making a purchase decision.

Already, hundreds of thousands of consumers are using the Internet to search for homes, shop mortgage rates and learn everything they need to know about buying and financing a home. Like the technology industry, it is only a matter of time before every mortgage company lists its Internet address in advertisements.

A better way to advertise

Imagine your local newspaper real estate section with all of those ads for your competition and with a couple of them featuring their Internet addresses. …

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