Marketing: HECM Seminars Revitalize a Mission to Market the Product

Written by Steven Sless and Ian Sandler, as originally published in The Reverse Review.

We all yearn to lay our heads down at night with a sense of calm and contentment. This can be particularly challenging for many seniors who are either facing retirement or who have already retired and are living on a fixed income. For many baby boomers, the question of what lies ahead and the uncertainty of whether or not they will have enough money to last the rest of their lives is a troubling concern that can keep them up at night.

As reverse mortgage specialists, we know that this type of loan can be a vehicle to help fund longevity, but how do we spread the word? How do we find qualified homeowners to educate and share this knowledge with? In the reverse mortgage industry, marketing has been mostly the same for years. We all know the celebrity spokesmen and the companies they represent. Most of us have sent mailers or worked with a telemarketing company. Some of us have created our own internal telemarketing campaign in an attempt to reach potential borrowers and share our information, hoping to ultimately convert interest into closed loans.

We believe it is time to change the way we educate potential clients. The reverse mortgage program is still taboo to many, primarily due to a widespread lack of education and information. Perhaps a change in our marketing approach can help turn this sentiment around.

About six months ago, we took a step back from the traditional marketing methods we had been using. We wanted to focus instead on what peace of mind means to our clients, and then educate them on how a reverse mortgage can be the vehicle to achieve this peace of mind. We decided that there is no better way to convey our message than to deliver it in person. Instead of sending a DVD that may never be viewed, or calling a potential lead regularly only to blend in with all of the other marketing calls a senior homeowner receives, or sending a mailer and hoping for a phone call, we chose to deliver our message face to face. This way, we can look a potential client in the eye and explain how a reverse mortgage can help them achieve peace of mind throughout their retirement years.

To get started, we contacted Ed Waldman with Reverse Mortgage Crowds. Ed provided us with all the tools we needed to begin holding live reverse mortgage seminars. The response has been overwhelming. We have been blown away by the excitement and enthusiasm of our attendees as we teach them how to incorporate a reverse mortgage into their retirement planning to ensure a happy and robust retirement. Many of our attendees have said that for years they have wondered about a reverse mortgage but were turned off for one reason or another. Some of our attendees said they simply didn’t know where to turn for reliable information and didn’t feel comfortable working with someone over the phone.

During our seminars (or classes, as we prefer to call them), we address common misconceptions about the program. We are able to engage our attendees, laugh with them, share stories, and look them in the eye and shake their hand. Through these seminars, we are simply able to connect with our new friends and potential clients on a completely different level. The experience thus far has been rewarding and refreshing. We are invigorated by the ability to convey our message in a relaxed and stress-free environment, instead of sitting behind our desks, making the typical phone calls most loan officers make on any given day. We have the opportunity to travel and meet hundreds of wonderful people along the way that we otherwise would have never been able to meet. The experience allows us to connect, to earn these seniors’ trust and build lasting relationships. It has also been a lot of fun! We have all heard the old adage that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. Well, that’s true. Holding these seminars has not only increased our business beyond our anticipation, it has also inspired us and helped us become better loan originators. By meeting all of our clients in person, sharing a meal with them, and, most importantly, listening to them, we are able to better grasp their goals for both the short and long term. This allows us to work with them to create a customized plan designed to meet their goals and help them obtain peace of mind.

Through our seminars, we have learned that there is a large portion of the senior community that remains uneducated and uncertain about a program that has the ability to change their lives. In order to grow your business—and for the reverse mortgage industry as a whole to grow—education and information must be at the forefront. With aggregate senior home equity at a seven-year high, now is the time to spread the word that a reverse mortgage equals peace of mind!

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