Reverse mortgage volume is in a slump – and some predict 2019 is likely to be another challenging year. To make it work, originators will need to stay focused and get creative.

“I think 2019 will be a year of contraction for the reverse industry, but the silver lining is that originators will find themselves with fewer competitors,” said Shannon Hicks, president of ReverseFocus, which provides marketing guidance, process-specific technology, and HECM market insight for reverse mortgage LOs.

“The individuals who are going to succeed in a contracting market are those who find a way to innovate to continue to contact customers and those who persist when others leave the marketplace.”

Hicks said it’s all about discipline and having the right mental attitude. He offered his top five tips on how to succeed in the HECM market in 2019:

No. 1: Know your market.
“It’s crazy not to invest some amount of money into understanding how many age eligible homeowners you have, how much equity is in your marketplace, and how many lenders are in your marketplace.”

No. 2: Know where your leads are coming from.
“The only way to really do that is to be able to track them using the CRM. Look at their geographic region, what media or advertising they are responding to, what needs are driving them – that’s really key.”

No. 3: Have a disciplined and proven follow-up system.
“Use a CRM or something of that nature so that you know that every phone call and every conversation is accounted, and you’re never going to miss a follow-up call with a prospective borrower.”

No. 4: Establish social proof.
“To have credibility – and to gain trust – you have to have an established web presence. If the adult children of the homeowner cannot find you, chances are they will refer their parents to someone else who is online.”

No. 5: Focus on new lead sources.
“Think about how you can be more creative in generating lead sources. Purchasing leads is just one part of the equation, but don’t forget to also create lead sources.”

Hicks said efficiency is the name of the game in 2019.

“With HECM professionals finding themselves with fewer resources to invest in marketing," he said, "Systematic follow-up with prospects, efficient business management practices and training become increasingly indispensable.”

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