Reverse Mortgage Agents Need Patience to Work Leads

So, you decided to start selling reverse mortgages in the last couple of years, bought yourself a bunch of cheap internet leads and ran out to meet the world. You probably received the first lead and called on your first prospect for this particular project and felt the sting of rejection. As a professional salesman, you picked yourself up and undaunted called on the second prospect. Same result.

This is is a common story among new reverse mortgage agents, especially those who have a background in selling traditional mortgages. Many times the salesman turns a good lead into a dead end by ignoring the obvious difference between the products and, more importantly, the customer. Reverse mortgages are about people.

Consider the following when you work your reverse mortgage leads:

Direct mail reverse mortgage leads are the best way to reach seniors and earn their trust. The senior organizations have websites, that are wonderful, but the power of mail and the printed word on paper resonates far more strongly with senior, particularly older seniors, many of whom do not even have a computer. It has been this way for years. And in the reverse mortgage industry direct mail is a great way to create a reverse mortgage lead. Any serious senior market market lender that does not have direct mail as part of their marketing mix is restricting their on revenue.

There are significant differences between any two financial products. Everyone in the mortgage industry knows that is is naive to think that all loans are created equal. This is especially true when comparing reverse mortgages to conventional loan types (Equity Loans, 30-year Mortgages). Although there are similarities that can be used when interacting with your client, key differences are apparent. The differences between the products makes a difference starting with the lead generation process.

Telephone leads, although which can be effective are still cheap leads by comparison, it works out to be the same numbers game and internet leads are typically very unreliable. These are facts that are captured by the pricing. A direct mail reverse mortgage lead let’s you know that the prospect was willing to get out to the mailbox twice to get the information you have. The relationship starts there.

Let’s say you order 100 Direct Mail Reverse Mortgage Leads from a reputable vendor that has at least 20 years of experience working with the senior market and knows how to generate a demographically appropriate list or eligible seniors. The average loan officer should be able to close 10 and work another 5 that you may close later. A more experienced sales person would take those same leads and close 20 to 30. This is a huge difference on the return on investment.

Let’s look at a few key differences:

Difference #1
The average age of a reverse mortgage customer is 74.

Difference #2
The sales cycle for reverse mortgages is much longer. From the time a lead is generated until the time of closing could easily be 3 months. This means reverse mortgage leads are the beginning to long relationship.

Difference #3
There are a lot of myths about reverse mortgages and sensational stories that distort the qualities of the reverse mortgage product. Those are the stories that seniors see in the newspaper and on TV. This is a “new” product to anyone who doesn’t know about it.

Difference #4
Very few reverse mortgage professional professionals have more than 5 years experience selling reverse mortgages. As a result, very few reverse mortgage professional have rich experience with the senior market. (Annuity Professional and Life Insurance Agents sometime have valuable experiences that help them proved better service.)

Difference #5
Seniors expect and deserve respectful, considerate, and patient contact. This market is built around the sit down at the kitchen table generation as opposed to today’s fast food nation.

These five differences are so incredibly important that it shocks me as a long-term sales person, who has worked door-to-door sales, that agents in the field are unaware of the implications and the impact is has on the way a customer is approached and the way a loan is closed. I’d like to address these issues below.

Good reverse mortgage lead generators know this, because we see thousands of leads a month and build the mailing lists for the campaigns, because we have experimented with all types of lead generation systems over the years and have the statistics on the results.

What can loan officers and agents do to increase Conversion Rates on Reverse Mortgages Leads:
It is essential address the demographic and product difference in logical manner and keep the customer first in you actions. to an extent the customer leads you to the appropriate decisions as much as you lead them.

In direct mail reverse mortgage lead generation two to three weeks may elapse between the time the customer fills out the lead card and request assistance with their finances. Sometimes people forget things. Kids forget thing and adults forget things. There has been more than one study complete about how we tend to become more forgetful as we get older. You need to be prepared to deal with age related factors,

Here is a group of solutions that will work for you, when you are ready to increase your closing rate.

Solution #1: Order Leads in the Right Area:

When you order your leads, you should order them in an area that you really work in. The same way a real estate investor should buy property in neighborhood they are close to on a regular basis.

Solution #2: Meet Face to Face at the Start of the Sales Process
Remember one of your first goals is always to get in front of the customer. Shake their hand and start a personal relationship. Remember you will be in a position of trust for the next couple months (especially if this is a FHA or HECM loan that requires counseling) and you are talking to someone about the future of a home that they already have equity in. Bring your literature and business cards with you and set an appointment. You are another person in the neighborhood. This is old school, but familiar to older Americans. If there is a no soliciting sign, call from your cell phone and let them know that you are delivering the information requested. The principle here is why should senior prospect have to make a minute for sales person who hasn’t made a minute for them. Go a little out of your way.

Solution #3: Present the Lead Card, Letter, or Application to the Senior Homeowner
Anyone can honestly forget a postcard they mailed out, but almost no one forgets their signature. It is a good way to jog a persons memory and bring them back to the moment when the filled out the card. You can’t do this over the phone and you can’t contact a senior by email that doesn’t use a computer at home.

Solution #4: Let the Prospect talk to You About Their Needs and Issues
If you want to be listened to, be a good listener. The product you have is intimidating to many, so you need to understand what concerns they have so you can concentrate on addressing those in clear and unambiguous terms. Ask the project about how they do things in their life and gather information, before making recommendations. Show respect for your elders. There is no reason to push seniors around to prove that you know what your are talking about. You can control a conversation, while still providing your customer with the utmost respect.

Solution #5: Focus on the relationship early
New reverse mortgage agents want to work a leads fast and clean and need to learn that when they are selling a reverse mortgage they are likely to be in interaction with the borrower (and spouse if present), adult children (who are also poorly informed about the product), and FHA or HECM counselors. A reverse mortgage effects a lot of people most of whom are uncomfortable with the product. With a solid agent to client relationship you will be able to use well-earned trust to take you from the kitchen table to the closing table.

Solutions #6: Debunk Reverse Mortgage Myths
Provide factual information and dispel common myths. the senior homeowner who filled out the reverse mortgage lead card will need to be able to respond to friends and family, who may criticize the decision from lack of knowledge. Prepare the senior prospect for counseling.

Solutions #7: Never Misrepresent the Product or Mislead the Consumer

This should go without saying. Anyone who does not know this should leave the business entirely. That is unprofessional salesmanship and could result in loss of license.


Many people with a traditional mortgage background, come into the mortgage industry with the idea that you just call people to start the relationship or they walk through your door all on their own. That is the rare case of a true organic lead. Non-traditional products have few organic leads associated with them. That is why they are non-traditional.

Reverse mortgage leads are a start to a relationship. The salesperson must complete the sale. Otherwise, there would be know need for salesman, because the lead generation company would have already closed the sale. Salesman are paid for performance and improve with patient practice towards perfection.

As as a reverse mortgage lead generator, I find that financial advisors and annuity salesman, are often better prepared for the relationship sales process and have better closing rates off direct mail reverse mortgage leads than those jumping straight from a traditional mortgage background.

This has a lot to do with the way the insurance industry sales process worked for many years and the fact that many financial advisors have been trained at some point by a experience professional door to door sales man who knows how to get in front of the customer. Mortgage sales people have more of a bankers attitude and wait for people come to them and close themselves and little intent on maintaining a relationship.

Reverse mortgage are a great product for a salesperson willing to put in the time and work a program that has success and high conversion rates at its core.