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The Pros, Cons, and Ethics of Cross-Selling for Mortgage Brokers


Cross-selling for mortgage brokers happens when financial institutions, lenders, or individual brokers use information gathered during loan processing to pitch additional financial products. Cross-selling can be looked at as a form of customer retention. It's a hot topic in the industry because many mortgage brokers have questions about the pros, cons, and ethics of cross-selling financial products and banking products to get new customers that might actually be old customers.


Mortgage broker cross-selling products


How Does a Cross-Sell Program Work?

A successful cross-sell pitch doesn't just happen casually. Every financial and lending institution that's doing this successfully has a cross-selling strategy. Here's a look at common strategies:

  • Blending Customer Service and Marketing: This strategy involves gathering information about the current needs and motivations of customers to be able to offer them personalized products for both future and unrealized needs. It might include surveys, specialized landing pages, SMS text opt-in options, and other methods that merge interacting and tracking as part of a comprehensive mortgage broker marketing plan.
  • Targeted Marketing Campaigns: Many financial institutions build out specialized landing pages that are separate from a main page to "catch" specific customer categories. While the customer is engaging with the landing page regarding one financial product, a profile is being made for the sake of recommending additional products.
  • Email Marketing: This is one of the most traditional cross-selling strategies. Email marketing is a natural choice for mortgage brokers and lenders simply because it allows them to reuse contact information they've already acquired. It taps into a combination of existing client-customer trust and the effectiveness of email marketing to help steer customers toward additional products.
  • Educational Content: This strategic point can be combined with email marketing. It can also be integrated with social media marketing. A lender can focus on creating educational videos and blogs that direct existing and former clients through their "next steps" in their financial journeys. These helpful tutorials and blogs can help to steer customers toward specific financial products that may help them manage their ongoing financial goals. The key here is to make high-quality content that doesn't seem like it’s advertising anything at all. Problems and goals should be outlined before recommendations for how to manage them are introduced. The last step is mentioning how specific financial products can be helpful before wrapping up with a call to action.
  • Post-Closing Correspondence: Mortgage brokers can use customer segmentation lists to time post-closing letters based on the natural progression of financial needs after closing. This allows for effective cross-selling that could potentially last for decades! When building on the positive experience a customer had the first time around, a mortgage broker can send email or print correspondence showcasing opportunities for refinancing, taking out loans for home improvement, or utilizing equity. This path starts with an effective client "thank you" letter.
  • Social Media Marketing: This is a natural fit for cross-marketing because mortgage brokers are simply sharing the "good news" about financial products with customers who follow them. People don't necessarily feel like they're being fed pitches because they willingly signed up for content.
  • Newsletters: Quarterly newsletters are great for mixing in community news, personal news, branch developments, answers to common questions, and product announcements.

Customers aren't engaging with these forms of outreach because they feel like pitches. They're engaging with them because they believe that they provide value. The truth is that they do provide value.

A cross-sell isn't something toxic that mortgage brokers need to try to push on their customers. They are products that mortgage brokers use, sell, and believe in. In fact, believing that pitches are inherently bad is something that keeps many mortgage brokers from successfully cross-selling because it causes them to try to conceal the pitch entirely. The key to success is knowing when to unveil the pitch without any need to be vague about what you're selling because the value of the product has already been demonstrated using solid content.


The 10 Most Common Cross-Selling Opportunities for Mortgage Brokers

The big advantage that loan sellers have is that they know exactly where a customer is in their financial cycle. This puts them in the right spot to pitch the right products at the right time. What are some good options for income diversification as a mortgage broker? Here are the 10 easiest cross-selling categories.


Credit Cards

This is a low-hanging fruit simply because any customer is potentially looking for a good credit card at any point in time. In fact, credit cards become important for new homebuyers because buyers need a fast way to finance appliance purchases. What's more, buyers who have been avoiding making credit card purchases in order to qualify for financing may be ready to finally catch up with some much-needed purchases.


Life Insurance

It's common for buyers to turn their attention to purchasing life insurance once they have a mortgage. This is especially common when a person has a spouse or children. Serving up some cross-selling materials right after closing can prompt recent customers to take action with your help.


Mortgage Insurance

This is a really natural fit for mortgage brokers because they have direct access to the target segment for this product. Many mortgage brokers also hold licenses to sell home insurance. In fact, many brokers find that residual income from insurance eventually outpaces mortgage sales.


Auto Loans

This is another strong cross-selling category simply because many new buyers hold off on purchasing cars until after closing. A simple email or post highlighting low rates is often enough to get the gears stirring. Mortgage brokers can also take advantage of the fact that many fresh homebuyers have "search fatigue" after looking for a home loan. This makes them more likely to want to stick with a lender they just used.


Home Loans

Can you pitch home loans to people who already have home loans? Definitely. Buyers may be turning their attention to investment properties.


Financial Planner Services

This is another one that dovetails nicely with a recent home mortgage simply because many first-time buyers feel like the time has come to get "serious" about protecting their newly acquired assets. While many people don't reach out to financial planners because the process seems confusing and overwhelming, having a familiar face reach out to them can be enough to get them interested.


new customers inquiring about financial products


Estate Planning

This follows the same vein as financial planning. Mortgage brokers can provide some great information about the importance of protecting your home by making sure estate planning is in place.


Savings Accounts

After closing, it's often all about saving up for the next big life goal. Showing customers some great banking products that can give them a good return is seen as helpful instead of "salesy." What's more, many people like the ease of banking at the same place where they pay their mortgage.


Personal Loans

Customers are often curious about ways to finance additional personal and business pursuits once they have a home mortgage in place. Mortgage brokers should feel free to let customers know that they can provide access to more than just home loans. The best way to lead into this is usually to show off rates.


Property Management

A certain percentage of all loans that get originated will be for investment properties. These clients should be segmented for special updates on services for property management. It may be as simple as having a referral agreement with a local property management firm.


Cross-Selling Is More Than Earning Referral Income

Cross-selling that's done tastefully is a true win-win situation. Yes, you're earning commission and referral income. However, you're also putting in the time to educate clients and borrowers. They are getting truly free advice from an expert.

The best thing a mortgage broker can do is to simply be honest. You don't need to upsell every single client to be successful at this. In fact, the trust and integrity that you build by being honest about what is truly beneficial is going to help build retention that pays off in the long run.

In addition, mortgage brokers can use cross-selling to build incredible referral partnerships with quality brands and service providers. This means that partners may send you referrals of their own if you prove to be an effective funnel. These partnerships also make you more educated regarding peripheral services and products that clients may ask you about before you even attempt to cross-sell. Cross-selling is more than just a way to finance an extra vacation. It's a way to add value to your personal brand.


The Pros and Cons of Cross-Sells for Brokers

It's easy to think of cross-selling as being "all positive" just by looking at the basics. The truth is that cross-selling is mostly positive when mortgage brokers do it the right way. However, it's still important to have an honest perspective of the pros and cons before diving in.

The Pros of Cross-Selling for Mortgage Brokers:

  • Income diversification that protects you from market tumult.
  • Creating new revenue streams in your business.
  • Gaining credibility as an expert among your clients.
  • Forming valuable referral partnerships.
  • Potentially gaining new certifications.

The Cons of Cross-Selling for Mortgage Brokers:

  • You may feel like you're taking on too much if you don't have a strategy for automating lead management and content deployment.
  • Clients may experience message fatigue if you're too persistent.
  • Focusing on too many different cross-selling categories can dilute your area of focus from a marketing viewpoint.


The Ethics of Upselling

There's nothing unethical about using information you've legally obtained about customers to try to pivot them toward financial services and products that can benefit them. The only time when it gets hairy is if you're willingly pushing services that you know won't benefit the borrower.


Three Tips to Increase Successful Cross-Selling Opportunities

How can you win at cross-selling? You don't have to focus on being all things to all people to be effective at this. In fact, the same principle of focusing on a niche that works so beautifully when carving out a career as a mortgage broker can still apply when being a cross-seller. Here are the three tips to increase cross-selling opportunities:

  • 1. Embrace Technology: The customer relation management (CRM) tools you use will do most of the work for you. In fact, creating an efficient plan for collecting information, segmenting clients, deploying content, and following up is really the only way to juggle cross-selling without taking on another full-time job by default.
  • 2. Don't Spam: Avoid the trap of turning into a seller instead of being a trusted source of knowledge. Only share upsells in the context of information that's useful!
  • 3. Focus on Relationships Instead of Products and Services: Good relationships are at the core of successful cross-selling. Every bit of information you share should be focused on creating relationships that can lead to sales instead of trying to sell.

These three tips allow you to rake in commissions without compromising your ethics. Finally, only promote products you believe in. This will require you to spend time investigating what different products truly bring to the table. Don't sell anything you wouldn't use in your own financial planning!


financial products


Final Thoughts on Cross Selling for Mortgage Brokers

Should you cross-sell as a mortgage broker? This can be a great way to expand your personal brand if you have the time, motivation, and commitment to doing things properly. You just might thank yourself the next time origination leads get thin!