How to Build a Strong Lead Qualification Process


How to Build a Strong Lead Qualification Process

May 25, 2022
Certified Credit

If you want to build a successful mortgage lending business, you need to know how to strategically capture and qualify new leads.

From advertising to referral requests, attracting new leads can sound like a lot of work. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be if you have the right tools. Once you start bringing in new leads with ease, the next step is to qualify them quickly and move them through your sales pipeline.

In this article, we’ll offer some strategies for attracting more leads in this purchase-driven mortgage market. We’ll also discuss how you can use automated solutions to qualify leads efficiently.

Understanding the Evolving Mortgage Market

Before we dive into lead qualification strategies, it’s important to understand the current mortgage market.

In recent years, historically low interest rates caused refinance applications to go through the roof.[i] As a result, 2020 and 2021 were some of the best years for the mortgage industry to date. Many mortgage lenders got to sit back and relax as an abundance of refinancing orders rolled in.

Fast forward to 2022 and interest rates are now on the rise. Nearly everyone who wanted to refinance their mortgage has already done so, leading the demand for refinances to plummet by 60%.[ii] Mortgage lenders must now contend with the unique challenges of a purchase-driven market, which currently include:

    • Limited housing inventory
    • Rising housing prices
    • Record-fast home sales[iii]

If you’ve been working in the mortgage industry for a long time, you know that these shifts are nothing new. The mortgage market cycles from refinances to purchases regularly. Thus, knowing how to shift gears and build a strong lead qualification process is essential for all mortgage lenders looking to enjoy long-term success.

How to Attract More Qualified Leads With Ease

At this point, you may be wondering how you can attract more leads in a purchase-driven mortgage market. While many lenders rely on paid advertising, digital marketing, and referral requests, there’s an easier way—you simply need to turn your attention to your existing client base.

Your past and present customers make up a valuable population of potential leads that’s often overlooked. If you’ve provided excellent customer service, your established relationships with these borrowers can work to your benefit and help you earn their repeat business.

So, how can you find out when your past and present customers are in the market for a new mortgage? All you need is Cascade Alerts.

What is Cascade Alerts?

Cascade Alerts is an automated credit monitoring tool designed by mortgage industry experts at Certified Credit. Cascade Alerts lets you know when your past and present clients receive mortgage-related credit inquiries on their credit reports.

To employ Cascade Alerts, all you have to do is upload a database of your current and past clients using a secure link. Alternatively, you can integrate Cascade Alerts with your customer relationship management (CRM) software.

Once your database is uploaded, Cascade Alerts will continuously monitor your clients’ credit reports for mortgage-related credit inquiries. When credit inquiries are discovered, you and your team will be notified in as little as 24 hours via email or text/SMS. Reaching out to these leads promptly could make the difference between earning their repeat business or losing it to the competition.

Automated Lead Lists Are Delivered Daily

Cascade Alerts compiles daily lead lists automatically. You can customize your lead lists so that they only contain borrowers who meet your qualification criteria and credit thresholds, making the qualification process a breeze. Your daily lead lists will contain the following information about your mortgage-seeking clients:

      • Name
      • Phone number
      • Additional borrower details

If you choose to receive your lead lists via text, the follow-up process is effortless—just click on the phone number and pitch your lead on why you’re the best lender for the job.

By reaching out to new leads swiftly and re-engaging them strategically, you can recapture their business before they commit to working with another lender. In turn, you can extract more business from your existing customer base.

Lead Distribution Can Be Automated to Save Time

If your company has a large team of loan officers, Cascade Alerts can streamline the lead distribution process too. You can set up Cascade Alerts to send unique lead lists to each of your loan officers every morning.

As your loan officers reach out to leads, you can monitor their progress by reviewing your daily summary report. You can also transfer leads from one loan officer to another, which can come in handy when one of your loan officers is out of the office or on vacation.

By automating lead distribution, Cascade Alerts can shave days off of your lead follow-up process, putting you in a better position to swoop business away from your competition. As a result, Cascade Alerts can help you bolster your customer retention and cultivate life-long customer relationships.

How to Qualify New Leads Quickly

Whether you receive leads from your existing client base or elsewhere, you need to qualify them fast. In today’s mortgage market, speed is of the essence.

You can evaluate leads’ eligibility using prequalification. A prequalification application gives you a quick glimpse at a borrower’s creditworthiness using an affordable soft pull credit report.

If you want to enjoy an efficient prequalification process, Cascade Prequal can help.

What is Cascade Prequal?

Cascade Prequal is another helpful automation solution from Certified Credit. It streamlines the prequalification process by automating soft pull credit checks. You can customize your credit report selection to suit your unique credit thresholds.

Thanks to its seamless integration, Cascade Prequal enables you to offer prequalification directly on your website. After applicants apply on your website, they can receive instant responses regarding their prequalification status. All of their submission data will be available for review within your loan origination system (LOS).

Optimizing Your Relationships With Prequalification Applicants

Here’s how you can proceed with applicants, based on their prequalification status:

      • Leads that prequalify with you can pursue their home search with confidence, knowing that they meet the criteria for a mortgage. They can also tailor their home search to only include homes they can truly afford, based on their prequalification offer with you.Thanks to these advantages, prequalified leads often move through the mortgage sales pipeline faster. Their prequalified status increases their chances of having their offers entertained and accepted by sellers, especially in a competitive market that’s characterized by bidding wars and swift sales.
      • Leads that don’t prequalify with you shouldn’t be turned away and forgotten. These applicants present you with a valuable marketing opportunity.Rather than cutting your relationships with non-pre qualifying applicants short, you can help them make changes to their credit management that help them qualify with you in the future. In other words, you can transform your “No” into a “Not yet, but soon.”

As you can see, prequalification allows you to become a trusted advisor to your applicants, whether they currently meet your criteria or not. It also lets you kickstart a relationship with aspiring homeowners early on in their home buying process without putting their credit scores at risk.

How to Help Leads Improve Their Creditworthiness

As a mortgage professional, it’s easy to forget that many people don’t know how to improve their credit scores. Credit management is rarely taught in school.

You can fill in these educational gaps by guiding your non-prequalifying applicants towards improved creditworthiness. For example, you can lay out the steps an applicant would need to take to qualify for a mortgage with you in the future, whether that includes paying down some debt or taking out another credit card to lower their credit utilization.

Here at Certified Credit, we offer many tools that can help you pinpoint specific areas of improvement for non-qualifying applicants. Some of these credit score improvement tools include:

By sharing customized credit score improvement tips, you can guide your applicants in the right direction. Don’t forget to check in with them periodically to make sure they reach the point of being ready for purchase.

Taking this extra step and offering this support can help you cultivate strong customer loyalty. These applicants will appreciate the role you play on their journey to realizing their dream of homeownership, especially since so many other lenders may simply turn them away.

Partner with Certified Credit to Attract and Qualify More Leads Today

In summary, the current mortgage market requires lenders to act fast and upgrade their workflows to be more efficient. Cascade’s automation solutions can greatly enhance your lead generation and prequalification efforts.

If you want more support on your lead qualification journey, Certified Credit is here for you every step of the way. We can be your partner and trusted advisor as you streamline your lead generation and lead qualification workflows to suit the existing mortgage market.

In addition to our automated Cascade solutions, we also offer:

    • Affordable mortgage credit reports
    • Customer acquisition and retention tools
    • Third-party verifications
    • Fraud and risk support
    • Settlement services
    • Credit report tools
    • Money-saving strategies

Are you ready to streamline and strengthen your lead qualification process? Partner with Certified Credit today.



[i] The Mortgage Reports. Mortgage rates chart: Historical and current rate trends.

[ii] CNBC. Mortgage refinance demand plunges 60%, as rates hit their highest level since 2018.

[iii] CNBC. Homes are selling faster than ever before, and the spring market is just around the corner.