When Top of Mind made it our mission to help lenders keep clients for life — almost two decades ago! — the words weren’t as ubiquitous as they are today. Nowadays, “client for life” and its proxies (“lifelong customers,” etc.) are used by countless mortgage lenders, service providers and even Top of Mind competitors to describe the ideal relationship between originator and borrower.
We consider it a compliment that these phrases are so widely used, but we want to clarify what we mean when we talk about clients for life — and how to cultivate them.
What It Means
For loan originators, earning lifelong clients is a career goal. Most loan officers and brokers aspire to reach a point where they can quit hustling for new leads and live off repeat and referral business.
For mortgage executives, lifelong clients mean bigger profit margins. Acquiring a new customer costs more than hanging on to an existing one — a lot more. Studies have clocked the cost of customer acquisition at anywhere from five to seven times the cost of customer retention.
For American consumers, being a lifelong client means choosing to work with the same lender across an average of seven lifetime mortgages. If we assume that originators earn an average commission of $2,500 per loan — and plenty of you have LOs who net more than that — we can approximate the lifetime value of a mortgage client at $17,500. And that doesn’t even take referrals into account!