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How To Generate Quality Leads For Your Mortgage Lending Business With Luke Shankula

Episode 431: How To Generate Quality Leads For Your Mortgage Lending Business With Luke Shankula

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REIS 431 | Quality Leads

 

There is a popular misconception that Facebook is a poor platform to generate quality leads for any business. Facebook ad expert, Luke Shankula disagrees. A self-taught marketer with a fair number of years of experience in mortgage lending, Luke owns his own business, which helps mortgage marketers dramatically increase their leads through Facebook ads. In this conversation with Mitch Stephen, he shares the one thing that marketers are missing out on when it comes to increasing the intent of the leads generated through Facebook ads. He also extols the value of developing skills in marketing and sales, which are two of the indispensable skillsets that will get you anywhere in the world of business.

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I’m here with Luke Shankula. Where are you at, Luke?

I’m here out of San Diego.

Luke is in the mortgage and the mortgage lending business. He’s an entrepreneur. He’s learned how to scale and more importantly, he knows how to market. No matter what business you’re in, you have to market. We’re going to talk to him a little bit about that and how he runs the marketing side of his business. Luke, how have you been?

I’m doing awesome. Thank you so much for having me.

It’s my pleasure to have you on. Tell us a little background, how you got to hear it, and then I want to jump into marketing where we’re headed.

The journey has been a little interesting. I do run a marketing company specifically for mortgage loan officers. However, what got me here was I worked for a mortgage company. I worked as an account executive for a lender way back in 2016. In January 2017, they laid me off. It had been quite a bad experience and I was like, “I’m going to go off and do it on my own.” I tried to start a contract processing business. If you know anything about loans, that’s the people that are detail-oriented. They’re organized and that just wasn’t me. After doing two loans, I was like, “I will never do that again.” I got my license to become a loan officer. I started learning how to run ads for myself to essentially figure out how to get leads for myself. In that time, I learned that I didn’t want to be a loan officer. I wasn’t in love with it, but I had fallen in love with marketing.

The more you learn, the more there is to learn. Click To Tweet

You could say the rest is history. The reality is the next couple of years were pretty up and down. I didn’t make very much money. It was for two years before I was making any money. I almost lost it all in 2019. I had gotten my biggest month in February of 2019. In April of 2019, I had lost about $60,000 in monthly recurring revenue within a six-week period. I almost lost it. I was almost said, “Maybe I should go back to corporate. Maybe I should go back to doing what I did before,” but wasn’t in the cards. I wasn’t going to do that again. I had promised myself that I was never going back to corporate. I doubled back down, continued to grow, and here we are, we’re working with a little over 50 loan officers at the moment. I am loving it and just growing. It’s been exciting and an up and down journey though.

I want all the readers to know, my book is My Life & 1,000 Houses: Failing Forward to Financial Freedom. It’s a book about falling down and getting back up and about painting yourself in a corner so hard that you’re not going to come out, unless it’s going to be the way you want to come out. That’s what you did. I want everyone to hear you backed yourself up in a corner. You tried a lot of things that didn’t work out. You kept morphing and stayed with what you had a passion for and didn’t give up on that passion to get a paycheck because you needed some money.

I will say there was a time that I did have to go back and get a job, from November of 2017 through April of 2018. I then got laid off again. I got laid off twice in fourteen months. That second time, I was like, “I’m never going back to corporate. I have to make it work.” That’s a little part of the story that I skipped past, but you are right. I was back against the wall. I invested in a couple of programs, some training programs about how to grow business. I was completely broke. I told my wife that she didn’t have to go back to work after the summer because she was a teacher. I was like, “How is this going to happen?” As of May 2020, I still was only making a couple of $1,000 a month, which in San Diego, that’s not even my mortgage payment.

Those are some sleepless nights.

Those were some stressful moments. As I mentioned in 2019, I had my best month and went down to one of my worst months. Within about a six-week period, I got to be at about $100,000 in debt. I was like, “How am I going to get out of this?” I had no idea what I was going to do. It was funny because at that time, instead of throwing in the towel, I invested in a mindset coach that costs me $1,500 a month. It wasn’t a small investment and I didn’t have the money, but I knew that what needed to get me to that next level was to get my mind right and to understand what was holding me back from taking that next leap. Interestingly enough, that moved me through it all

A smart person that changed my life said to me, “If the body gets enough protein and enough water, and if the mind doesn’t go, it’ll figure everything out, no matter how bad it is, but you’ve got to keep your mind.” That was the key thing. I love your story. Talk to me about marketing. What did you discover about marketing? You’re sitting there trying to get leads for yourself to be a mortgage lender. Am I right?

Correct. Towards the beginning, I was doing some stuff for myself as far as learning marketing. When I first got started, I was like, “I need to learn how to do this.” Everybody was talking about Facebook Ads at the time. I was listening to the podcast Entrepreneur on Fire. He was talking about that. There was an entrepreneur, I’m sure people have heard of him if they do any marketing. They’re talking about Russell Brunson with ClickFunnels. I started observing what was going on and what they were doing. I was like, “This is awesome.” I started absorbing as much content as I could. I was consuming course after course and YouTube videos as much as I could about marketing.

REIS 431 | Quality Leads

Quality Leads: There is a misconception that Facebook leads are bad. The reality us that the intent isn’t as high but there is a way to do it correctly.

 

What I learned was even years later, I still don’t feel like I know much. It’s like the more you learn, the more there is to learn. It’s crazy because there’s so much growth. There’s so much opportunity. There are many different ways to market. One of the things I learned was that early on, I got very much distracted with shiny objects. It’s easy in any niche to get distracted by shiny objects, the shiny object syndrome. It’s like chatbots, Facebook, Google, YouTube and SEO. I was like, “How are you ever going to learn all of that stuff?” I got dialed in on what I wanted to do.

When I decided what niche I was going to work at with, I was like, “I’m going to get good at doing Facebook Ads for mortgage professionals using long-form survey funnels where they’re filling out 10, 12, 14 questions to qualify them and go as deep as I could into that.” What I found is by being okay at all these other things, I never was able to get the results that I wanted until I focused on one thing. That’s one thing that I even tell my clients as well, “Be focused.” There’s the Gary Vee thought. It’s like, “Put out 60 pieces of content today on 400 platforms.” The reality is that the average person can’t do that unless you have a six-person media team or something that can put out content all day for you. The reality is you’re probably better off getting good at 1 to 3 platforms and focusing hard on those platforms.

Do you have a big organization or is it just you? How many people make your world go round now?

At the moment, we are about 8 to 9 people. We have a couple of people. We have a little call center that we have started. We have a couple of clients to support people. We have some virtual assistants out of the Philippines, a couple of salespeople. We have a decent organization. It was just me up until November of 2018. I hired my first virtual assistant. It was towards the end of 2019 when I started bringing people on to help things go on. One of the things that I realized quickly was I didn’t like certain parts of the business. That wasn’t what fired me up. I was like, “How can I replace myself and these pieces of the business so that I can work on the vision and grow the organization versus getting stuck in the weeds?” That’s the biggest thing there is.

The other thing too is managing people. That’s a whole other skillset. That’s one skillset that 2020 has been a huge growing pain/opportunity for me is learning how to manage people, learning how to get them to perform. The reality is as an entrepreneur, I feel like everybody is going to go out and get the stuff done. The reality is a lot of people need direction. They need exactly KPIs and what they need to do. Sometimes you think you’re like the bad guy by being too clear of like, “This is what you need to do,” but some people need that. Some people need to be micromanaged. Some people need these things and it’s weird. It blows my mind because I’m self-motivated. I do my own thing and figure it out, but not everybody’s like that. I’ve had to learn a lot about leadership and stuff like that bringing on a team.

You specialize in marketing for residential mortgage lenders. Are you using a pay-per-click?

Marketing is important, but it doesn’t matter how much you spend on it if you don’t have a system of converting leads into closed deals. Click To Tweet

Primarily Facebook and Instagram. We’re also testing some YouTube stuff. Google is another avenue that in 2021 is probably going to be added into the foray of different ways that we market. One of the things we found pretty early was Facebook was the cheapest way to do it, especially at the time. It was easier. It’s getting a little harder. The one thing that people make a mistake and there’s this misconception that Facebook leads are bad. The general reality is that the intent isn’t always as high or they’re not usually as ready to buy right away, but there’s a way to do it the correct way. One of the things I’ve found is having long-form increasing intent. By asking more questions and by qualifying people, you’re able to generate a higher intent and higher quality lead via Facebook at a much lower cost. You can generally do that on Google.

I don’t want to put you on the spot, but sometimes we offer something free to the audience or giveaway so they can get to know you. Do you have something that we can offer the audience?

Maybe we’ll throw something together.

If you’re a mortgage lender and you’re struggling with lead generation, maybe you ought to give him a call and have a consult or to find out what it’s about because I don’t think it can hurt anybody. Maybe you connect and Luke can help you and you can get to where you’re going faster. That’s the whole point. I’ve hired a lot of coaches in my life. I still have coaches. I like to hire specialists. There are all kinds of coaches out there and we need different ones at different times. I try to have a different coach about every six months for something because you need to immerse yourself in it too. You don’t want to cut yourself too short, but I don’t think you’ll ever get enough face time with someone who understands marketing. I don’t think you can get too much face time for that because it’s always changing.

One thing that I tell people if they’re struggling to find a job, even if they’re just a normal citizen that doesn’t want to be an entrepreneur, the one thing that is always going to be a need is marketing and sales. If you can get good at marketing and sales or both, you’re always going to have opportunities and you’re always going to have jobs. The reality is organizations can’t grow without those two things. If you can get good at some aspect of copywriting or marketing or running Facebook Ads or whatever that looks like, organizations are always looking for people that are on the cutting edge of that stuff and also obviously sales. Sales is huge as well. If you can learn both of those skills per se, you’re always going to have opportunities.

My dad was a professional salesperson. He’s always commissions-only. He didn’t want a paycheck because he didn’t want a ceiling on what he could make. He wanted a high ceiling anyways. Sales is about as close to an entrepreneurial job as you can get if it’s straight commission. Some of the most successful people in the world launch themselves from very lucrative sales jobs that they got good at. Is there anything you want to talk or say to the readers out there who are struggling with marketing?

I’ll say a couple of different things. The first thing is if you are even an investor that’s looking to generate leads online on Facebook, one of the things that people don’t do that I find a lot of times is find that using survey funnels, increasing intent by asking more questions is a much better way to generate leads on Facebook. What we’re doing with Facebook is interruption marketing, versus Google, which is more like you’re essentially siphoning the demand somewhere. We’re creating demand on Facebook. We’re finding an audience that may have a need for something like that. Using something like that is huge for increasing intent and increasing the quality of the leads.

REIS 431 | Quality Leads

Quality Leads: If you can get good at marketing and sales or both, you’re always going to have opportunities because organizations can’t grow without those two things.

 

To be honest, the frontend of marketing is important, but the reality is if you don’t have a system for converting the leads into closed deals, it doesn’t matter how much money you spend on marketing. It doesn’t matter. That’s one of the things we teach with our stuff is we have a full coaching program training for our loan officers because a lot of times people think that by buying more leads, they’re going to miraculously close more deals. The reality is if you put more leads into a broken system, you’re going to get just that broken results. It’s hugely important that you have your sales process dialed in, what’s your follow-up process? Do you have automations in place? Who are responsible for calling the leads and the opportunities? How quickly are you picking up the phone? What are you saying on the phone calls? All of these things matter.

This is probably the most important part of the customer journey. The reality is people online don’t know who you are and they’re looking for opportunities. They’re looking for reasons to not buy. If you don’t have it dialed in, at any point in this funnel, at any part of the customer journey, if you mess up in any of these pieces and they get red flags that go up because you’re not dialed in, they’re going to just go away, even though they could have been a closable deal. That’s the biggest part here, especially if you’re coming from getting most of your deals from referrals and trying to go into buying leads. A lot of times, there is this negative stigma about leads. The leads are bad, regardless if you buy them or if you’re generating your own. The reality is most of the time, it comes down to the follow-up process and who the end-user is. That’s 90% of the business. Ninety percent of what we do is trying to teach our loan officers how to follow up with them quickly do the work.

Don’t just try to sell people over text message. People are trying to do things that aren’t natural. They don’t understand because they’re not able to perceive a conversation. You’re going to have short conversations back and forth. You’re not trying to sell them via text. You’re trying to get them onto a phone call. On the phone call, what are you trying to do? What’s that next step that you’re looking to accomplish? Are you’re looking to see the house? Are you looking, as a loan officer, to take an application over the phone? As an investor, you’re probably looking to get some information about the house, whether it’s worth for you to go out and see the house and setting an appointment to do that. For investors, if you do get someone that’s interested, it’s nice because you can get their address and you can show up. It’s hard for them to flake on you when you have their address.

I want you to go to 1000Houses.com/Luke and check it out. If you’re a residential mortgage loan officer and you’re ready to ramp up, or you would like to get a new injection into your lead generation system, maybe you should check out Luke and see what he’s got to offer. I’m sure it’ll be interesting. I’m sure there’s something that you have a value that would be interesting to people out there. I would like to thank you for taking the time to come on.

Thank you so much, Mitch, for having me. It’s been awesome. You have a great show here.

Thank you. I’d like to thank all the readers for taking time to get you some Luke Shankula. Thanks a lot.

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About Luke Shankula

REIS 431 | Quality LeadsI am a proud husband and father of a beautiful baby girl. I am in my late twenties and when I am not building sales funnels and doing digital marketing, I am playing soccer and hanging out with my family.

I first got into Digital Marketing and Sales Funnel when I stumbled across Russell Brunson and the DotCom Secrets book. I was hooked! I began consuming everything I could on the subject and began to apply the concepts I had learned to my own personal marketing. I truly began to realize the power of the internet and sales funnel after seeing results in my own business. I continue to obsess over the newest digital marketing trends while applying direct response marketing tactics that have been used by traditional marketing for many years.

A sales funnel is basically a simplified version of a website designed to take a customer through a series of steps that provide the customer more value and help your business make more money.

As we all know, today’s society has a very short attention span. The average attention span is 8-9 seconds! A sales funnel is designed to simplify the process of obtaining leads by limiting your customers to a very specific set of steps and pages. A standard website may have worked to acquire leads in 2007 and is still important for establishing credibility and to provide more information to your customers, but a Sales Funnel (also known as Marketing or Leads Funnels) is critical for obtaining leads in our fast-paced and distracted society.

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