The Problem with Drift Net Marketing

How today’s top-producers are succeeding

Last fishing season I sat down with my friend Mike and caught up on his recent fly fishing exploits in Shasta Lake, California. As an experienced fisherman, he related to me how he adjusted his typical techniques due to the rapidly-rising waters in the reservoir after several weeks of heavy rain and snowfall. The water was brown in several spots obscuring the fish below the surface, the currents had changed, and small inlets disappeared. Basically, he had to reinvent his approach in a rapidly changing environment. His flexibility paid off with over 20 fish caught and released.

Mike’s technique is specific and targeted. The opposite approach is deep sea drift netting, which hangs several large net curtains under the water’s surface catching nearly everything in its path- often entangling smaller fish that must be thrown back.

While it is easy to lament the decline in homeowners taking a reverse mortgage, the more intriguing question is how do a handful of HECM professionals succeed in today’s marketplace? Here are just a few of the ways today’s top producers tell us they attracting and closing qualified homeowners.

  1. Referrals– Most salespeople in any industry fail to get referrals. One of the best ways to enter a sphere of influence is to ask each borrower if they know any local CPA, attorney, or financial planners in your community you could speak with. Take note of each name and ask them if you can use them as a reference when you make your introduction.
  2. Relationship management– if you have contacted professionals in the past, when is the last time you spoke with them? When was your last coffee or lunch meeting? When was your last phone conversation? Do they see you as a friend or just another salesperson looking for a free lead?
  3. Targeted investment– Your time is an asset you choose to invest each day. Are you spending 80% of your time on activities that produce 20% of the results? Take a hard, cold, pragmatic look at where you are marketing. Are you trying to reach every age-eligible homeowner in your area? If so, chances are you’re getting burned out on unqualified applicants. Instead, seek out the homeowners who are most likely to qualify and utilize a reverse mortgage. This could be those seeking to right-size into a new home in retirement, who want to avoid taking more taxable withdrawals from their retirement accounts or are simply looking for an alternative to a home equity line of credit.

Whichever method you choose, commit to hanging up your driftnet and pick up your fly rod and reel. Explore the smaller niche inlets and coves overlooked by most that are rich with opportunity.

reverse mortgage marketing


Tom O’Donoghue September 1, 2020 at 5:43 am

Spot on Shannon!

Cultivating business relationships take time but are worth the wait.

Targeting relationships and adding value prior to asking for business builds a foundation of long term trust and solid referrals.

Give first, wait, give more, then ask.

Your looking for a long business relationship, not a “one nightstand.”

Tom O’Donoghue

Shannon Hicks September 1, 2020 at 11:18 am

Excellent points Tom. Too many pursue the ‘one-night-stand’ approach which only turns off potential referring professionals.

The Critic September 1, 2020 at 9:46 am

While this approach is not a Blue Ocean strategy, in our little industry it is one that should be explored.


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