Alex Kutsishin, co-founder, CEO and chief ROI booster at Sales Boomerang, shares the evolution of his company, adapting to shifting environments, and his stance on consumer loyalty and branding. Alex’s expertise provides insight on the progressive customer journey experience and encourages companies to build the relationship first, and focus on “advice over price.”

An excerpt from the interview: 

Kristin Messerli: I’m enjoying this industry, but so one question I ask everyone is what is one way that you are challenging the status quo?

Alex Kutsishin: Well, I think for us, I don’t know about anybody else that you’ve spoken to, but for us it’s a very easy thing to talk about because the status quo seems to be 15% retention. Right?

Kristin Messerli: Mm hmm.

Alex Kutsishin: We see that as a complete failure of an industry. When we lose to auto insurance, I have a whole list of industries that do better than us in retention, that shouldn’t be doing better than us. The status quo is 12, 15% and you’re doing okay. And for us, that’s not the case. We double that for our clients in six months, right? You want to go from 12 to 24% retention? We can do that for you, right?

Kristin Messerli: Yeah.

Alex Kutsishin: That’s going to happen pretty fast. The way we challenge the status quo is we say, because understand that, and this is key, okay? Retention is a clear sign of the health of your business. If you can’t keep or get repeat customers, what does that say about you and your business? Right? And in this industry, and this is a trend we’re about to see this happen a lot, the mortgage industry claims to be an advisory role.

Kristin Messerli: Yeah.

Alex Kutsishin: Advisors, consultants. But to date, they’ve been really good at sales. Really good. Mortgage companies stand up amazing sales teams, they train them very well. This is a product that people are dying to get, right? Everybody wants a home. So, it’s kind of a thing that we all want anyway, and so we know if we can come up with really good salesmanship, we can be really good at what we do. But we’re noticing now and thank goodness we’re seeing these companies go public because these public companies have shown us something.

They’re showing us that it’s not about sales, it’s about building a business, a real brand. And in those brands, you’ll notice in their S-1 filings, they talk about their retention. And every one of them have been near 70%. That’s a key indicator of a successful and healthy business. When you’re retaining a 12%, it just says, ‘people aren’t buying you, they’re buying a price, and next time, they’re not going to buy from you’. And so, what this industry is moving towards, and this is important to understand, is that you want to be building a business, not a sales team. Right? You can’t depend on just your sales team to help you build your business. You build your business and build a sales team around your business.

Kristin Messerli: Mm hmm.

Alex Kutsishin: Not a business around your salespeople. Hear that. You build a sales team around your business, not your business around your salespeople. It’s a very different approach, but the most successful companies in this industry are doing exactly that. They’re not allowing their sales people to dictate what happens tomorrow. They’re saying to their salespeople, ‘here’s our vision for tomorrow. Do you see yourself there’? Right?

Kristin Messerli: Yeah.

Alex Kutsishin: And that is just an important part of the industry where we are today, in general. That’s the status quo that we impact the most is the retention rates. And the retention rates are a key indicator of how healthy your business is.

Kristin Messerli: Yeah. So true. We talk a lot about being an advisor and this is something that we’ve talked a lot about with Mortgage Coach, and I think that while we say we want to be a trusted advisor, or a lot of people in mortgage say that, it’s not… You can’t think about it just in the transaction. That’s what I love about your message, is you think, you’re talking a lot bigger. It’s not just for the quick sale, and consumers that see you do a quick sale and then bow out, it feels like you’re not treating the consumer with the kind of long-term relationship that is promised. I think, especially for skeptical consumers where millennials are extremely skeptical and consumers in general are approaching, especially home buying with so much skepticism.

Alex Kutsishin: Yes.

Kristin Messerli: You have to be seen as someone that… I was talking to Dave Savage this morning about this, if someone comes to you and says that they’re not ready to buy a home, or they go through a rent versus own and realize they’re not ready to own right now, and you tell them, ‘Hey, this isn’t actually a good time for you’, you’re going to be seen as so much of a better partner. Long-term, they’re going to refer a ton of business to you, all kinds of stuff. So, I think having that kind of relationship where you close the deal, and you say, ‘I’m still here, let’s check in on your mortgage later’ or whatever, or you can follow up at specific times. That makes sense to reach out to them. That’s a true partner that I can trust long-term and I’m going to refer all the business I can to you.

Alex Kutsishin: Yeah. That’s why I was actually going to mention Dave and Mortgage Coach, because I love their message. We were at the 7A Group Summit just recently. Nobody knows what that means. That’s by design, by the way, by design. Inquire if you’re interested, it’s a very special exclusive group. And in there, I love Joe, what he said. This is the message for all of Mortgage Coach. Advice, over price. Advice, over price. If you’re going to compete on price, just be ready to lose your customers, right?

Kristin Messerli: Yep.

Alex Kutsishin: If that’s the only thing, and by the way, for everyone listening, if you are selling price, fine. If that’s your business model, fantastic. Then retention may not be the most important thing for you, right? You’re not looking at customer loyalty and you’re not looking to build a brand. You’re just like, ‘I’m going to be razor thin on my margins. I don’t care if you ever come back to me, all I care about is this deal’, then it’s okay. Then probably people like Experience.com, Mortgage Coach, Sales Boomerang, we’re not your partners. But if you’re looking to build a business, a brand and be profitable, not razor thin profits, but be a healthy profitable company that grows for the next 20, 30 years and beyond, and you’re building a legacy for your team and your own family, then there’s no other way to look at your business.

Kristin Messerli: Yeah.

Alex Kutsishin: There’s no other way. Advice is key.

Kristin Messerli: Yeah, absolutely.

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