Innovating for the Future

Recently, I was speaking to sales teams on the West Coast about the new consultative selling rules. One common concern that I heard: Many in sales leadership positions feel they do not have the right direct managers in place to handle the market changes that will inevitably occur when rates finally increase and originators must change their selling models to compete for today’s customers.

More senior managers also feel that the “producing manager” model is a dinosaur that no longer fits with what mortgage companies are asking them to do, namely coach more production from originators who report to them.

The facts are that selling models that worked before do not work now. This is especially true when the average age of originators is late 40s to early 50s and the first-time homebuyers are in their early 30s. There is often a disconnect between younger customers and how they want to be handled (i.e. via social media) and older originators who prefer yesterday’s marketing vehicles such as direct mail.

In all my years of sales consulting, this is the first time that I have noticed so many lenders singing the same tune. The global view is fairly uniform that small branches can’t be supported and low performers must be removed quickly. The core issues boil down to these questions: Does leadership have the fortitude to make the changes that are needed? Can they ride the refinance wave and hope for the best or is it time to take action? Frankly, I see many of the independent mortgage bankers being creative and making important innovations. One example is the rise of rookie programs to bring a new generation to mortgage banking. In my opinion, that’s a very smart and cost-effective way to increase a company’s number of top producers. Pirating top producers from other lenders takes too long and does not create loyalty to the new lender.