Going for the Gold in Origination

Watching the Olympics in the last few weeks has been exciting and inspiring with the performance of Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin and many others. I was especially impressed with several athletes who had won silver medals in prior Olympics but came back to London to compete for the gold. Allyson Felix (the winner of the 200-meter track race) is one example. Where most people would be happy with a silver medal, she was not and changed her preparation dramatically. Allyson got a new, tougher coach who pushed her harder. She also increased her strength training and added the 100-meter distance to her repertoire. In other words, Allyson acted like a professional who understands that to stay at the top she must change key behaviors to move forward in her chosen field. This approach is very similar to what I observe about top producers in mortgage origination.

While the refinance market has been a gravy train for originators (especially “mad dogs”), the best producers use this opportunity to invest in themselves and prepare for the next market opportunity. It is not happenstance that the top 10% of sales professionals originate 40% of total production volume in our industry.

Top producers adjust their origination strategies and revise their prospecting without being told to do so, knowing that maintaining the status quo is not a long-term success strategy. They recognize that just because they were successful in the past does not guarantee they will be in the future. In other words, if they want to win the gold, they need to ramp up their game in the critical areas.

From a practical viewpoint, success — whether at the individual level or in a sales organization — follows an “S” curve. In my training sessions, one of the most popular exercises is where individuals are asked to track their personal success. What the students find is that when they were successful, it always involved a learning curve that might require a step back to move forward. For individuals, this translates into re-training on the sales process and having managers who will coach them to better performance.

For sales organizations, it means analyzing all aspects of the hiring and coaching procedures. These are hard decisions for a management team to make since they might be successful currently and are essentially retooling for a future that is six to 12 months out — a long way off from quarterly earning reports.

According to my research, companies fail (whether in the mortgage industry or any other industry for that matter) because they keep doing the same things that no longer work. The bottom-line is that the S curve shows future success requires a change in tactics and techniques.

Now is the time to take an in-depth look at all phases of your sales organization including the selection and development process to ensure long-term success.