Which Long-Term Strategy Works in All Markets?

In my recent discussions with mortgage banking executives, the Number One topic that comes up is how to prepare for the changing marketplace when interest rates finally move up and refinancing slows to a halt. Much of the conversation centers on how to institute change in a sales model that has run its course. The real issue is how to ensure that your sales organization successfully adapts to the new world of origination.

In my opinion, the solution is to install practices that are repeatable throughout the sales force from hiring quality sales candidates and customer presentation (brand messaging) to coaching to improve performance. The days of sales professionals selling how they feel like it are over and frankly outdated.

How do you create a repeatable sales system? It starts with a sales force that is continuously learning, improving and adapting. Adaptability used to be a “nice-to-have” in an organization. But in a world where reaction cycles are shrinking and competitive advantage is fleeting, it is mandatory. I would even argue that reinvention or adaptability is the driving source of competitive advantage going forward for all companies.

Establishing a culture of adaptability is a leadership issue, not a field issue. The reason? Leadership dictates a company’s key differentiators, internalized values and priorities. Sales leadership determines whether a business will be transactional or relationship-driven.

Poor leadership facilitates unsustainable practices such as hiring bodies (or branches!) simply hoping that the originators “work out” or failing to invest in training managers on the fundamentals and expecting different results.

As Chris Zook says in Repeatability, “it is always easier to hold on for one more quarter, driving quarterly earnings from the model of the past, than to confront massive change and deal with it. While there is no simple panacea for businesses with a model from the past…one thing can be said with relative certainty; it is better to see the problem sooner.”

Are you ready to make the difficult decisions that are needed to succeed in a more challenging marketplace? Have you looked at your sales force with a clear eye and said, “Yes I have the right individuals for this new world of origination.” If you said “No,” have you made the necessary changes? Time is wasting.