Are Your Originators True Sales Professionals?

Last week, I spoke at the American Bankers Association (ABA) Real Estate Conference on top producer’s characteristics, sales models and point-of-sales techniques. These topics are especially relevant considering current market conditions. My company specializes in predicting above-average producers and I am always glad to share what we have learned. During the last week, several articles in the national press noted that with interest rates rising, mortgage companies will have a tough time reaching their goals in 2013. In my opinion, this underscores the need for quality producers who can thrive amid more difficult market conditions.

After 25 years in this business, I am still surprised that sales as a skill set is not valued as much as it should be. In my view, mortgage producers are highly skilled individuals similar to other professionals such as engineers or lawyers. Selling is not something that anyone can do. In fact, our research shows that producers who do not possess raw sales talent never perform at the same level as those with sales talent. This fact alone should cause managers to take a closer look at how they evaluate sales talent.

Would a major league baseball team add a player with a long history in the minors? Probably not. Hiring in mortgage lending is no different. So, why are companies still recruiting producers based on prior origination experience instead of the more obvious qualifier, “Can they sell?”

In my view, the belief that “anyone can sell” has caused many of the problems in our industry. Minor league originators don’t handle the customer in a professional manner, can’t sell value and can’t generate referrals. Isn’t it time that we put true professionals in the originator positions?