The Cure for Common Call Reluctance

One common complaint I hear from managers today is that their originators won’t visit referral sources to generate new business. While some originators claim that that they have tried in the past and can’t get into a real estate office because it is a closed shop, the truth is that they haven’t tried and managers have failed to hold these originators accountable.

An originator’s role is to create loan demand which means they are expected to develop and meet referral sources for new business. For some reason, managers tend to label lack of effort in this area as “call reluctance” when the reality is that the originators are not matched for the position of selling.

Historically, the position of a sales person has always been about finding new customers and not simply handling customers that the company already has. At some point along the way, mortgage origination companies started paying originators for handling customers the company already has vs. generating new business. As a result, while all sales people in the mortgage industry have the same title — originator, LO or AE — there is really only a small percentage of individuals who actually perform the role as it is intended.

In my opinion, the only solution for call reluctance is to hire individuals who already possess consultative selling behaviors. Attempting to correct call reluctance with training is a poor investment because it doesn’t address the core issue: originators who fail to prospect do not have the right behavioral traitsto succeed at selling. These traits are formed early in life and no amount of training, sales contests or incentives will enable an individual to develop these innate qualities. As managers, it is our job to recognize which individuals have the traits to excel in consultative sales and which individuals don’t.

The unspoken strategy of pirating “heavy hitter” originators and giving them large guarantees to come to a new company has never really worked in mortgage banking. Just ask the companies that have fallen by the wayside. (Countrywide certainly comes to mind as an example.)

Why do companies stick with growth plans based on pirating branches (even though it doesn’t work) vs. developing their own originators? In my view, it is because it requires managers to make tough decisions on their current staffing.

Are you ready to make the hard strategic decisions required to succeed in 2014? Are you willing to admit that the pirating strategy has failed?