What Drives Success in Cross Selling?

Everyone realizes that selling has changed — products are commodities and buyer choices are extensive. The value of products and services has declined since buyers perceive they can get them from many providers. For instance, once Apple came out with its iPhone, a slew of competitors surfaced. There are always others who will jump in to take market share away from the leaders. The mortgage industry has the same challenge of how to sell successfully in a competitive marketplace.

But, a revolution has begun and someone forgot to let the senior managers in mortgage banking know. Otherwise, why would senior managers still execute as if product and price are the only factors that matter in growing mortgage lending?

As discussed in Insight Selling, a recent book by Rain Group leaders Mike Schultz and John Doerr, the value used to be in the products and services and what they could do to improve sales performance. But with so many similar products, selling is driven by the sales person — they are the value drivers. That is a massive shift from the tried-and-true sales approaches of the past.

From television ads to emails, everyone says that their company listens to clients and cares for their customers, but who believes this is true? Not today’s customers, that is for sure! So how does a company effectively translate these marketing tenets to the customer?

A mortgage company certainly can go the route of lower price and less rigorous underwriting standards but very few companies have the wherewithal to sustain this approach and be profitable. At some point, they will have to pay the piper for a lower price strategy.

But the price and product approach seems to be the only strategy mortgage companies are pursuing these days. In my recent conversations with managers, many are still hoping that it will be enough to win in today’s marketplace.

When I ask lenders about their future revenue opportunities, the discussion invariably includes the sentiment, “If only our sales force could cross-sell products.” At its core, cross selling requires the sales person to be proactive. It involves selling new ideas, products and services. An order-taker cannot do this.

One Rain Group survey reported that 92% of sales professionals agree that their customers don’t understand the difference the salesperson can make for them. Think about that. The typical sales person is saying that they are leaving a lot on the table with prospects and customers.

What is going here? Why are customers not buying the additional products and services? It centers on the salesperson creating these opportunities—introducing ideas, motivating the buyer and driving demand themselves.
All of these activities require a professional sales person and not an order-taker.

Can your sales force generate enough demand to succeed in a competitive marketplace? If not, what are you doing make your sales professionals more proactive?