Tiny housing is a hot topic that seems to be everywhere. Whether it is day or night, there are TV shows featuring customers purchasing houses that are 500 square feet or less. The drive behind the trend is either downsizing or wanting a different lifestyle. Regardless, it is a trend that has traction. Similarly, tiny or incremental commitments are finally being recognized as the key to successful selling. The famous sentiment from the movie Glengarry Glen Ross to “always be closing” has shifted to a better strategy: to always be asking for tiny commitments throughout the sales process.
For whatever reason, closing techniques have gotten off track and have become a one- time question that happens at the end of a sales conversation. Whether it is companies selling sales training programs or managers looking to improve their sales team’s performance, everyone is focused on the magic words that will get a customer to close every time. In my consulting practice, when I am conducting sales audits, sales managers will invariably say that the most challenging part of the sales process for originators is closing. I frequently hear: “My employees just don’t ask for the business enough.”
I certainly agree that the salesperson’s job is to ask for the business but the crucial question is when should this occur in the selling process? While many originators and their managers think that this is at the end of the sales conversation, I believe it is much earlier in the sales process.
Today’s customers are intelligent buyers who do not want to be manipulated into making a buying decision. Originators need to recognize that their ability to influence a buyer is an ongoing responsibility that occurs throughout the sales process, not just at the end of the sales transaction.
A successful closing is really the result of an originator taking a series of steps from the beginning of any customer interaction. All successful originators are experts at driving the loan to a conclusion from the initial conversation by establishing their value proposition — their personal value proposition, not the lender’s. What is often missed is that closing a loan and getting the customer to sign on the dotted line is not a single question but a series of steps that begin with the originator understanding the customer’s specific situation and explaining the options that would make the best sense for the individual.
The best originators know that building a relationship, qualifying, discovering, presenting high-value solutions and achieving alignment leads to customer commitment. If you apply this process and implement it from the start of the loan process, the likelihood of success will be great. Incremental action steps throughout the sales process make all the difference and provide the originator with an indication that they are on the right track in the sales process.
So, think tiny in 2017.