Are Your Originators Digital Exiles?

One of the top issues in mortgage banking is the question of how new technology will impact mortgage origination.  In previous years, the back office has received all the technological focus and now it is time to shift that attention to the front-line. Certainly, agencies and vendors are finally coming out with products to address the paper-intensive slog that is a mortgage closing. Whether it is Day 1 certainty to e-signatures and e-notes, the technology is available to transform mortgage origination for the better. It now is up to leadership to make the investment and roll out the new technology. Being a follower might have made sense before but not now.

I certainly can understand if leaders are hesitant because many sales teams have a hard enough time operating their current CRMs. Too often, when I am conducting a sales audit, I still see originators with flip phones who are not using social media. I call these producers digital exiles because they view sales technology as a temporary phenomenon or hindrance to their success.  But the reality is they are holding back the march of progress.

Selling is undergoing dramatic changes and how we communicate with prospects and buyers requires different tools than in the past.  It is interesting that in general, top producers have adopted these new sales technologies while mediocre originators are resistant to any type of sales process improvement.

The research supports that top producers are early adaptors to sales technology. According to LinkedIn\’s State of Sales 2016 report, “the tools that a salesperson uses is highly correlated to their sales performance.” The report finds that \”top salespeople are 24% more likely to attribute their success to sales technology: 82% percent of top salespeople cite sales tools as ‘critical’ to their ability to close deals, compared with 66% overall.” The report also shows that top salespeople are more likely to use a customer relationship management (CRM) system, productivity apps, social selling tools, sales intelligence tools and by the widest margin, email tracking tools.”

Is the ability to embrace new sales tools simply a matter of younger originators who are more comfortable with technology? Not really. In my company’s research on the personality traits of top producers, we found that the best originators are optimistic, want to learn new things and are accommodating. With these traits, above-average originators are inherently better at adapting to change than below-average producers.

On the other side of the housing market, real estate agents are facing similar issues. Again, the better agents are adopting the new technology because it helps their business while sub-par agents are still faxing and losing transactions.

Inman, an online news site for real estate agents and brokers, recently listed the latest apps that can help them do more business. Here are just a few of the apps:

• 10MinRealty : on-demand home showing app

• CamScanner: Smartphone scanner that turns a document into a pdf.

• PalmAgent: offers the ability to run quick estimates and closing costs for both buyers and sellers

• Open Home Pro: online website for clear information from seller regarding the house as a buyer walks through the house.

• Sun Seeker 3 D: uses a GPS to display the position and path of the sun. When a real estate agent is showing a house on a rainy day, the buyer can see the positioning of the sun.  How cool is that!

We have only seen the beginning of sales technology advancements. Are your managers and originators poised to embrace these new tools? If not, it is time to address this issue before it is too late.