The two topics that I am most often asked to train on are prospecting and recruiting. I think this is no surprise since selling in the marketplace is now more difficult than it has been in the past. In many ways, prospecting and recruiting are the same, just with different targets. Both require an individual to perform activities that are systematic and repeatable whether the goal is finding new referral sources or sales talent. For sales organizations, the end result is growth and the lack of prospecting and recruiting efforts puts the lender on a path of diminishing returns.
At its core, prospecting and recruiting success requires originators or managers to take five steps. While these steps may appear rather simple, it’s the execution that separates those with superior results from others:
- Compile a target list. Internet access has made finding names or prospects — whether referral sources or originators — easier than ever before. Create a targeted list to get started
- Determine the “story” that you will be telling. All selling is about matching your story with those who have a need for your solutions. In today’s world, it is important to create a story that resonates emotionally with your target audience. Putting together a compelling story requires reflection on current market trends and untapped sales opportunities. It is not enough to sell just a loan product or for that matter, an effective back office process because lenders have such similar products and services. What makes one originator’s story better than others is how it aligns with the customer’s needs. This step is difficult because it is easy to tell the same story versus identifying what differentiates an originator or manager from competitors.
- Establish a process or system. Once you have refined your story, a process needs to be put in place to generate interest among prospects or sales candidates. All sales success is a function of consistent outreach to consumers and originators. The best outreach efforts involve a combination of personal (face-to-face or phone) and electronic methods that are performed on a regular basis. The process is the most challenging for originators and managers because the very nature of the mortgage business is that it has so many moving parts that can interrupt a day. Everything can be a crisis if it is allowed to be. A systematic process ensures that your efforts are proactive not reactive.
- Create measurable goals to determine your success. The benefit of goals is obvious. It is hard to get to a destination without a road map. Likewise, how many contacts are needed to recruit a new referral source or new loan officer must be established for the simple reason that it tells whether more effort is needed or less or that new strategies are needed. Knowing what works and what doesn’t is not a sign of failure but more about learning what needs to be changed in the approach.
- Make the commitment. Woody Allen’s famous quote “80% of success is showing up” applies to mortgage banking as well. Prospecting and recruiting requires a commitment if success is to be obtained. There is no question that both activities can be a grind. People can be rude, unresponsive to your story and rejecting. But if you do not perform these activities, you will not have a successful sales business. Certainly, both originators and managers are busy. But the real question is what activity do you do in a day that has a larger impact than prospecting and recruiting? Everything else pales in comparison. One solution is to use your outlook calendar function and time block when you will do it. Start small. Commit to an hour and build on that until you have reached 20 to 30% of your work week. Before you know it, you will have more business than you can imagine.
The five keys are what separate the top tier originators and managers from the rest. Are you ready to incorporate these steps into your daily activities?