Why Rookie Programs Are Mandatory for Future Success

During several recent conversations, mortgage managers told me they had planned to start or augment a rookie originator program but weak volume in the first quarter made them pull back on these initiatives. They felt that supporting a rookie program in the face of having to reduce expenses would be a risky move. While I certainly understand the compulsion to take action, I have to ask, “Is it wise to cut programs that will determine your company’s future success?”

Last week, I discussed that there are only 2,600 days before Gen Y will comprise 75% of the workforce. I cannot underestimate how significantly this will impact our industry. The time to commit to funding a rookie program is now. In my view, failure to proactively address this generational change is short-sighted and extremely detrimental to a sales group’s future.

Lenders without a robust rookie program are broadcasting to prospects and sales candidates that they are not forward-thinking and invested in the future. This week I am speaking at the Calyx Software conference on how to sell to Gen Y and recruit them for originator positions. A company’s ability to attract and engage potential originators from this demographic is what will separate the best mortgage companies from the rest.

In my consulting practice, I have identified three roadblocks that can hinder a sales group’s efforts to sell to Gen Y. They are:

  1. Older workforce. If current producers and managers are nearing retirement age, they may be less likely to embrace and promote the latest selling techniques.
  2. Out of touch regarding Gen Y interests and the Gen Y community
  3. Inconvenient to reach. Prospective buyers and sales candidates want to communicate quickly and efficiently with lenders whether that is by text, FaceTime, Skype or other method.

I think that none of this is a surprise. Certainly, training can improve the current sales team’s performance but in reality, not every originator will adapt their selling skills to what is required now in prospecting. That is why it is essential that we recruit and train rookies in our business. Even with our industry’s technological advancements, consumers still want a person to help them navigate the mortgage maze. The challenge is that the sales professionals need to match to the generation that they are selling to. Rookie programs are no longer a nice-to-have option but should be a critical driver of any company’s growth strategy.