The Future Role of Originators is Micro-Influencing

In last week’s blog, I discussed the role of technology in mortgage banking and where the originator position is heading. I believe that in the not-too-distant future, artificial intelligence technology will be integral to the operational side of the business and will usurp functions that originators have traditionally performed. No longer will originators determine product slotting for their customers. Computers can do that better and faster. Just think how fast Big Blue’s Watson AI decisions are when competing against world champion chess players. Going forward, originators will be tasked with creating loan demand which requires that producers engage with prospects earlier in the home-buying process. In other words, they must be micro-influencers.

What is a micro-influencer? While there are various definitions, the one I like to use is a salesperson who has over 3,000 people following them on social media platforms. Whether it is LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram, the platform doesn’t matter. They are recognized for being trusted advisers and according to James Tait’s TRIBE blog, “they’re relatable, genuine and trustworthy – three things which are pretty useful when it comes to marketing. Launching an influencer campaign is effectively word-of-mouth marketing at an unprecedented scale.”

One of the most significant changes in selling today is that the salesperson must cast a wide net when prospecting to have success. No longer can producers count on a few referral sources and make money. As a result, originators need to be micro-influencers sharing their thoughts and wisdom with a large target market and having followers. The good news is that social media platforms provide an easy way to engage with more people than ever before.

Unfortunately, many originators have not adapted to their role of being thought leaders who share valuable information with a large “tribe.” They are stuck in the past thinking that the lender must provide leads or that they need to be the lowest priced in the marketplace. This outdated thinking is why many originators are doing so poorly today.

It is clear that selling today is not the same profession as before when sales professionals had all the information and the customer did not. The Internet changed this equation forever. Instead, the originator is required to nurture their tribe of followers and engage them like never before. This personal brand strategy is no longer optional and is a critical driver in any originator’s success.

At its core, micro-influencing is a proactive selling strategy that requires originators to be active in their marketplace, sharing their knowledge of the financial landscape in the broadest way possible. It means helping prospects understand how lending works and what it takes for consumers to receive a fair deal. Yes, a fair deal — not the lowest price.

It is clear that future success in origination rests on a producer’s ability to learn and adopt new selling techniques. Accumulating 3,000 followers isn’t easy. In fact, it can take years of effort that involve daily outreach and referrals. It takes thinking of topics that will help prospects vs. promoting your product and service.

Mortgage banking has shifted from “me” marketing to “you” marketing and being a micro-influencer is a key role that each originator must play if they want to be successful.