Why Being a Good Originator Isn’t Enough Anymore


In today’s ultra-competitive marketplace, being a good salesperson isn’t enough to generate new business. These originators meet expectations but don’t go above and beyond to deliver an exceptional customer experience. They tend to perform well during refinance markets but lose momentum in purchase money markets because they don’t stand out amid their competitors.

Good originators sell the same way they always have and never upgrade their selling skills or adapt to changing times. Many believe that social selling is a bridge too far for them. These are the producers who get three or four stars in their reviews but are never rated five stars by customers.

The problem is that the good originators are not up to the challenge of being top of mind in their marketplace.  Either they were never matched for selling in the first place or they have become too comfortable in their selling efforts. When the marketplace changes, they are the ones who require special pricing and underwriting waivers. They are mediocre in this new world of selling and when a sales group has too many average originators, the organization will not be profitable.

Why is being a good originator not enough in today’s marketplace? There are lots of reasons including consumer access to home-buying information 24/7; and the relatively low barriers of entry for origination. Many companies don’t require much when hiring, just that sales candidates be “experienced.” These companies place a higher value on experience than whether sales candidates have sales talent and are willing to learn new sales techniques.

Being a good originator worked for a long time due to declining interest rates. In this scenario, a salesperson with product knowledge and competent service levels could earn above-average income. But now, being competent doesn’t cut it. Instead, sales professionals must bring their “A” game if they want to build relationships with customers and capture referral business. Top producers understand this and position themselves as strategic selling partners when interacting with customers and referral sources. It takes more effort, a willingness to learn and commitment to succeed at this level.

Achieving Sales Superstar Status

Sales superstars are those individuals who manage their selling time according to the 80/20 principle. The 80/20 principle is about small efforts that have big results. Excellent salespeople focus on the right things that have a multiplier impact. When others are managing their pipelines, top producers are prospecting and working former customers. When others are saying they don’t have time for training, sales superstars are investing in themselves and hiring people who can help them get better. They are continually learning and improving their sales models.

While the 80/20 principle is well known in business, it is often misunderstood. The underlying principle is about prioritizing higher value sales activities over lower value activities. This seems easy to do but is difficult to execute, especially in origination where the day can go by fast without much being accomplished that is meaningful for long-term success.

This is the ultimate conundrum in origination where sales professionals can be very busy but not necessarily with activities that match to their selling strengths. Many producers waste precious time on completing easy tasks instead of making changes to accomplish more. The simple reality is that adopting new sales methods is essential for sales professionals who want to stay ahead of the competition.

Originators should focus their time on higher value activities that harness their selling strengths while outsourcing the lower value activities to a third party. Top producers know their sales strengths and surround themselves with resources to help them spend more time doing what they are good at. Average originators don’t want to invest time or money to improve their selling skills and as result, are stuck with lower value sales activities.

The truism that “no one is good at everything” is what holds back these good originators from being great. It is a shame because every sales professional has the opportunity to be excellent. It just requires self-awareness to recognize one’s selling strengths, determine which higher value activities match with today’s marketplace and to implement them. The choice is yours.