Baby Steps: The Best Way to Make Selling Changes


Change is a topic that is discussed every day in the business world. Whether it is a better way to manage stress or learning social selling techniques, adopting new habits is essential if an originator wants to succeed in mortgage banking.

For most of us, the hard part is making the necessary adjustments in our behaviors to achieve a particular goal. For instance, every originator who I have ever met — which may number in the thousands — wants to be a top producer and make six figures. The problem? To be one of the best in the business, sales professionals must continually incorporate new behaviors into their daily selling lives.

There are a million books on how to make new habits stick. Some will tell you to get up at 4:00 a.m. Others will say to write reminders on your bathroom mirror stating your goals. Unfortunately, there isn’t really any science behind many of these recommendations. Early risers may have no issue with a 4:00 a.m. alarm but for night owls, this is a non-starter. So, what works?


Creating Lasting Change

In “Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything,” Stanford University behavioral scientist B.J. Fogg has cracked the code on habit formation. Fogg claims that there are many myths and misconceptions when it comes to implementing positive changes. According to Fogg, individuals who try to change but revert back to their old habits often blame themselves and feel like failures.

Case in point: In our industry, every originator knows that they have to prospect for new referral resources. Many producers who have fallen short in this area believe that if they were just better salespeople, they could make this happen. Fogg contends that the problem is with the approach, not the person.

He states that a common assumption people make is that if they are given the right information, they can change their behavior. This is simply not true. According to Fogg, there are only three things that will create lasting change: “having an epiphany; changing our environment; or changing our habits in tiny ways.”

Having an epiphany is practically impossible. How often does an insight happen that changes everything? A better option for originators who want to succeed in today’s marketplace is to “take baby steps” when shifting their selling models.

What are baby steps? It can be just making one small change in your daily sales activities. Forget the approach of making a big change. When salespeople try to make significant changes, there is always some reason why the new behavior won’t stick. Pipeline issues arise. Corporate changes impact the field. The end result is that the new habit gets put on the backburner and never has a chance to take hold.

Baby steps are actions that producers can take right now. For originators who want more referral sources, a tiny change would be to list five top realtors that they would like to know better. Conducting an Internet search would take less than 30 seconds. This small step could be the beginning of a new prospecting strategy.

Small incremental changes that are easy to implement increase the likelihood of success over time. In this way, producers can adopt the changes needed to become more comfortable in today’s dynamic marketplace.