Sales Success in the Best of Times and the Worst of Times

During a recent training session on recruiting originators, I described our current mortgage environment as the “best of times and the worst of times.” The famous quote from Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” offers fresh insights for managers and originators trying to determine the best course of action for sustainable sales success. It is the best of times with production volume through the roof, thanks to a booming refinance market. But, it is also the worst of times, when recruiting better originators and prospecting for new referral sources are put on the back burner.

Recruiting sales talent and prospecting for referral sources are mandatory for long-term sales success in mortgage origination. However, these are the first activities to fall by the wayside when business is good. While it is understandable why this occurs, it doesn’t bode well for 2021 and 2022 when the MBA forecasts the return of a more traditional mortgage environment dominated by purchase money.


Building Meaningful Relationships

Whether we’re talking about a manager who needs to attract better sales professionals or an originator who needs to develop new referral sources, both strategies are centered on building trust and credibility with people that you do not know. This requires an investment of time and effort to make a positive impression and cultivate a meaningful relationship.

The problem is that top originators have many options when it comes to a joining a lender. Similarly, the best Realtors and other referral sources have an abundance of choices when it comes to referring their customers to a lender or originator. Neither of these target groups will make a change easily. It may take multiple contacts and meetings to make it happen. In the case of recruiting top 1% originators, it may even take years before a manager’s outreach translates into success.

While many originators believe that sending emails or newsletters will make inroads with prospects, this information is often not valuable for people who have not yet made a connection with you. Obviously, with current pandemic precautions in place, face-to-face meetings are not feasible, but that doesn’t mean that online interactions can’t be pursued.

In fact, right now is a great time to reach out to producers who you would like to have on your sales team or referral sources that you would like to get business from. Asking your target audience groups how they are handling these challenging times or providing helpful information through webinars can go a long way in distinguishing yourself from the rest of the pack.

Certainly, in the boom-or-bust cycle of mortgage banking, managers and originators must take advantage when a large refinance wave hits. But, there is no reason to postpone laying the groundwork for future business. Like squirrels who collect nuts to prepare for the coming winter, successful originators understand that important activities must be performed regardless of refinance volume because before you know it, a tougher marketplace will be here.