Four Keys to Working Smarter

Last week, I spoke to a leading sales group in mortgage banking on what it will take for lenders and originators to succeed in 2025. I realize that it is hard to focus on the future when the present is so hectic in mortgage origination but, 2025 is only 1,500 days from now. It will be here sooner than we think. If the last few years are any indication, we are in for a wild ride!

In my opinion, our industry will continue to undergo dramatic and transformative changes in the years ahead. To successfully navigate these changes, mortgage originators will have to adapt their selling practices and learn new ways of doing things. For example, Covid-19 restrictions have forced many sales professionals to conduct business virtually including giving presentations by video conference. I believe virtual presentations will become the new normal in selling.

It is clear that moving forward, originators who proactively learn new selling techniques will have a competitive advantage over sales professionals who cling to older sales practices that are no longer effective in today’s marketplace.


Meeting Future Sales Challenges

So, what can originators do right now to prepare for future change? The best strategy is for originators to embrace change and think of themselves as being in a permanent Beta mode. This means originators will need to upgrade their selling skills whether their company supports new training or not. In short, success will be driven by working smarter rather than working harder.

While all sales professionals are familiar with the mantra “work smarter, not harder,” the reality is that more often than not, originators respond to a tougher sales environment by putting in longer hours. Unfortunately, getting up earlier and staying later isn’t always the answer to overcoming selling challenges. While better sales results have traditionally been achieved with this method, it also can cause originators to burn out.

So, what is working smarter really about? In “Work Smarter, Sooner,” a great article by well-known research psychologist Angela Duckworth, she recounts that in college, she took notes during class lectures to prepare for tests. In high school, this practice worked for her. But when she got to college, it no longer did. She knew that she needed to make changes if she wanted to graduate. She made necessary adjustments to her study practices and ultimately launched a successful academic career that included receiving a MacArthur “Genius Grant.”

According to Duckworth, individuals who want to work smarter must ask themselves four questions:

  • How else can I do this?
  • Are there things that I can do differently?
  • Is there an approach I haven’t thought of?
  • Whom can I ask for help/advice?

While no one is saying that hard work isn’t important to overcoming sales challenges, working smarter is just as critical for long-term success. In our increasingly volatile marketplace, doing the same things in the same way is no longer an option. Instead, working smarter is the winning formula for lenders and originators, and it starts with asking four simple questions.