While 2020 has been a banner year for mortgage origination, 2021 may prove to be a different story. The latest MBA forecast predicts that the year ahead will be great for purchase money, but total volume is expected to drop by 23% due to a reduction in refinance business.
This should be a wake-up call to originators that their selling efforts cannot remain the same if they want to continue to earn what they did in 2020. When market conditions change, producers must implement new tools and sales techniques if they want to succeed. The best originators in our industry understand this and are continually updating their skill sets and adjusting their sales models accordingly.
During a strong refinance market, a knowledgeable originator who does not prospect can still hit volume goals. But in a purchase money environment, failure to prospect could have a disastrous impact on an originator’s personal income.
If anything has become evident this year, it is that business can turn on a dime and events can happen that completely change the fundamentals. It doesn’t matter if you are Disney, American Airlines, a big retail chain store, or a local mortgage originator, adapting to a new environment is a requirement for future sales success.
One example is using video calling when making sales presentations to prospects and referral sources. Earlier this year, when on-site visits were discouraged, I started using live webcams to deliver sales training. While I have been conducting live webinars for years, most clients do not ask for a live video conference format. In my training classes, originators are asked to be on live webcam but few show their faces on video. I certainly can understand that people do not like looking at themselves on a webcam but communicating this way is a basic requirement amid the global pandemic.
In the past, webcams were hard to obtain but now that technology is often built into computer hardware and is readily available. So, it isn’t an issue that originators don’t have access to video technology. In my opinion, the real problem is that selling using video conferencing is a new technique for producers and many are simply not comfortable with it. Originators who refuse to familiarize themselves with these tools and learn how to sell remotely will be left behind.
Remote Selling is Here to Stay
While we don’t know exactly what mortgage origination will look like post-pandemic, I think that video conference sales presentations are here to stay because it saves buyers time. The challenge will be for originators to adapt their selling techniques when presenting on camera.
Sales professionals find in-person meetings easier because they can pick up on a customer’s non-verbal cues and other nuances during the presentation. Meetings are often longer and not subject to the distractions that can plague online video calls. On site, producers often use the time before the meeting begins to build a relationship with the customer. In contrast, online meetings are shorter and must be more interactive to keep prospects and customers engaged. The bottom-line: Selling remotely requires originators to have better sales skills to make an effective presentation.
While some believe remote selling will eventually fade away, I think that misses the point that the pandemic has accelerated changes that were already in progress. Just as Excel replaced Lotus 123 because it was easier to use, video conference calls will replace initial and discovery meetings because it is faster to determine if there is a match between the buyer and the seller. In my view, it won’t matter if the salesperson is a call center or a field rep, a customer relationship can be established through video. The question for mortgage managers is, “Do your originators have the skills to deliver a powerful online presentation?”