During a recent discussion, a mortgage banking executive shared his objectives for the year ahead, noting, “I want all of my originators to be ‘up and out’ and meeting referral sources and customers in 2022.” This isn’t newsworthy for any sales professional. Frankly, it’s their job to connect with as many people as possible within their target audience and influence prospects to buy.
Consistent, effective prospecting is mandatory if originators want to scale their client base and achieve long-term success. Then, why do so many managers have to prod originators to prospect?
And what will happen to producers who fail to commit their time and effort into meeting new people and retaining their current customers?
Selling Has Changed Forever
Certainly, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the selling landscape where so many originators and real estate agents are working remotely. Currently, many lenders are deferring decisions about whether to bring sales staff back into the office. Regardless, it is clear that having a robust online presence that builds personal brand awareness is non-negotiable for salespeople who want to remain relevant.
In my view, anyone who believes old sales techniques are coming back is sadly mistaken. Consumers adapt and move on much faster than companies think. If this wasn’t the case, Blockbuster would still be in business! Easier and better always wins.
To clarify just how much the selling environment is changing, consider BAI’s recent Executive Report that predicts, “by 2024, consumers expect 61% of their banking business to be digital and 39% to involve human assistance.” This should be a wake-up call for lenders who believe sweeping change is further down the road.
Companies that don’t match the new requirements of “high tech, high touch,” will not be in business for long.
Mastering High Tech, High Touch
While there is no question that the pandemic accelerated trends that were already emerging, mortgage banking, in general, has never been particularly quick to adapt to change.
While lenders are trying to stay ahead of the curve, the emphasis has been on updating technology. But the human side of the equation needs a major overhaul too.
Today, borrowers make instant judgments regarding a lender and their sales staff, taking into account:
- Do they answer my questions?
- Do they call me back in a timely manner?
- How do they make me feel?
The last question is key and what drives a trusting relationship with a lending partner.
The human side of financial services will never go away. While it’s true that loan processing time might go from a 30-day close to a 3-day close (as Rocket is targeting), how originators and sales support staff make referral sources and borrowers feel is still going to be critical for cultivating new business.
Delivering a seamless home loan transaction and an excellent customer experience is the holy grail of origination success.
Are your originators up to the task? What about your sales support staff? How good are their communication skills? To win in 2022, lenders will need all hands on deck!