Start the New Year Off the Right Way!

As we start the new year, senior executives are focused on planning for significant volume changes, based on mortgage banking forecasts. Many managers feel that it’s nearly impossible to plan because our industry’s success is tied closely to external factors like interest rate fluctuations which are beyond their control. While this is true to a point, what about originators who always perform well regardless of market conditions? Is this luck or do these individuals have a magic formula that puts them ahead of the competition? Do these producers have the best technology, lowest mortgage rates or fastest closing times? Or is it something else?

Since 1999, I have interviewed hundreds of top producers and in my opinion, the secret to their success comes down to one thing: They have deeper relationships with their customers and referral sources than other originators. Is it that simple? Yes.

Don’t believe it? Jason Aten’s recent INC magazine article about Bob Iger, former CEO of The Walt Disney Company, provides important insights. During Iger’s 15-year tenure at the top of the world’s largest media company, one of his most lauded accomplishments was to acquire some of the world\’s most beloved and valuable content libraries.

Under Iger’s leadership, Disney acquired Pixar, Marvel and LucasFilm in a span of six short years. Aten noted, “Each of those acquisitions on its own would be career-defining. When you think about the fact that Iger\’s shopping spree brought together arguably the most iconic film libraries of all time – everything from The Lion King to Toy Story to Avengers to Return of the Jedi – it\’s a remarkable tenure.”

In the article, Iger said the key to his success was simple: “It all comes down to relationships.”

At the Heart of Sales Success

It’s one thing for the CEO of a well-known media company to recognize this fact of business life because he is tasked with growing revenues, but shouldn’t managers and originators realize it too? Isn’t this what sales is all about? Cultivating relationships with prospects, customers and referral sources so they will purchase from you when the time is right?

Listen, there’s no question that building relationships is hard work. That’s why many originators don’t bother to focus on this part of the business.

Although many originators won’t admit that they have a transactional business model, depending on lower interest rates to drive business is not a sustainable strategy for long-term success.

Building relationships requires salespeople to deliver value every time they interact with potential referral sources and their current customers. To do this well, originators must take the time to understand what is important to prospects and earn their trust. This does not happen overnight.

While originators don’t need hundreds of potential prospects, they need enough so that they can work them proactively and build quality relationships. The right number of relationships is different for each originator but the marketing strategy is the same: build trust first and business will follow. This is more than sending out emails or texts on the latest products. This effort requires individual attention that conveys caring and demonstrates that an originator has their prospect’s best interests at heart.

For transaction-based originators, the time is now to change your sales model and move to a true partnership with potential referral sources. If you focus on building excellent relationships with prospects, you’ll never have to worry about interest rates again.