A “No” Doesn’t Mean the Dream Ends. Look for Inspiration in “Maiden.”

Patricia Sherlock

Every originator hears the word “no” a lot. Whether it is from referral sources or prospects, salespeople deal with rejection on a regular basis. There’s no question that selling is not for the faint of heart. Maintaining enthusiasm and momentum amid a daily barrage of negativity can be challenging at times for even the best producers. But, moving forward and achieving great things is still possible even under difficult conditions. For inspiration, look no further than the story of Tracy Edwards which shows us that dreams can be reached in the face of impossible odds.

The documentary “Maiden” details how Edwards, a 24-year-old cook on charter boats, became the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989. Tracy’s story is a lesson for anyone who has a dream and perseveres after encountering the inevitable failures and challenges along the way.

Tracy’s dream was opposed at every turn. Her male competitors thought an all-women crew would never make it; the chauvinistic yachting press took bets on her failure; and potential sponsors rejected her, fearing the team would die at sea and generate bad publicity. But Tracy refused to give up. She took out another mortgage on her home and bought a secondhand boat, putting everything on the line to ensure the team made it to the start line.

While Tracy did not win the Whitbread race, her team did win several legs of the race and accomplished something remarkable in what is considered the hardest competition in all of sports. The movie features actual footage from a crew member of the grueling conditions the team endured. The journey was incredibly difficult, but her team handled it and rose to the occasion.

Key Insights for Originators

There are important insights in Tracy’s story for originators who must update their sales skills to stay relevant in today’s marketplace. When I am conducting training on how to prospect using social media, I’m often surprised at how resistant many originators are to trying something new or even making the slightest change to their selling efforts — even when they are not currently performing well. You would think that poor production would motivate originators to improve their selling skills but what I hear instead is excuses about why salespeople are not hitting their goals.

At its core, sales is a mental game. For every salesperson, success is a function of being aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses and taking action to make necessary improvements. This is an originator’s responsibility, not that of the lender. Top producers know that the marketplace and their prospects are continually changing and that their sales models must evolve to be effective. They are continually learning new skills and tweaking their sales strategies to ensure success — not only for today but the future.

Sales organizations and employees that want to cultivate long-term success must embrace change and make the necessary adjustments in their selling process to reach prospects and referral sources. To begin this process, originators must ask themselves two tough questions: “Am I seeing everything the way it is or am I seeing just what I want to see?” and “Am I taking responsibility for my decisions and actions?”

These are not easy questions to be sure but they are critical considerations in this volatile mortgage market. Once originators take responsibility for their actions and make the needed changes required to realize their goals, they are well on their way to achieving their dreams.  Tracy Edwards showed us the way.

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