Sales success is one of the most frequently written about topics in the business world. A quick Google search pulls up more than 1 billion results on the subject! Countless articles and books have addressed what it takes to achieve sales success. Over the last 10 years, I have contributed my fair share to this discussion with my weekly sales blog.
In my opinion, selling is a fascinating topic because at its core, it is about understanding how consumers make decisions and learning how to influence that process. It really isn’t about a particular product or the competition. If it was, then there would be no reason to buy a Mercedes instead of a Kia. Certainly, a Kia provides the same functionally as a Mercedes C-Class sedan and yet the two vehicles are viewed so differently in the marketplace. For sales professionals, this is the heart of the selling challenge: Convincing prospects to work with them instead of the competition.
Sales Success Drivers
So what drives long-term sales success for mortgage originators? Is it the luck of the draw — being at the right place at the right time — or are there other factors at play? First, research clearly shows that some people have a natural talent for selling that others lack. I have often written about the nine personality traits that correlate with sales success. While these traits are important to identify in sales candidates during the hiring process, they are just a starting point for understanding sales success. Mortgage managers must also take a closer look at top producers’ selling practices that less successful originators may not be implementing.
While many managers and their originators are looking for a silver bullet to achieve sales success, it boils down to one thing: Top producers have more contacts and receive more customer referrals than average producers.
Some originators believe that sales success is all about having the best interest rate; the latest CRM; or a cool mobile app. However, the best in our business know that what really matters is creating a large network of contacts and cultivating deeper relationships with prospects and customers. Great relationships are the foundation upon which referral business is generated.
While the current marketplace is strong due to refinance business, at some point we will revert back to a traditional purchase money environment. When this shift occurs, sales professionals who have not developed a large, deep network will be in trouble.
A number of lenders and originators rely on customer satisfaction surveys to generate referrals but receiving a 5.0 rating after the loan has closed simply isn’t enough to earn future business. Building a meaningful relationship with prospects and referral sources is time-consuming and frankly, hard work. It takes consistent, sustained effort that starts with raising awareness of an originator’s reputation in their territory. It requires sales professionals to support the relationship through the ups and downs of a customer’s journey when there is no financial incentive. This may seem like a tall order, but top originators know the pay-off is in turning customers into fans for life.