Prospecting is THE Most Important Job for LOs!

Patricia Sherlock

There’s a common truth in selling that a salesperson’s job is to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time. Over the years, countless sales trainers – myself included – have tackled this topic in sales training sessions, blogs and podcasts.

While it seems like such a simple directive, actually implementing it isn’t necessarily easy. To accomplish it, LOs must commit to doing the right activities daily, consistently and effectively.

The refinance boom in the last few years made every originator look like a sales mastermind. But, as interest rates rise and a purchase money environment dominates, LOs who do not possess the skills to create new loan demand will be easy to spot. Tell-tale signs include poor personal production, asking for leads or marketing support, and using aggressive pricing to win transactions.

While some mortgage banking managers and originators will always blame external factors such as interest rate fluctuations for lackluster sales results, the real reason is evident when you look at how top producers spend their time.

The Secret to Sales Success

Regardless of interest rates or marketplace conditions, top producers hit or exceed their sales volume goals. What are they doing that average originators are not? In a word, prospecting!

Top producers recognize that if they want to achieve long-term sales success, prospecting must be a top priority every single day.

They understand that nothing lasts forever and trusted referral sources retire or change business models. The best sales professionals are continually reaching out to potential referral sources and cultivating these relationships so when it’s time to replace someone, the process is much smoother.

Average originators often mistakenly believe that they can prospect when they have more time and business is slower. Unfortunately, by delaying or avoiding prospecting efforts entirely, these originators frequently find themselves with a non-existent pipeline and starting sales conversations with referral sources they don’t know. While these producers may want a relationship to happen quickly, this is a process that can’t be rushed. Forging relationships with referral sources takes time; it can be years before a real estate agent trusts someone else with the customer relationships they’ve worked so hard to build.

Connecting with Referral Sources

In the past, originators used to keep in touch with referral sources by dropping by a real estate agent’s office. Since the pandemic, because so many realtors and other professionals have embraced remote working, this strategy is no longer a viable option.

Cold calling or emailing people with whom you do not have a relationship doesn’t work either due to spam filters on laptops and smartphones as well as the enactment of privacy laws. Relying on these traditional techniques can result in being labeled as a spammer, something that can damage an originator’s reputation.

Originating in the Digital Age

Certainly, selling is much tougher than it used to be. But referral sources still need mortgage lenders and the better originators will win the battle for them and others will not.

In “Tactical Pipeline Growth,” an excellent book by Mark McInnes, the author describes the scenario perfectly: “Finding someone [new prospects] to engage with has never been easy, but the changing rules of engagement have made it more difficult. No matter how good we are at negotiating and handling objections, these skills don’t mean much unless we can first find prospects who are willing to talk to us.”

How do you get people to talk to originators? It starts with establishing a personal brand that centers on educating your target audience and providing valuable content that is personalized to meet prospects’ needs. By delivering information that matters to a home loan buyer or referral source on a regular basis, originators earn the right to start a conversation and build a relationship.

Don’t wait for a lender to get a new CRM system or to hire new LOS. Mortgage banking managers and their originators need to bring value to referral sources and consumers starting today!

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