Gerald Coulter is co-founder of Sales Icons and co-author
of “The Book of Failed Sales.” Before helping to launch Sales
Icons, he was a sales manager for a top- 15 CAT equipment
dealer in North America, where he coached and led sales
teams in machine sales, product-support sales and rental
sales. Before that, Coulter was a top-tier sales rep in the
title and settlement services industry. Reach him at
Hire and Hope Is Not
a Winning Strategy
Lenders should employ sophisticated and sustainable sales strategies
By Gerald Coulter
Most mortgage originators would agree that sales strategy is critical to growing their business — especially if they work for small or midsized
companies with finite reserves. Not every mortgage
company has the resources to float million-dollar ad
campaigns. Carving out market share in a competitive purchase market requires time, effort and, most of
all, planning, so a strong sales strategy can be a real
Why, then, do so many lenders and mortgage companies rely on recruiting top producers from other
companies and cold calling? This industry tends to
hire sales people or promote existing staff into sales
positions, yet often fails to give loan originators any
resources beyond a bonus structure, a laptop and a
phone. Let’s call this the “hire-and-hope” strategy.
Predictably, when these efforts fail, the company
holds the originator accountable for failing to hit
production numbers. What did they expect from such
an unsustainable practice designed at its core to catch
lightning in a bottle?
Unfortunately, too many mortgage companies
unintentionally set up their originators to fail. They
provide training and support for production or customer support, but then assume originators come self-equipped and ready to sell. This is like a professional
football team adding several expensive free agents,
and then running the “Hail Mary” on every play.
A select few professionals can pull this off, but originators should expect more from their companies.
They should demand their companies invest a little
time and thought into creating a viable sales strategy.
Stop winging it
Although no self-respecting branch managers or
sales VPs would refer to their sales strategy as “wing-
ing it,” this is what a lot of them actually do. It’s not
uncommon for mortgage companies to recruit top
performers from other companies, bring them aboard
and expect them to increase business simply by
working their books of business.
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