<< Strategy continued from Page 136
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“Pave the Way to Career Growth,”
“A Legacy of Respect,”
Malcolm B. Hollensteiner,
“When mortgage companies measure suc-
cess simply by how successfully originators
convert cold contacts into sales, they skip
a lot of the real-life process.”
Sometimes this works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Either
way, the results are dependent entirely on individual
performance and a bit of luck. A good strategy entails
a plan of action or policy designed to meet a specific
aim. It is something a business can run again and again
for maximum results. A good strategy also allows for
adaptation when market forces or other factors change.
An effective sales strategy requires the following:
■ ■ Preparation, including training and goal setting;
■ ■ A targeted approach, such as market mapping,
SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities,
threats) analysis, etc.;
■ ■ Measurement, using multiple metrics (rather than
simply revenue); and,
■ ■ Sustainability.
Hire and hope lacks most of these elements. Many
top producers move from company to company, leaving one in the lurch when they receive a better offer.
When companies bind their fortunes to one originator’s book of business and that individual’s ability to
sell products to his or her existing client and referral sources, there’s always the possibility that those
ported prospects are not a good fit for the new company’s products.
Stop cold calling
Cold calling is not the only sales tactic, nor is it the
best. Unfortunately, many companies still rely on lists
assembled from old conferences, web leads, phone
inquiries and other resources of variable repute. Originators must then contact a percentage of that list
daily, weekly or monthly. The assumption is that some
percent will eventually be converted into sales.
There is a flawed presumption in that sales formula,
however. Although sales is a numbers game to a
degree, the quality of the list often is not considered
in most companies’ measurements. Even top performers could find themselves at risk for termination if
they’re handed an attendee list from a conference that
happened five years earlier and told to convert leads.
Cold calling also is losing its effectiveness in a world
where decisionmakers are constantly bombarded
by information, solicitations and inquiries. Society
has become much more cynical about information
coming from unknown sources, such as a salesperson
cold-calling them. So even when originators do connect with their quota of contacts, those connections
are less impactful today than ever before.
End hire and hope
Any business is only as good as its people, but when a
company’s sales strategy depends solely on how well
originators perform with no real strategy, no targeted
resources and no methodology beyond cold calling
and contacting an existing book of business, that
company faces a low chance of success.
Look at what happens if you eliminate one or two of
the originators who are succeeding against the odds.
People — especially good originators — do tend to
move from company to company. It happens, and
often without warning. Suddenly, that company must
recruit someone new who also can defy the odds.
Another roll of the dice.
It’s absurd to believe that the very best originators
just happen to be successful. Star performers emerge
where potential meets opportunity. Unfortunately,
the resources needed to train their sales teams. Expec-
tations are not tapered to allow for any kind of learn-
ing curve. The results are predictable in these cases.
Businesses put a lot of time, effort and expense into
creating sustainable systems, sustainable production
and sustainable business plans. But, for whatever
reason, it’s incredibly rare to find a sustainable sales
strategy — one that is not mostly or solely dependent
on the performance of a few individuals rather than
upon a system or methodology. Imagine the competitive edge a company might have if it does employ
a sustainable sales strategy.
Create sustained sales
A sustainable sales strategy is therefore one that is
repeatable because it is successful. Although any
business strategy depends, in part, upon execution
and performance, a sustainable strategy shouldn’t be
100 percent reliant on a few individuals.
A successful strategy would take into account the
types of borrowers most likely to seek out the company’s loan products, and it would then target the
contact methods to the preferences of those borrowers. It would utilize an approach with a higher
likelihood of success. And that success would be
Many companies expect originators to jump from
point of contact to demo to close. The real-life mortgage sales cycle typically takes many more points
of contact, which means there are many milestones
available to measure progress. A sustainable sales
strategy would not only offer up a process that maximizes the overall probability of success, it would
measure success by increments along the sales cycle.
The easiest and most sustainable sales in any industry take place where there is a relationship involved.
That relationship very likely includes multiple points
of contact. It also likely includes providing information
that is relevant and valuable to prospects before they
sign off on new business.
When mortgage companies measure success simply by how successfully originators convert cold
contacts into sales, they skip a lot of the real-life
process — and set that cold-caller up for failure. A
sustainable metric for a sustainable sales strategy
must include the multiple points of progress along
the road to the application as well as to the closing.
Finally, a sustainable sales strategy is one that can
be repeated successfully over and over again. With
the hire-and-hope approach, even the best salesperson has a limit to his or her book of business, and
becomes dependent, to some degree, on cold calling.
This is simply not sustainable. When origination teams
are empowered with methodologies, resources and
measurement methods that truly evaluate individual
performance, that team is working with a sustainable strategy.
The mortgage industry is far too dependent on top
producers when it comes to planning new sales. All
too often, companies are only measuring long touchdowns — new sales from an existing book of business or cold calling — without taking into account
the short gains necessary for a sustained sales drive.
It’s time for the mortgage industry to reevaluate how
it plans and captures new sales and move toward
something more scientific and realistic. ■