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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   July 2007

A System for Selling

To increase business and your income, consider following a three-part system

When people speak to you about a mortgage loan for at least five minutes, consider them leads. Whether they qualify or not, you know you’ve piqued their interest. It’s an opportunity to score by closing a loan, now or in the future.

Some originators only count leads as people they consider truly qualified to borrow money — not the rate-shoppers. That is a huge mistake. Honing your presentation skills and knowing precisely what it takes to make clients qualify can help increase the number of loans you close.

Given current mortgage trends, it is crucial to take every opportunity seriously. To stay on track with volume goals, you must evaluate your scripting and presentation to see what areas need improvement. Where are you swinging and missing? Why are you striking out? What objections are you unable to address that would turn the conversation in your favor?

That’s where developing a system for selling comes into play. Take time to examine a three-part system for selling that you can implement to ensure that your customers are not just satisfied but that they also are ready and willing to send you more referrals.

1. Data collection

When prospects contact you or when you speak to referral partners for the first time, who’s in control? Are they leading the conversation? Or are you in command?

The window of opportunity is narrow. In the first 30 seconds of dialogue, it is critical that you take control and steer the conversation down the path that you want. Otherwise, customers and referral partners can head in a direction that doesn’t benefit you.

For instance, they’ll immediately target interest rates and fees. And discussing numbers from the start can scare away prospects and bring a potential sale to a dead end.

Instead, grab the reins. Ask specific questions. Gather specific data on your prospects that will help you better understand and assess their needs. Then you can shape your presentation around their desires and deliver satisfaction.

Data collection isn’t rocket science. It simply involves asking the right questions and responding appropriately. The following questions can offer some insight into your customers’ needs:

  • At what age do you hope to retire?
  • What is your financial goal when you retire? How much cash will you need in the bank? How much debt will you carry? Where will you live? Will you own a second home?
  • What is your current financial philosophy — conservative, moderate or aggressive?
  • Are you anticipating significant expenditures in the next five years, such as paying your children’s college tuition, financing a wedding or purchasing a second home?

Imagine how much better you could assist prospective customers if you knew more details about them and what is truly important to them. By adapting your scripting and presentation skills to take the focus off rates and fees, you can strengthen your position against the competition.

2. Eliminate objections

At the point of sale, you must be prepared to counter objections and the opposition and concerns that clients will raise. If you discuss interest rates from the start, then that is the No. 1 concern that clients will raise. Consumers want to know that they’re getting the best-possible deal. Keeping in mind that this likely will be their main objection, why not anticipate their argument and eliminate the issue from their decision-making?

This point can’t be emphasized enough: The most-successful salespeople are those who foresee their clients’ objections and recommend options that alleviate all concerns. You must be prepared to take the focus off of interest rates.

3. Build trust

Unfortunately, the mortgage industry’s reputation has been tarnished over the years, especially during refinance booms when an influx of untrained loan originators entered the marketplace. They did a horrendous job of providing consumers with the service and advice so vital to making well-informed decisions relating to loan debts.

Now all qualified loan originators must overcome that flawed image. The only way to improve it is through borrower education.

At this point in the sales presentation, assume the role of teacher. This will help build trust between you and your prospective customers and will increase the likelihood that you’ll turn prospects into a sure deal.

Education topics you may want to incorporate into your sales technique vary with the circumstances. Consider the following examples:

  • Inform clients of the credit-scoring model and how they can improve their credit scores to secure a lower interest rate.
  • Inform clients about the after-tax deductible associated with borrowing money, especially favorable for current renters purchasing their first home.
  • Inform consumers about the value of prepaying mortgage principal if that suits their goals. Those who tend to be conservative with their finances will appreciate this advice.
  • Inform them about the cyclical nature of interest rates and explain why mortgage interest rates fluctuate.

Ideally, you will gain their trust by imparting your knowledge and establishing your credibility. This will distinguish you from your competition.

Take time to educate yourself on referral partners’ industries, as well, and become their teacher. Learn from the best practices of their most-successful peers. Adapting the methods that Realtors, insurance agents and financial planners use gives you an edge.

Real estate agents now face challenges as the housing market slows down. But this is your golden opportunity to teach them marketing strategies, time-management skills and networking techniques that will generate more business for them. Seize the moment and build rapport.

If you take ownership of this selling system, your business can thrive, rather than just barely survive.


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