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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   September 2015

Prospecting for Opportunity

Setting an appointment is the first step to landing a new client


A nicely dressed young woman walks through the door of a doctor’s office and approaches the receptionist. She pulls out her business card and says to the receptionist, “My name is Jane Smith with ACME Pharmaceutical, and I was wondering if I could see Dr. Jones for a brief moment?”

The receptionist leaves for a few moments and upon returning says, “I’m sorry, Jane, Dr. Jones is extremely busy today, and it’s unlikely he has a need for another pharmaceutical company.” Jane thanks the receptionist, walks out defeated and goes on her way to make another call, then another, then another.

This story helps to demonstrate why, in most sales environments, cold-calling is obsolete. Even if you still believe in it, cold-calling simply does not produce the results a mortgage originator needs.

Here is another story, demonstrating a method that does work.

A man dressed in a beautiful suit walks into the reception area and says, “My name is John Bailey, and I have an appointment with Paula Shafer.”

John was ushered to a back office. Forty-five minutes later, he reappeared and was shaking a woman’s hand. “I look forward to a long and profitable partnership,” he said. 

How did he do that? The answer is in the art of appointment-setting. By changing a few elements of your prospecting strategy, you can dramatically decrease your flops and increase your confidence as a mortgage originator. More importantly, you can start adding quality, long-term clients to your business.

Getting in the door

It is important to remember that selling is not a numbers game. It’s a productivity game requiring skill. The person with the most skill wins. The first sale is in getting the first appointment.

You have to be skilled at appointment-setting. If you don’t do this well, you are not likely to get the business. And let’s face it, your attitude is always more positive after a win than after enduring rejection. If you’re good at this skill, you don’t have to call 10 times to finally succeed. You could call once, get the appointment and save yourself nine failures. That would change your perception and your confidence in prospecting, and you would elevate your game and call on better and better people.

This may sound obvious, but people know the people you need to know.
You just have to ask.

Write down the name of someone with whom you do business — an agent, builder or borrower. Ask that person for the names of individuals he or she knows who could benefit from your product or service and whether you can use the person’s name as a reference in your introduction.

This may sound obvious, but people know the people you need to know. You just have to ask.

Sealing the meeting

Create an epic first impression. When approaching a new prospect, send something in advance that is incredibly valuable. What better way to have a 100 percent open rate than using overnight “urgent” delivery? Inside the envelope, place a compelling business letter with a direct referral from one of your business contacts and a stated unique selling proposition that creates perceived value for the prospect you are courting. Include a call to action in the final paragraph of the letter, seeking an appointment.

In addition, include a corporate brochure, best-selling business book, an audio CD, a magazine or something tied to the prospect’s business that will help that person and separate you from all the other salespeople. Use the 48-hour rule, and call two days after the overnight delivery is made to get the appointment. Your appointment-setting success rate should soar to at least seven or eight out of every 10 attempts.

In addition, express your gratitude in advance. Send a handwritten thank-you note two days before meeting with prospects. This serves as a reminder and builds credibility.

Additionally, it enables you to thank prospects ahead of time for agreeing to meet with you, which demonstrates your gratitude.

The day before the meeting, you can e-mail the prospect one or two video testimonials from existing clients, along with one from you, to create excitement for the appointment. Your appointment the next day should be productive and highly successful.

Don’t give up

Too many mortgage originators stop any attempt to convert the prospect into a client once they get that first “no.” But your mantra should be the following: “It’s never a matter of if, only when they will say ‘yes’.”

So, after a prospect says no, give them a reason to reconsider. For example, every quarter send the prospect’s company a batch of audio CDs for its salespeople — with a license to use them companywide and no strings attached. It may take a while, but your chances of getting the sale will increase dramatically because you are adding value — even though you didn’t get that initial appointment.

•  •  •

You now have the key to get in the door while everyone else is locked out. Follow these simple and effective steps, and appointment-setting success will follow you. 


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