Marketing vs. selling: Your future depends on mastering bothRon VaimbergAdvice,marketing,selling,mortgage More than 93 percent of all mortgage professionals do not distinguish between two critical areas of success--marketing and selling. Understanding and managing both areas is a key element to success in your business. Many of today's loan officers were born into the refinance boom, when even those with marginal industry knowledge or marketing and selling skills were able to earn a significant income. The need for the competitive edge was minimal due to the vast amount of available leads. Today, the market has changed and more changes are on the way. Not only are we dealing with the end of the refi boom, we are also faced with RESPA reform, likely interest rate increases, company layoffs and more. Business owners and loan officers who master the art of sales and marketing will survive and prosper. In training programs I present throughout the United States, I consistently ask attendees to define the difference between sales and marketing. Surprisingly, most cannot articulate the distinction or haven't thought much about these two critical concepts. One key the difference is that marketing includes activities to generate quality leads, while selling relates to your ability to convert those leads into loan applications. During the refi boom, few companies actively measured their lead volume and conversion. Without these two critical measurements, your ability to prosper in the future will be severely compromised. We cannot turn back the clock, and as we move forward, it is important for you to begin measuring your effectiveness in both of these areas. Marketing First, look at marketing strategies that are within your budget and have been proven to work in your marketplace. Once you have settled on three different lead generation tactics, your goal is to maximize them. Ask yourself the following questions: Are you generating enough leads from your marketing methodologies? Are the methods profitable? How can you increase the effectiveness of your marketing tactics without increasing the cost? How can you expand your methods into other areas? Once you have maximized your efforts on one lead generation method, implement another. The key to effective lead generation is effort and consistency. For example, if your strategy is to develop relationships with real estate agents, then determine how many you'll need to establish in order to capture the number of leads you desire; figure out how to approach each real estate agent with a mutual "win-win" business proposition; estimate the time necessary to effectively manage the relationships (and schedule it into your daily routine); and develop ways to measure your effectiveness, the return on your effort and how to improve it. Selling As loan officers, we must master the art of compelling people to want to do business with us. We can meet with real estate agents and prospective clients, but our success is determined by our ability to motivate these individuals to do business with us and provide us with referrals. The most important aspect of selling is creating a unique sales presentation. Everyone offers the same mortgage programs, and most people have access to the same marketing concepts. The difference is your ability to appear unique in your customer's eyes. More than 90 percent of all loan officers do not have any formal sales training. Even less have mortgage-specific sales training. What this means to you is that once you have established your marketing campaigns, with a little bit of training, you can propel yourself far beyond the competition and position yourself as unique in the marketplace. Unfortunately, very few mortgage companies focus on sales training. Instead, they simply hold sales meetings, most of which discuss product, pricing or procedural training, but not sales specifically. Take a look at the content of your last five meetings with your sales team. What were the topics of conversation? Successful sales training programs should include the following: Effective teaching of proven sales strategies relating to the mortgage industry; Strategies that are easily implemented; Accountability: Making sure that loan officers provide detailed results as they implement their strategies; Repetition: Very few individuals will implement something new the first time they hear it. Most people resist behavioral change, and since sales training is exactly that, the only way to increase the likelihood of implementation is to consistently reinforce the desired habits you seek. Building a mortgage business requires specific planning and actions. Effectively implementing new marketing strategies and sales tactics requires thinking through both critical elements of success. One without the other will only build your business for the short-term, subjecting you to the turmoil that occurs whenever market conditions change. Ron Vaimberg, president of Ron Vaimberg International Ltd., is a national sales and personal development trainer for the mortgage industry. He may be reached at (866) 824-6237 or e-mail [email protected].
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