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Ellie Mae integrates MILA's DecisionPoint

National Mortgage Professional
Jun 06, 2005

Selling mortgages is not rocket science--Know thy competitionDave Hershman competitive selling tactics, referral source, marketing For most of us, the competition represents mythical figures possessing significant tactical and intellectual advantages over mere mortals such as ourselves. Every time we see evidence of our competition in action, we fantasize that their actions are more effective than they really are. Glorifying the competition is nothing new--sports coaches across the nation pump up their teams as they place their next opponents upon proverbial pedestals. In reality, the competition represents mere mortals, just like us, with a similar set of skills as everyone else. They also face the same problems we face every day. The grass is no greener on the other side. On the other hand, the grass is no less green at our competition's desks. Just putting our competition in perspective will help us proceed with one step that is essential within the sales process--knowing thy competition. Why should we know our competition? We can be much more effective as salespeople if we know the scope of our competitions' efforts. There is a massive amount of available information regarding our competition that can be utilized to help us move up the ladder of success. •Competitors' pricing levels We always think that our competitors are undercutting us. Would you be surprised to think that they always believe that we are undercutting them? The truth is that sometimes we beat our competition, and sometimes we get beat by them. It can be quite beneficial to know where our competitors possess pricing flexibility, on which programs, and when they are willing to use it. •Competitors' services Every salesperson provides a certain level of services to their clients, including those that are basic and those they consider value-added. In addition to knowing their pricing structurewhat services come with the basic package and what services are added to attract and keep additional customerswe also need to know how effective these added services are with regard to attracting additional business and building long-term loyalty. •The competitor through the customer's eyes Who are the major customers of your competitor and how do they view your competition? When customers utilize the competition, what strengths and weaknesses appear on a regular basis? Seeing your competition through your customers' eyes is much more important than seeing them through your own. •How does your competitor market? How does your competitor try to attract business and how effective are the results? You may mistakenly conclude that the most visible efforts of your competitor (the efforts you are most likely to see) are the most effective. You may then emulate the wrong actions--a very expensive proposition. How do you extract information regarding your competition? Interviews with your best customers are an obvious method. Do not discount information gathered directly from your competition. Indirectly gather as much information as possible through advertisements, testimonials, etc. Then, ask your competition to lunch. They may be as curious about you as they are about them. Benchmarking--the exchange of existing information--is a process that is used constantly by corporations, but not nearly enough by individual salespeople. Just one hintbe prepared to give as much as you get through a direct meeting with your competitor. You cannot expect them to be forthright unless you make the same effort. The result could be just what you need to be more effective in the long run. Imagine approaching a long-term sales target knowing whom they use, why they use them and in what ways you can better their situation. You cannot develop strategies to improve their situations unless you truly know what they are now receiving e. In the end, you may find that your competition is one of your best referral sources. When you learn their strengths and weaknesses, reciprocal relationships come into focus. But there is no way that you can position yourself in this regard unless you follow the aforementioned steps. Dave Hershman is a leading author and top speaker for the mortgage industry with six books, including two best sellers for the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. His mortgage school is the only comprehensive advanced curriculum in the industry. For a schedule of classes, free marketing samples, speaking information and articles by Dave, visit www.originationpro.com or call (800) 581-5678.
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