Grow your business—understand the short sale

Grow your business—understand the short sale

May 26, 2008

Supercharge your sales meetings!Dave HershmanProduct knowledge, Public presentation skills, Benchmarking
Does this scene look familiar to you?
It is Thursday morning. A sales meeting is scheduled for 9:00 a.m.
A few originators are present early, but a few more wander in at
9:15 a.m. The manager gets a last minute phone call regarding a
crisis. This is disappointing, as the manager was going to work up
the agenda just before the meeting. At 9:20 a.m., the meeting
finally starts. Three cell phones go off within the first 10
minutes. Another originator gets up to get more coffee. The manager
starts talking about why we haven't produced enough in the past
week. The originators respond: "Our prices are too high. Besides,
you can't process the loans we have." Within 15 minutes, the
meeting digresses into a complaint session. No one looks forward to
the next meeting—least of all, the manager.
Sales meetings should be the ultimate tool for sales managers
and originators, yet many times, we under-utilize this
tool—or worse, turn it into a tool of destruction. We get so
busy fighting fires and the competition that we do not spend enough
time preventing the same. The absolute best way to prevent fires is
to provide the training necessary to adequately prepare our
employees. In the mortgage business, sometimes we cannot find the
time to train on a continual basis. It is not unusual to dedicate
time weekly to sales meetings which turn out to unproductive. So
why not use these meetings as a training vehicle?
The very name "sales meeting" implies that we are holding a
meeting to help improve the sales of our team. There is no way that
we are going to improve our sales techniques by concentrating on
what is not working, which tends to be the focus of many weekly
meetings. For example, what is the company not providing us with or
what are the originators not doing right? In order for sales
meetings to be successful, we need to concentrate on what is
working and how we can instill this success within all of our
producers. Here are a few examples of what skills could be imparted
within a sales meeting and what delivery vehicles might be
utilized:
Product knowledge
The most common training component of sales meetings regards the
introduction of products. In some respects, this focus makes sense.
We all know that salespeople must have excellent product knowledge
in order to become more proficient. Our concentration and delivery
methods sometimes leave much to be desired. Does your coverage of a
new product entail reading the pertinent guidelines in the meeting?
Boring! Focus on the features and benefits, which will help your
staff increase their sales. Then, deliver it in a way which will
benefit each and every one of them. Perhaps you could ask a
salesperson to deliver a sales presentation based upon the new
product. Now you're training on a new product and combining this
with presentation training. Another method would be to hold a
role-playing exercise, having some of your staff represent the real
estate agent, the customer and the loan officer. This will make the
meeting much more interactive!
Public presentation skills
Public speaking skills may be the most important of presentation
skills. There is nothing more effective than being able to deliver
a dynamite presentation in front of 10 or more potential targets.
How many cold calls or lunches would it take to achieve the same
level of impact? Of course, we know that public speaking skills do
not happen overnight. They happen with many weeks, months and even
years of practice. What better practice vehicle than the weekly
sales meeting? If you're too busy to come up with an agenda each
week, have one of your originators hold the meeting! As an
alternative, schedule a practice presentation each week during the
meeting. In other words, get everyone involved.
Individual presentation skills
Managing sales people is especially difficult because so much of
their success is due to what they say and to whom they say it while
out on the street or on the phone. The best manager cannot be out
on coaching calls every minute of the day. In our business, most
managers are producing sales managers and spend precious little
time out on the street with their originators or helping them as
they work the phones. Sales meetings make an excellent opportunity
to set up role playing exercises. If you want the meeting to be fun
and interactive, there is no better way to achieve it than setting
up real-life situations. There is also no harder audience than your
peers. If your originators can cut the mustard in front of their
peers, they will be much more confident out on the street.
Benchmarking
The key to any successful sales event is concentrating upon what is
right. We do that through the process of benchmarking. This key
concept involves discovering the practices of successful entities
and sharing it with others. There is no reason to completely
reinvent the wheel to increase our level of production. There are
examples of success within your own office, other offices within
your company and other companies. Try bringing in a guest from
another office or another company—a competitor, vendor or
target—to share what they know. The last thing your
originators want to hear is their manager telling them what is
right again and again.
Articles
Include sales related articles each week. Have one of the
participants comment on and/or present the article. How does this
article relate to your current sales situations and challenges? How
might we deliver these articles to our targets so that we might
have more value? Might the article be a basis for a sales
presentation we can deliver? Subscribe to industry-specific
publications, such as The Mortgage Press, and general
sales magazines so that you constantly have a stream of fresh
material and ideas.
The ideas which we could bring forth regarding the use of a
sales meeting as a sales training vehicle are endless. How many
times have your sales meetings become bogged down in the details of
problems indicative to the mortgage industry as a whole, as opposed
to a breeding ground for ideas designed to scale the challenges
brought forth by this great industry? The first step moving in the
direction of the latter is to make a decision regarding the
objectives of your sales meeting. Your commitment to the objective
of training is the first step in what could be a long and rewarding
process.
Dave Hershman is a top speaker and leading author in the
mortgage industry with eight 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,
call (800) 581-5678, e-mail dave@hershmangroup.com or
visit www.originationpro.com.

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