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Grow your business—understand the short sale

National Mortgage Professional
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 [email protected] or visit
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