There are several reasons why many in the mortgage industry do not hire inexperienced loan officers. The lack of time is one reason. Most managers are personal producers and do not have the time to train. Secondly, identifying the needs of each neophyte is difficult. Not every person needs the same training. For example, someone who is inexperienced may have 20 years of sales experience or 20 years of real estate experience. Their needs would be different than hiring someone from a government job. Finally, the training of sales personnel provides some special challenges because it is difficult to measure the reasons they may or not be producing results. For example, when we train an originator and he/she goes out on the street: How do we know why they are not producing?
►Are they making calls but not asking for the business?
►Are they calling on the wrong targets?
►Are they saying the wrong things and turning people off?
►Are they too aggressive?
►Are they hiding out in a bar all day?
We can train and monitor all we want, but we are not going to know what an originator is saying out on the street in order to help or hurt the cause. Coaching calls will not necessarily tell us what is wrong because we will not see true behavior while we are present. Just because coaching calls will not be 100 percent effective does not mean that they are not important. Basically, there are three types of coaching calls:
►Training calls: We send a rookie out on the street with us or have them listen to us handling inquiry calls. They are to observe our behavior. This is a training exercise and the goal is learning. In technical terms—this is called the process of benchmarking.
►Monitoring calls: We are observing a salesperson’s behavior. It is up to us to let the other person do the talking—even if we are approached by a person, attempt to defer. Our goal is to observe true behavior (not exactly as effective as having a hidden video or audio tape). Many telemarketing firms do monitor calls blindly for training purposes.
►Joint calls: Whether a conference call or a joint sales visit, many of our sales personnel will rely upon us to help them seal important deals. Perhaps you have a previous relationship with a particular client or office. Perhaps you have a great sales meeting presentation that you can deliver on behalf of your employee.
Every salesperson has some type of reluctance. This reluctance could be defined as a type of call reluctance, marketing reluctance or even communication reluctance such as the fear of public speaking. These reluctances can be crippling to the average salesperson and an important part of the manager’s job is to not only to identify this reluctance, but format solutions to help the salesperson overcome this handicap. For example, it is important for a salesperson to stay in contact with previous customers. And the most effective contact in this regard is over the phone rather than sending notes. But if the salesperson has a reluctance to make telephone calls for marketing and/or customer service purposes, this is an issue. The question is: how do you overcome this fear? Before finding an alternative means of communication, there are many tools you can use:
►By making sure they schedule activities which they are likely to overlook if they are not specifically on their calendar;
►By helping the loan officer eliminate obstacles that are being used as excuses for keeping us from doing what they need to do. For example—showing them that their pipeline does not need a babysitter.
►By pairing up with “buddies” or “coaches” who will give them daily encouragement to take certain actions.
►By making it fun with contests, challenges and games. These things may be seen as “infantile” by some, but they are really major sales tools. In reality, if they do not like what we are doing, they are less likely to accomplish the task.
►By helping them be honest with themselves. If they are going to overcome an obstacle they must admit that their call reluctance (and perhaps attitude) is the problem, not all the other things we have been blaming—such as paperwork and the competition.
No salesperson can develop into a true relationship star through the use of scripts. Yet, we all know that the secret to great telephone sales and overcoming objections is being prepared with what to say and at the right time. You will facilitate the process greatly by developing standard answers for standard questions. In training, I often jest by saying, “Don’t put the customer on hold while you search for your script.” Scripts do have a time and place—but they do not substitute for real needs assessment and conversational/relationship skills.
This article barely scrapes the surface of training and coaching issues. But it does demonstrate several factors which are important within the process. Training and coaching are serious and important functions of managers and most managers have not been trained to become excellent coaches. Getting the most out of our staffs is an important objective. So is the goal of reducing turnover. In other words—it is complicated and difficult, but worth the time and effort to accomplish in the right way.
Dave Hershman is a top author in the mortgage industry with seven books published, including The Complete Mortgage Management Kit. Dave is also director of branch support for McLean Mortgage. He may be reached by e-mail at [email protected]
or visit OriginationPro.com.