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Don’t Put Role-Playing On Hold

Prepare your loan officers with extensive training for better sales.

Dave Hershman headshot
Dave Hershman
Don’t Put Role-Playing On Hold

In the last issue of National Mortgage Professional, we introduced the difficulties that coaching loan officers present, including identifying the issues and making coaching calls. We will now delve into the tools you can use to become a more effective coach.

Scripts. No salesperson can develop into a true relationship star using 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.

Coaching should cover examples of scripts for enabling statements, standard questions, sample closing statements and objection responses. 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.

Role-Playing. I am not a believer in canned closes — the alternative close, Ben Franklin close, etc. Closing is a matter of identifying needs and filing them at the right time. You cannot teach timing. You can facilitate the process by conducting role-playing exercises that approximate real life situations. Role-playing should be a major part of your coaching and training sessions, as well as sales meetings. Let your leaders be major role players and allow everyone to analyze responses. Then let your leaders analyze the novice’s response. Some factors to consider regarding role-playing over the phone (note that role-playing is just as important for real estate presentations, etc.).

Don’t Put Role-Playing On Hold 2
  • Your loan officers will not get better if they don’t practice! Ever hang up the phone and say to yourself — “I should have said … .” Well, you don’t get “do-overs” over the phone. Like an Olympic athlete who trains for years and years — if you trip out of the starting lane, the quest is over. So, what do they do? They practice again and again.
  • Role-playing is not the same as benchmarking. Benchmarking is very important to those who would like to improve their sales processes. After all, there are others who are good at what you want to become good at. So why should your loan officers re-invent the wheel? Find out what leaders say over the phone and let them use what works for them! But remember that watching is not performing the task. Nothing substitutes for practice.
  • Practicing the wrong way will make them worse! If you don’t believe me — ask your golf pro. If you have a bad swing, going to the driving range and playing more often will only make you worse. So, if you are saying the wrong things or saying the right things in the wrong way or at the wrong time, doing it more often will only make them comfortable at losing the opportunities they have to increase their income. Do not let them become comfortable losing money!
  • What is practicing the right way? Conduct practices in front of observers — experts who can help your loan officers get better. They do not even have to be from your chosen field. Role-playing without feedback is just a bit better than not practicing at all. Without feedback, you will never get better. And those who do not improve every day will stay stagnant.
  • Try out new techniques in different situations. It is said that the true definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. Role playing must include practicing many different situations such as those who need help urgently and those who are procrastinators. The more practice in different situations, the less your loan officers will be surprised by anything. And believe me — that is a good position to be in.
  • Confidence is the key word. Those who are great over the phone can react quickly to just about any situation. What is the real key to sales over the phone? Confidence. Your prospect or customer wants to hear confidence in your voice. And it is this type of practice that can make your loan officers confident. The one thing that is easy about telephone sales is that we know what prospects are apt to say. All the objections have been documented so many times before. You just need to be prepared—and role-playing in the right way will do just that.

We will introduce additional training and coaching tools to use in the next issue.

This article was originally published in the NMP Magazine July 2022 issue.
Dave Hershman headshot
Dave Hershman

Dave Hershman is an author for the mortgage industry with eight books and several hundred articles to his credit. He is also senior vice president of sales for Weichert Financial Services, head of OriginationPro Mortgage School and a top industry speaker.

Published on
Jul 17, 2022
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