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Industry Commentary


Lay the Groundwork, Then Ask for Sale

Creating value empowers salespeople

July 1, 2005

By DAVE HERSHMAN


photo of Dave Hershman

Asking for the business is an important part of the sales process. But before a salesperson can ask, some groundwork must be laid.

As a teacher specializing within the mortgage business, I should not admit what I am about to say. During my sales training sessions we discuss objections, closing statements, telephone sales or marketing techniques. The truth is, I would be a lot more effective if I could stand in front of these originators with a hammer and hit them on the head while I scream, "Ask for the business."

Every originator would increase their sales 20 percent or more if they would just ask more often. Every manager would increase their recruiting efforts 20 percent or more if they would just more often.

Except no one will pay me for hitting their originators over the head with a hammer for ten minutes. In reality, every sales manager and every sales person knows this. So why don't they ask?

Most would say that sales personnel do not ask for the business because they are afraid of rejection. They do not want to hear no and be seen as a failure. The truth is that our sales people are not afraid of failure. They are afraid of success. I know this because if they do not ask they are assured of failure. How can you get any business when you don't ask? If they ask, they may actually get loans. With these loans come all the headaches of production -- processing, closings, handling objections and more.

Those who are used to high levels of success cannot understand why someone would dress for success, learn everything they need to know and then run around the street and talk to hundreds of people without asking for business. This happens everyday.

One reason why these people are hesitant to ask is that they feel unworthy. They feel unworthy because they have not delivered enough value to their targets. It is very uncomfortable to say, 'Can I have the appointment or your next loan?', when you have not delivered any more than the last person who visited. It is certainly very uncomfortable to say this when the person has a long-term relationship with someone who has delivered much value over the years.

Let's take a look at this simple statement in response to a phone inquiry:

  • I work on referrals. Do you know anyone else who is looking to purchase or refinance?

Simple statement, but uncomfortable and ineffective. Now let us first deliver value.

  • Did you read the article I faxed on repairing credit in preparation for getting a great mortgage? Was it valuable to you?

  • Yes. It was great -- I never had anyone explain what I can do to help us in our situation.
  • Do you know anyone else who could use this type of information? As you know I specialize in helping people who are going through this process.

The first example asks for help when there is no positive standing. It is a "ME" statement all the way -- I work on referrals. The second statement is a natural transition from the delivery of value. Is there anyone else we can help here?

If you are completely lost as to why your loan officers (or you) are not asking more often, I might suggest that you first determine whether you are delivering enough value. The delivery of rates sheets is not a value mechanism. Generating leads for your business clients such as Realtors is a perfect example of value. So are seminars, articles, newsletters and other sources of information.

I have written a newsletter that has been used by the mortgage industry for their clients for many years. It was not until four or five years ago that I realized that finance news was just not enough value for your clients. It was then that we began writing sales articles that could be utilized by Realtors or anyone else who was running a business. The ultimate value is to show someone else how to increase their business.

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.
Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life
-- goes the saying.

It is easy to discover how to ask for the business when you are delivering valuable sales advice. We typically give a sales meeting that focuses upon our company, our service and our products. If we are brazen enough, we end the sales meeting by asking for a loan. Instead, we should be showing them in the sales meeting how to get someone off the fence and into their car. Instead of asking for a loan, offer your help in getting someone off the fence! A simple question might be:

  • Is anyone working with someone right now who is having a hard time getting them to get up and make a commitment to look for homes? Can we use these people as an example? Let's take a look at their objections.

Now you are working with live people who have a real problem. If you can solve this problem, you have added value. Just asking for a loan is uncomfortable for you and for your audience. When you deliver value you will never be uncomfortable again.

My conclusion? The key to increasing your business is not asking. The key to increasing your business is being in position to ask. You get yourself in position to ask by delivering value. It is unfortunate, but this is one of the only businesses in the nation in which you get to differentiate yourself by just becoming an expert. If you are interested in asking -- experts do it more efficiently.


Dave Hershman is a mortgage industry author and speaker -- with 8 books and hundreds of articles to his credit. He also heads OriginationPro.com Mortgage School. You can email Dave at [email protected].


click here for more articles by Dave Hershman



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