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Industry Commentary


Experts Sell More

Expert or salesman, it's your choice


By DAVE HERSHMAN

June 10, 2003


With the age of the Internet upon us, it seems that every industry has gotten more price competitive than ever. In a few minutes a consumer can pore over hundreds of airline, life insurance, mortgage or house prices. It's no wonder that it is getting harder and harder for us to distinguish ourselves from our competition. But this heavy reliance on technology also gives us an opportunity. The more our competition relies upon cut-rate call centers to sell products, the less real expertise there seems to be in the world. How much expertise can be brought forward by these people who occupy low-paying jobs and whose performance may be rated by how many people they speak to in an hour?

Many traditional originators are now wondering whether they may be replaced by a computer and a phone. But the fact is that a computer cannot develop a close enough relationship to discover a person?s real financial goals and therefore their needs. An inbound phone center will typically find out what a person wants. An expert can go further to determine whether what a person wants will help them achieve their long-term goals and, if not, offer alternatives.

Many will have a choice in the coming years. Never before has there been such a dichotomy between sales and expertise. Are you going to be a low-cost provider? Or, are you going to offer a reasonable price but an above-average amount of expertise?

Of course, to offer this expertise you must become an expert. I really believe in this concept; enough so that it has become our company's main objective. Unfortunately, within the mortgage industry, most training offered is either basic or focused on the areas of marketing and sales.

Being an expert in marketing and sales does not help unless you are an expert within the other aspects of the industry. For example, our school focuses on real estate finance, ethics, delivering quality service, and legal issues. It has been our experience that those who are not well-trained do not sell well because they are not confident. Therefore, we move to sales and marketing only after other areas of expertise are achieved.

The first benefit of expertise is developing the confidence to sell. But there are other benefits. Experts recognize opportunities far beyond what a salesperson may see. These may include the opportunity to fulfill additional needs for a client. They may also include recognizing additional marketing and sales opportunities presented by typical situations. For a salesperson, marketing will normally be a completely independent function distinctly separate from servicing their clients. That is why marketing will typically be accomplished last after all other tasks are complete. Experts can combine marketing with their everyday activities, making them much more effective in the long run.

How does marketing from an expert's perspective differ from a salesperson's? A salesperson would typically focus on their prices and therefore obtain responses from those who are interested in only a low price. An expert delivers value. They may write articles, teach seminars or courses and distribute substantive newsletters. We distinguish substantive newsletters from those that are made up of recipes and handy-homeowner hints. How can you establish a level of expertise when you are distributing recipes to your clients (some of whom may have a PhD in economics)?

Only experts would know that an interest-only product lowers the total mortgage payment less than ten percent at high interest rates but over twenty-five percent at lower rates. This fact makes the product extremely attractive during this particular economic era. One national wholesale lender indicates that there has been much interest in this product in the past several months because the mortgage program will substantially increase a homeowner's purchasing power. This is just one many, many economic concepts that an expert must grasp within the area of real estate finance. It is your choice-compete on rate, or try to deliver expert value to your customer.


Dave Hershman is the leading author and a top speaker for the mortgage industry with seven books-including two best sellers for the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. Dave also heads www.OriginationPro.com Mortgage School.


click here for more articles by Dave Hershman



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