Let’s look at two different selling conversation scenarios. In the first, the loan officer looks concerned, is over-selling with too much information and practically throwing themselves on their knees in front of the client, a bit like they are pleading for their life. They might not actually get to inviting the client to make a buying decision because they’re too engaged in their own stories about why the client should work with them. In the second scenario, the loan officer has good posture, appears confident, and asks, “Can I help you get your house with a great loan?” Which scenario do you think is going to be more attractive to a client?
I’m obviously over-dramatizing these scenarios, and it’s obvious which one a client will be more comfortable with in a buying decision. But I’ve seen a lot in my years in this business; what loan officers don’t know about how they are showing up in their selling conversations is hurting their business. This usually happens when the loan officer is new to sales, is intimidated when they think of asking for business, or feels like sales is a big manipulation. They don’t know they are, by default, setting themselves up to beg for business.
If you approach a selling conversation thinking about how badly you need the commission, that’s a mental set-up to beg for business. You are thinking about yourself, and your focus is on your scarcity vs. helping your client. If you believe that selling is unpleasant, that’s a problem too because you will naturally avoid or postpone having the sales conversation or it will come out strange when you do get to that point in the conversation.
Then there are the big-box banks that have high quotas; loan officers there are focusing on reaching those quotas so they might put their client into a program that is not in their best interest so the LO can hit their numbers. Call this unscrupulous or call it career survival tactics – either way, it’s not helpful to the client which is where our attention has to be focused.
The reality is that asking for a sale is good salesmanship – it’s something we call “closing”, and it needs to happen to help the client get what they want – their new home. When I ask someone for business, I’m confident I can help that person in many ways and dramatically impact their life for the better. To me, when I ask for business, I’m really asking, “Can I help you in a way I know I can?”
In fact, when I don’t ask for a person’s business, I’m being disrespectful to that person because I know I can enhance their experience. If I hold back on making an offer because of my own projected fears that I’ll be “begging” for business, or sounding too “sales-y”, I’m preventing that person from getting the best possible service through me to have their dream home. My attitude is what determines the quality of my “ask”, so my focus is always on providing the service I know will, ultimately, help that person. And when I do that, I change that person’s life.
At the risk of taking us off-track for a second, let’s look at that for a minute… how many times has someone asked to help you with a purchase or to make a decision about making a purchase – and it changed your life? If it was something you wanted but weren’t sure how to get, or something you thought you couldn’t have until someone showed you how it could be yours with their help, wasn’t that life-changing – in only good ways? A good sales conversation shows you how you can have what you want faster and easier. And that goes for your clients too.
Four Parts in A Sales Process
There are four parts in a sale: traffic, relationship, call to action, and follow-up. Each part is about 25% of the sales process.
- Traffic is about how many people are seeing your business and being referred to it.
- Relationship focuses on how those people who learn about or come into your business feel about you. So you could have a decent amount of traffic coming your way, but if they are unclear about the value you provide or they don’t like how you do business or, worse, you insult them in some way, you’re probably not getting the sale.
- The call to action is one of the most critical parts of making a sale because it’s where you set up the close. You might have good traffic, and your people like and want to do business with you, but if you don’t tell them how you can help them and what they should do to work with you, you won’t have any deals.
- Lastly, follow-up is about being efficient in the second (relationship) and third (call to action) parts of the sale. Follow-up makes the relationship more tangible, clarifies the action steps and sets the stage for the outcome of doing business together.
All businesses have bottlenecks in one of these four areas. Any time someone comes to me with a problem about sales, I look for which stage of the process they’re missing or not handling well. For example, that loan officer might tell me they’re meeting with clients and agents but not asking for business. When I hear that, it’s good news. Why? Because it means all they’re missing is a call to action, which is the quickest, easiest and cheapest fix of the four parts of the sale. It’s nothing more than actually asking for business.
What gets in the way of asking for business? I believe it’s the fear of rejection. When people say no to us in the sales world, they’re not saying, “I don’t like you,” even though that can be what we think sometimes. But that’s a lie. It’s not personal. The reason a prospective client says no is almost always because that individual doesn’t need what we’re currently offering.
I have a good example for you. Recently, I bought a set of new tires for my Jeep. I thoroughly enjoyed the sales process – the business is solid, the tires are spectacular, and the salesman – Larry – was a great guy. Imagine if Larry were to call me up today and say, “Hey Carl, you know those big expensive tires you bought? I’ve got the deal of a lifetime. For $100 – a fraction of the original price – I’ll sell you a whole new set. You just have to use them for yourself and not sell them.” What would I say? “Larry – no, thanks.” That would be my answer not because my experience was terrible, but because I don’t need another set of brand-new tires at the moment.
So when an agent tells you “no,” it just means they’re already working with an amazing loan officer and everything is working great. But you and I know things go wrong all the time; and, when they do, there is an opportunity. If their loan officer isn’t asking for business and you are, eventually you’ll win out because you’re the one who’s doing all the asking. A gentleman I saw speak at a seminar once told me an invaluable piece of wisdom. He said, “Carl, whoever makes the most offers wins. If you want to make more sales, make more offers. Ask for more business.” It just stands to reason, doesn’t it?
Business is about asking how you can serve with what you know or have to help that person. Good business means you can get the transaction done in a clean, timely way. Great business means you care about the impact you’re having with the person while delivering value on your promise to them.
So, as you’re having a conversation with someone — I don’t care who you’re talking to, how the conversation started, or what script you’re using — one of the last things you need to say is, “Can I count on you to give me a call?” Asking this question ensures you’ll close on time, secure ongoing updates, get follow-ups on your leads, and increase the number of referrals you receive going forward.
Presenting a Call to Action (CTA)
The last part I want to go over with you is what happens if you haven’t presented a call to action before. Many people think giving a call to action sounds weird and is “too sales-y.” But are the guys who talk about football “too football-y?” Are the parents who talk about good parenting “too parent-y?” No, of course not. You are in the business of making dreams come true through loan opportunities. You are in business, period. So when you talk sales, and ask for business, you are being a good steward of people’s dreams.
The first thing to remember is that a call to action only seems weird to the person giving it. What if I were to ask you, “Hey, you’ve been a member of our group and receiving these newsletters for a while now — has it been helping you?” I think most everyone would say, “Well, yes.” From there, I would respond with, “Could I ask you for a favor? If you know of another loan officer in your area who may not be part of our group, could I count on you to introduce us so that we can tell them what we do over here? I’d like to help them out, too.”
When you read that, I doubt you’re thinking, “The nerve, Carl — I can’t believe you actually asked me to do that!” In fact, you – and many others – wouldn’t find it odd at all. You might think, “Of course I’d like to help you out, Carl. You help me, and I’d like to do the same for you.”
Even though I know I can help you and other loan officers, and that my call to action is received positively, it feels weird every time I present that call to action live. However, for the person receiving that information, it doesn’t sound weird at all.
On a side note: when one loan officer does better, we all win. The only real competition we have is against who we were yesterday. So when you help another loan officer, you’re helping that person take care of their family and all the clients in their world, which you probably wouldn’t meet anyway. We attract clients who are our best fit. Generous people generate. The amazing loan officers who work with me and my team get that. We’re an amazing group… shout-out to The Freedom Club and the Mortgage Marketing Animals members!
Anyway, always remember the call to action only sounds or feels weird to you, not the person receiving or being invited to take action on it. So set aside those mental goblins that keep you from asking for business and just do it – just make the ask. That’s the secret great salespeople have discovered – they ask for business. And they make a lot of asks – with confidence, a service orientation, and clarity so people don’t misunderstand their call to action. Be one of the great salespeople – ask for the business. Do you have questions about how to close a sale? Are you stuck in a pattern where scarcity or low sales-esteem is causing you to not make an ask? Or do you have words of encouragement for others based on when you learned how to make a good ask?
Carl White, Chief Officer of Coolness
Article Originally Posted on LinkedIn
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