The role of a production manager or branch manager is not to simply maintain the status quo, but to be proactive in driving the behavior necessary for success in a changed market. If your loan originators are still approaching 2017 with 2016 attitudes and habits, you have a problem. Purchase loans are now the name of the game and direct calling responsibilities are once again paramount. Therefore, from a manager’s point of view, the following questions are worthy of serious consideration:
- What changes in behavior will my production team have to make to succeed in a different market?
- Are all of my loan officers prepared to recognize and take advantage of each sales opportunity?
- Do they have a prepared and rehearsed statement with which they are comfortable?
- Will their personal statement help to differentiate them from the masses?
The prepared statement to which I refer is not a regurgitated company mission statement. Those are usually not stated with the enthusiasm and conviction necessary to sway or impress anyone. I am talking about a planned and rehearsed power statement that will create interest and a greater opportunity to develop working relationships. Your job as a manager is to be sure your team members have prepared a personal power statement. Because everyone is different and has a different approach both in language and personality, a power statement cannot be dictated from on high and be the same for everyone. It must be a disciplined and rehearsed statement that grabs the recipient. The enthusiasm and conviction required will only occur if it is created on an individual basis. Make sure this topic appears on your next sales meeting agenda.
By way of example, can you imagine the following conversation between a loan originator and Realtor, neither of who know each other, nor each other’s job?
Realtor: “Hi, my name is Mary what is your name?”
LO: “Pleased to meet you Mary, my name is Dan………..
Realtor: “And Dan, what do you do?””
LO: “I do loans”
Although Dan’s response may be true, the manner in which he responded is hardly going to entice or encourage Mary to probe further. In a world where first impressions are critical, and where observing the motto “Observe what the masses do and do the opposite” is mandatory, Dan’s response places him with the multitudes that never set themselves apart. When presented an opening to succinctly state what you do, you must be prepared to jump through the window of opportunity, not simply slam it and break the glass in the process.
The odds are good that some day you will attend a Broker or Realtor luncheon. Often the sponsoring entity will pull one or two lender business cards out of a punchbowl and allow those chosen to deliver a two-minute commercial to the meeting attendees. This is a window of opportunity. You can choose to be prepared ahead of time, and rehearse what you will say or you can do what most originators do and wing it. The latter approach will not set you apart; in fact you will become lost in a sea of lenders who don’t get it. No opportunity should ever be lost to make a marketing point or strengthen the perception your customer base has of your abilities and professionalism.
As a manager your loan officers should have a prepared statement that is concise, compelling, and memorable. Within the world of marketing this is called an “elevator statement,” whereby you can tell me what you do and the value propositions for why I should work with you or use your product in the amount of time it takes you to complete a short elevator ride. If it takes longer, your statement is too long.
If your loan originators were to be called in a random drawing during the next Realtor function you attend, what would they do? The reactions cover a wide spectrum. In my experience having attended hundreds of such meetings all over America, I have seen it all. Most are unprepared, some are so nervous you could hardly hear them. Then, there’s terminal TMI (too much information). Some are too short, others too long. Too many “ums” and “uhs.” For some, the color rises in their face from about their chest up. By the time they get to the podium you can visibly see their neck turn from flesh pink to red. Today’s originator must be a professional, in all senses of the word. That includes being comfortable in either one on one or group settings with a prepared “power statement”.
A power statement makes your product or service outstanding, understandable, credible (incredible), and buyable. It’s a memorable (nontraditional) statement that describes what you do and how you do it in terms of the customer and his/her perceived use or need for what you are selling. The objective is to persuade and motivate the prospect (borrower, originator, or Realtor) to think and act. It builds credibility.
If you took these power statement characteristics and began to formulate your own, you could start practicing today. The key characteristic is to make your power statement memorable. You cannot allow your statement to sound like everyone else. It must also include the value proposition of how the customer will benefit. The customer is always inquiring with either, “What is in it for me?” or “how will I benefit by using this person as a lender for my borrowers?” Your power statement must answer these questions.
Here are five steps to developing your personal power statement:
- Write out a preliminary prototype.
- Try it out on customers for a week and identify the portions you wish to fine tune.
- Practice your statement until it is absolutely routine and does not sound staid or like you are reading it. The more conversational in tone you can be, the greater the attention and acceptance.
- Find one thing you can hang your hat on that is not what everyone else says.
- Do not be afraid to constantly change and fine-tune your power statement.
Assume you are addressing a Realtor’s weekly sales meeting and have been given an opportunity to say a few words to those in attendance. Given the fact that weekly meeting agendas are usually filled with more issues than time allows, you may be scheduled for no more than three minutes on some occasions. Do not spend your entire allotted time on your products, pricing, or reputation. That is what 95 percent of everyone else does. Remember this quote—”Observe What The Masses Do and Do The Opposite.”
For example, if you were addressing a Realtor, you might consider the following: “Your long-term success as a Realtor is dependent upon your continued referral business. _______________’s (your company name) commitment and my personal commitment to you is to absolutely make sure your borrower is so pleased with their entire transaction that they will not only return to you for their real estate needs, but continue to refer their friends and family to you as well. I don’t make this commitment lightly because my success is your success.”
Of course, that is just one example. Encourage your loan officers to begin working on their power statements today. In a changing market like we are currently experiencing, their sales skills will be tested. Make sure your production team’s personal power statement passes the test.
By Bill Evans