How to make cold-calling easy

Have you ever been at home having dinner with your family only to hear a knock at the door?  You answer it only to find someone trying to sell you a product or ask you to support their candidate. You’re irritated that you were interrupted and you don’t even want to hear what they have to say.  You probably don’t want what they’re offering and they try to get you to say yes right then!  In spite of it all there is a reason people still go door-to-door…it works.

Now, I’m not advocating that mortgage originators start going door-to-door, but I am saying that the practice of cold-calling works.  Too many in our industry think about their own frustrations when a salesperson comes to their door, and it keeps them from creating new referral partners.  They forget that not all cold-calling is the same.

When I was hired as a mortgage loan officer, my first manager spent a week teaching me the basics of the industry and how to originate.  The second week he handed me a stack of flyers and said, “Go talk to realtors and get them to refer you business..” I wasn’t sure how to go about it, but I just started going to real estate offices and introduced myself.

Since I didn’t have any experience in the industry it took me a little time to start actually getting referrals.  I promoted the experience and reputation of my company, and realized very quickly that Realtors were actually eager to talk to mortgage lenders.  I was surprised at how few other originators were making sales calls, and I quickly became a trusted lending partner with many people met.  I was quickly on my way to becoming a top producer in the mortgage industry.

Those first cold-calls were nearly 15 years ago, but making sales calls to referral partners, and cold-calling real estate offices has been at the foundation of my mortgage marketing efforts.  Here are a few things I learned that will make the dreaded “cold-call” much easier:

  1. You already have a reason to be there.  Many originators try to find a reason to stop by a real estate office or only go if they have something to hand out.  Those things are great, but introducing yourself and delivering a straightforward message will give you the best opportunity to share your brand and talk about your service.  If you believe in what you’re offering then that’s a great reason to be there.
  2. Don’t over-complicate your objective.  The main reason to make cold-calls is to meet new people.  You aren’t trying to sell anything, and no one has to say yes right then.  In “Write a Grandma Statement” I discuss having a clear, simple message to deliver goes a long way to build your brand and what your focus is.
  3. You’ll set yourself apart.  Most originators would probably be surprised by how little their competition is actually visiting real estate offices.  Social media, email campaigns, and sponsoring events are all great ways to get your brand in front of Realtors, but there is no better way to do that than by actually getting in front of them.
  4. It’s okay to not talk business.  One of the most effective ways to talk about business, is not to try talking about business.  Some of my best conversations started with:  “Hi, I’m Phil.” or “That’s a really cool picture you have on your desk!”  Compliment their office, mention an upcoming holiday, or talk about an upcoming community event they might be interested in.  Don’t just lead with business or they may see you as someone who interrupted dinner with their family…
  5. Stop trying to make a sale when you meet.  Mortgage marketing isn’t door-to-door sales; you don’t need a quick pitch or a hard close.  Meet people, talk to them, and learn about their business.  It’s much easier to find ways to create value when you’re just giving your pitch or talking about yourself.
  6. Don’t take it personally if someone says no.  Just because someone doesn’t refer business to you doesn’t mean that it has anything to do with you.  If you were at a restaurant and offer someone ketchup, you wouldn’t immediately ask yourself what you said wrong or why they don’t like you just because they said no.  Sometimes people just don’t want ketchup.

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