August 3, 2018

How Sharp Are Your Sales Skills?

Mortgage Solutions

A Guest Post by Blaine Rada, CSP
Arch MI’s Senior National Trainer and Instructional Designer

What does it take to get from letting business happen to making business happen — and what are the traits of those who have figured this out? How do you build relationships with Realtors® who were ignored as refinances and sales transactions soared in 2021 and early 2022? How can you stand out in an industry where everyone seems the same?

Updated March 28, 2023

In other words, why do people do business with you?

J.D. Power and Associates publishes an annual Mortgage Origination Satisfaction ranking that shows what people value in your business (or your competition). Some key concepts, like value and trust, shouldn’t surprise you, but it’s easy to dismiss these words as common sense and not take them to heart.

There’s more here than what’s on the surface. For instance, have you personally defined your value proposition? How do you communicate it to potential customers without them asking you? Why are you better than your competitors? You probably know people have to trust you to do business with you, but do you know how to help them do that? And what specifically do they need to trust?

You need to be trusted personally and professionally. Personally, people have to trust your intent: Are you looking out for your customer or yourself? And professionally, people need to trust your capabilities – you can do what you say. Ask yourself: What do words like value and trust mean to you, and how do you communicate them when your customers only ask about your rates and fees?

Traits of Top Performers

Our industry’s top performers are often defined as doing incredible business while maintaining exceptional customer service ratings. These top performers share several traits, including value and trust. But they also practice empathy and discipline.

Empathy can take service to a new level and is different from compassion. Compassion is saying, “I feel for you,” while empathy is saying, “I feel with you.” You truly understand your customer’s situation because you’ve walked in their shoes and can relate on a level that few others can. You must stop sounding like a mortgage professional and instead relate to people on their level, using the words they would use when you talk about how you can solve their problems.

While discipline has many meanings, I like to think of it as paying attention to how you spend your time and knowing the intention behind everything you do. The things you do every day are more important than what you do occasionally, but it’s really easy to be busy without being productive. Disciplined people understand the difference between urgent and important tasks, choosing to schedule their priorities instead of prioritizing what’s on their schedule. There’s also a difference between being efficient and being effective. We often sacrifice effectiveness (comprehension) in our communications in pursuit of efficiency (like texting). How many times have you been texting back and forth with someone while thinking, “I could clear this up with a 30-second phone call”?

It’s critical that you stop sounding like a mortgage professional and instead relate to people on their level, using the words they would use when you talk about how you can solve their problems.

Developing Referral Relationships

In developing referral relationships, it’s important to know what matters the most to Realtors (empathy again). Realtors want you to be outstanding at making loans and for their buyers to love working with you. It’s important to know that the selection process goes both ways. You have just as much of a right to be selective about which Realtors you partner with as they have in choosing you. The relationship also needs to be mutually beneficial. This is possible if you pay attention to your posture in the marketplace. Do you appear to be successful or desperate? Are you always professional and polite? Always? While these ideas are simple, they aren’t necessarily easy, so they are often ignored or forgotten.

Communicating Competitive Advantages

Have you noticed that most of the people in our industry talk about the same competitive advantages: low rates, quick approvals, good service, etc.? These may be areas you truly excel in, but when everyone sounds the same, then those words lose their meaning. I suggest that you find ways to quantify those traits so that you can communicate specific numbers rather than make general statements. For instance, how many of your loans close within what timeframe? What exactly is your customer satisfaction rating? Even quantifying how much of your business is either repeat or referral can illustrate trust and reputation. People are much more likely to believe specific numbers and you won’t sound like everyone else.

I’ve highlighted six words, each of which could significantly impact your results this year. Take your pick: value, trust, empathy, discipline, posture and being specific. I hope you find these valuable, and most importantly, take action on the ones you feel can benefit you the most.

About the Author


Blaine Rada

Senior National Trainer and Instructional Designer

Blaine Rada develops and conducts versatile Arch MI training sessions that teach key industry skills. Previously, he developed and managed a multi-format program of webinars and live training acclaimed throughout the industry at CMG Mortgage Insurance Company. He holds a Certificate in Distance Education from Indiana University and is a member of the National Speakers Association. He has earned the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, a recognition held by fewer than 15% of professional speakers worldwide.