The mortgage industry has always been, to some extent, commoditized. The product for lenders has always been more or less the same from company to company, and the pricing structure has never had a great degree of flexibility. Today, with the rise of the internet and the free flow of information available to consumers, this commoditization of the industry is even more prevalent. How can any organization set itself apart when all organizations look the same?
The key, I think, is not to focus on the product or the price. Although it may feel like it sometimes, our industry is not the only one that is heavily commoditized. How do other organizations in industries selling everything from raw materials to airline tickets set themselves apart from their competition? It's simple: they focus on the relationships they have with customers – not the product they are selling.
A huge problem in organizations that are struggling tends to be the approach their salespeople have with customers. Rather than serving customers in a meaningful way, some salespeople are simply order-takers. They're asked for a quote, so they give a quote – and that's that! But the really successful organizations will have salespeople who are more consultative. They'll focus on making the experience as important to the customer as the product they're buying and the price they're paying.
As anyone who has been to a dentist can attest, a pleasant experience can well be worth paying a heftier price for the same product. Are your salespeople merely order takers, or are they focusing on moving the customer relationship from a transactional one to a relational one?