You finally got the opportunity to meet with John, a top Realtor. You share all of the different loan programs you have available, the great staff you have, and that you are committed to excellence. You mention that you are available to do pre-qualifications over the weekends and you?ll do finance flyers for the agent?s open house. You pull out some of the open house flyers that you?ve done for some of the other agents and the agent is impressed. The meeting goes well. You leave some of the flyers and your card and promise to follow up with the agent the next week. The next week you leave a message, then another message a couple of days later, then one on Friday to remind the agent that you are available that weekend if any needs come up. After attempting another couple of times to get hold of the agent, the agent finally calls you and says that he is happy with the current lender that he is working with and if anything changes, he will call you. What just happened? Three?s a Crowd There are three people involved when it comes to a sales call: the prospect, yourself and the current lending provider. The power is with the current provider as he is already on the pedestal and no two people can occupy the same space. When we make a sales call, we can compete against price, product and service. Your service has the greatest potential to differentiate yourself from your competition. The fact is: Most prospects are being underserved and your goal is to see where those areas are. The one currently in the top position tends to just sit on his pedestal with little reason to be proactive in doing more for his or her clients. Where is the pain? People are motivated by either pain or pleasure. Believe it: Most people are motivated by pain. A successful sale call?s mission is to get the prospect to want to work with you. By asking the right questions, I have agents admitting to me: ? I never see my loan officer??, ?It takes awhile to get my calls returned??, ?I?ve had issues with the good faith estimate being higher and that?s embarrassing??, ?They get me the closing figures at the last minute??, and ?They never give me ideas that would help my business?.? These are areas of service where you can stand out. Finding Your Winning Differences For you to become successful, you need information, knowledge and intelligence. You need to know as much as you can about all three parties involved to have a successful sales call. When the opportunity arises to meet with a top Realtor, I do plenty of reconnaissance. If I know some of the other agents in the office, I?ll ask them if they know the current loan officer servicing this agent. I also learn as much as I can about the loan officer and the company that they work for. If I don?t know any agents in the office, I?ll call some of the title companies in the area and see what they know about the agent and who the current provider is. Going to the agent?s website will give you some additional knowledge. It?s important that you understand the following: Your strengths versus your competition?s strength?you will tie or lose. Your weaknesses versus your competitions strength?you will lose. Your strengths versus your competitions weaknesses?YOU WIN!! The Perfect Sales Call Building Rapport You start by building rapport. There is a sequence in a relationship. You have to get to know the person. You can learn to like the person and eventually earn the trust of the person. I usually will ask if the agent is a native to Colorado since most of us came from somewhere else. How did they start into real estate? I never talk about rates and products, as there are some products that I don?t have and maybe the current loan officer prices his loans skinnier than I do. Find the common ground to begin building the relationship. Finding the Pain You need to get the prospect to see where they are being underserved. By raising the prospect?s expectations above their current level of service, you will create the pain. A question you could ask would be, ?What is the biggest challenge in your business today?? Later, in the conversation you could ask, ?When it comes to the loan officers that you work with, what are some of the short comings in the service that they provide?? Educate versus Selling From Tim Sander?s great book, Love is a Killer App, Tim emphasizes that we need to give knowledge with compassion or, as I like to say it, ?with no strings attached?. We also have to pass the test of comfort and credibility. I like to share stories of others who are experiencing the same kind of pain in their industry. By sharing stories, the prospect will learn that you have something that the current service provider does not have. After listening to the prospect?s challenges, I?ll bait the prospect with a take-away. A take-away is like waving a Frisbee in front of my Australian Cattle Dog and then putting it away. The dog wants what you have. After making a point I will say, ?Well, perhaps this is not really important to you.? Guess what, it is important! This technique will create a ?Self-Discovery? with the prospect and he or she knows that the pain could be eased and pain reliever is right in front of him or her. Proposing a Remedy All good sales people know when the momentum has switched over to them. It?s time to go for the win. ?What would you like to happen next?? or ?When do you want to get started?? are two great questions. One agent actually said to me when I asked one of these questions, ? I don?t know what I?m going to say to my current loan officer. Would you mind calling him and telling him that I?m switching over to you?? I was giving myself a ?high five? when this occurred. A plan should be in place before the meeting ends. Make an appointment with the agent no later than 48 hours from your initial meeting. You need to keep the fire burning with the prospect. Final Thought To stay on top of the pedestal, you must deliver what you promise. The agent needs to see and communicate with you frequently at the beginning. This is a brand new relationship and it will take time for both of you to learn how you do your business and what your systems are. I have been knocked off the pedestal from time to time and it doesn?t feel good. If this has happened to you, consider it a learning experience and don?t let this happen again. Keep bringing superior service to your agents. Stay in front of them and communicate often. I make it a point to meet face-to-face with my top agents a minimum of once a month. I?m always looking for ideas to increase their business. Get in the habit of asking how you can ease the ?pain? they are currently experiencing in their business. Remember, the more information and knowledge you know about the prospect and the current service provider, the better chance for success. Never bad- mouth your competition, as the prospect will become defensive understanding he or she decided to work with the current provider. Let the prospect make the self-discovery on his or her own. Finally, if you start pushing the prospect to make a decision when he or she is not ready, resistance will be created and you will lose. Sometimes the relationship is too entrenched to remove the current service provider from the pedestal the first time. Keep the momentum going by setting up that next appointment. Tom Ninness is Vice President/Regional Production Manager for Cherry Creek Mortgage. Ninness is also the President of Summit Champions, a company dedicated to providing tools, software, and opportunities for the Realtor and Mortgage Professional. You can contact Tom at 720-221-4396, or email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org. Go to www.summitchampions.com to learn more about Summit Champion?s tools, products and strategies.