We cannot learn what we think we already know

[The following was originally published in January 2020]

As professionals steeped in the enthusiasm and promotion of reverse mortgages it’s easy to miss important lessons in our daily sales activities. Our confirmation bias may insulate us from valuable feedback and observations when meeting with homeowners and other professionals.

For example, you thought your appointment with a local financial planner was going great, then suddenly they were no longer amenable to the potential benefits a reverse mortgage could hold for their clients. They turned cold. After the meeting, you get in your car, scratch their name off your list and move on to your next appointment. Two weeks later you have a similar response from another advisor in a different town.

Instead of scratching off their name perhaps we should be scratching our heads asking why.

Each encounter we have with a potential borrower or outside professional is an opportunity to fine-tune how we communicate certain concepts, the terminology we use, the analogies given, and how we deal with objections. With that in mind, it’s best to take notes immediately afterward. Note their name, title and where they closed their mind to reverse mortgages.

Did they close up when you attempted to explain how a HECM can provide retirement income? If you were meeting with a CPA such a statement could easily undermine your credibility and therefore your chances of being an originator who could be trusted with their clients are nil. Why? Because the money received from a reverse mortgage increases the homeowner’s debt and cash flow. It is never income. Income increases one’s net worth over time.

At some point did the borrowers state they needed to talk things over even though they have been researching the loan for months? If so did you take the opportunity to excuse yourself and step to your car to grab some additional information or did you press one only to lose the sale? As Norcom Mortgage’s John Luddy teaches, finding a reason to leave for a moment gives the couple a chance to settle their concerns privately and allows you to return with a better chance of closing the deal.

So take the learning challenge. Note what opening story worked best in your public seminar. Write down the statements that triggered a negative response and then find a more effective way to communicate them. Did taking a tour of their home and envisioning the improvements that could be made help? Unless we write it down we may forget and simply scratch them out as a ‘no’. Instead, look back and ask what could I have said better or what triggered them? We can learn from others, especially our potential borrowers.



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