How to Turn Your Salespeople into Relationship Managers

Technology can empower your salespeople to do a lot of things, but another canned email won’t build a roster of referral partners that will help them scale their business.

That’s because people – whether consumer or partner – are tired of being treated like a number. According to Constellation Research, lack of content relevancy generates 83 percent lower response rates in the average marketing campaign.

Most technology solutions focus on the transactional nature of the sales role. Take information, deliver content, make offers, do business. Done. At Alerus Financial, it’s my pleasure to work with some of the best salespeople I’ve ever known. My goal is to give them the tools and technology to enhance the great work they’re already doing today.

So, in a world of shrinking budgets and margin compression, we’re not replacing salespeople with technology. We’re creating relationship mortgage bankers: a team of elite professionals who know how to connect with people in a genuine, human way that makes you want to talk to them again.

The following tips will help you and your team of relationship mortgage bankers build stronger, more meaningful relationships that keep customers coming back again and again.

The Art of Listening

Most people think selling is the same as talking, but top producing relationship mortgage bankers know the real key to sales success is listening. A study by found that top closers talk just 43 percent of the time compared to the bottom 20 percent, who talk 66 percent of the time.

Whether they’re tired of paying rent, they need a bigger home or they want to downsize, your customers come to your relationship mortgage bankers with a problem. Your customers want someone to remove complexity and friction so they can solve their problem. Listening puts the customer experience and customer relationship at the center of sales.

And although listening can be surprisingly difficult, it paves the way for three things: understanding, engagement and reciprocity.
  1. Understanding: It stands to reason that your relationship mortgage bankers can’t provide a solution to a problem without first understanding the problem and barriers to success.
  2. Engagement: Listening helps build rapport and create trust, so that a prospect is more likely to turn to your relationship mortgage bankers to solve their problem.
  3. Reciprocity: When people feel heard – valued – they’re more likely to take the time to listen to what the other party has to say.

So, listen and you will learn earn.

Face-to-Face Interactions

Although modern relationship mortgage bankers use a variety of technologies and solutions to streamline the sales process, it’s important not to discount the effectiveness of face-to-face encounters.

A whopping 93 percent of communication effectiveness determined by non-verbal cues. It’s easy, of course, to misinterpret a text or an email. However, a lack of in-person communication also means less accountability. Prospects and customers also often disengage when the conciseness of texts and emails replace the sound arguments and reasoning that arise during more in-depth dialog.

So, while technology solutions can complement the networking needs of your relationship mortgage bankers, face-to-face interactions are both healthy and necessary.

Personalized Communications

Much of this article has focused on the elements of managing burgeoning relationships: making a good first impression and showing you not only care but can actually help.

One of the biggest mistakes your organization can make is to have your relationship mortgage bankers take the time and effort to forge a personal relationship, only to nurture it with a generic, one-size-fits-all follow-up campaign. Lenders are uniquely positioned to deliver the type of hyper-personalized communications consumers crave thanks to the type and sheer volume of data they collect.

Turn the data you have into insights and tailor communications so that partners, prospects and customers alike continue to feel like valued individuals who can make better, more informed decisions. You’ll position your relationship mortgage bankers as strategic partners and trusted advisors and win customers for life.

Knowing When – And How – to Leverage Technology

What’s the ultimate goal of our relationship mortgage bankers at Alerus? To provide our current and future customers with deeply personalized, frictionless experiences that help them make sense of complex financial transactions and keep them coming back over the course of their financial lifetime.

To do that, we equip our relationship mortgage bankers with powerful technology solutions. Technology, when combined with a highly skilled and knowledgeable mortgage banker, creates the ultimate experience. After all, we are dealing with our customers’ largest investment decisions.

They deserve to have strong technology with a human touch.