Mortgage Sales vs. Mortgage Marketing

From: Ameen Kamadia

It seems to me that there is a lot of confusion between "marketing" and "sales" in our business. And I notice that there is a lot of stuff being written on this lately. Harvard Business Review had a feature article written by Phil Kotler, a business theory biggie. I admit that I have only scanned the article at this point...not surprisingly, it is targeted to large companies that have separate sales and marketing departments, not small businesses where both functions often reside in one person--that one person often also the broker or loan officer.

Judging from the consulting and coaching applications that come my way, along with the feedback and homework of my Jump Start Your Mortgage Career E-Class students, there is a tendency to lump sales and marketing together, probably because resources are limited.

The difficulty is that what makes a great salesperson rarely makes a great marketer (and vice versa). Sales focuses on doing only those things that will lead to producing revenue, and ignores activities that don't have a direct bearing on getting to a signature on the bottom line. Sales is by necessity short-sighted, looking to the next month, the next quarter, or maybe stretching into the next year, but no further. The name of the game is filling the pipeline and moving prospects through as quickly and effectively as possible. Sales is getting the application. It is essential to earning a living as a loan officer but without people to close you don't eat. That's where marketing comes in.

Marketing is a longer-term activity than sales, and generally is oriented more toward context that content. What I mean is that marketing seeks to enhance your position in your business niche through a variety of means, many of which can be more nuanced than a salesperson can tolerate. A successful marketing manager has a mentality that crosses creativity with good project management skills; put such a person in a sales role, and chances are high they will fail.

To clarify the differences in the two functions, I'll try some metaphors:

  • Marketing is the bowl, sales is the fruit.
  • Marketing plows the soil and lays down the fertilizer, sales sows the seeds and tends the plants.
  • Marketing is the coach, sales is the star athlete.

In all three cases, the qualities that make one role work are very different from the qualities that comprise the other. Trying to get both sets of qualities in one person or contracting firm is likely to result in hybrid that doesn't perform either function well. Chances are you do one or the other well, but not both.

Here is my suggestion: If you decide that you need to get some "sales and marketing" assistance, stop and think for a moment. What specifically do you want to achieve? Answer this question, and then seek EITHER sales OR marketing assistance, not both in the same breath.

To get you started, here are some possible answers to the question:

  • You want to convert more prospects into loans as soon as possible. (Sales)
  • You want to increase recognition of your company and its offerings in the marketplace. (Marketing)
  • You want someone to staff your trade show booth who can talk to attendees and collect qualified leads. (Sales)
  • You want someone to manage your trade show booth and make sure everything goes smoothly. (Marketing)

I could go on, but I have hopefully made the distinction clear enough. And given you food for thought that will help you get the most out of both your sales AND your marketing resources!!

Happy Originating!


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