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Talking To Prospects

According to Jill Konrath, in today’s crazy-busy world, the ONLY way to capture and keep your prospects’ attention is to talk with them about what matters to them. Pure and simple. That’s all they care about.

Your prospects have zero tolerance for salespeople who think their job is to share their unique methodologies, great technology or extraordinary service. All that info is available online. If it’s of interest, they’ll find it—on their own time.

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Jill Konrath is a globally recognized sales strategist. She’s an in-demand speaker at sales kick-off meetings and conferences where she shares fresh strategies to help salespeople deal with emerging challenges.

Forrester Research also found executives state that 86% of the salespeople who called on them were NOT prepared to have an intelligent conversation on their initial meetings. Most didn’t get a second chance.

Yet your prospects are thirsty for ideas that can help them do their job better, faster, or more productively. They crave information on how to increase revenue, reduce costs or expand their market presence. They search for insights on how to deal with changes in the business environment. A salesperson that delivers these ideas, insights and information is pure gold.

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Additionally, Forrester Research shows that the first vendor to create a viable vision of the future has a 74% chance of closing the sale. That’s an amazing statistic, but entirely achievable IF you target the right prospects, research their business and talk with them about what matters most. In short, you need to use catalysts and context to lead an intelligent conversation.

According to Wikipedia, a catalyst “speeds up a reaction by lowering the activation energy required for the reaction to proceed.” In sales, a catalyst does the same thing. Suddenly the organization is receptive to new options. The grip of the status quo has been loosened. Money even appears out of thin air. Here’s how to find and leverage these trigger events for maximum impact at your company.

Identify The Catalysts

To get started, analyze your existing clients. Ask yourself:

(1)…What internal factors (inside the company) made your clients finally decide to take action?

(2)…What external factors (outside the company) changed their business environment sufficiently so that the status quo was no longer sufficient?

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Often salespeople discover distinct changes or issues that are behind virtually all decisions. Invariably, these are the most common:

New Leadership: Often, within 3-6 months, new executives are implementing fresh initiatives to drive revenue, reduce costs or increase efficiencies.

Financial Announcements: If business is up, expansion projects take priority. If business is stagnant or down, productivity or cost-saving initiatives jump to the forefront.

Mergers/Acquisitions: Any change in this area causes organizations to re-evaluate all their supplier relationships.

New Strategic Initiatives: When new corporate directives are announced, the entire organization shifts to ensure they’re in alignment.

Legal/Compliance: Changes in government regulations (e.g. Affordable Care Act) cause organizations to take immediate action.

These are only some of the many catalyzing events that can create opportunities for savvy sellers. Others include reorganizations, new product/service announcements, relocations, market expansions, new business deals, or new funding.

If you’re new to this type of thinking, review local or national business publications and ask yourself: “If this happens, how does this impact an organization’s need for what I sell?”

Knowing your catalysts frees you to pursue those companies where you have a higher likelihood of closing an accelerated deal. Plus, you’ll know what to talk to these prospects about since you are deeply immersed in their issues and challenges. It’s the fodder you need to have an intelligent conversation.

Get A Jump Start On Competitors

Here’s the good news. Many of these catalytic events are newsworthy announcements, shared publicly by the company. Or they’re part of required financial reporting.

The easiest way to get your hands on this info is to leverage sales intelligence tools – ones that automatically search for your specific catalysts and deliver them to you on a timely basis. If you sell to a small number of companies or track a finite set of catalyzing events, you can get by with Google Alerts.

But things get pretty complicated when you need a steady stream of new prospects. Or when you’re selling to multiple market segments. Or when a variety of these catalysts can signify a loosening of the status quo.

Sales intelligence apps like InsideView, Lead 411 or DiscoverOrg can totally automate this process for you. They sort through all the junk that’s out there, giving you daily alerts about what’s happening in your territory – on just those catalyzing agents that you want to follow.

Intelligent conversations depend on sale intelligence. Today, it’s imperative to be the first one in the door with fresh insights on how to deal with the emerging priorities and issues.

Planning an intelligent conversation involves combining what you know about the catalyst’s impact with your understanding of the context of prospect’s situation.

From this, you develop a game plan to pique your prospect’s curiosity, showcase your depth of knowledge and build trust that you’re an invaluable resource.

You’ll know you’ve succeeded, if, at the end of your conversation, your prospect says, “Very interesting. We clearly need to look at this in greater depth.”

Let’s go back to where we started. According to Forrester Research, the first vendor to create a viable vision of the future has a 74% chance of closing the sale. That means you need to identify a gap between your prospect’s business goals and their current situation.

When companies are disrupted by catalytic events, a gap naturally emerges. Suddenly the status quo is no longer sufficient. Change is needed.

Salespeople who use sales intelligence apps to notify them when these trigger events occur consistently outperform their peers. They get in early, which gives them the ability to shape the discussion.

When these same salespeople leverage context, they integrate their knowledge of the company, individual people and their digital behavior into the conversation. They know more—which enables them to come up with better ways to help their prospects achieve their specific goals.

Combined, catalysts and context yield intelligent conversations – ones that are focused on helping prospects create a viable vision of what’s possible in their organization. In this article, we’ve just talked about the initial conversation. You’ll need more to close the deal. But you’ll get there faster and with minimal competition. It’s definitely the way to sell today.

About The Author

Michael Hammond
Michael Hammond is chief strategy officer at PROGRESS in Lending Association and is the founder and president of NexLevel Advisors. They provide solutions in business development, strategic selling, marketing, public relations and social media. He has close to two decades of leadership, management, marketing, sales and technical product experience. Michael held prior executive positions such as CEO, CMO, VP of Business Strategy, Director of Sales and Marketing and Director of Marketing for a number of leading companies. He is also only one of about 60 individuals to earn the Certified Mortgage Technologist (CMT) designation. Michael can be contacted via e-mail at mhammond@nexleveladvisors.com.

Build Trust Through Authentic Content

Because the word authentic is so nebulous, it becomes hard to define, but I take it as creating value for an audience without ulterior motives. Yes, you want more customers. Your content shouldn’t be thinly-veiled advertising, but instead, should provide useful information to your audience. You’re not trying to be something your brand isn’t. You stay true to your company values and impart them through your content.

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Being authentic doesn’t mean pulling crazy stunts like Burger King did recently when it hacked Google Home with its ad. Authenticity isn’t attention-seeking or off-the-wall. It’s real. It feels comfortable.

So how can you build trust through authentic content?

Know Your Audience

I put this as a tip in so many of my marketing articles, because there is nothing more important than really, truly understanding your customer base. What is important to them? What kinds of questions do they have that you can answer through content? How can your brand really offer value?

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You’ll notice that none of those questions had anything to do with your product. Knowing your customer is about being a good citizen. About asking questions and listening rather than making assumptions and talking.

Remove the Mask

Many times, brands put up this facade to come off as … I don’t know, more professional? They don’t see value in letting customers into the heart and soul of the business. But that’s part of your story, and your story is what people want.

If you got the idea for your business when you fell down a flight of stairs, why not share that very human tale? If every Friday your staff dresses up like superheroes, that’s a great visual that turns your company into a band of actual humans. Don’t distance yourself from your audience; instead, connect with them.

Be Consistent

If you see success in writing really long, in-depth posts, keep doing that. Or if people go crazy for your daily Twitter tips, lather, rinse, repeat. People will begin to trust your brand when they know what to expect from it, so make consistency the key rather than being all over the place, experimenting to see what sticks.

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Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes

Because brands are made up of people, they make mistakes, and that’s okay. Whether it’s a typo on your blog or misinformation you shared, don’t try to cover up the error with corporate speak. Be apologetic (“Oops! We goofed. Our apologies.”) and move on.

Being authentic is simply about being true to your brand’s nature. It should feel organic and easy.

About The Author

Susan Guillory
Susan Guillory is a writer, traveler, and entrepreneur. Susan Guillory writes about travel and marketing. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @unxplorer.

Paradatec Named Verified UCD Producer By Freddie Mac

Paradatec, Inc., a provider of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) solutions for mortgage file processing, announced that it is a verified technology integration vendor for Freddie Mac’s Loan Closing Advisor platform. Paradatec’s WriteUCD module was developed in accordance with Freddie Mac’s requirements for producing valid Uniform Closing Dataset (UCD) files.

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The UCD is a common collection of data that mortgage lenders will be required to deliver digitally to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae starting on Sept. 25, 2017. This requirement is part of the Uniform Mortgage Data Program (UMDP), an industry-wide drive to build a better housing finance system in the United States.

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The WriteUCD module leverages Paradatec’s advanced OCR solution for the mortgage market to extract data from closing disclosure (CD) documents in mere seconds per page and then format that data in the required format.

According to Neil Fraser, Paradatec’s Director of US Operations, “We’re pleased to have obtained Freddie Mac validation as our clients need the assurance that they can meet the GSEs’ requirements well in advance of the September deadline. If a lender’s current loan origination system partner or document provider is struggling to produce a valid UCD file, they can sleep soundly knowing that Paradatec has them covered with our new WriteUCD module.”

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Paradatec also announces the release of their new AuditUCD module for auditing UCD file content against the closing disclosure contained in the UCD file. Fraser continues, “Since we’re building the UCD file from extracted closing disclosure data, it’s just as easy for us to unpack a UCD file’s content to compare the individual data elements against the values extracted from the submitted CD to verify the integrity of both components in the UCD file. Any elements that don’t match will be flagged in our XML output for further review and resolution. Given the volume of content that will be produced and need verification with this UCD initiative, our solution is uniquely positioned to offer a high degree of automation and operator efficiency.”

About The Author

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

LERETA University Offers Virtual Tax Service Training

LERETA, a national real estate tax and flood service provider, has created LERETA University, a web-based training platform to support and assist servicers in navigating in-depth tax servicing information.

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LERETA University is virtually led by instructors who assist servicers and their staff in real estate-specific tax servicing. Accessed through LERETAnet, the company’s existing hub and customer information portal, the LERETA University platform serves as an extension of on-site training and is focused on helping companies avoid risks that are caused by common mistakes and oversights. Inaccuracies in real estate tax servicing have the potential of costing servicers in penalties, interest and property loss not to mention having a negative effect on borrowers.

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“Training is particularly critical for staff in these roles due to the function’s inherent risk,” said Jonnine Eras, vice president of client relations at LERETA. “Tax servicing is an intricate and specialized function that requires employees to have thorough and specific knowledge. LERETA is in a position to share our resources to better equip our customers and their staff with knowledge, understanding and skill that can protect them against possible risk.”

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Since 1986, LERETA has provided a full suite of national real estate tax services for residential and commercial loans, including automated online research and certification, tax bill processing, a suite of delinquent tax services and customized tax outsourcing service programs. In addition, LERETA provides real-time flood zone determination services that include flexible levels of service based on customers’ needs.

“Sharing our resources in this area is just another way that LERETA is redefining what tax service means and what servicers should expect from their partners,” John Walsh, CEO of LERETA, added. “Our innovative technologies and dedicated team of real estate tax and flood service professionals provide our customers with the service and ongoing support they need to succeed.”

Progress In Lending
The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

Cary Burch Joins LoanLogics Board

LoanLogics, a provider of loan quality management and performance analytics, announced that Cary Burch has joined the company’s board of directors. A veteran of several national financial services and information technology companies, Burch will leverage his two decades of experience in the IT, legal and financial services industries to help LoanLogics expand its products and achieve long-term growth.

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Most recently, Burch served as chief innovation officer with Thomson Reuters, a multi-billion dollar global information solutions company. His previous roles include CEO of Lender Support Systems (LSSI), a mortgage technology provider; COO of Fidelity National Information Services; and CIO of First American’s Consumer Information Group and president of First American CreditNet. Earlier in his career, Burch served as senior vice president and CIO of Advanta Mortgage and vice president of  strategic technologies and CIO for First Franklin Financial. He serves on the board of directors for Palomar Health Foundation, which provides healthcare services to communities in Riverside and San Diego counties.

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“We consider ourselves very fortunate to have Cary join our board, as he brings a unique blend of experience in information technology and financial services markets as an operator, innovator, technologist and experienced investor,” said Brian Fitzpatrick, founder and CEO of LoanLogics. “We expect Cary to play a valuable, active role in helping us form the direction of LoanLogics and continue to expand the breadth and depth of our solutions across the mortgage and financial services industry.”

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“I am thrilled to join the board at LoanLogics, a company led by an experienced team with deep roots in the mortgage industry,” Burch said. “Today’s mortgage industry requires greater understanding of loan data, and LoanLogics has the technology and capabilities to quickly and accurately extract, analyize and review loan data for risk and performance. I look forward to leveraging my experience in the mortgage, legal and private equity markets to help LoanLogics capitilize on its strengths while pursuing new applications for its groundbreaking technology.”

About The Author

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Secretary Of State Approves New Electronic Notary Solution Provider

The Office of Secretary of State Mark Martin has announced the addition of Pavaso, Inc. as an electronic notary (eNotary) solution provider for Arkansas. Pavaso is a digital closing platform that brings together homebuyers, mortgage lenders, real estate agents and title companies in one seamless collaborative portal to deliver a better closing experience for everyone.

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Nancy Pratt, Pavaso Vice President for Partner Relations and Government Affairs, said, “We are excited and enthused to be approved to provide eNotarization in the great state of Arkansas!  Homebuyers, Lenders and Settlement providers will all have an improved and outstanding mortgage eClosing experience because of Arkansas’s focus and support of the digital transformation!”

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The Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office has been commissioning eNotaries in Arkansas since 2013. Arkansas’ eNotary program strives to improve the efficiency of the notarization process by increasing notarization options, reducing paper waste and providing highly secure authentication and storage options for Arkansans’ legal documents.

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“Electronic notarization & e-closings will revolutionize the real estate and mortgage industries. This technology will change the way people conduct business. We are pleased to welcome another solution provider option as Arkansas’ nationally recognized eNotary program continues to grow,” said Secretary Martin.

Pavaso joins previously approved eNotary solutions providers DocVerify, World Wide Notary, and Corporation Service Company.

Progress In Lending
The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

Industry Veteran Named President of IndiSoft

IndiSoft, a technology development firm that specializes in systems for the financial services industry, has named Camillo Melchiorre president. He will focus on the firm’s sales and marketing efforts. The move allows Sanjeev Dahiwadkar, who previously held both the roles of president and CEO, to concentrate on IndiSoft’s strategic direction as CEO.

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Melchiorre joins IndiSoft from HLP where he was president and CEO. HLP, which is powered by IndiSoft’s RxOffice, is a nonprofit collaborative that enables counselors, advocates, mortgage lenders, servicers, investors, attorneys and government agencies to build solutions that help individuals and families achieve and sustain homeownership.

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Before working with HLP, Melchiorre was senior vice president of loss management at Radian Group Inc. (RDN: NYSE) where he led their efforts to manage losses during the financial crisis with new systems, operations and loss mitigation strategy.

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Prior to his Radian position, Melchiorre was co-founder and executive vice president of business development at MSTD Inc. MSTD developed the mortgage servicing industry’s first web-based default servicing and loss mitigation application, BackInTheBlack. He was also vice president of servicer relations and policy at Freddie Mac where he led Freddie Mac’s landmark Servicer Advisory Board. Before joining Freddie Mac, he was vice president of loss mitigation and quality control at Commonwealth Mortgage Assurance Corp. (CMAC, now Radian Group Inc.) where he began the company’s affordable housing pre-purchase counseling program.

“We have a long history with Cam that started years before he worked for HLP,” Dahiwadkar said. “Cam’s longevity in the mortgage industry and his knowledge will help us further position IndiSoft as a strong technology player that not only understands the industry but can also anticipate the technology needed to address any process or regulatory challenge.”

Melchiorre has more than 30 years of experience in many areas of the mortgage industry which has afforded him the opportunity to be a featured speaker during several industry events, and he has authored multiple articles that have appeared in leading industry publications. He is a graduate of Gettysburg College and Widener University School of Law.

“I have a long history with Sanjeev and IndiSoft,” Melchiorre said. “This is an exciting time in the industry one in which we have a chance to truly harness the power and capability of technology to make fundamental changes in efficiencies while being agile enough to be compliant with the ever-changing regulatory climate. IndiSoft has a remarkable platform that can help achieve those goals, and I am happy to be a part of the effort to move the company forward during this time.”

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Radian Integrates With Path To Offer MI

PathSoftware’s  Path LOS is now integrated with Radian Guaranty Inc., the mortgage insurance (MI) subsidiary of Radian Group Inc.

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This direct connect integration allows Path users to obtain rate quotes and order MI on both a delegated and non-delegated basis, and submit documents without leaving their LOS. MI premiums are also auto-populated into the appropriate fields in Path to help streamline the MI ordering process, improving efficiency and productivity.

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“We’re proud to partner with a forward-looking loan origination platform like Path to make it even easier for lenders to do business with us,” said Brien McMahon, chief franchise officer at Radian. “This integration enables us to deliver real-time quotes and simplify the MI ordering process for current and prospective customers.”

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Path was designed to simplify and streamline mid- to enterprise-level, multi-channel loan origination. As a portal with a single point of entry, all loan data, lock data, products, pricing, automated underwriting system findings, loan estimate and closing disclosure documents emanate and are reconciled within one system. In addition, the LOS’s configurable workflows, with role-based functionality, provide visibility into every loan at every stage—so financial institutions can ensure their business rules are followed.

“Direct integrations with our partners are essential to streamlining the mortgage origination process for our customers,” said Doug Mitchell, director of sales and support at PathSoftware. “By partnering with Radian, our clients can now easily order MI directly from one of the nation’s top providers.”

Progress In Lending
The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

Docutech, Veri-Tax Streamline Day 1 Certainty Process

Docutech, a provider of document and compliance technology for the mortgage and consumer lending industries, and Veri-Tax, a national verification provider, have expanded their integrated services to enable lenders to easily obtain the tax transcripts needed to enroll in Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter (DU) validation service. Once enrolled in DU, lenders are able to receive Fannie Mae’s Day 1 Certainty, which frees them from representations and warranties for validated loan components.

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Veri-Tax is authorized to provide 4506-T tax transcripts through the Fannie Mae DU validation service. By expanding the integration between Veri-Tax and Docutech, lenders that use Docutech’s ConformX platform can easily satisfy Fannie Mae’s requirements by placing and retrieving tax transcript orders seamlessly within ConformX, where borrower information is already stored, while shortening the loan process by days.

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Fannie Mae’s DU validation service is designed to provide its customers with enhanced loan origination controls, improved processes and certainty around the borrower’s income, asset and employment information. When a lender opts in to use the DU validation service and obtains an eligible verification report from a vendor such as Veri-Tax, DU will use the data on the report to validate the borrower’s information and provide the lender with Day 1 Certainty for the loan.

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With the partnership between Veri-Tax and Docutech, lenders are able to use ConformX to submit tax transcript requests through Veri-Tax for simple 4506-T fulfillment, saving several days in the loan process.

Docutech President and Chief Operating Officer Amy Brandt said, “We’ve been very pleased with the success of the ongoing partnership between Docutech and Veri-Tax. Our integrated service allows shared customers to easily satisfy IRS requirements by automating the verification process and enabling lenders to place and retrieve tax transcript orders within our flagship software ConformX, where borrower information is already stored.”

Veri-Tax CEO of Customer Happiness Nick Lim added, “We are pleased to enrich our partnership with Docutech, especially as we’ve become a Fannie Mae authorized report supplier. We believe the combination of our ‘customer happiness’ differentiation and the innovative Fannie Mae Day 1 Certainty benefits  the robust Docutech platform and offers compelling value of protection, speed and efficiencies for our shared customers.”

Progress In Lending
The Place For Thought Leaders And Visionaries

Ensuring A New Kind Of Compliance

Comergence, an Optimal Blue company and compliance solutions provider to the mortgage industry, has launched its newest compliance solution, Social Media Compliance. Powered by sophisticated regulatory intelligence capabilities and embedded with the specific policies and procedures of a licensed mortgage originator, the unique service addresses the growing need and seemingly insurmountable task of monitoring social and digital media communications within a regulatory framework.

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“Social media is a powerful tool used more and more by today’s loan officers to source business. Yet, with numerous regulations today and even more expected in the future, the risk is high for unintentional social media mistakes that could pose significant financial risks for lenders,” stated Scott Happ, Chief Executive Officer of Optimal Blue. “We recognize that adherence to growing compliance demands will be challenging for lenders if social media compliance remains a manual, time-consuming effort coming at a great cost. By delivering this robust automation at an extremely affordable price, lenders discover an immediate ROI – regardless of whether they have five loan officers or hundreds.”

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The Social Media Compliance system can evaluate social media activity across all loan officers and all venues in real time via automated scheduling. The platform also identifies potential violations, highlights usage trends, and provides 360-degree audit reports for a deeper violation review so lenders can communicate and remediate internally and externally – all within a single, turnkey compliance tool. The system provides enormous advantages for the hundreds of organizations that already rely upon other Comergence compliance solutions, including streamlined organizational and user set-up.

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“Social media presents a large playing field and a new frontier for today’s lenders that is not going away anytime soon. Leveraging automation removes the heavy lifting and positions lenders to properly take full advantage of the opportunities through this great marketing asset,” said Greg Schroeder, Vice President of Comergence. “Everything lenders need to self-manage social media compliance is available in our solution, bringing efficiencies, simplicities, and real-time oversight with little effort.”

About The Author

Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.