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SIPA Member Profile: Stillwell Reveals His Sales Secrets

Ryan Stillwell, Vice President of Sales, Mortgage Success Source, LLC, Holmdel, N.J.

SIPA: How did you get into this business?
RYAN: I was a branch manager for Wells Fargo and Originated loans for GMAC. The GMAC office was shared by a company called The Mortgage Market Guide. I was asked to join the MMG team which was just in its infancy with a couple of employees. We grew the business and the company built up momentum. In 2007, 13,000 people were using us for data. I was responsible for building up our customer service operations and sales departments in-house and over in India. MMG was then sold to UCG which merged it with another product that assisted Loan Officers (Loan Toolbox). This was how MSS was born.

What’s your current position?
I manage our sales team, which is focused on corporate sales and individual product sales to Mortgage Originators and larger lending institutions.

Is there a secret to hiring good salespeople?
It’s tough to evaluate who to hire—it’s not like you can easily gauge what motivation a person has to succeed. I like to try and understand what a person has gone through, evaluating the adversity they faced. How long did they have to continue to follow up in order to be successful? Did he or she have to do follow-up presentations, face-to-face sales, cold calling? How many people did they reach out to in a day? Etc.

What’s been the biggest change in the selling world?
Technology. The world is changing drastically and quickly. For us more specifically, however, it is compliance. The Origination world was largely driven by entrepreneurial individuals who utilized systems to help them with their own professional development, marketing and education. Today, corporations are taking much more control of all of these tools. The decision process is now all in the hands of CEOs, COOs and marketing managers for their employees. It used to be much more originator-centric.

What are your keys in the selling process?
You need to evaluate what a company’s needs are—or really, let them evaluate their own needs. We provide so many services—marketing, professional development, presentations, market knowledge, etc.—but the last thing we want to do is put our clients asleep or confuse them with so many options. So if we can narrow down their needs, then we can say, “Okay, here’s what we can do for you.” The big questions are, “Where are you coming up short? And what are the top 4 or 5 things that matter to you?” Example: we may think social media is an important way to market yourself and your company, but there may be a company or bank that doesn’t want its employees using social media. So why waste time?

As you mentioned, there are so many more options today.
Here’s what people don’t get. Most companies operate in a complex selling environment, but they don’t know that. There are a lot of choices to make. All of the details matter and we don’t assume to know what is most important to them; instead we try to get them to be specific in telling us what they need.

It sounds like you put a lot on your salespeople’s plates.
Yes, we do, but we actually try to make it easier for them. Take buying a car. There are multiple types of cars. From a sales perspective, you start out knowing nothing [about the customer] besides the fact that they need a form of transportation. However, you don’t know If they have 5 kids or are single. Do they have a long commute to work? Is this for their occupation or leisure? Are you a beach bum, do you want 4-wheel drive? We need to cut through that stuff. Sometimes it’s easier to say we have different types of vehicles on our lot; which could you see yourself getting the most value out of? This allows for the discussion to get narrowed down quicker. This is what we try to teach our sales reps.

Do your salespeople already have relationships with these customers?
Good question. Sometimes. In corporate sales, there is some sort of relationship where many of them already use our services. Some have never heard of us. We do pretty well with trials.

And finally, what keeps you up at night?
Lack of sales and the constant changing that our industry continues to go through. However, both of these present new challenges and create new opportunities.

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Ryan Stillwell and another sales executive,
Rick Longenecker, will deliver what should be
an excellent session on sales at SIPA 2012.

Definitely make sure you sign up for the
May 20-22 Conference and attend that session.
Early-bird prices will expire in 2 weeks!

SIPA’s 36th Annual International Conference
Create. Sell. Deliver.
May 20-22, 2012
The Capital Hilton, Washington, D.C.

Expert speakers, 30-plus roundtables on an array
of topics, certificate programs, awards
presentations and other exciting sessions.
Register today!

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