Shmuel Shayowitz (NMLS#19871) is President and Chief Lending Officer at Approved Funding, a privately held local mortgage banker and direct lender. Shmuel has over two decades of industry experience, including licenses and certifications as a certified mortgage underwriter, residential review appraiser, licensed real estate agent, and direct FHA specialized underwriter. Shmuel provides a uniquely holistic approach to comprehensive real estate and financial matters that goes well beyond any single transaction. Shmuel is an award-winning financier recognized for maximizing the short-term and long-term objectives of his client. As a contributing writer to many local and regional newspapers and publications, his insights have been featured in the media for many topics, including mortgages, personal finance, appraisals, and real estate trends.
I must have watched clips of Alec Baldwin’s famous “sales tirade” in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross hundreds of times. The renowned 1990s picture is about four real estate agents who are trying unsuccessfully to sell land to clients who are uninterested. Baldwin’s character is sent by the owners of the real estate company to help inspire the sales agents to close more deals. His “ABC” mantra imploring them to “Always Be Closing” has forever earned its way into the culture of salesmanship practice. It was followed up by another extraordinary performance by Ben Affleck in the movie Boiler Room, which echoed the “Always Be Closing” motto for selling stocks to undesiring clients.
To many, these scripts are unforgettable, inspiring, motivational and a cornerstone of their sales technique. As much as I loved the scenes, I believe they are outdated and out of touch with today’s consumers. While it is important to have a basic foundation of common rebuttals, I believe the goal can no longer solely be focused on “the closing.” Yes, it is important to have the end result in mind, but the path and approach along the way is more critical than ever. I submit the following for consideration, although I can’t imagine them ever making it to the big screen.
Always Be Compromising
Real estate, much like life, is not “one size fits all.” We can’t always get everything we need, nor have everything we want. To compromise doesn’t necessarily mean to settle, but it does mean to look at things from more than just a one-sided objective. I once had a couple visit my office for a home purchase consultation. The plan was to discuss home affordability and pre-qualification for a mortgage on a home they had not yet identified. We spent almost two hours discussing anything but that. When trying to establish a price range, I was met with uncertainty on so many basic elements that it was clear there was a deep disparity between the two people sitting in front of me. I took the opportunity to help them create a list of wishes, non-negotiables and preferences. It took some extra time, but that definitely did the trick. They both looked at each other with amazement, and both nodded in agreement confirming that one of the houses they had seen months before was “the one.” We used that as our basis of analysis, and finally began the pre-qualification process. I am pleased to say that was, in fact, the house that they ended up buying—and they haven’t looked back from there.
Always Be Communicating
I could have easily used the above example for this section as well, because clearly without communication there cannot be compromise. However, the essence of communication is even greater than simple concession: it is also cooperation and collaboration. I was recently working with a couple on a cash-out equity loan for some home renovations they were pursuing. Everything seemed to be fairly straightforward. We set up the loan based on the loan amount and terms we discussed, requested the appraisal and began gathering the necessary documents. Their communication started to slow, and eventually I stopped hearing from the husband altogether. I knew something was up, but kept diligently following up and doing my part to keep the process moving forward. After a few weeks of much unnecessary delay on their end, I decided to reach out to both and see if we could get on a conference call to re-discuss our strategy. Eventually I did get them both on the phone, and it was obvious that the two of them each had a different plan for these pending renovations. Without question, and without knowing, I was smack in the middle of a debate on how much more to invest in the house. Clearly the discussion was well beyond the scope of my profession, but I really wanted to help them resume the communication for themselves. In the end, I was able to offer them a financial alternative based on their concerns. I proposed a two-phase loan approach that could get them access to the maximum funds they might need, but would allow them to replenish the money (without penalty or interest) should they choose to do less construction down the road.
I can certainly think of other suitable slogans to be used with the letter “C:” Always Be Creating, Always Be Consulting, Always Be Complementary, Always Be Considerate and Always Be Confident are but a few of the many concepts that come to mind, but, alas, the editors’ directives are ringing in my ears: “Always Be Concise!”
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