Episode 289: Tom Ninness

A Servant-Minded Salesperson is THE Most Successful
Tom Ninness


Tom Ninness

Tom Ninness has been in the mortgage industry for 41 years. He was recently hired by Finance of America Mortgage in Denver to coach/mentor their current loan officers and branch managers along with growing and recruiting top talent. Tom still produces as he has helped over 10,000 families with their home financing.  

Tom also wrote a book for sales professionals titled, “The 90 Day Journey to your Sales Success” that he now has made into an eBook to give away to those who want a solid plan for success.  He also ran a coaching company, “Summit Champions” successfully for 12 years.  

Our Mission Is To Change The Negative Perception Of Sales People

Our Vision Is A World Where Selling Is A Profession To Be Proud Of

There are actions, tasks, and disciplines that must be accomplished to create a perpetual business. Tom Ninness points out that it’s important to know what activities drive your business. When Tom first entered the mortgage industry he was assigned to a territory. He knew that to use his time wisely, he needed a plan. So he planned where he would go when. So much so that all of his customers knew which days he was coming to visit. What else does Tom do to support his territory planning? Learn more in this episode of Sales Reinvented.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:11] Why is territory sales planning underrated?
  • [2:39] How territory sales planning can reduce reactivity
  • [4:15] The ingredients of the perfect territory sales plan
  • [5:45] Attributes and characteristics that make a salesperson great
  • [7:57] Tools, tactics, and strategies to improve sales planning skills
  • [10:19] Top 3 territory sales planning dos and don’ts
  • [14:07] Be servant-minded with your approach

The ingredients of the perfect territory sales plan

If you have a plan laid out so you know what you’re doing hour by hour, you’ll get a great ROI. Tom has the loan officers he works with complete an exercise to calculate their hourly rate. If they want to make $250,000 and want a week off every quarter. They have to work 40 effective hours a week. That averages $130 an hour. Are the sales folks completing value-based activities that will earn them $130 an hour? When you place a value on your time it makes the necessity of a plan even more apparent. And, it will help you be more successful.

Attributes and characteristics that make a salesperson great

A salesperson has to be likable and servant-minded. People will want to do business with you. Many salespeople view selling as something they do “to” another person instead of something they do “for” another person. Tom firmly believes that he “gets” because he gives without expectation of anything in return.

Tim Sanders wrote a book, “Love Is the Killer App,” in which he posits that business people are looking for knowledge. Your knowledge is worthless if you don’t share it. Secondly, you have to have a network to share it with. The larger your network, the greater your opportunities. Lastly, give with no strings attached. That’s where the law of reciprocity kicks in.

Tools, tactics, and strategies to improve sales planning skills

Salespeople can do business with friends, family, and coworkers. But there are other people in your network. Tom’s end customer has friends, families, and coworkers. They can refer business to him. If he does a great job and a happy customer fills out a survey for him, he believes there are at least four more opportunities for him to do additional business.

So how do you get these names? Tom uses a form where he asks happy clients for a list of professionals in their circle of influence. They gladly provide that to him. He can then share the survey they’ve completed with that list and cultivate appointments. When you delight your customers, they’ll want to refer you to their friends and colleagues.

Be servant-minded with your approach

Tom represents the financing for a builder. Someone else that represents a builder wanted to buy a unit from Tom’s builder but wanted to use his own lender. Tom’s builder flat out told him no—he had to work with Tom or he wouldn’t sell the property to him. The builder warned Tom that the customer was upset and to be mindful of that when they spoke.

Tom gave him a call and asked him to call his lender to see what they’d offer him. He agreed to match it. Tom had Googled him and done some research and really liked this guy. So throughout the next year, he sent him information and resources and gave him ideas. Tom always asks people, “What is the biggest challenge you’re having in your business?” The answer is usually something they’re having problems with. After a year and a half of offering value to this guy, Tom gets a call from him, asking him out to lunch.

After the waiter took their order, he said “Tom, I feel like I’m having an affair.” Dumbfounded, Tom said “What?!” Tom had given him so much value while the lender he had worked with for 20 years wasn’t motivated to help him. This man landed a new builder with 55 townhomes and made Tom his new lender. Tom emphasizes that just because you hear the word “no” doesn’t mean you give up. You can give someone value with no strings attached. Don’t be surprised if it comes back to you tenfold.

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Learn More About Tom Ninness

Are there any books on or including Territory Sales Planning that you recommend? Here’s a few recommendations: “Eat Their Lunch” by Anthony Iannarino, “Marketing for Rainmakers” by Phil Fragasso, and “High Performance Habits” by Brendon Burchard

In the field of Territory Sales Planning – Who do you most admire and why? I would say the late Zig Ziglar as his writings instilled in me that anyone could be a Top Performer with hard work, vision and daily disciplines.

Are there any aspects of your own Territory Sales Planning skills that you are working on improving at the moment? I believe in focusing on one word each year and this year is “Ownership”.  Ownership in my time, my daily disciplines and finishing each day with no regrets.

Hobbies, Interests? Hobbies include fishing, music as I play the drums and guitar regularly, hiking, travel and playing with the grandkids.

How can our listeners connect with you? Best way is to email me at tninness6035(at)gmail.com

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