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How to Go to the Next Level in Your Mortgage Company

Mark Brewer, a loan officer out of Corinth, Texas, is one of our new Mortgage Marketing Animals members. He sent me a text the other day asking me a powerful question: “Carl, I see these cats making $100k, $200k, even $300k a month. How do they do it? What are they doing differently from me?”

Mark closed 6 loans this month, but he’s seeing some people in the group closing 20, 50, 100 loans a month. Mark heard an interview on my podcast with a guy who had brought in $363k in personal income the previous month and asked, “How on earth do you make that happen?”

So we sat down for a little chat.

The 3 Things You Need to Close $363k in Loans in One Month

The first thing I did was to remind Mark that your loan production isn’t a statement of your worth as a person, or even what you’re capable of. It’s just a reflection of how long you’ve been doing the right activities. The loan officers with those high numbers have been paddling down the river a little longer.

To put it simply, you need:

  1. a team
  2. the right activities
  3. time

Mark admitted that, for most of his loan officer career, he’s actually been a “lone officer.” He started way back in 1993 and feels like he’s just repeated 27 years of his first year. “I’ve been in scarcity for so long,” he said, “doing just two to three loans a month, just enough to make my wife happy. Making a decent living, but not a great living.”

What Activities Successful Loan Officers Do

Mark has already learned so much from being part of the Mortgage Marketing Animals. We talked about my friend Scott Griffin who makes a lot of commas and a lot of zeros. I asked Mark what he thought Scott is doing differently than a loan officer making $100k/year. What loan officer strategies is he implementing day-to-day?

Mark said that he’s probably solely focused on being the rainmaker. Get the file in, and let somebody else pound it out. He said he’s got to learn that he’s not that important anymore. I clarified that he’s important when it comes to bringing the leads in, just not that important after that.

McDonald’s French fries are one of their most profitable products. They make more money on French fries than any other single item on the menu. But the French fry maker, the awesome person making piping hot salty fries, isn’t getting paid much. The people getting paid the most are the ones who are getting people to pull into that drive-thru in the first place, right? That’s where the money is made. Doing the activity that makes people pull into the parking lot.

Loan officers who want to make good money have to spend their time doing the activities that lure people into the proverbial parking lot.

How the Axe of Freedom Helps You Delegate

Not having a team is holding Mark back from greater success. We talked about the Axe of Freedom, which is just a piece of paper with your name and everybody else on your team (if there’s nobody else, then write “new hire”). You list all the activities you do vs. the activities you would like your team to do. Things like:

  • answering the phone
  • proactive phone calls
  • social media marketing
  • locking loans
  • taking applications
  • loan structuring
  • closing the loan
  • chasing conditions
  • etc etc etc

Then you put a #1 by the items before the phone rings and a #2 by the items that happen after the phone rings. The #1s are proactive action for new business coming in, and the #2s are reactive. Once the phone rings, everything’s reactive at that point.

The end goal is to get all those #2s into someone else’s hands, but it’s a process. We can’t snap our fingers overnight and boom, the hotel’s built. We’re building an empire, right? We look at those #2s, hand off 3-5 of them, then in a couple months, we hire a second person and hand off a few more. And we keep going until the only thing left on our list is #1s. 

Don’t hold off on hiring people because you’re afraid business will slow back down. If you structure your business to go down, that’s what it will do. Structure your business to go up. Just keep persistently paddling that boat, and make sure you’re paddling it downstream. 

This Is a Business, Not a Marriage

I still get scared every time we hire somebody. But I’ll tell you what helps—the realization that whether or not they have a job next month is not up to me. It’s up to them. It’s their responsibility to help us bring in more loans in all the ways they do that. These people are in charge of asking for more business from the people they talk to. If they don’t, we’ll replace them.

I didn’t marry them and they didn’t marry me. I provide value to them each day, an excellent place to work and stuff to work on. As long as we bring value to each other, I’ll keep them on and they’ll stay. If one of us isn’t happy, they’ll leave or I’ll fire them. It’s okay. Figure out what you need and hire someone who’s capable of doing it.

Mark said that concept made his brain blow up. His father owned an office and a factory when Mark was growing up, and he always made sure he provided for his 45 employees and their families before he ever took a paycheck. “He took all the responsibility on himself,” Mark said, “but he should have put some of that the responsibility on the employees. They’re there to do their job, I’m here to do mine. It’s not all on me.”

I told Mark that we both care about people but we can’t carry that emotional weight of all these people 100% counting on us. We share the responsibility. It’s better that way for all of us.

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

Don’t wait until you feel completely confident before you start hiring people and growing your team. That day will never come. You have to be okay with failure. Something might not work out. An employee might not work out. Don’t sit around waiting for permission. Feel the fear and do it anyway. My dad used to tell me that, if you don’t skin your knees from time to time, you’re not running fast enough.

Our job as loan officers isn’t that hard. We don’t have to be that amazing. We’re normal. We just talk, type, and think all day long. We don’t have to be on top of a hot roof laying shingles. We’re not out there laying sod. We’re not doing surgery with a scalpel in our hand. We’re the lucky ones.

I really enjoyed my chat with Mark, and he’s looking forward to becoming a Freedom Club member as soon as practical. He’s found a real sense of community with our Mortgage Marketing Animals, and he’s going to take some big leaps now, in spite of his fear.

If you’d like help mapping out your next level—who’s on your team, who’s not on your team, what your next hire should look like, where to find them, how to get a lot accomplished in a little bit of time, how to achieve high numbers—we’d love to help.

We can map it out for you with a free one-on-one call. It’s not a cookie cutter thing where we send you a recording. Everyone’s situation is different, and we’ll customize the plan for your specific needs. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Give us a call TODAY!