There’s never a bad time for reflection, to evaluate the things you’re doing as a loan officer and see if you’re doing your absolute best. Is there anything you could change that would give you even better results in the year ahead?
I made a list of five reflection questions to ask yourself. These are big. If you’re not already doing these things, and you start doing them, they will epically change your results. No question about it. Here they are:
- Am I doing money-making activity?
- Do I have a team?
- Do I have the right referral partners?
- Am I with the right company and platform?
- Am I hanging out with successful people?
If you can answer “yes” to just one of these questions, you’re on the right path. Answer “yes” to all five of them, and you’ll be unstoppable.
#1: Am I Doing Money-Making Activity?
My dear friend, Ralph Watkins, is the one who got me into the mortgage industry years ago. He said to me once: “Carl, make a list of all those things that happen before the phone rings and a list of everything that happens after the phone rings.”
The list of things that happen after the phone rings is far longer. And those things can all be done by someone who is not you. The highest level of activity a loan officer can ever do to generate more money is the activity that makes somebody call you asking to get pre approved. Actually answering the phone is not the highest level of activity you can do. Both are critical, but your job is to originate that lead, that business coming in. Then your team handles it from there.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of focusing on bringing in business versus taking a loan application or getting page three of the bank statement or ordering the appraisal. You can do these activities. Just understand that it’s costing you a fortune. If you’re okay giving up hundreds of thousands a month, because you love processing loans so much, then go ahead and do that.
What activities make a phone ring? We have a whole list:
- Thor’s Hammer (getting more realtor referral partners)
- booking coffees and lunches
- booking appointments to help break the trust barrier
- focusing on a list of agents that you’re calling on a weekly basis
- Just Ask calls, where you’re asking the listing agent, buying agent, the borrower, if they have a friend, family member, or coworker looking to buy, sell, or refinance in the next 12 months.
- actively calling your database.
All of these have an outbound marketing component. We’re not just sitting around waiting for the phone to ring. We’re asking for more business as we continue to add value to our partners. This is money-making activity, and it’s where you should be focusing all of your time.
#2: Do I Have a Team?
Maybe you’re thinking, “Carl, I’m only closing three loans a month. I can’t afford a team.” I remember those days. I still got a team. I made that investment. Was it scary? You bet it was. But it was part of what fueled my success, because hiring my first assistant meant that it was no longer just my wife and kids counting on me. Now I had an employee and her family counting on me too. Your first hire could be someone you share with another loan officer. Nothing wrong with that. Just understand that, once you ramp up, you’ll need to hire your own assistant.
You have got to have a team. If you don’t have a team, you are absolute toast. There’s just no way you can ramp up. If you do ramp up, it’ll be very short-lived because you’ll be stressed out, burned out. Your life partner, your kid, your pet parakeet will miss you because you’re never home, or you’re not present when you are home.
You’ve got to have a team to be able to consistently produce ever larger numbers with even less stress. A team is what gets you off the roller coaster.
#3: Do I Have the Right Referral Partners?
The right referral partners for me have always been real estate agents. Some people look to financial planners and divorce attorneys, and that’s fine. The biggest reason I go after real estate agents is because virtually 100% of their customers need my services.
But I don’t go after just any real estate agents. I make sure they’re qualified. If they don’t do enough business, they can’t refer enough clients to me. Qualified, to me, is someone who is doing at least 8 buyer-side transactions a year.
They can’t just be qualified. I also have to like them. I have to love my work and love the people I’m working with. These are people I would hang out with anyway. We just happen to be great buddies that work together. I’m looking for someone whose lifestyle is congruent with mine. If they always want to meet in noisy bars at happy hour, it’s not a good fit for me. If they want to work weekends, it’s not a good fit for me.
We don’t have to be exactly alike, but we need to share the same basic philosophies in life. They’re cool and cool to other people. I watch people in restaurants. If they’re polite and respectful to our server, they’re probably someone I want to hang out with.
I also don’t want to be partners with someone who’s measuring me by my “muleness.” Are they measuring me by how well I can pull a plow? Do they want me to do this, this, this, this, this, and this? Are they demanding? Then no thank you.
They can measure me on these things:
- Do I close them on time?
- Do I give them great communication during the loan process?
- Do I follow up on leads like green on a pickle so they get even more referrals going forward?
There are a thousand referral partners out there and only one you, so you can afford to be picky and find the right fit.
#4: Am I Working Under the Right Platform and For the Right Company?
By platform, I mean broker vs. mortgage banker. There’s no right or wrong to this one, but you need to know the difference. Are you working under the right platform for you and your personality?
When I’m looking at a company to work with, I’ve got four things I consider.
Am I with a company where they provide all my leads, or am I responsible for my own leads? If the company provides all the leads, you become dependent on them. What happens if they go away? You have to learn how to generate your own leads, so you stay in control of the situation.
Do they provide me with help? If you’re the whole HR department yourself, then you won’t have time to do those money-making activities.
Will they help me become a brand manager, if that’s something I want to do? Is there a program that teaches and trains you how to become a branch manager and transition to that at some point? Not everyone has to be a branch manager, but you need the resources available so you can make the choice.
Am I the biggest fish? If I’m the biggest producer in my company, I might need to look for something different. I always run a little faster when I’ve got somebody in my sights in front of me that I’m chasing. If I’m the smartest person in the room, I’m in the wrong room. I have always found I have my best growth when I’m not the biggest fish in the pond.
#5: Am I Hanging Out with Other Successful People?
Are they successful in the things that I honor, things that are congruent with things I want to be successful in? Do they already have what I want—the freedom, the finances, the life I want? Then they can be a mentor of mine as a buddy. Hanging out with uber-successful people is a driving force for me. It’s iron sharpening iron. Do they help people? I love hanging out with people who have a servant’s heart who genuinely want to help people.
That’s it. Those are the five big things. These five tactics will help you change your business in 2022. Change one of those five, and it will be epic. Change all five, and you’ll have success beyond your wildest dreams.
If you need some help changing one or more of these things, we’d love to help you. We are THE place for loan officer tips, scripts, and strategies. If you’ve ever wondered what a 45-minute coaching call sounds like, we’d love to give you a demo of one of these high-end calls for FREE. At the end of the call, you’ll have a clear vision of what this call is like. You can take the ideas and run, or you can sign up for our coaching program. Either way is cool with us!