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Your Frequently-Asked Questions Answered (Part 1)

Recently I asked the members of our Loan Officer Breakfast Club: what’s your biggest concern? I got over 100 responses and want to address some of them here. 

But before I jump in, let me invite you to join us. The Loan Officer Breakfast Club meets from 8:30am to 9:00am ET every Monday through Thursday. There are literally hundreds of loan officers on a Zoom call, and we all ask questions and share what’s working for us. It’s really a phenomenal space, it’s absolutely free, and joining it is the biggest no-brainer ever.

Now let’s answer some questions!

“What If I Call a Big Whale Agent and Get Their Assistant?”

First of all, what is a “big whale agent?” A big whale agent is what we call a realtor who has closed 25 or more buyer sides in the last 12 months. A lot of these high-producing realtors have an assistant answering the phone. How can you talk to one of these whales personally so you can set up an appointment? 

One thing you can try is sending them a message on Facebook. A lot of big whale agents are still doing their own Facebook messaging. If that doesn’t work, you can try to get their cell phone number. A lot of agents, on their website, will have two numbers: their office number where they have their assistant doing the screening and then their personal cell phone number. 

Our friend, Richard Smith, puts together a list of large-producing agents in your area that you can purchase. And more often than not, it’s got the agent’s name, their company’s address, and their cell phone number. 

If you can’t get in touch with a particular agent, then you just try the next one on the list, right? It’s a numbers game. As a general rule, for every 1 million people in your area, you’ll have a thousand qualified agents. We have about four million people in the Tampa Bay area, so that’s four thousand qualified agents. If I can’t get through to someone, I try the next person on the list. 

Unless I have a really good reason, I’m not going to spend a ton of time targeting one agent when there are so many good ones to choose from. Just call another one. There are a thousand of them and one of you. You’re the prize here.  

“Where Do I Direct Advertising Dollars?” 

Let me answer this question first by telling you how NOT to spend your advertising dollars. This involves sharing a rather embarrassing story. One of my more famous debacles back in the day was putting my face and contact info on bus stop benches. I can’t remember the exact number, but I probably had 50-75 benches in the Tampa Bay area. And I put a unique phone number on the bench so we could keep track of how many leads came from the benches. And it was very easy to keep track, because we got nothing. Literally zero calls. 

The only calls I got were from my friends who would call to say, “Hey, I sat on your face today at the bus stop!” and then bust up laughing. 

So, yeah, it was kind of cool to ride around the city and see myself on the bus stop benches, but it didn’t move the needle in any way. Same as if I’d put my name on the shopping carts at the local Winn Dixie like I saw a loan officer do not too long ago. It probably makes very little difference.

Honestly, my number one place to spend advertising dollars would be on something I’ve already mentioned—the list of qualified agents. Get that list and start calling qualified agents today.

Once you’re closing eight buyer sides a month, I would consider some Facebook ads—but not to the consumer. I would run Facebook ads to both real estate agents and to my past database. Tell Facebook: here are my 1000 agents and 500 people in my database. Send the ads to them. 

But what you need to understand is that people don’t see your ad on Facebook and give you a call. What happens more often is that you call them, and they say, “Hey, I saw your ad on Facebook.” It builds familiarity and trust.

If you’re at less than eight loans a month, you need to be following what we call the Daily Success Plan, a set of scheduled phone calls we do Monday through Thursday. We teach this in the Freedom Club, and it ups your business faster than anything else I’ve ever done. 

If you’ve got advertising dollars, I’d buy that list, make those calls, and maybe hire some help. Get someone who can take some things off your plate so you can do more of what brought in your last five loans. What are those money-making activities? Do more of that and you’ll close more loans.

We tend to overcomplicate it and try a thousand different things. Just pick one or two things that really work and focus on those.

What If I Can’t Deliver What I Promised?

This answer might be a little controversial, but I know you come to me for help, and I want to be honest with you. If you can’t deliver on something you promise, it’s likely one of two things:

  1. You’re promising something your company can’t provide.
  2. You don’t have help.

If it’s the first scenario, then you need to have an honest conversation with your branch manager. If they won’t listen to you or give you what you need, you need to find a different place to work. 

But the second scenario is probably the most likely. You promise something, but then you’re chasing conditions and trying to be a one-person band and you can’t keep all those balls in the air. Once you’re closing north of 4-5 loans a month, you need help.

Sometimes you might run into a situation where your branch manager won’t give you an assistant until you get to a certain number of loans (say, 8-10 a month), but maybe you can’t get to that number without help. It’s like saying that, as soon as you win the Super Bowl, you’ll invest in that great quarterback. Well, you’re not going to win the Super Bowl without that great quarterback, right? And you won’t get 8-10 loans a month without help.

“How Do I Find Qualified Buyers?”

The person who asked this question told us they receive a bunch of referrals from multiple sources, but most of them are nowhere near qualified. 

I’m going to repeat a story I’ve told before. Another famous debacle of mine was opening up a booth at a flea market in hopes of getting mortgage leads. There was a lot of foot traffic there, and I thought it was going to turn out really well. Turns out that wasn’t the greatest plan after all. Come to find out there are a lot of people that go to the flea market that aren’t qualified to buy a house.

Another time, I had an agent, a super nice lady, giving me a ton of leads. I was going around thinking she was my best agent, until Diane told me, “Carl, have you ever noticed that we get a lot of leads from her, but none of them are ever qualified?” I didn’t believe it, but it was true. We were getting leads, taking applications, doing credit pulls, but almost none of them were qualified. We had to drop this agent as a referral source because apparently she was going to the flea market (figuratively speaking) for her leads.

If you find yourself fishing in a muddy pond, you need to go fish in a different pond. You need to align with realtors who are actually closing deals. If someone is one of my great agents, as a general rule, 50% of their referrals should be qualified. Five out of ten. If they’re sending over ten referrals and only one is qualified, then they’re fishing in a muddy pond.

I’m really big on helping people who are underserved, but I’ve found that I can actually help them best by closing more loans. The more money I make, the more money I’m able to pour into people by helping them buy houses and frankly just in their general lives. I can help more people if I’m making money than if I’m not. I work with qualified agents, close more loans, then I have money to fund my pro bono work we do for the underserved. 

We got a whole lot of questions from our Breakfast Clubbers, so I’m going to do Part Two. These are real-time concerns from real loan officers, so I know it’s going to be helpful to a lot of people. Stay tuned! You can also check out our Mortgage Marketing Animals and my loan officer podcast, Loan Officer Freedom
If you’d like some one-on-one help with anything I’ve written about here (the Daily Success Plan, finding qualified agents, getting help, etc.), we’d love to chat with you. Click HERE to schedule your FREE strategy session today.