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Your Frequently-Asked Questions Answered (Part 4)

Recently I asked the members of our Loan Officer Breakfast Club this question: what’s your biggest concern? They had so many amazing questions that I’ve turned them into several posts (here, here, and here), and they just keep coming.

Before I dive into the questions, I want to take a minute to stress that this is a really good time to be focusing on building up your business. Those people that take action right now are doing really, really well. We’re finding they’re gaining even more market share than the loan officers that are just kind of waiting to see what happens or hoping the market goes back the way it was. Frankly, they’re getting out of the business and leaving market share for the rest of us. 

So congratulations on being in that 5% of people who are actually doing great stuff to become even better than what they were.

Now let’s answer some questions.

How Do I Find Quality People to Hire?

“Finding regular people is easy,” one loan officer wrote. “Finding the cream of the crop has been a challenge, and I’ve noticed there’s a big difference between unicorns and regular folks.”

So, let’s talk about hiring. When you take action and start spending more of your time prospecting, you’re going to need to hire more help. Those are just the facts. Once you have more leads coming in, you’ll need more quality people.

And let me tell you, getting great people is the secret sauce.

Fifteen years ago, somebody taught me something that has stuck with me all this time. Of all the people—we’re talking helpers, employees, coworkers—that exist in the world:

  • 1% are superior
  • 4% are excellent
  • 15% are good
  • 60% are fair
  • 20% are bad

And guess who will cause your business the most damage? The good ones. And you might be saying, wait, that doesn’t sound right. What about the fair and bad ones?

Well, with the bad ones, you get rid of them immediately. Easy as pie. And the fair ones might not go as quickly, but it doesn’t take long to realize that they need to go too. I’d literally rather someone be bad than fair, because you don’t waste as much of your time on them.

But the good ones? You’re thinking to yourself, “well, they’re good enough.” But I’m going to tell you that “good enough” is not good enough. It’s never good enough. Good enough will cost you an absolute fortune.

In this business we’re looking for the 1% superior or the 4% excellent. And obviously, the reason they’re so hard to find is that they’re literally like 5 out of 100 people. Not great odds. But it’s worth every effort it takes to find these superior and excellent people. And honestly, this is great advice for anything in life. The friends you have, the experiences you have—make sure they’re excellent or superior.

So, when we interview people, 1 in 20 will be a great match. As we’ve gotten better at this, we don’t have to go through 20 people to get 1 excellent/superior one. It’s probably 1 out of 3 for us these days. And I just want to be clear—when we judge these people, we’re not judging them as human beings. I’ve had amazing human beings that just weren’t a good match for our mortgage branch. Those amazing humans can go on to do something else somewhere else and hopefully be excellent at it.

I don’t think there’s such a thing as having a true knack for finding the right people. I think what comes with experience is letting go of the not superior/excellent people faster. Identify them quickly (and again, we’re talking about their job performance, not their worth as a person), and let them go. Replace them with someone who is excellent/superior at the job.

I’m a non-producing branch manager, not an HR person. But I think I’m superior at what I do—the top 1%—and I’ve got one of the top 1% branches in the nation. But being superior at what I do doesn’t mean I’d even be good enough in the HR department. Just because you’re a great loan officer doesn’t make you a great manager or HR person or whatever.

So you want to partner with people who are good at the things you aren’t. No, let me restate that. You want to partner with people who are excellent or superior at the things you aren’t.

I don’t own my mortgage company, even though I have the assets to start my own business, because I’m not a great manager. I’m a great branch manager. I’m a superior branch manager in fact. So I leave the other stuff up to the production team, because they’re superior at what they do as well. I hire help so I can spend time prospecting and close a lot more loans. 

I Don’t Have Time to Implement Everything I Want to Do. Help!

To this person who doesn’t have the time to do it all, I’d like to say, welcome to the world. That’s just life. I don’t have time to implement everything I want to do either. Not even close. So what I do is I pick out what’s important, exactly what moves the needle the most. And the easiest way to figure that out is to do what has moved the needle most in the past for me.

A lot of people get super busy trying to do a bunch of different things. You have to let go of that. It’s not about doing a hundred different things. It’s about doing like one or two, maybe three things consistently and often. 

So what are those things that actually bring in loans? I won’t sit here and give examples of all the things that don’t bring loans, but ask yourself: what activities am I currently doing that are not actually bringing in any loans?

I have people push back on this and say, “But, Carl, I’ve got to get my name out there.” I used to say the same thing. But guess what. Getting your name out there doesn’t bring in loans.

I’ve got a dear friend who is fantastic. He’s amazing. But he’s starving. He’s not closing any loans, because he’s not asking for the business. He’s so busy doing so many cool things that aren’t moving the needle, that aren’t bringing in loans. He doesn’t want to ask for referrals. “Carl, that seems weird to me,” he told me. I’ll tell you what seems weird to me—being poor. I’ve been there, and I never want to go back.

I’ve learned the hard way that, if you want something, you simply ask for it. Spend more of your time figuring out which activity helps you close more business, and do more of that and less of everything else. Know what’s important and what isn’t. Getting your name out there? Not important. Having a call to action and asking for more loans? Very important.

It all comes down to prospecting for loans. And if you need help so that you have time to do that, find someone excellent or superior and hire them.

How Do I Get New Team Members Up to Speed?

I’m going to say to this person that you’re asking the wrong question. If you need to get new people up to speed, this means you’re hiring inexperienced people. I don’t do this.

Now, there are exceptions. Back in 2021, we had to do that. There were so many loans coming in that we were literally hiring brand new people left and right and teaching them how to be processors and loan partners. It was necessary at the time, but it sure caused a lot of problems.

We don’t need to do that in 2023. There are some amazing loan partners and processors that are being laid off because loan officers are not prospecting. Some of them are really world class, excellent, superior people. So instead of trying to bring people up to speed, I’d find somebody that’s already at speed, somebody that’s already got experience. I’m not real big on bringing somebody up to speed. I want to hire people that will bring me up to speed.

It’s tough though, you know? As salespeople, we tend to be nice people. That’s one of the things that makes us great salespeople. But we have to understand that, when it comes time to build a team and employ people, we can’t be “nice” all the time.

Somebody told me something recently that really spoke to me. He said, “Carl, you always have to do what’s best for business.” That doesn’t mean to screw people or to be disrespectful. But you’ve got to do what’s in the best interest of your mortgage business. I owe everyone on my team a first class team all-around. If someone is doing their part, and they’re doing a superior job, it’s not fair to them to keep somebody on the team that’s holding our efforts back.

Running a successful mortgage business is all about surrounding yourself with amazing people and having a call to action to the right people. Do those things really well, and everything will work out for you.

If you’d like some help generating more leads and closing more loans—or you have some burning questions you’d like answered—we’d love to chat with you. We can show you how to have the right conversations with the right people and how to get real estate agents referring to you on a regular basis. Click HERE to set up a FREE call with us TODAY.