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How to Get Back to Your 2021 Production

Just because the mortgage market isn’t what it used to be doesn’t mean you can’t have great success as a loan officer right now.

I sat down with my dear friend, Kristin Simpson, recently to talk about just that. If anyone knows loan officers, it’s Kristin. She talks to an average of 15 loan officers a day and has a perspective very few others have. Between the strategy calls and following up with people and checking in, she gets to see what’s working and what’s not working for loan officers all across the country on a daily basis.

Kristin is a main player in our Loan Officer Breakfast Club that we hold every Monday through Thursday for the mortgage world. It’s open to any loan officers—but only loan officers. Hundreds of us gather to start our day together for 30 minutes, and Kristin has a segment called Kristin’s Corner where she shares all kinds of wonderful advice.

There are three groups of loan officers we’re seeing right now. About half are going to get out of the industry, and it’s a shame to see them leaving. It’s such a great business if they’d just do the activity. The other group is just suffering until the market improves, but we don’t know when the market will improve. And the third group is committed to learning new skills and innovating, and they’re finding success.

How Do I Succeed In This Season?

Kristin talks to a wide range of loan officers. Some just got in the business yesterday and some are closing 50 loans a month. But all of them are looking for ways to get back to those 2021 levels.

We can’t compare today to 2021 though. When rates were at record lows, it was super easy to be reactive in our businesses because our phones were ringing off the hook. It was the season of mortgage, all about capacity. How many loans can I do?

We’re in a different season now, and it’s all about the phone calls. We can’t just sit and wait for the phone to ring. We have to go out there and start prospecting. We have to be proactive and have a plan of action.

Kristin says, if you want to originate alone, you need to be having one of two conversations. Either 1.) you’re talking to a client who’s looking to buy, sell, or refinance. And that can be somebody in your current pipeline. Maybe they’re pre-approved. Maybe it’s somebody from your database that you’ve helped before. Or 2.) you can be talking to a referral partner like a realtor who can refer you to a client who’s looking to buy or refinance.

The question becomes, if that’s how you originate loans—by having these conversations—how can you make sure you’re spending time in that zone consistently?

Mining Your Database and Meeting With Realtors

I heard a statistic recently that 67% of all mortgages are done by the loan officer that the real estate agent referred to. Let’s round that up to 70%. So 7 out of 10 mortgages were done by the loan officer about whom the realtor said, “That’s my lady” or “That’s my guy. I trust this person.” They might not have had the lowest rate. It’s based solely on who the realtor recommends. To not work into that conversation and leverage that on our own behalf is just nuts.

So how can I be proactive? With the Daily Success Plan. Monday through Thursday, we’re working on phone calls that tee up those conversations so we can have an opportunity to ask either for a referral or more business.

Even if you’re a brand new loan officer without a database, without a pipeline, there are things you can do to form relationships with realtors and get referrals. Call a realtor and say, “I’ve been hearing great things about you, man. You’re killing it in the industry. And I know that I’m better when I surround myself with people like that. I know I have a lot to learn from you. I’d love to buy you a cup of coffee, hear what you’re doing in your business, and pick your brain a little bit.”

It’s amazing how simple things like that work. If you’re new to the business, you don’t have to hide it. Just be honest. Honesty sets a good precedent, and who knows? They might put their arms around you figuratively speaking, take you under their wing, and send business your way.

I think we all remember that feeling of being new. And one thing I’ve found about top producers is that, for the most part, they are really nice people. Somehow I had painted successful people to be big ogres, and they absolutely were not. And I guess it makes sense because you attract people by being nice.

If you don’t have the number of realtor partners that you need to get the production that you want, get a qualified list.

What Is Holding People Back From Making These Calls?

I asked Kristin what she thinks is holding people back from just sitting down and making these phone calls.

She said, for some people, it’s that feeling that we need to have a value add, and we don’t think we have anything to offer. For others, it’s not knowing what to say when we pick up the phone. Maybe we’re not sure who to call. All of these things create scenarios in our head of why we shouldn’t call. Maybe they’ll think some kind of way about me or maybe they’ll be mean.

All these awful possibilities rarely happen though. And so what if they do? Make the calls, write down the objections people give, then we’ll work on overcoming those objections.

Another thing that can happen is that you’re working on 50,000 different things just to avoid the one thing that actually makes the money. It’s really easy to come into work and open your emails, listen to voicemails, share some stuff on social media, and watch some YouTube videos. Before you know it, it’s lunchtime. These aren’t necessarily bad activities, but the first thing to go on the back burner is picking up the phone.

And we’ve got to be having these conversations if we want to originate loans. We’ve got to have a plan of action that puts us in a position to have proactive conversations. And realtors are my favorite because they’re just the easiest thing to do. It’s like swimming downstream. I’m not a swim upstream kind of guy. If there’s an easy way, that’s the way I want to do it.

If you have a substantial database, you need to stay in front of them. I think a lot of people have the misconception of that as well. “I refinanced my whole past database last year,” they say. It’s not about the refi. When you call somebody after a transaction and you ask how they’re doing, it sets the tone that it’s not about that life event. It’s about a lifetime of events. Are you building a database of people who can help you get referrals? They all know people you don’t know. Asking if friends, family, and coworkers are getting ready to buy, sell, or refinance is the key.

It’s truly a numbers game. If we don’t have the production we need, well then, we pick up the phone and start growing more relationships, reaching out to more referral partners.

Picking up the phone and building more relationships is the difference between being interested in our business or committed to our business. Because when we’re committed to our business, we’re gonna do the activities that allow us to originate no matter what.

Having those conversations is so important to the success of my business that I’m going to do that before I get involved in anything else. And you don’t have to be perfect, just be consistent. You’ll build momentum and it will pay off over time.

What Happens When We’re In It Together

Kristin says it’s so important to align yourself with people who are pulling in the same positive direction. She sees a substantial difference with people who align themselves with like-minded people.

That’s what our MMA Call Stars are all about. Like a flock of geese in a V formation, drafting off of each other, we do a big Zoom call (one on the east coast and one on the west) every Monday through Thursday mornings. We talk scripting a bit to get started, then everyone turns their mics off, their cameras on, and we make our calls. You see all these people doing the right activities, picking up the phone, and having these conversations.

In the chat, people start sharing their wins. People are booking meetings, getting referrals, and having conversations. The camaraderie is really encouraging. One of our coaches is checking out the chat and, at the end of the call, we unmute and the coach shares some of the wins.

The other morning, at the end of the two hour call, there were 77 referred leads that people had gotten. As a general rule, referred leads close at 25%. That’s huge.

Don’t Worry About Rates

Yes, rates are high right now. But they’re high for everybody. Gas prices are high too, but I’m not sitting here, waiting until gas goes down before I put gas in my car. People have to get places. People also have to live in a house.

When my wife and I got our first mortgage, the interest rate was 16%. When it went down to 10%, I told her we’d better hurry up and buy our dream home because rates would never be that low again. Ha! It’s all relative.

Sell what’s on the shelf. Stop worrying about what the market is going to do. I don’t care. The market doesn’t affect my business. If less people per hundred are buying houses right now, then you just need to talk to more people. I can do that by tapping into realtors, because each realtor has an average of 300 people in their past database of prospects. If I want to market to a thousand people, I just have to market to three of the right real estate agents.

It’s really not that hard. We just have to do the activity and understand that the fish aren’t jumping in the boat this year like they did the last year. We have to go get them.

Don’t try to wait it out. Don’t blame the market. Just get out there and do it. It’s 100% up to you.

If you could use some help mapping out a very clear plan for success, we’d love to walk you through it. I’m not a genius for coming up with this stuff. I simply looked at what the top producers were doing over and over and over again, and copied it. You can do it too. And we can help. Click HERE to schedule your FREE call TODAY.