Let’s say you’re a branch manager with a great system. You’ve got the bandwidth to hire help, and you want to bring on another loan officer to increase business. How do you do this? How do you find the talent? How do you attract high-producing loan officers to come work with you?
There’s More Than One Way to Skin a Cat
Every branch manager is different. Some people have the time, patience, and skills to teach newbies right from wrong in the industry and how to do everything, but other branch managers don’t have that kind of time/patience/skills. They want to go out and find a good producer who’s already doing 5-15 units a month.
My friend, Travis Newton, is a branch manager in Oregon. He has three people on his team, and he’s also the VP of the company and regional manager for several regions in the country. He recently took someone from zero production and no experience in the industry to being a rockstar in just a few years. This guy did $115 million last year, his fifth year in the business.
I’m an active branch manager with one of the largest branches in the nation. And I’m not against new people. I was a new person once upon a time, and I’m grateful someone took a chance on me. But I’m not the best at taking someone from zero. That’s just not my strong suit. I’m a multiplier. If you’re doing zero and multiply it by 10, you’re still doing zero.
But give me someone who’s doing 4 loans a month and wants to get to 12, or someone who’s doing 12 and wants to get to 40, I’m really good at that. I’m just not the best match for the new people.
Even though Travis has helped turn a newbie into a rockstar, for the most part he goes after whales. In the last 9 months, he’s hired three $100 million producers. He sets a minimum of 3 loans a month for his new hires. If you’re closing 3 loans a month, you know how to sell, and Travis knows he can take that and multiply it to 6 and then 12 pretty quickly.
So, how do we attract this high talent? What are these people looking for? How do we attract them, get a conversation with them, and get them to consider making a move to our branch?
Six Things to Do to Attract the Best Talent
Travis has made a checklist of things you can do as a branch manager to attract the best talent.
#1: Position yourself as an opportunity, not an option. If you’re a branch manager trying to get people to come to you, set yourself up as an opportunity they can’t pass up. Can they grow at their current position? Can they build a team? Can they be challenged? What’s their opportunity for growth? Are they the big fish at that company? Is that company bringing on other talent to push them? Show them what an incredible opportunity it would be for them to come work at your branch.
#2: Don’t have a “limiting” business model. Some companies believe it’s better to have four loan officers closing five deals a month than one loan officer closing 20 deals a month. They don’t want the company to become bait for recruiters. Those companies actively suppress growth of their loan officers to retain their corporate comfort zone. Travis wants to surround himself with other high-producing people, because it pushes him to get to the next level.
Have good management. Don’t have too much bureaucracy or middle management in the decision making. You don’t want too many forks in the pie.
#3: Have a great company culture. At Travis’s company, they have five pillars that are really important to them: empowerment, transparency, excellence, innovation, and honesty. When he’s having discussions with people who are looking to leave another company to join his, the two they hit on the most are empowerment and transparency.
They want to know that they’re empowered to make decisions on their own team and to grow. And they want to feel valued. Value comes with empowerment. And they want to know that you’re being completely transparent with them. They want to see your true PnL, not a mockup PnL. They want to know they’re getting a fair market value salary.
A long time ago, my employer told me, “Carl, your job is to make me break out with a cold bead of sweat at the thought of you leaving.” He said, “Carl, I don’t dictate your pay. You do. Make it so, when you ask for a raise, I can’t say no.”
#4: Provide career advancement and promotions. Some people love what they’re doing and don’t want to be leaders or managers, but others do. When I’m looking to bring someone on, I want to know their 3-year, 5-year, and 7-year plan. Do they want to run their own branch? Be a district manager? Do you have a way to help make that happen for them?
#5: Give them the tools they need. We have two big tools we use at our mortgage company. The first one is Boomerang. One of the many things Boomerang does is, every time somebody in your past database does a credit pull for a mortgage, you get notified. That’s been really helpful for us. We’ve found those leads to be pretty easy to convert.
The other thing we do is that, every time a loan officer closes a loan, they get a survey sent to them by Michelle, our Director of Operations. The survey has questions like:
- On a scale of 1 to 5, how did your loan partner do?
- One a scale of 1 to 5, how did your processor do?
- How did your underwriter do?
Each one of these people know the loan officer is going to grade them, so they’ve got to be respectful. We certainly appreciate our underwriters, but they’re not queen or king of the castle; the loan officer is.
#6: Pay them well. Money used to be the number one reason everybody left a job. It’s not anymore. Some people would rather take less money and have more support from their team. What ratio of pay and support does this potential employee want, and will they find it at your company?
To Sum It All Up:
And there you have it. If I’m a branch manager looking to bring in talent, I want to focus on being an opportunity for that loan officer to come join me. I want to have as few levels of management as reasonably possible, so that we don’t have too as many forks in the pie. I want to make sure I have a company culture that’s congruent with who I am so I attract the people who want to be in this kind of culture.
I want to make room for career advancement, a program or technique to take them from loan officer to branch manager in due time, if that’s something they’re interested in. I want to provide tools that will help them close more loans and have less stress. And I want to have a good ratio of pay and support that works for my model.
Recruiting is the dirty R word in the mortgage business, but it’s really cool to see the difference you can make in people’s lives when you’re the right fit. We’re not advocating that everyone should go out and change companies. Make sure you’re doing your best at the place you’re at first. This is more about branch managers and what they need to do to attract top talent.
If you’re a branch manager who would like some help recruiting top producers or just with growing your mortgage company or mapping out next steps, we’d love to help. And if you’re a loan officer who needs some help with tips, strategies, scripts, or anything else, we’re absolutely here for you too. Schedule your FREE call with us TODAY.