Someone asked me recently: What’s the one decision that pushed you over the ledge from being an average producer to becoming a top producer? I thought that was a great question, so I sat down recently with my good friend, Steve Kyles, to talk more about it.
Steve is a producing branch manager, and I’m a non-producing branch manager, so we have some great conversations coming from different perspectives.
Learn From Others Who Are Already There
I started at zero, like everybody else. When I was a producing branch manager, my best month ever was 72 loans in personal production. What pushed me over the ledge? When I made the decision to learn from others, not just my own experience. I made a conscious effort to find the top producers, copy what they were doing (as long as it was legal, ethical, and moral), and figure out why later.
For me, it was all about seeing loan officers with higher numbers than me and being humble enough to ask what they’re doing and how and why. Even if I think I have a better way, I’ll do it exactly like they’re doing it first. Then I might tweak it and refine it, but I start by purely copying.
Let me give a caveat to that. I want someone who has higher numbers than me but is working equal or less hours. I’m not trying to figure out how to work more. I’m trying to close more loans in less time. And what’s the number one thing I learned from these people who were closing more loans than me yet working less than I was? Get help.
How about another caveat? Make sure you’re taking advice from people who are actually producing the results you want. I kid you not, I know a handful of loan officers who are closing just 1-2 loans a month but offering advice like it’s going out of style. That’s not who I’m taking advice from, and you shouldn’t be either. I recommend finding a group of people in high production, working less hours and getting better results, who are also nice, pleasant, fun to work with and be around.
Vision Attracts Resources
I recently challenged Steve to think of what he wanted to accomplish in his mortgage business in the next year. Then I asked him, “What if you only had 30 days to make it happen? What would you do differently?”
Steve’s immediate response was, “How?” And I said, “Wrong question. You need to be asking who?”
Steve says that resources follow vision. He has a vision to grow his business, to close more loans in less time. As you begin to have a vision, you’ll begin to attract resources. You have to recognize that the way to grow your business is through other people. You can either have control or growth, but you can’t have both. You have to learn to let go and be okay with it being a little bit messy. It’s the only way to grow and scale.
Find the “whos” to bring along on your journey. Get that help. The single biggest decision that pushed both of us from average producers to top producers is hiring people. When you find top producers to mimic, I guarantee you they’ve already hired people. So mimic them by getting help. That’s my all-time number one loan officer tip: get help. I’ll say it until the cows come home.
Your Focus Should Be on Loan-Getting Activities
This help allows you to focus solely on the loan-getting activities. I talked to a really nice guy last week, a loan officer who doesn’t believe in hiring an assistant. He does everything himself. I just don’t get it. “You can hire someone for $15/hour to do some of this,” I told him. “Why on earth would you do those activities yourself?”
He said, “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Yeah, and we always used to ride horses and buggies too. And then Mr. Ford and Ms. Chevrolet came along with something that moves a little faster. “That’s the way we’ve always done it” is one sure way to keep being an average producer for the rest of your loan officer career.
The faster you can offload what you’re not good at and stay in your sweet spot, the more successful everybody is. If you love working on files, cool. Partner with somebody that does the prospecting, the loan-getting. But I’ll tell you what. The money is in the loan-getting activities.
I always think of our friends that work at McDonald’s. The person making the French fries is not the one taking all the money home, right? The filing and conditions-chasing aren’t where the money is. Hire people to do those jobs for you, and you focus on the loan-getting activities.
You’re Not the One Putting Out Fires
Another related question I got recently is: who handles fire alarm situations? My answer: firemen. I’m not a fireman. In my office, I’ll tell you who doesn’t handle fire alarm situations. Carl White. When I’m looking for my whos and making hires, I’m going to find somebody to add to my team that’s amazing at putting out fires. Maybe a client is upset, or a realtor is upset. I love helping people, but I can’t be the one taking care of all these problems.
There are a couple reasons for this. 1.) It’s a distraction from my loan-getting activities. When I’m putting out fires, I’m not getting more loans. And 2.) I don’t need all this negative stuff in my head. If I’m going to go out there and get new business, and do a great job of it, I need to be in a positive frame of mind.
In my branch, I don’t hear about problems happening with the loans. I hire amazing firefighters who are great at handling fire alarm situations. And percentage-wise, it happens very rarely. When I bought an Apple laptop once that didn’t work, the CEO of Apple didn’t help me. A very capable sales assistant helped me and did a great job. That’s what my assistants do for me.
I once had an assistant who was a wonderful person, but she just wasn’t the best fit for our company. She was actually losing us money. I asked her what she really wanted to do in life. She said there was a school she wanted to go to and learn a different trade. The lovely Mrs. White and I wrote her a check for $10,000 and she went on to do great things. Hiring help is what helps me bring in enough money to help people like this when the opportunity arises.
Take Action Today
If you want to be a successful loan officer, if you want to go from being an average producer to being a top producer, you have to start today. That’s how you know you’re serious about this. You don’t put it off another minute. You take action. The cost of inactivity is high.
I want to be able to play at my highest potential, and I need to make sure I have the people around me that can help me do that. You are who you hang out with, so hang out with great people. Find those people achieving the kind of numbers you want to achieve—and in less time—and do what they do to get there.
If you need some help finding top producers to mimic, we’d love to chat with you. We’ve got loan officer tips, scripts, and strategies—and we’ll give them to you for free. We can help you map out your next 90 days and set you on the path to becoming a top producer. It will change your life. I guarantee it. Schedule a FREE CALL with us TODAY.