The highly successful loan officer knows that success depends on partnership, hard work, knowledge and support from others. When we say, “Don’t believe you are the only person who knows,” we mean that you cannot succeed on your own. You need encouragement, teaching, motivation, and someone to brainstorm with. In short, you need mentoring.
“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen and a push in the right direction,” according to John Crosby.
You might expect a sales manager or employer should provide mentoring. But what if you’re your own boss? We assert that every highly successful loan officer functions as his or her own boss, relying on his or her own efforts to bring in and create sustainable business.
Most sales managers got their jobs by being excellent loan officers. But their responsibilities include much more than mentoring their staff; they have to run an office, communicate with upper management, fight fires, handle issues (hiring, firing, and conflict resolution) and, in many cases, manage their own loan pipeline. There’s not much time left for mentoring which requires a level of engagement that takes time and dedication.
Our fourth habit encourages you to learn everything about your business. Many times, your best learning opportunities will come from more experienced colleagues and coaches.
Most successful professional athletes rely on coaches. Name any star player, and behind them stands a coach to refine technique and increase the chances of winning. Why wouldn’t you want the same for your mortgage business?
When Aaron Rodgers gets to the line of scrimmage and reads the defensive formation, he often changes the play to take best advantage of the situation.
But how does he know what to do? It is because he and his coach have spent many hours in preparation for each potential situation, and have strategies to maximize success for each.
Did Rodgers learn all this by himself? Of course not! Some things he learned from watching and talking with other quarterbacks, some from his coaches and some through his own efforts.
Rodgers executes his plays based on knowledge and experience, but would not be a superstar without the innate skills to apply his knowledge at the right place and time.
He constantly practices his techniques to make them into habits so when under pressure he doesn’t have to think. He can focus on taking action, knowing that his preparation was thorough.
Rodgers also knows the value of mentoring by being a mentor himself. During his long time on the sidelines this season due to an injury, he spends his time mentoring his backup quarterback.
A highly successful loan officer’s job shares some similarity with the quarterback’s job. You have to read the formation (borrower’s situation), choose a play (loan program), and then execute the game plan (gather and submit proper documentation).
Most files have major obstacles (defensive line) and the loan officer should not wait for the underwriter to find them (get sacked or penalized). By anticipating and solving the problem before the underwriter gets the file, you increase the likelihood of loan approval (touchdown).
Kabir never hesitated to share information with colleagues. In many cases, they had solved the same problem multiple times, and knew exactly what to do. Kabir also had a colleague, Marc, who has a talent of systematizing and standardizing repetitive tasks and processes.
Kabir and Marc had a weekly scheduled phone call just to exchange ideas and share techniques.
As a result, they both developed strategies for marketing, sharing information, and tracking their loan process more effectively. Clients and referral partners loved working with Kabir and Marc because they always had everything under control.
Kabir also spent time going over stips with underwriting, especially when problems arose. Kabir asked the underwriters to explain the principles behind the requirements, allowing him to anticipate the issues then proactively resolve them.
By making underwriters into coaches, Kabir got loan approvals faster and with fewer post-underwriting conditions. Underwriters appreciated the opportunity to teach rather than to scold.
When does a highly successful loan officer realize that he needs help? Usually when business hits some kind of plateau. At that point, bringing in a coach can help take business higher.
Coaching creates breakthroughs, but only if the loan officer truly listens to the coach’s directions, and then implements them. Most coaches won’t work for free. However, hiring the right coach could yield a huge return on investment, a substantial income increase that could easily pay for the cost.
Coaching will normally have multiple phases. First, the coach must assess the current situation.
Second, the coach works with you to establish goals.
Third, the coach sets out a series of strategies for the loan officer to execute to build on techniques and habits.
Fourth, by meeting or speaking regularly, the coach tracks progress and holds the loan officer accountable for actually carrying out the work.
Fifth, along the way, the coach helps the loan officer overcome obstacles. Finally, the coach will help the loan officer celebrate success.
You pay the coach to ask the right questions, listen to you and take notes, critique your efforts, teach techniques, track your progress and gently push you forward. In return, you are expected to make a serious effort to implement the coach’s suggestions. If you don’t, you’re wasting your time and money.
Some loan officers never realize that the only thing holding them back from the next level of success is their own lack of technique and knowledge. A highly successful loan officer, however, knows that success requires collaboration and mentoring.
We hope you have enjoyed and benefited from this series. We would appreciate your feedback and suggestions for future articles. Best wishes for your continued success! ?
Ralph LoVuolo has been coaching mortgage originators for almost 25 years. Kabir Mahadeva conducts sales training seminars and coaches financial professionals in marketing and client management. Ralph’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org while Kabir can be reached at email@example.com.