With a strong first quarter in the books, 2015 looks to be a great year from start to finish. Is your team of loan originators positioned to capitalize on the business that's out there? Are you as their manager, coach and leader ready to help them reach their goals? Here are five ways you can help make that happen:

1.  Get your loan originators on a weekly goal plan. Most loan originators spend very little time planning or thinking about weekly or even daily goals. They just come to work…and work. Setting specific activity-based goals is a way to create momentum during the week and more new business opportunities throughout the year.

Break down big annual production goals into small weekly goals (pre-qualify two borrowers, set up one appointment with a real estate agent, make 10 outbound phone calls, etc.) Get your people paying attention to executing proactive business-building activities through these mini goals each week. Activities drive results.

2.  Push them outside their comfort zones. Sometimes loan originators (especially the experienced veterans) need a little push to try new things. 

There are a number of actions your people could be taking right now to generate more prospects and customers. You know what those things are and (for the most part) they know what those things are. Your job as a manager is to persuade them, even "push" them to do what they need to do. 

If not, they'll just keep doing the same old things they are comfortable doing and continue to get the same old results. Some people need a push, and they are waiting for you to provide it.

3.  Lose the low producers. It's astounding to see how many managers continue to keep originators on their teams who produce little or no business month after month. Even companies with so-called "minimum standards" for production rarely enforce them.

What does that say about you? What does that say about your company? Are you going to reach your 2015 goals with people holding you back and dragging everyone else down?

With interest rates in the 3% to 4% range, home sales up and the market as busy as we've seen it in years, there's just no valid excuse for poor production. Isn't it about time you did something about it?

4.  Encourage them to expand their scope. Most loan originators limit their loan volume and their career growth by limiting their scope of business. Many have a couple of real estate agents, an attorney buddy, and maybe one builder as their only sources of business. 

That's likely not enough to produce the results they want this year. Help your originators see all the great options out there for generating more business and broadening their personal and professional network. Most importantly, don't assume they know how to go after these new sources — show them how it's done!

5. Urge them out of the office. Too many loan originators today spend too much time in the office behind their computer screens, babysitting their files in process, playing on the Internet, or getting caught up in a lot of daily distractions.

Originators should spend 25% of their time (on average, 10 hours a week or two hours a day) out of the office and away from their computers and their loan files. They need to be in front of real estate agents, in group settings, at networking events, and meeting potential prospects. Remember that if you are seeing too much of your loan originators these days, your customers and prospects are NOT!

Interest rates are down, real estate activity is up, and the spring home buying season is upon us. Help put your sales team in a position to excel.