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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Commercial Edition   |   August 2016

Become a Product Champion

A specialty helps originators stand out among clients and colleagues

Regardless of whether loan originators work at large or small mortgage brokerage companies, they are taught about all the company products. Everyone gets the quintessential “liberal arts degree” in that way. Knowing a little bit about a lot of things, however, is not always the best way to succeed in business.

That is why many companies encourage their brokers to invest the time needed to become experts in a specific product. By learning a lot about one of the programs your company offers, you become the company’s go-to broker for that program.

What better way is there to get ahead in your company — and in your pocketbook — than to become an expert? You will garner more customer loyalty, more co-worker admiration and more attention from your company’s leadership if you become an authority in one facet of the business.

Find an opening

The first step in the process of becoming an expert is to decide where you can make a difference. Like any steps you take toward improving your career, you need to balance your strengths with an opportunity that exists. If your company specializes in U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) financing, the chances are that all your co-workers are good at selling and underwriting this product. If you try to make your mark in SBA-backed loans, you will most likely get lost in the crowd. 

The secret is to find an opportunity and blend that with your strengths in sales and product knowledge. What does your company do with the deals that do not fit with the SBA program or a conventional program? Do they walk away from them? Is there an opportunity for you to become the champion of this niche?

Remember, just because a borrower was declined doesn’t mean they are not worthy or capable of getting a loan from the right lender. This concept of turning deals that don’t fit one program into loans in another program is where mortgage brokers can make a name for themselves.

Turning problem situations to your advantage is what makes you successful. If your company doesn’t offer SBA products, then learn about them. If you only have conventional lenders in your program’s repertoire, find some nontraditional lenders and add their mortgage products to your offerings. If you can turn one deal that was rejected into a closed transaction, you will not only earn a commission, but the attention of everyone you work with. The way to stand out and have the opportunity to grow within the mortgage profession is to become adept at handling several mortgage products, but strive to become a champion of one of them.

Make the right choice

As in many fields, there is no easy way to get ahead in the mortgage industry. It’s all about hard work and smart decisions. This is why becoming a champion of a given mortgage product makes so much sense for brokers in the industry. It’s never easy to be a cog in a wheel. If you want to get ahead you have to distinguish yourself from everyone else.

Once you have chosen to specialize, there are some important guidelines to keep in mind. Following are some tips to consider when choosing your niche:

  • Select a product that fits in some way with the culture of your company. That means if you have turndowns in one area, you have a way to recycle them into deals. If your company does hard money loans, maybe you can find a program that allows clients to move to a long-term lender with lower rates. Once they are ready to “graduate” to permanent financing. It’s all about fit. You want to make the most of every deal in your shop. Finding a way to assist more customers will lead to more referrals. Only work with direct lenders, however. Brokers do not need other brokers, so don’t be fooled. You want to learn from an expert in the commercial mortgage industry. A direct lender with a long track record will make the best teacher. Find one you trust and learn all you can about its products.
  • Make sure you can close deals and make money. It’s nice to help your clients and your co-workers, but if you don’t make money or advance in your career, it’s wasted effort. This is why lender selection is important. Make the right decision about where you want to make your mark, and you will move ahead in your company and the industry.
  • If you’re going to do it, do it really well. Make sure you truly become a champion of your selected niche product. There is no way to do this other than hard work and perseverance. Remember, champions are the best at what they do, and you can become an expert if you select the right lender, choose the right product to sell and learn everything you can about the product.

When you are offering the same product as your co-workers and your competition, you must find a way to stand out. To do that, you need to bring value to the customer that no one else can offer. What better way is there to show the market, your team and your customers how good you are than to become an expert in one or even several products?

• • •

In the mortgage industry, it is much more about what you know than who you know, so learn about a range of programs from as many direct lenders as you can. Once you learn the requirements, you can guide customers in the proper direction when they don’t fit in the standard lending box. It’s not easy, but if you want to get ahead, becoming a champion of a product outside your company’s norm is a great way to succeed.


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