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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   April 2007

Turn Your Job into a Career

Education and referral partnerships are key to your success as a mortgage professional

With the recent swings in the market, it seems that the only thing that we can be certain of is control of our fate as mortgage professionals. That is, we are capable of determining whether we will head for the hills or stay and fight for our success.

To that end, this is a good time to conduct a personal career inventory to determine if you are serious about having a career as a mortgage professional. This is a particularly smart move if you’ve only been in the business a few years and are still trying to determine if mortgage lending is your career.

Start by asking yourself these basic questions:

  • Does this job excite me?
  • Do I enjoy the work involved in closing loans?
  • Do I set goals for myself and strive to achieve them?
  • Am I passionate about bettering my clients’ financial well-being?
  • Am I interested in furthering my education in this field?
  • Do I enjoy going to work in the morning?
  • Am I willing to spend a little money to make a little more money?

There will be some days when none of us wants to go to work. And it would be absurd to say that our jobs are always exciting. But if you answered yes to most of these questions, you’re likely ready to take your job and turn it into a career.

Because nothing good comes easy, turning your job into a satisfying career will require a conscious effort. You’ll find that it will absolutely be worth it, however, because by making this conscious effort, you’ll likely increase your production, improve your networking skills and increase your number of referral partners.

Get smart

Once you’ve decided you’re in this business for the long haul, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about as many aspects of the industry as you can. Whether you’re an industry veteran or a relative newcomer, having a well-rounded understanding of new products, mortgage trends and industry alerts will be vital to your success.

There are countless avenues on which you can capitalize to further your education and complement your industry knowledge. From seeking a mentor in your company to attending mortgage seminars to reading industry publications, there are many easy and inexpensive ways to further your mortgage education.

Even if you have time constraints, many online mortgage tools, newsletters and courses have made it easy to keep abreast of all goings-on in the mortgage industry.

Continuing your education also has several benefits. First, having a thorough understanding of new products lets you increase your pool of potential clients. It will give you the opportunity to reach out to past clients by informing them of new products that may be beneficial. Instead of specializing in just one type of loan, your new knowledge lets you reach out to a broader spectrum of clients.

Second, by learning industry trends, you can speak knowledgeably with your clients about market analyses, forecasts and interest-rate projections. This will reflect favorably upon you, as it will demonstrate to your clients that you are up-to-date and well-informed, thus positioning you as a true authority with thorough industry knowledge.

Finally, by furthering your mortgage education, you will likely get to network with other mortgage professionals who have also made the decision to have a successful mortgage career, as opposed to those just in it because they need a job. By networking with like-minded individuals, you’ll gain insight into the industry and be able to discuss ideas.

Being an information source for your clients can help earn their respect. This will result in clients for life and likely referral sources.

Moreover, through your networking efforts, you may meet some professionals who need a trusted, informed mortgage professional with whom to partner. Forging these partnerships is the second step in building a prosperous and lengthy career.

Build partnerships

The next area that you’ll need to make a conscious effort to enhance is building referral partnerships. Whether they are with financial planners, certified public accountants, attorneys or other professionals, these partnerships will help you maintain a satisfying, successful career.

There are two easy, effective methods for developing referral partnerships with like-minded professionals: the slow-pitch approach and the fastball approach.

The slow-pitch approach is the more traditional way to approach potential partners. You could begin building a partnership by mailing them a handwritten card. In the card, you could mention that you’re aware of their favorable reputation and that you would like to speak with them further.

The following week, mail them information on your company and your successes. Then call them and ask for a meeting.

This is generally a good approach if you aren’t well-acquainted with your potential partners but would like to find out more about their business to see if it is compatible.

Alternately, with the fastball approach, you might skip the handwritten note and opt to deliver a package of information about your company and your skills in person. A quick e-mail follow-up to confirm receipt would be the next logical step, followed by setting an appointment.

The fastball approach is generally best-suited for potential partners with whom you’ve networked at least a few times.

The most crucial aspect in making partnerships is time. After determining that you are committed to remaining a mortgage professional, there is simply no excuse for not seeking to form these relationships right away.

It’s not necessarily going to be easy, but once you’ve committed to creating a successful career, half the work is done. The rest is really just following through on your promise to yourself.

In any career, if you’re not moving forward, you might as well be standing still. Because you’ve already determined that you are ready to turn your job into a career, start your forward movement now, and be prepared for success as a career mortgage professional.


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