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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   January 2016

Help Your Team Bloom

Building a mortgage company in a new market requires dedication, passion and a good plan

Help Your Team Bloom

Growing a mortgage team from scratch is undeniably difficult work. If you find yourself in the position of being an ambassador for a mortgage company, charged with the tasks of growing the business and building a team in a new market, it is critical to develop a plan and then execute it on point.

As important, however, is assuring you believe wholeheartedly in the company’s mission and are dedicated to promoting its brand at every turn. Only by combining that strategic planning and dedication will you see your team, and your career, bloom.

To begin your work, you need to be everywhere possible to make the brand known. When you are the prime driver of your brand, it is vital that you develop a strategy for creating as much awareness of your brand as possible.

You are only one person, however, and it takes a team to build a dream. So, as you build that team, ask them to be brand ambassadors as well, to further increase your reach. If there is an event or program that is real estate or loan-related, make sure someone on your team attends it. Make the investment in booths and sponsorships necessary to ensure that you make a big splash. You need to project that you are a committed player. If you are not grabbing people’s attention, then someone else will.

It is also imperative that you understand the loan process with your company from start to finish and that you have experience in closing loans successfully. Your loan originators, current and future, need to be confident in your abilities and your knowledge of the industry. Word of mouth is powerful, but it works both ways. Be honest about what your company can and cannot do. Don’t make promises that you know you cannot keep. Telling the truth about the strengths and weaknesses of the company will build trust.

Recruit for the long term

Make sure you can answer the most important question your current and prospective team members will have for you: “Why?” In addition, have a concise and passionate response prepared when recruiting originators to join your company. Develop a brief script to get their attention and foster curiosity, and then you can schedule a longer meeting to fill in the blanks and provide more in-depth information.

Don’t ignore the “Rocky” factor. There are plenty of salespeople who are talented and driven and just haven’t had their shot yet. You have limited access to the top salespeople until you are a proven commodity, so be willing to take a risk on unproven talent. The reward for developing future superstars is unparalleled. If your new hire turns out to be all rough edges, however, don’t keep wasting time. Go ahead and separate from them — which is the best course for the company and that individual.

Remember, when recruiting new talent, you are playing a long-term game. The different strengths and weaknesses of potential loan originators will manifest over a longer period of time. Good things come to those who wait. Keep in touch with prospects and meet frequently with potential recruits. It can take a year or more to recruit a top loan originator.

Don’t jump to conclusions about people who have changed companies in recent years. Always keep in touch regularly and consistently. You never know when a great prospect who seems content in a current job is itching to move on to another opportunity.

Promote your people and share their success in your marketing and social media.

In the age of the Internet and social media, every business is an open book. While you are observing your new-hire candidates, rest assured they are keeping tabs on you. When you are a new brand, they will be looking at your growth and your rate of attrition. After you’ve hit your milestone of one year in business, the rest of industry will believe that you are in it for the long term.

Broadcast your brand

Social media is a great tool to make friends and influence people. If a loan originator connects with you on LinkedIn, for instance, reply back right away and suggest coffee. Stay in touch.

Promote your people and share their successes in your marketing and on social media. Show future loan originators that you care and are engaged with your team. It’s so important to show that you support, encourage and believe in your people.

Celebrate your success, have parties, lunches and events, be loud and proud — with your team, your business associates and supporters. You have worked hard and have built a great brand that is poised to take off like a rocket. Let everyone know it. Be proud of what you have accomplished and what is yet to come.

In the first year of building a brand in a new market, you probably will wear all sorts of different hats — accounting, logistics, marketing, etc. You will be responsible for many aspects of running the business in addition to writing loans. Once you have your feet on the ground and have a team in place writing loans left and right, you need to get some help spreading the word. A public relations company can grow your brand recognition geometrically, increasing awareness for future loan originators and borrowers alike. Be a shameless self-promoter for your organization and your team.

Play for the right team

This type of recruiting and branding strategy only works, however, if you are confident and passionate about the company you are representing. How you begin is just as important as how you grow. Take time to investigate a new mortgage company before you take a leap of faith and jump onboard to expand its brand. Many people make moves and promote a new operation without much experience with the entity, and their recruiting efforts often fall flat.

If you are not convinced that a company is offering real solutions to the struggles in your marketplace, then maybe it’s best to think twice about promoting its business. If you earn a reputation as someone who will speak passionately about a given brand, until the next company offers you more money to join it, your potential recruiting pool will start to see you as an opportunist whose self-interest trumps their needs.

Do the right research and make sure that you are representing the correct brand with excellence, and recruiting success will follow naturally. Growing your team from zero to 15 is the hardest part. Taking the team from 15 to 30 is far easier. As you grow a successful team, they become your foot soldiers and say more about your brand success than anyone else can. 


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