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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   June 2017

Star Originators Are Born That Way

Top performers also blossom with excellent management and support

There are more than 400,000 licenses issued for mortgage loan originators nationwide, according to the most recent NMLS Mortgage Industry Report. Only a fraction of those licensed originators, however, could be considered stars in their chosen field.

Are those highly successful originators self-made, or do they work for companies that actively manage them to achieve excellence? That is an age-old question that faces branch managers.

An outgoing personality is a must for an originator hoping to make it in the business. Also necessary is an ab ility to connect with people in any social setting.

Successful originators, however, also benefit from being part of a strong team that has top-notch leadership. And so, the combination of personality traits and excellent management foster an environment for producing great results.

Personal traits

Why do so few originators exhibit outstanding performance compared to the rest? In part, it’s because they are self-motivated go-getters. They don’t wait for a manager to give them instructions, quotas, models to follow, etc. The desire to excel is within them.

Many originators are offered the same benefits, support and training as the best performers; however, they don’t execute like the best. The drive and desire to excel — like personality traits — aren’t teachable or developed through management. Top originators are born that way, and they are provided with a platform that fits their drive and desire to excel.

Connecting with people in a way that makes them feel valued and heard is probably the most important tool a great originator possesses. Being a successful originator, then, requires people skills. That entails listening more than talking and tailoring the conversation toward a client’s needs, versus trying to push an agenda.

Personal drive and a desire to excel are personality traits of great performers. The drive to be the best at work, to do the most loans at the office, to be recognized by the industry as one of the best are all characteristics common to top originators.

Management influence

Personality is one factor that makes a great performer, but it is not the whole picture. In the mortgage industry, factors such as compensation structure, product mix, marketing, and operational support and technology play vital roles in building a sustainable business model. Most mortgage companies and banks nowadays offer some or all of these elements. They have to because it is the only way to make sure that they can compete for talent.

Good originators normally make the best sales managers. To help others improve their job performance, it helps if the manager has done the same job first. Replication in sales is achievable when there is mutual respect and a common goal among the parties.

Many professionals, early in their careers, are looking for a mentor, someone who can share insights and a framework to become successful. The mortgage industry is not an exception to that norm. In addition, each year many good producers choose the path of management. Companies that welcome and nurture this trend will succeed in the long run.

Top-down support

Supporting a new manager with the tools needed to create and manage a successful sales team can be a win-win for all. What do managers do to bring up sales performance? A few techniques are common within the industry:

  • Surround originators with top performers;
  • Create referral networks for the originators; and
  • Provide operational support when needed.

Surrounding originators with top talent creates a competitive atmosphere, one that brings out the best in a competitor. An originator who cares about doing well on a team can flourish in an environment that blends green originators with top performers.

Another technique for increasing an originator’s performance is to help the individual create a referral network. Established managers with wide professional networks can provide a competitive advantage for their company by leveraging relationships to create such networks for originators. Among the ways of accomplishing that, beyond hosting or attending periodic events, is to utilize technology and support systems that create and cultivate referral partners.

Finally, providing operational support for originators goes a long way toward creating and maintaining productive, sustainable teams. Managers can form alliances with operations managers to support their sales teams. In the current market, getting answers quickly for clients, Realtors and other partners is key to closing deals. Experienced sales managers understand the importance of all of these dynamics.

•  •  •

There is merit to encouraging both approaches — personal initiative and excellent management — in the effort to cultivate top performers. Sales-management techniques are effective when the team works for a common goal. Thus, the performance of even highly self-motivated originators goes up because everyone strives to exceed expectations. No one wants to disappoint.

Good sales managers know how to motivate originators using a number of skills, depending on the individual originator’s style and personality. They bring good value to the company because their teams are effective, efficient and profitable. In addition, self-motivated top performers help tremendously with a company’s branding strategy and its esprit de corps.  


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