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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   August 2017

D-E-V-E-L-O-P Yourself

This handy mnemonic can change the way you do business

D-E-V-E-L-O-P Yourself

  How to D-E-V-E-L-O-P Your Business

  • Deliver on what you promise.
  • Exceed expectation.
  • Have the Vision to see beyond everyday tasks.
  • Elevate your team so they can elevate you.
  • Leverage information to support clients and partners.
  • Prepare for Opportunities.
  • Treat clients like lifetime Partners.

Develop is one of the most important words in our language. It is not just a word. It is a mantra, a process, or a way to improve your relationships. Without development, we would all be infants needing the care of someone or something else. There would be musical notes, but no songs or scores. The world would be filled with wonderful images, but none would be captured on film. There would be plenty of words, but no stories.

Without the concept of development, the world would be filled with wonderful ideas, but none would ever come to realization, and body builders would have no way to build up their muscles. To realize their full potential, mortgage originators must embrace their own development through a process aptly named D-E-V-E-L-O-P. 

The D-E-V-E-L-O-P process can help sales people shape their networks to bring fruitful results and increase sales by developing meaningful, value-added relationships with centers of influence and customers.

Ask yourself the following question: Did you instantly have borrowers requesting loans the moment you stepped into a sales role? Unless you were handed a current client base, the answer is no. You had to develop that client base.

Even if you were handed an existing database of names, you had to develop the relationships with those people and continue to move those relationships forward. No mortgage originator was ever hired to reduce sales volume, get fewer borrowers and worsen relationships. No, your job is to develop territories, portfolios, books of business, relationships, etc.

There are many ways to find borrowers. You can advertise, search lists, cold call, ask for referrals, etc. But finding clients is just the beginning. You also must develop those relationships to give yourself an edge against those originators who do not. Don’t be transactional — be relational. If you aren’t developing, you aren’t maintaining, and you’re actually falling behind the originators who are moving forward, growing and developing.

So, what does D-E-V-E-L-O-P stand for? Simply this:

                        D — Deliver

                        E — Exceed

                        V — Vision

                        E — Elevate

                        L — Leverage

                        O — Opportunities

                        P — Partnership

Let’s look at the pieces of this handy mnemonic and discuss what they mean for mortgage originators.

Deliver and Exceed

Your word should mean everything. Simply, you need to deliver on your commitments. If you say you will call your client or a prospect, then call. If you say you’ll get back to them with some requested information, get the information for them. It’s all about communicating what you’ll do and then doing what you committed to do.

Too many people in service industries don’t follow through on what they promise to their customers, prospects, community influencers or even referral partners. Be the originator who delivers, and don’t give anyone a reason to find another provider. If you don’t D-eliver, you can forget about E-V-E-L-O-P.

The second half of this is setting clear and concise expectations. Don’t leave things open ended. People want to know what to expect. Then, once expectations are set, exceed them. Do not tell someone you will call them in an hour if you intend to call them in two hours or the next day or, worse, not at all.

If you tell people, you will call back in an hour, call them in 45 minutes and exceed their expectations. Most people fall short of exceeding expectations, so this is a chance to set yourself apart by making this a consistent part of your relationship approach. Don’t overcommit and underdeliver — commit and exceed.

Vision and Elevate

Do you only see what’s right in front of you? A horse runs with blinders. It has one objective and only one path. You have many roads to success. You need to remove the blinders of simply maintaining your daily activities and occasionally look around to see what’s down a different road.

Vision isn’t only about what we see, however. It is about what we don’t see as well. Vision is a universal term for several senses. Do you see obstacles and remove them? Do you listen to what is said and not said? Do you feel the emotion in your relationships and understand when things are good and, more importantly, when things are going sour? Although there are many roads to success, there is typically one road to your destination, and it takes vision to see the entire map and plot a course down the right path to your ultimate destination.

Once you have vision, you can begin to look beyond the daily grind and reach for the mountaintop. This will take teamwork, however. Contrary to popular belief, there are no individual sports. A single golfer, racecar driver, wrestler or runner isn’t the only victor in those contests. Behind the star is the caddy, the pit crew, coaches, trainers, etc. Their goals are to elevate a star’s level of performance.

The same can be said for your processors, loan assistants, underwriters, operations teams, managers and external partner networks. If they are not top performers, then your performance suffers. Are you playing a role in elevating their level of performance? More importantly, do they feel like a part of your team, and do you thank them or reward them for their efforts? You should.

The mountaintop has a great view, but it can be a lonely elevation if you stand on it alone, and reaching it without help is almost impossible.


There are many moving parts to the mortgage process and many decisions to be made. Information is the key to making the right decisions. Leverage represents the power or ability to influence these decisions — as well as people and events — through information.

There are many subject-matter experts in the mortgage industry. Have you networked within your company to find resources you can use to your advantage? Have you expanded your external network to gain industry, community and financial information?

The most successful people build teams of subject-matter experts and utilize systems, publications and data to provide their borrowers and partners with the information they need to make informed decisions. This allows you to control the situation — like a lever — while supporting the needs of your clients, referral partners and other influencers. This support creates trust and a deeper connection, which allows you to leverage a one-time client into a lifetime relationship.

Opportunities and Partnership

All sales people are in search of the big O. We make our living off of opportunities. Some will jump out and find you, but locating most opportunities is like finding a needle in the haystack. This goes back to the earlier vision discussion about blinders. Really successful people seek out and find opportunities.

It may seem that some people always get lucky, but there is a famous saying that goes: “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” You can prepare for opportunities by expanding your network, engaging people, reading industry publications and getting involved in your community. When you do, new opportunities may just jump out and find you.

This brings us to partner. The best way to explain this concept is with a story about a salesperson and a manager at a high-end clothing store. After seeing a customer leave without buying a suit, the manager chastised the salesperson, saying, “You just let a $500 customer walk out.”

Not phased by the angry manager, the salesperson shot back, “No sir, I just let a $200,000 lifetime clothing partner walk out so he’ll come back in.” When pressed to explain, the salesperson explained that this particular customer-partner buys about $5,000 worth of clothes per year, and that customer could continue to buy from that salesperson for 40 years if treated as a partner instead of a customer.

This is brilliant logic and easily transferable to mortgage originators. Borrowers are our customers, and if we treat them as borrower-partners they will return to us over and over again. The average person or couple buys and sells a house every seven years. If these borrowers become your borrower-partners at 30 and live to be 72, you should be involved in around six loan transactions with them.

If you make $5,000 in commissions per loan, then these borrowers are $30,000 homebuying partners. Now, look back at all of your closings over the years and determine how many clients you have and how many you need to turn into homebuying partners.

•  •  •

You are the architect of your career and your success. The principles of the D-E-V-E-L-O-P process — Deliver, Exceed, Vision, Elevate, Leverage, Opportunities and Partnership — can certainly stand on their own. If you think of them as concrete, wood, nails, insulation, brick, mortar and piping, however, you can develop a big, beautiful house that everyone wants to visit.


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