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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   April 2018

Going From Good to Great

Originators may need to break the mold to rise higher

r_2018-04_dimaggio_spot.jpgWhy is turning the corner from being a really good mortgage loan originator to a great one so difficult?

There are many very good originators out there who have won awards, are seen as leaders in their organizations, take great care of their clients, read books and articles to help crack the next level and even make decent career progress. These are skilled salespersons, but alas, the next level escapes them and they feel as though they have plateaued.

These skilled originators reached their current status by following regular routines. They are generally disciplined in their daily schedules, follow successful scripts, emulate examples from top producers and work smart as well as hard. Still, they cannot seem to break that next barrier of production.

Ironically, the answer to their challenge may simply be this: What got them here is now holding them back.

Relinquishing control

Strong originators are often loved by their clients because they help them every step of the way through the loan process. The clients lean heavily on them and the originator is always there to provide the highest level of service. The result is a happy client. And the originator gets accolades and referrals for being instrumental in controlling the positive client experience.

That is the key to their limits, however: Control. Many really good originators take control of the process and receive strong, positive reinforcement along the way. Up to a certain point in their careers, it has been possible to be completely engaged with each loan and, although it has been a lot of work, it has been manageable.

These originators often credit their success to being “control freaks.” To successfully increase sales and get to the next level, however, they must do what many good sales-people are not good at doing — making a change by releasing control. This can be extremely counterintuitive. After all, they got to this point by taking control, not giving it up.

Releasing some control to their team and support personnel allows originators to focus on additional upfront meetings and sales, while the back office works to close those sales. The assumption — and often the reality — is that more sales meetings will bring in more leads and referrals, which will translate to more closings.

The trick is figuring out how to make this adjustment and feel good about it. It’s perfectly normal to feel apprehension when faced with change but, as one popular social media meme puts it: “The definition of insane is doing the same thing every day and expecting different results.”

Overcoming fear

Originators looking to change their results should ask themselves what they fear about letting go of control. If they are afraid someone else will make a mistake, offend a client or miss a detail, they should consider if mistakes have been made before. Have clients been offended or details missed by their team?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then perhaps some time should be spent on training to increase the team’s efficiency. If few or no mistakes are being made, then perhaps the originator can feel more at ease with relinquishing control in order to reach a potential new level of productivity.

One analogy that can be used to help see this change is a snowboard — or a snow ski, for two-plankers. When making a turn, the edge of the board cuts into the snow and provides control. As weight is shifted to the other side, the snowboard transitions to the other edge and, the moment it catches the snow, the snowboarder has control again.

Releasing control involves time and planning in order to build trust. 

In between those moments, however, the board has no edge cutting into the snow, and the boarder is coasting — and not in control. For a split second, the boarder could have gone either way, on to the new course or back to the original course. That moment of being “out of control” on a snowboard feels perilous, but momentum, arm movements, leg positioning, etc., help the boarder maintain and regain control.

It is the same in mortgage sales. Originators have their team, manager, peers, etc., to help them stay on track. And just as in snowboarding, one wipeout doesn’t mean a boarder is done or that it’s time to hang up the board. No. Good wipeouts make people stronger and better, as long as they learn from the experience and use that information to do better next time.

Embracing change

Once originators understand there is a potentially very good upside to releasing control, the questions become to whom are they releasing control and what should they do with the extra time they have saved? Releasing control involves time and planning in order to build trust.

The duties delegated to processors, assistants, or other team members must be clearly outlined and discussed to ensure a smooth transition and to minimize the odds of anything falling between the cracks. Duties the originator will still perform also must be clearly delineated to avoid any confusion moving forward.

The process will be similar to hiring a new employee or assistant, but on a somewhat larger scale. Time must be spent upfront to get everyone moving forward together before the originator can expect any payoff from increased productivity.

Finally, an originator’s business plan will need to be modified to incorporate and budget time for new sales and business-development tasks that can now be undertaken. These new tasks could be additional face-to-face meetings with referral partners, additional sales calls or other sales activities that use that extra time to focus on bringing in new business.

•  •  •

There are a lot of really good salespeople out there, but there are fewer really great salespeople. For originators hamstrung by their reluctance to give up control over the loan process, these ideas may help them turn the corner to producing higher sales and advancing to the next level of their careers.


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