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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   January 2019

These Habits Can Help Beat a Mortgage-Industry Lull

Developing strategies to handle the down times is part of pursuing a path to success

If you have been in the mortgage industry for any length of time, you know the industry weathers ups and downs. The only way to get through those down periods is to develop and maintain a set of daily positive habits.

Working on your business is as important as working in your business. In other words, you, as a loan originator, need to treat yourself as a business within a business.

With that said, how do you know what is improving your business or what is hurting your business? Let’s explore some habits that can improve your focus and keep you above the fray of day-to-day operations.

Mortgage professionals who implement these habits — and really focus on improving themselves and their business — will hear their phone ring with new business, leads and connections.

Improve yourself

The first priority is you. No one else is going to give you a paycheck but you. Focus your efforts on daily improvement, such as getting up a little earlier than normal to work out, read, enjoy a healthy breakfast, study a program. Aim to be the first one in the office. When you have that alone time, that extra hour can be about focusing on your mind and body.

Mortgage originators are required to complete an annual eight-hour continuing-education course to maintain their license. Your education should not stop there. The mortgage industry is all about education. Every file you fund needs to be a learning experience on how you can improve your presentation skills, your file flow, communication efforts, file preparation and marketing plan.

Everybody has the same amount of time in a day. How do you spend yours? Are you wasting it by sleeping until 9 a.m., taking long lunches or leaving work early? To find success, you must be willing to spend a few hours after work or on the weekends developing business or getting up to speed on new loan programs. Set aside time each day to focus on marketing, connecting with your borrowers, lead partners, vendors, etc.

You also have to weed your garden regularly. Clean up your database by sorting hot, warm and cold leads so you don’t waste time and money on e-mail marketing and sending out birthday cards and direct-mail pieces to prospects who have moved or are no longer in the market for a mortgage. Get rid of those affiliate partners who don’t send you any business, and focus on the ones who do.

Drill down on what affects your income. Wearing multiple hats will only burn you out and take you away from productive projects. Wear one hat. That should be producing loans, not processing them. You have a support staff that will handle processing, underwriting and funding your loan.

Improve your business

Evaluate the cost of running your business. Where does the bulk of your business originate from? What do your customers say about you? How could you make the process smoother for you and your borrower? Where can you improve on file submission to your processing department?

This process can be as simple as taking a look at how you answer your phone or improving your system of touch points after closing, such as noting wedding and loan anniversaries, birthdays, newborns, new jobs, etc. These little details will increase your overall numbers.

Establish monthly and quarterly goals that will improve the state of your business. Set obtainable goals that include building team morale. Really understand the “why” of your goals. Doing so will help build an energy that’s contagious. Do not focus too much on support personnel. Your administration staff will handle that side of business.

Delegate tasks to those support staff. There is no reason why your focus should be on processing, underwriting or the funding of your loan. Know the file flow, but do not be part of the process. Your borrower pays for those services through the loan. Allow for that to happen.

Do not allow yourself to be pulled in multiple directions that take you away from your primary focus: generating more loans.

Do not allow yourself to be pulled in multiple directions that take you away from your primary focus: generating more loans. Learn to delegate tasks to other staff members.

Really take a hard look at your marketing budget. The last thing you want to do is throw money at a problem and expect different results. Look at where you are spending your advertising dollars, and rate the return on investment.

If you are spending money on one form of media and you are not seeing results, stop spending money on it. Yes, you need to invest in your business, but set a budget for it. Your budget will drain fast if you are not properly monitoring where your money is going. With all the free advertising avenues that are available online, look at retooling your marketing plan to focus on what will have the greatest return.

Last, act like you’re a true W-2 employee. Sure, you’re able to come and go as you please, but remember that will be reflected in your take-home pay. Get in the habit of working eight hours or more a day, like a true W-2 employee does.

Putting in the work and effort will pay off. If you treat the job like it’s part-time work, then you’ll bring home a part-time paycheck. Mortgage originating is all about sales. You have the potential to make a great living, or you can half-step it and live from paycheck to paycheck.

• • •

Start with a couple habits to fine tune them and then move onto a couple more. Stay focused on your business all the time, especially during the slow times, and your business will flourish during the good times. It is easy to lose sight of your primary function as a loan originator, which is to generate leads. Focus on you and your ability to generate income, and the rest of the job will fall into place. 


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