Residential Magazine

Ride Out This Mortgage Storm

As simple as it sounds, your phone is key to success in this environment

By Carl White

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know there’s been a big shift in the mortgage market this year. Speaking of, figuratively burying your head in the sand isn’t a bad idea at the moment. Instead of watching the news and freaking out like a lot of mortgage originators are doing, what if you came up with a solid plan?

Here’s a little foresight aided by past experience. Market shifts happen fast. You can’t stop them and they expose your weaknesses. When a market makes a shift to a scenario that requires a little more effort, it seems to happen quickly. When interest rates jump, they typically jump fast. When they come down, they come down slowly.

The shift in the market has exposed your weak and faulty plans. You can’t do what you were doing before the storm and expect to see the same results.

This particular market shift is nowhere near what happened in 2008 and 2009. That was a near implosion of the entire mortgage industry and the world at large. This time around, it’s mainly tied to an increase in rates. What makes it feel so dramatic is how quickly they soared. They doubled in a very short period of time.
But guess what? They’re still really low. And people still need houses. So, the sky isn’t exactly falling like some would have you believe. And remember, it wasn’t that long ago that the entire mortgage industry was wishing there was less buyer competition and more inventory. Has everyone forgotten that?
When rates are low, market conditions are favorable for mortgage originators. When they shoot up, conditions are against originators. When rates are low, you can coast along and your weaknesses are never really an issue. When the market shifts, your flaws are exposed. Since you can’t stop this shift, you have a choice to make: worry about it or welcome it (and get to work on those weaknesses).

Rough waters

Here’s an analogy that might help. Let’s say you’re on a pontoon boat — a party boat — laughing and joking with your friends, an awning over your heads, a barbecue smoking and a cold drink in your hand. The water is sparkling, the sun is shining and there’s a perfect breeze. The outboard motor is kicking out 20 horsepower, the wind and waves are working in your favor, and you’re cruising along with the current at a smooth and easy 10 knots. This is the life, right?
Then, out of nowhere, the conditions change. You’re now facing a 25-mph headwind and the waves are contrary, rocking you to and fro. Suddenly, this might not be the best boat for these circumstances. The motor isn’t getting the job done. You’re not having fun anymore. You’re feeling a little nauseous and you’re actually in serious trouble. Needless to say, the party’s over.
The wind and waves in this scenario are the market conditions. The boat is your plan, what you do every day. The motor represents your business activities, the work you put into the plan. When you’re in a pontoon boat with the wind and waves moving with you, it’s easy to sail along with little effort. You’re bragging about how much business you’re doing. In reality, you just had favorable conditions.
In these new conditions, your party boat isn’t cutting it. You need a streamlined boat, something sleek to cut through the waves. You need a more powerful engine — like a 350 V8. You need a better plan.

Brutal competition

There are two things about a market shift that make it pretty healthy for originators. One, it realigns you to where you should have been all along. Two, your competitors are likely to fall away.
Let’s talk about your competition for a minute. Over the next four to six months, thousands of loan originators are going to leave the industry because they don’t have the constitution to stick it out. Of those who remain, many are barely going to survive. They’re going to do one or two loans a month for the next few years and won’t be a threat to you.
With rates going up, fewer people can afford to buy. Think of it as the “Law of Mortgage Nature.” Yes, it’s sad for some people, but from a business perspective, it’s good news. With more inventory on the market, the problem of too many buyers and not enough homes is fixing itself. And you need a better plan to capitalize on this.

Diligent effort

Here is the easiest, simplest plan you could possibly put together. It takes just two hours a day, four days a week. It’s so easy, it’s ridiculous. There’s no catch. So, why isn’t everyone doing it? Because it involves making phone calls, something that many people find “too hard” to do.
Apparently, it’s “too hard” to sit in your air-conditioned office in your comfortable chair, pick up your phone and have conversations with people for two hours a day, four days a week. To put it bluntly, you’re going to have to get over it and do it. So, who are you calling and when? Plan to make calls from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday through Thursday.
On Mondays, call Realtors — and not just any Realtors. You’re looking for qualified agents who have a good plan of their own, who are doing a lot of business and have plenty of people to refer to you. If you’re thinking “not in my area,” then expand your area. Thanks to a global pandemic and a little thing called Zoom, it’s quite common to do business these days in bigger, broader swaths of the country. This is a new world and you need to adapt.
Call agents for 12 weeks until you get an appointment. Leave voicemail after voicemail if you need to. Just don’t give up. These are good agents. They’re not going to just give their business to anyone. Take it seriously. After you get an appointment, do 12 weeks of follow-up. If that doesn’t work, move on. You will gradually build up a list of agents who are consistently referring business to you.
On Tuesdays, call your current clients, their Realtors and title companies, and anyone else in your active loan files. Everyone loves these updates. At the end of the call, ask if they have any friends, family or co-workers looking to buy a home.
On Wednesdays, call your past clients. Work your way through two letters of the alphabet each week. This means each person will get four calls per year. Ask how they’re doing and ask for referrals. On Thursdays, call your preapproved buyers and others who are looking. Ask them how the house hunting is going and again ask for referrals.

Stronger engine

You’re making calls four mornings a week for two hours. That’s it. That’s the plan. You have to put in the work. You have to make these calls — or pay someone to make them for you. It’s not hard. Create easy conversational scripts. These calls are the engine that will power your boat through the waves and wind.
The shift in the market has exposed your weak and faulty plans. You can’t do what you were doing before the storm and expect to see the same results. You need a better boat, a stronger engine. Make these calls, and you’ll win big over everyone else out there who makes one or two calls before claiming, “It doesn’t work.”
It does work. Do it and you’re going to kill it in this market. It’s a perfect storm, and you’re in a sleek and powerful boat. While the competition is foundering, you’ve just put yourself in position to ride out the
storm. ●


  • Carl White

    Carl White is founder and CEO of Mortgage Marketing Animals, a successful mortgage marketing training program. White is also a branch manager at one of the top mortgage branches in America and the host of the No. 1 podcast for loan officers, Mortgage Marketing Animals teaches the strategies that originators in White’s own branch use today to close more loans in less time. Learn more by visiting

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