Ask the Expert: How do I become a successful LO?

by MPA04 Aug 2014
By Dave Hershman
Special to MPA

I am thinking about becoming a loan officer. A friend of mine said that he will be training me and I have already taken the 20-hour course. What is going to determine my success?
--Peter from Seattle

Last week I discussed what you need to be in order to succeed--because that is the most important factor. I could go over 20 characteristics such as hard work and ethics, but due to our lack of time I will cover only two very important traits. One is investment. Whether you work for a large bank or a small broker, you are building a business. There are three aspects of investment: time, money and energy. Any business that is lacking investment in one of these areas will fail. You must invest in your business and the more you invest, the more you will get out of it.  If you have owned a business, you will understand the time commitment necessary to keep that business running.

The second aspect is your sphere of influence. Many think of a sphere as a database of names. But it is more than that. It is a compendium of your life. It includes experiences, relationships, skills, background (including ethnic background) and more. If your sphere is extensive, you are more likely to succeed – especially if you build a marketing plan around your sphere. Of course, building your sphere database will be an important part of this plan.

And it is not only the sphere you have which is important. It is your willingness to leverage your sphere. If you have marketing or call reluctance with regard to your sphere you will be starting from scratch and you will be relegated to cold calling and much less likely to succeed. Unless you work for a company which is giving you leads. Even then, those leads become part of your sphere and you must leverage them. We will talk about that in Part III next week.
--Dave Hershman

Do you have a reaction to this commentary or another question you would like answered? Email Dave at
Dave Hershman has been the leading author and a top speaker for the industry for decades with six books authored and hundreds of articles published.   His website is  If you have a reaction to this commentary or another question you would like answered in this column? Email Dave directly at