While his writing and speaking appearances have established him as an expert and created a brand name for him, it has also served another purpose without which the brand probably would not have happened.
Closing $116 million in loans last year, he says the business is continuing to grow.
He sees himself as an educator first, helping homebuyers understand the process and their options. “We empower customers to make the right decisions whether they work with us or someone else. We are in the education and customer service business: We just happen to do mortgages,” he said.
He also notes that bringing the customer in the door is only job number one. Job number two, he said is just as important, and that is providing the kind of customer service that “delights the customer. First time buyers need a lot of support. They come to us with just an idea, a dream, and we work with them to make it a reality. When they come to us, we work for them.”
He said there are a lot of mortgage companies that do a really good job of marketing, getting lots of customers in the door, but then don’t follow through and end up with deals that don’t close and/or with unhappy borrowers.
While he is the only originator at Arcus, he has a staff of 6 to ensure clients get the kind of service that it takes to win customers for life and a steady stream of referrals. He said he doesn’t think he will ever hire another originator. I like the control. I like knowing that things will be done right. “I always try to hire ahead of demand so that clients never feel we don’t have time for them. As we grow, I will hire more processors and more junior sales support staff.”
He also works with many of Santa Clara, California’s top real estate agents. It took him awhile to build a business where Realtors come to him instead of the other way around, but today that is the story. He said he started by friending Realtors on Facebook. “I don’t use Facebook to sell, but I always posted my blogs there and I put up every media mention. I was making sure that Realtors would see these things so that when I did reach out to them to set appointments, they would know who I was.”
Today, he said, he works with 20 or so of the top agents in the area. “Today I pick and choose the Realtors I work with.” He said that a lot of loan originators don’t like Realtors, feeling that Realtors look down on lenders as being a less important part of the business. “I have good relations with Realtors. They know that their clients will be well taken care of when they send them to us. It is almost unheard of for a Realtor to say no to me know when I ask for a meeting.”
Arcus Lending Founder and CEO Sahshank Shekhar said he absolutely thinks other people can follow the same path he took to success. He said that people who think the internet is saturated with mortgage blogs is wrong. He said there is always opportunity and that most people really only want to reach a certain geographic market anyway and there is always a chance to do that through means similar to what has worked for him.