For a new originator who’s trying to learn the ropes, faking it until you make it is quite an appealing strategy. Faking knowledge, however, is something that you don’t want to do in any professional capacity, much less one where such a large financial transaction is at stake. One of the keys to starting out in the business is learning how to be a master without pretending that you know things that you don’t know.
“The first thing an originator has to understand going into any call or any time they’re presenting is that they are not going to know all the answers, and that’s okay. A young salesperson, they certainly want to be successful and it’s great to see all of that effort and energy go into it, but the fact remains, our business is complicated, and making it look graceful is difficult, but that’s [the] job,” said Chad Jampedro, president of GSF Mortgage.
In spite of wanting to put on an air of bravado for a client, it’s much more valuable to get correct information by asking a colleague than pretend to know something and then potentially have to backtrack later. Even admitting that you’re new to a particular product or segment of the industry can keep clients on your side if a mishap occurs along the way.
“[Originators] are reluctant to say that because they feel like they’re going to lose the deal. That mindset in itself is going to lose the deal anyway, because on the other end of the phone, that individual knows that you’re struggling. They know you’re not mastering it,” Jampedro said.
“To seem like a master, it’s controlling what is said, not just what is said as far as answering questions accurately in a relevant format, but also saying too much. Sometimes our originators – salespeople in general – there is too much talking in a transaction. Pass relevant data at the right time, and I think you can look like and feel like an expert – even though you might not be an expert on that subject yet.”
Norah Lile opened Integrity Mortgage in April 2018, and although she feels she is an expert in mortgages, she’s had to come to terms with her own knowledge gaps in other areas.
“I feel like I know everything there is to know about mortgages just because of my length of time and my position, but I knew 0.00 about sales. And so it has been a huge learning curve for me,” she said. “There are a lot of people that will allow you to spin your wheels with them, and they’ll take from you your resources, your time, but they won’t really give anything back, and it’s hard to distinguish those types of people from the people who are really legitimate and who really want to work with you.”
Her strategy has been to align herself with people who not only can teach her, but to learn alongside her, having a stake in each other’s education. For Lile, this means partnering with new agents who don’t yet have long-term existing relationships.
“They really have the drive and the commitment to grow their business and I can grow with them, and help them grow and be there and experiment with them and door knock if they want to door knock and hold a party and see how that works or try to start a leads group, so I can do the legwork with them.”
Anyone setting up their own shop will tell you that you quickly become responsible for all aspects of running your business, from troubleshooting technology to selecting your CMS and other operating systems. So even if you’re not an expert in any of those areas, you’re forced to learn the basics.
“A lot of the things that you take for granted working for a company, is now, up to you to figure out,” Lile said. “If I make a mistake I think very quickly I get a bad reputation. I guess I didn’t realize how much that would keep me awake at night.”
“When you go on your own, or when you start in this industry, the ability to generate business is the hardest part,” said Mathew Schulz, owner of Firelight Mortgage. He asks new originators, “‘What is your plan to get clients to call you to make applications and close business?’ That is the only thing that matters when you’re starting.”
Lile agrees, adding that you can’t go into the job part-time and expect to be successful. In order to make that change and branch out on your own, you have to throw yourself into it, sink or swim-style.
“You can’t get involved in the deskwork, the deskwork needs to be done after hours, you spend business hours calling new potential clients and referral partners. And even though you don’t want to make the phone call, you’ve got to pick up the phone and call, make yourself uncomfortable.”
Are you working too fast?