Top originators aren’t successful because they’re perfect; they’re successful because they’ve made many mistakes along their journeys to the top. Everyone makes mistakes in business, but the difference between top originators and the rest of the crowd is that top originators are able to move past their missteps and turn them into valuable lessons.
If you’ve ever wanted to know what some of the top originators in the country have done wrong, look no further.
On referral partners:
“I would’ve focused more on the financial planner side. Financial planners are obviously very savvy financially, and you have to have a legitimate reason why they should use you and not just that [you] have good rates and good service. Anyone who ever said, ‘I have good rates and good service,’ you’re like everyone else because everyone is going to say that. What else do you bring to the table? We definitely have our pitch down because we live and breathe it every day, and it’s different and unique and people respond to it, especially people in the financial community. So that’s my biggest mistake is focusing too much on real estate agents, just like everyone else in our industry,” —Mark Maimon, vice president and team lead, Freedom Mortgage
On doing high-quality loans:
“If a loan’s not going to work, don’t try to make it work. When I first started, I would get so excited about a lead, and I would think, ‘I can polish this thing up and make it shine, and it’ll get approved.’ And then you spend time, you stress, you lose sleep at night, you have buyers who pay for appraisals and home inspections when they should be renting. I learned that pretty quickly, but I remember very early in my career, I took a loan because it was a lead, and not because it was not a loan. And there are times that you have to say, and say it quickly, 'this person cannot buy.' An agent wants to know that before they spend 20 hours showing them homes, writing offers up and getting offers accepted . . . For someone brand new starting out, that’s a hard conversation to have with a realtor.” —Allyson Kreycik, senior loan officer, Guaranteed Rate
On online leads
“I spent a decent amount of money buying online leads, and that customer doesn’t remember you a year from now a year from now, two years from now, three years from now. . . . I think in this day and age, consumers really do use the internet to make decisions as far as [determining] a person has some kind of credibility. It does help to a point to be able to use reviews, but guess what? Here at my company, we prefer to use real closing reviews that are yours, not past stuff. When I came back into this business, I’m trying to figure out, ‘How do I build it?’ I said I’m going to use online leads. But online leads are not cost effective, it’s really not the way to go.”—Jack Flynn, residential loan officer, Mortgage Network, Inc.
”Don't believe that marketing that worked in previous years is going to work in this market. We have to plan, measure and adjust, and plan measure and adjust, and plan, measure, and adjust. A lot of times what happens is, the measurement piece is missed or not highlighted enough. So a good example would be a lead source. A lead source for a particular originator, maybe in previous years it worked and this lead source no longer works. But if you let your originator—or you are the originator and you let yourself—believe that it’s going to come back around, in most cases, you’re just wasting money. You should be looking for a new strategy to reinvent yourself or replace your lead source, and the mistake that’s made is waiting way too long.” —Chad Jampedro, president, GFS Mortgage Corporation
On client service:
“One recent change that I did to my business, which is something that I regret not doing for the last 20-something years, is calling my clients once a year for a mortgage check-up. It's something simple, but as much as people think they remember you, they don’t. Just because you send them a stupid email or a postcard, it’s more than that because they get thousands of that. You have to stay in touch with your client via email, via print, via video, via text possibly, but the old-fashioned once a year call, just to see how they’re doing with a mortgage check-up, just to see if their mortgage is in line with their financial objectives, and to see if there’s any life changes or needs for them . . . when I heard that others were doing it, I kicked myself in the pants for not doing it, and after I did it, I realized, “holy shit, I should’ve been doing it.’ It’s our job, it’s our responsibility to manage our clients’ debt, and that’s part of it." —Steve Grossman, managing partner, NJ Lenders