If Drew Boland could visualize his career on paper like the printout of an EKG, he’d notice two distinct spikes in his business.
The first was when he finally drank the Guaranteed Rate Kool-Aid. He started working with Guaranteed Rate in 2005, when “it was a completely different world in our industry.” Before then, he was at a small broker shop doing everything himself, so he found the new process and systems to be a great fit for him. Still, it was almost nine years later that he truly shifted his mindset to embrace the model, and things just took off for him.
The second boom was when he started getting referrals by realtors to other realtors. There’s a hesitancy to ask a realtor for an introduction to another realtor, but when it happened with a few, Boland felt something click into place.
“I really love working my realtors who refer me to other realtors. In some markets that seems totally strange, and some realtors are really stuck in this tunnel vision of, ‘why would I refer you to another realtor? I want to keep you for myself.’ I’ve found that if you partner with good agents who are successful, they want you to be successful and they understand what it takes to be successful,” Boland said.
His realtor-to-realtor referrals began happening organically, although now he’s very intentional about those connections and about the service behind them. He makes clients and partners happy, and they then do a lot of the heavy lifting.
“You’re got to cling to the people that love you, and those are your salespeople,” Boland said. “When you are really, really, really clear and efficient with your expectation and communication, your service level will soar. Your service level will be top of the line, and when you can execute like that . . . you get people who are really happy and those are the ones you can really leverage.
Success may be subjective, but Boland is doing well by anyone’s standards. From 2014 to 2016, his total volume grew by 125%, and although his growth tapered off a little last year, closing close to $85 million, he thinks his model is sustainable and scalable. The biggest issue Boland was facing a few years ago was compliance, and he and his team were able to navigate that minefield, which weeded out a lot of the competition at the time. Now, he said, it’s starting to come full circle.
“You’re getting a lot of people that got back into the business in the last few years, and I think were due for another cycle of weeding out some people that aren’t professionals,” he said. “It really comes down to having systems in place and not just winging it on every file . . . We have defined roles for each person on my team, and when you can do that, then you’re getting into a routine, into a system to where every file runs the same (relatively speaking, of course). The same role is in place, and everybody knows their job and you’re not stepping on each other’s toes and you’re not tripping over each other all the time.”
He never had a mentor, but he began working with Guaranteed Rate early on in his career and has since found himself surrounded by so many high-level producers that there’s plenty of casual mentorship to go around.
He’s paying that wisdom forward and has engaged in casual mentorships for a couple of years now, helping other originators find their special sauce. Most, he says, struggle with the operations side of things and relinquishing control.
“It’s funny, when you’ve got five deals in your pipeline, you’re more obsessive about those deals than you are if you have 50. You need to get out of your own way, you need to trust the model, you need to trust the system, you need to trust your ops staff,” Boland says. “In some cases, it’s a matter of changing your ops staff. If people aren’t doing their job, if you’re not able to let go a certain amount of control of the transaction, then you need a new team.”
He also makes a conscious effort to coach people on how to best leverage good relationships. It starts with the execution of the process, making people happy and then turning that into ways to grow business elsewhere.
He leads by example here. He thinks the industry has stabilized, that technology and things like lower down payment jumbo options are going to pave the way for more business, be it new CRM functionality or predictive monitoring tools. All of it needs to be embraced in order to thrive.
“Everything is an opportunity for growth. And if you really are putting in the time and the effort, and you’re committed to your job and to your craft, then there’s room for growth all the time.”