Three years ago, Heather Bomar drew a line in the sand.
After 13 years in the industry, the Oklahoma-based senior mortgage advisor had come to enjoy all parts of origination, but she knew she couldn’t continue to do everything and do it well.
“I enjoy putting the structure together and figuring out what's going to be the best strategy for a family, but I would say I probably gravitate naturally towards the business management piece of it: creating and overseeing a world-class experience for the clients and the partners and then just leading my team really well,” Bomar said. “I made a decision to really put a lot of emphasis on my leadership to the team. I made a lot of changes back then, and it's been a focus ever since.”
Although Bomar is enjoying the momentum that comes from having a well-oiled business, part of the reason why she put so much emphasis on leadership a few years ago was because the bigger something gets, the more moving parts there are to manage. In order to have big numbers and meet big goals, she said, she needed to be really dialled in with her team and lead them in the right direction.
Bomar’s team consists of seven women: two client specialists who work closely with borrowers on the front end; two loan analysts who calculate income, go through tax returns, and scrutinize the file; two closing coordinators; and a fairly new role that Bomar created last year as a hybrid client specialist/closing coordinator, who can move between the roles as needed.
Two of those positions were added within the last year; Bomar closed almost $80 million in 2018 and she wanted to increase the team’s capacity—not just for more business, but for a better life outside of work.
“We're very strong about having life balance, and I want my team to have life balance. My team, they're incredible. They work hard. But when they leave the office, I want them to be able to leave the office,” Bomar said. “It's been a big help this year, especially with rates dropping over the summer, and then it'll even continue building that momentum going into 2020.”
The creation of an all-female team wasn’t intentional, but in doing so, Bomar has built a “tiny army of women” that have her back and who have been able to bond beyond the mortgage arena.
“We have a ton of fun together. [There are ] so many different personalities, yet they weave together so well, and so beautifully, it's like an orchestra,” Bomar said.
Coming to trust her team has gone hand in hand with empowering them on levels that “aren’t really normal for our industry” and has been pivotal in Bomar’s business. She doesn’t have to direct team members throughout the day, and by giving them the confidence and ability to run with their tasks, she’s made each one of them an extension of herself.
In addition to setting up a workflow through Whiteboard that ensures the team is always checking in and cheering on prequalified borrowers, Bomar added videos to her repertoire a couple of years ago. She doesn’t use the videos as a way to capture new business, but as another touch point for partners and repeat clients, and she’s gotten great feedback. By alternating mortgage and real estate specific topics with productive hacks or life tips and experiences, Bomar encourages that connection even between transactions.
Bomar’s two main focuses have been leading her team and supporting their referral partners, taking the burden off their shoulders and doing so with a repeatable, predictable process. Bomar’s business can almost be evenly divided into thirds: one third builder business, one third realtor business, and one third repeat client referrals. Having stellar systems allows her to create that world-class experience for those partners and everyone involved knows that it’s going to be that way every single time.
“I've always had just kind of long game in mind, never the short game. By taking care of the families that we help, giving them an incredible experience and closing on time with a smooth process, they just continue to come back again and again,” Bomar said. “Also, just staying in touch with them. I think it was Todd Duncan that said, if you want to have clients for life, you have to actually stay in touch with them during their life. So that's what we try to do.”
Every year, Bomar does an evaluation of what’s working well and what isn’t working so well. She doesn’t anticipate changing much for 2020, although that annual evaluation process is still valuable. She tries to ask herself big ‘what if’ questions, and after throwing out the really crazy stuff she’s usually left with some out-of-the-box ideas.
“I really try not to get kind of stuck in a certain path,” Bomar said. She likes to examine how success looks in other industries, being open to like fresh and new ideas and thoughts on how those lessons can be applied to her specific business.
“Once you kind of figure out the 'what if', the 'how' it normally kind of comes along pretty easily.”