Top Originator: Marc Demetriou built his business one day at a time

by Kasi Johnston10 Mar 2020

Marc Demetriou wears many hats. Coming from a financial background, he entered the mortgage industry fifteen years ago with experience in corporate sales and over 7 years in the C-suite of a company he helped create. Since then, he’s grown to become one of the country’s top producers, written a book, and even hosted and produced a radio show. Most recently, he’s joined Guaranteed Rate, one of the largest lenders in the US, as the vice president of mortgage lending.

Despite coming into the mortgage industry with little knowledge, he was confident from the very beginning that he had the foundations to succeed: a background in sales, experience as a leader in the corporate world and a good reputation.

Demetriou hit the ground running. In 2005, he started as a branch manager with just a handful of referral sources and a model of building his business one day at a time.

“I stuck by my plan of building relationships one day at a time, one person at a time. I knew from early on that if you exceed someone’s expectations, they essentially become part of your sales team, so I worked to build my referral sources one at a time,” said Demetriou.

Of course, jumping into an entirely new career doesn’t come without challenges. At first, there just didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day and it was difficult to justify spending money on hiring support when there wasn’t that much money coming in. Figuring out the model that works best for you is an important thing to do early on, he said.

“You need to spend money to make money. The biggest challenge is trying to do everything yourself. You need the support to make the business succeed and that goes for any producer, new or seasoned.”

That’s the advice he wished he had in the early days of his mortgage career, as hiring support staff results in more time to get out off the office and bring in the business. He quickly came to the realization that the mortgage business, or any business for that matter, is a sum of many moving parts. Not only is there sales and operations, but there’s also marketing, advertising, business development and more. His background as a chief operating officer and understanding the importance of systems and procedures was a huge benefit to him. 

“In mortgage, it’s absolutely crucial you have a business plan. It doesn’t have to be an 80-page one, it could be a simple bullet-point list, but you need to figure out what’s needed, hire one person at a time, and focus on accomplishing the goals you set out,” he said.

Demetriou believes an important skill to have in this industry is the ability to adapt and adopt. Technology has helped him dramatically over the years and being able to adapt to new models and strategies has helped in his continuous search to be more efficient. This was the driving force that led him to leaving his job of close to 15 years at Residential Home Funding to join Guaranteed Rate earlier this year; top of the line technology and a business model that has proven to lead to a higher level of success.

In terms of marketing, Demetriou says it’s all about advertising and sponsorship in the right channels, as well as attending the right events. But when it comes down to it, the best form of marketing is emulating your brand every day.

“It comes down to branding yourself. I’m well respected, very reputable and passionate about what I do,” he said.

A lot of Demetriou’s work ethic and values comes from his mentor and best friend, his grandfather. He wrote an award-winning book about his grandfather’s journey as an immigrant moving to America, who found success, despite having to work past many obstacles. One of the most important lesson he learned from his grandfather was the importance of a good attitude.

“Your attitude is infectious. If you’re positive, people take notice and they want to help you. To be successful, it comes down to being likable and being an expert, and these are things you can’t be taught.”