Top Originator: Surefire ways to increase business visibility

Find out what her top tips are…

Top Originator: Surefire ways to increase business visibility

Melissa Ruble (pictured) closed $29.7 million in 2020. It might not sound a lot, but it is for the small town of Picayune, Miss., where the population is about 55,000 people, and the average home price is around $160,000. She closed roughly 180 loans with an average loan size of $175,000 last year. Her motivation: the people of Picayune.

“What I love about my career is being able to help people. It is nice to see that quantified, like when I moved from a larger city back to Picayune, the community I grew up in and was able to increase my business through my previous connections,” Ruble said. “I am excited to be working closely with my community, and I plan to continue to help people in the same manner throughout the years. I am very happy and grateful for what I do.”

Working in this environment, Ruble emphasizes the value of relationships and being trustworthy.

“It is important to market to your sphere of influence first. Once those around you know what you are doing, you have a chance to get in front of them,” she said. “Getting that opportunity is critical, though. Putting yourself out there raises your visibility, whether it is getting involved in community events, joining organizations, serving as a board member, or visiting open houses.”

One of the biggest lessons Ruble learned in her 14-year mortgage career is that it is easier to generate business from people who already know you. Then, it is all about having a great operations team to keep loans flowing through the pipeline to the closing table on time. “In a heated real estate market, reliability is paramount,” she said.

Ruble’s mortgage career started in 2007 when she made the jump from being a realtor to a junior loan officer at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. She has always been interested in mortgage and wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the business. Currently, Ruble is a retail branch manager at Planet Home Lending in Picayune. She’s been running the purchase-focused business for nearly three years now, and she’s built a team that includes three loan assistants and one junior loan officer. Together with her team, Ruble aims to finish the year with 225 units and $40 million under their belt.

Her goal is not so far off as Ruble is always working hard to be available for her clients and provide the highest level of customer service. But at the end of the day, she is just human. Ruble admits that she struggles with work-life balance.

“My phone is always ringing, and I’m constantly getting texts while I’m working to address issues with loans in the pipeline. Last year, I worked too much trying to please everyone at all hours of every day. Since my husband passed away earlier this year, I have set my schedule to allow time to take care of myself. There is never enough of me to go around,” she said.

Ruble is learning how to manage her time by balancing her work and personal life. She knows that when she feels good and healthy, it reflects on her relationships with her clients.