Training for major league successJoe AmorosoMortgage training
If you're a sports fan who follows baseball, like me, chances
are you can't wait for spring training to start. Not only do you
get a preview of major league practice in action, but you also get
a pretty good feel for who's going to be hot during the season and
give your competitors a run for their money.
Whether it's baseball or mortgages, spring training makes a
whole lot of sense, both from the standpoint of the individual
players and for the success of the overall team.
Maybe you're just entering the mortgage business. Maybe you've
been running your own shop for 20 years. Either way, you still have
to have an ongoing training program, if you expect to be at the top
of your game in the coming year.
Top sales leaders spend two weeks a year in training, while
learning new ways to communicate with new buyers.* Two weeks may
seem like a lot, but when you invest money and time to effectively
train your loan officers, you will more than make up for it. Not
only will you better retain your top talent, but you'll also
enhance their ability to more successfully sell a wider variety of
products and to close loans more quickly.
Rookies on the rise
Realistically, a new loan officer's enthusiasm will probably carry
him for the first couple of innings, but then he is going to have
to have the industry know-how, product knowledge and core skills to
sustain them, or he'll likely get benched. Rookies need to know and
understand the new technology, the products and even such basics as
how to read a rate sheet or an appraisal.
I've known many brokers with high-potential rookie loan officers
who've walked after only a few months because they didn't feel well
trained enough to succeed in their job. These companies spent a lot
of money to recruit the loan officers and get them in the dugout,
but then didn't follow up with any kind of significant training or
Mortgage 101 kinds of workshops. Don't let that happen to you.
Rookies also need thorough training in basic salesmanship. How
do you handle a borrower who is a rate shopper? How do you counsel
a borrower with an unrealistic expectation as to what kind of
mortgage products are available to him?
While rookie training is most obvious, you also need to offer
training to your seasoned, heavy-hitting loan officers. Lenders
roll out new products every day, and your sales team needs to
understand which customers they accommodate and how to best
position products. Previous experience alone is not enough to keep
up with the ever-changing wholesale marketplace, its products and
A variety of online and webcast training courses are available
through the Mortgage Bankers Association of America and the
National Association of Mortgage Brokers. In my experience, these
tend to be vastly underused educational resources. The same goes
for regional training sessions. Take a look at both self-study and
group offerings and consider scheduling them on a regular
Additionally, remember to take full advantage of your veteran
wholesale account executives and put them to work for you. Don't be
shy about tapping them for new product or technology training when
they're in your office.
A winning franchise
While it's crucial to focus on your sales team, don't forget to
train your operations staff on new loan programs and product
guidelines too. Their knowledge of back-office
technology—whether offered by the lender or your own in-house
systems—helps them more efficiently process loan
Further, while it's easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day,
you've got to keep your eye on the ball. With my own staff, I make
it a point to talk about broad industry issues and trends. What's
happening in the secondary market and how does it affect what we do
every day? What's going on with our competitors? What's the mood of
homebuyers these days? What's up in the refi market? It pays to
become a student of the industry and pass that knowledge along to
your entire team on a regular basis.
Lastly, subscribe to and read a broad array of industry
publications, like The Mortgage Press, Broker, Origination News,
National Mortgage News, The Wall Street Journal and National
Mortgage Broker. Tear out interesting articles and post them in
your break room or circulate them amongst your team.
The bottom line is, whether you're a small shop or a large
company, if you want to consecutively hit home runs in our
business, you simply cannot afford not to train and challenge your
players to reach their fullest potential.
*Source: Sales and training workshop presented by Hyland
Joe Amoroso is senior vice president of Opteum Financial
Services. He may be reached by e-mail at [email protected]