Steven Marshall has always had a flair for the dramatic. His sales improvement events in the boom times of the mid-2000s drew thousands of eager mortgage professionals who were caught up in the high energy, high motivation spectacle. Those events reflected their time and place in history.
The MasterMind 2012 event, held in early June at the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, was more reflective of the times we live in today. Not that the event was without the “Vegas flair” as Steven Marshall put it during an interview with National Mortgage Professional Magazine, but, as Marshall added, “This time around it’s all about the content—how to close more loans despite the increased work involved in each transaction.”
Marshall also stated that it not all about closing more loans.
“We had 50 of the top loan 200 originators in the U.S. who attended this event,” said Marshall. “For many of them, the goal is closing the same number of loans in less time.” Asked to sum up the event’s purpose, he said, “It was gladiator training—where the best came to get better.”
How each individual defined “better” was up to them.
The event employed two unique features: Massive panels and a speaker competition. Marshall says he wanted to deliver as much practical, actionable content as possible during the two-day event. One way he accomplished this was by reducing the time allotment for keynote speakers, including his own, and drastically increasing the time allotted to successful originators and mortgage sales executives.
His two panel discussions gave 27 industry leaders 10 minutes each to share their best tips. Additionally, to increase the motivation of the speakers to deliver the best possible content, Marshall instituted “MasterMind’s Got Talent,” in which attendees voted after each session on which speaker was the best. The winners advanced to a final four from which a “Best Speaker” was crowned.
Next year, Marshall hopes to add a “play-in” competition in which a few speaking slots will be up for grabs based on video clips placed and promoted on YouTube. In a similar populist move, next year’s primary keynote speaker will be selected based on this year’s attendee’s votes. The choices for next year include former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Lance Armstrong or Tony Robbins.
How was the event received? According to Drew Waterhouse, managing director and chief executive officer of Hammerhouse LLC, a mortgage industry recruiting firm, “It was nice to get the top talent in the industry together, pat each other on the back for surviving the last few years, have some fun and be serious about getting better at what we do.”
Don Henig, managing director of national sales for Mortgage Master Inc. and a member of the “Executive Panel,” said, “Steven is a visionary. He knew instinctively that an event focused on actionable ideas would be extremely popular. He had a great deal of courage to put on an event now given the uncertainties in the economy and in the industry. His courage was rewarded.”
If the 2012 MasterMind event is any indication, it appears that this is the year that mortgage professionals are reclaiming their pride in being the link to homeownership and debt management for their clients after years of vilification by politicians and the press. The mood in the halls of the Palms Hotel and Casino was positive, but realistic. The assembled industry leaders seemed to know that many trials still lie ahead for the industry, but there was also a sense that these people, mostly seasoned industry veterans, would be among those who will adapt the best.
David J. Coster, managing partner of Academy Media Partners, is a 25-year veteran of the financial services industry, with experience in production, marketing and management within the real estate, mortgage and insurance markets. Academy Media Partners is a developer and publisher of educational-focused content for leading financial services firms. He may be reached by phone at (919) 559-2171 or e-mail [email protected]