Nobody wanted it to happen … for mortgage rates to rise. When rates are stable and low, it is always easier to find plenty of willing borrowers for a refinance of an existing loan, or for the purchase of a home. However, the last several weeks have reminded us that rates will always be a variable outside of our control. Moreover, we must use this wake-up call to tune-up our business to ensure our success regardless of the prevailing interest rates.
Here are five ways to tune-up your business:
1. Maximize your strategic pipeline
When overall volume declines, as it will when rates rise, the successful loan officer will quickly determine which loans have the greatest potential to fall out and those that will close. Energy will be refocused to maximize pull-through, keeping in mind that purchases generally weather rate fluctuations. It is more imperative than ever that you close the highest possible percentage of the inquiries you receive and the loan applications you take. The key to this is to focus on the details … making sure that your “perfect process” is followed with each opportunity, which of course includes an appropriate pre-qualification. Mortgage origination is a repetitive business where consistent systems and processes produce consistently high closing ratios.
2. Maximize your efficiency
Part of that “perfect process” is to ensure that every task that needs doing is assigned and performed correctly and completely the first time. The goal is to do something once. This way you are not repeating tasks and you can spend more of your time generating business.
3. Maximize lender relationships
Are you getting all the leverage you can from your lender relationships? Do your lenders offer assistance with marketing, training or other business areas that can improve your business development and operations? If you need help—ask for it. The answer will tell you a lot about the partners you have.
4. Maximize referral relationships
Are you getting the most from your referral partners that you can? Are they participating in co-branded marketing? Are they inviting you into their existing seminars, Webinars or passing along invitations to your events? Have you offered to perform loan option presentations for all prospects or clients? Have you offered to perform annual mortgage reviews for their clients or prospects? Are they re-posting/re-tweeting your social media content? Re-engage your referral partners and find ways to be or service to each other.
5. Maximize your time management
Are you getting as much done during your work days as possible? Studies clearly show that those who utilize “time-blocking” get far more accomplished than those who do not. Time blocking refers to the practice of segmenting your day into time blocks during which certain activities are performed and other tasks and distractions are minimized. Organize your work day to minimize non-business generating activities and maximize business generating activities.
Most originators in the business today are successful professionals. But even successful professionals need a tune-up every now and then to make sure they are performing as efficiently and effectively as possible. Higher interest rates may lower production volume overall, but the best originators will actually grow their production as their superior level of service is clear to see by consumers and referral partners alike.
Sharon Bitz is the national head of wholesale lending for WCS Lending, one of the largest privately-held mortgage banks in the U.S. that has been recognized as an Inc. 5000 honoree for the fourth consecutive year. WCS, which is licensed in 49 states, has offices in Florida, New York, California, Michigan, Maryland, Delaware, Ohio and Hawaii and generates $2 billion-plus in loans annually. She may be reached by phone at (916) 996-1620.