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Why Do You Want to Learn?

Dave Hershman
Nov 18, 2015
I have been teaching in this industry for more than 30 years now

I have been teaching in this industry for more than 30 years now … among other things that makes me old. During that time I have observed, coached and taught tens of thousands in the areas of mortgage expertise, marketing, sales, customer service, leadership and more. It never ceases to amaze me to see how many come just to learn—as if the learning will somehow make them better.

This is also a message I have been delivering for over three decades—while all learning is good, learning without purpose is not fruitful by any means. Even achieving a certification is not going to help you if you don’t take action. As the creator of the Certified Mortgage Advisor Certification Program, that sounds contradictory. But it is true, a certification by itself is worthless. It is how you market yourself with that certification and use it every day to help your customers which is important.

This seems an obvious point, but it needs to be made. Why? Because training attracts those who suffer from a special form of call reluctance. In teaching about call reluctance, I have found that there are many forms of call reluctance. Those “attracted” to trainings are likely to be someone who is not comfortable calling someone unless they know everything.

Meanwhile, those who have low levels of call reluctance and high marketing IQs, call and find out the answers later. Sort of a version of the “aim, fire, ready” scenario. In reality we need a balance. We need to take the learning and use it to “ready, aim, fire” more effectively.

It is certainly a conundrum. Those teaching schools are trying to attract students, but naturally they attract the wrong ones, or the ones least likely to benefit from these trainings. Those suffering from the most severe forms of call reluctance spend as much time learning as possible to avoid calling. Even social media and e-mail can be used as tools to mask this reluctance to call.

The next question is—if learning must have a purpose what is the real purpose of learning? For that I go back to the term mortgage advisor. When thinking about this term, we assume that loan officers want to deliver the most value to their clients. Value should be defined in terms of the needs and wants of the consumer. What do clients want? They want expert mortgage advice. They are not looking for a loan officer or an originator. They don’t even know what those terms mean for the most part. But they know what a mortgage advisor is. Why use a title that does not describe what you do with regarding to the value you deliver?

I think we all would agree that expert mortgage advice is what the goal is here. And it is not about earning the title, or a certification. It is about becoming an expert in the industry. What do you need to learn to become an expert? The answer is very comprehensive. It is not one topic, but understanding the industry, programs, pipeline management and more. Here is a non-comprehensive list of the areas a great mortgage advisor should have expertise in …

►The real estate process—from homeownership to closing expertise.
The economic and non-economic reasons to own a home.
The understanding of the secondary markets influences which affect your rate sheet.
Basic concepts of real estate finance-from mortgage prepayment alternatives to the effect of closing costs.
How to compare the performance of loan products, downpayments, closing costs and mortgage insurance under future scenarios.
Qualifying prospects, including credit, budgeting and debt reduction expertise.
How to process and underwrite a loan.
How to value a property.
How to control your pipeline and the process to deliver great customer service.
How to market as an expert from within the process.
Learn what is right and what is not right from an ethical standpoint.
Become an expert in sales and marketing—not only for you, but your business-to-business targets as well. 

Within our Certified Mortgage Advisor curriculum we touch on all these targets, but there is much more work to be done with regard to achieving the status of expert. Becoming an expert is the goal so you can give expert mortgage advice and deliver expert customer service. But there is the other side of the equation. Becoming an expert is not enough by any means.

You not only have to be an expert, but you need customers to give advice to. If you are working for a company that provides leads, the process is easier, but the sales part of the process might be more difficult. If you are a “street” loan officer, then you also must become an expert in marketing and sales. Of the two, most companies emphasize sales training, but it actually marketing expertise which is more important. Why? Because marketing skills determine the quality of the lead. The stronger the lead, such as a strong referral, the less sales skills you will need, though some level of sales skills will always be needed. Certainly you can see how strong your sales skills must be to field cold calls versus strong referrals.

And this brings us back to call reluctance. If you can give expert mortgage advice, but you don’t make the necessary calls to set up meetings with referral sources such as real estate agents, the training and education and certification is not going to help you. So you need to become an expert in overcoming call reluctance as well.

Again, I have been training for three decades. I have seen those who struggle in one or more of these areas. But if you really want to be a top producer, you will conquer each aspect of the equation. And that is why I have always espoused comprehensive knowledge and have tried to teach all aspects of what is required. But all the knowledge in the world will not bring home the bacon. You still have to hold up your side of the equation.

Dave Hershman is a top author in this industry with seven books published as well as the founder of the OriginationPro Marketing System and Certified Mortgage Advisor Curriculum. He is currently director of branch support for McLean Mortgage. He may be reached by e-mail at [email protected].

This article originally appeared in the September 2015 edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine.


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