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Much has been written about the fact that the mortgage industry has been slow to implement technology as compared to other industries. The truth is technology has affected just about every part of our industry, even if we have not been on the cutting edge. As someone who started in the industry almost 35 years ago—of course I started when I was 12—I have witnessed these changes firsthand. When I entered the industry, here is we had as examples of technology:
►Cool pagers that let us know what phone number to call.
►Fax machines that took about a minute to transmit a page.
►Typewriters upon which could type up our applications, and if we make a mistake, we used “White-Out”—when we were allowed to.
No, I did not ride a horse to work at the same time, and I will not get into the changes in automobile technology that have occurred over time. But I will say this … it was quite a few years before we got what we called “car phones.”
Obviously, technology has evolved significantly. But because the average age of a loan officer is over 50 in this industry and because the average age of a sales manager is even higher, it is actually pretty logical that our managers have not adopted all the technology which is now at their fingertips. For example, there are some in the industry that are still taking hand-written loan applications—believe it or not.
However, this column is not focused upon production technology, but management technology. What type of technology facilitates management? For one, the use of a Customer Relationship Management application (CRM). In the infancy of the technological age we used to call this database software. Remember Act! and Goldmine? If we were lucky, some of us had databases of our previous customers.
It is interesting that the acronym “CRM” starts with the word customer. Obviously, CRMs are customer enhancement and retention tools. On the other hand, for many decades, I have been teaching that a database should be a compendium of a loan officers life, or their complete sphere. Customers and prospects are part of that sphere, but certainly not the whole sphere. My teachings move database counts from 300 to 3,000 per loan officer.
If you use this definition, then a CRM can become a management and recruiting tool. For example, managers do you have your loan officers entered into your CRM? If you do, you can use it has a management tool to schedule meetings, track work anniversaries and more. As part of your database, your loan officers can also see how you are using the database to deliver value to your sphere.
The next question, is every loan officer you know entered into your database—even ones that left the industry? Not only are these loan officers a source for referrals, but also they should become a base for your recruiting efforts. Now you can deliver valuable materials at a touch of a button, as well as schedule follow-up calls and meetings and record notes of these interactions. You can even profile each candidate using the system. If you don’t know what a loan officer “profile” should look like—feel free to e-mail me at Dave@HershmanGroup.com, and I will send you an example from our “Building and Leading a Great Mortgage Team” course.
A CRM is not the only technology tool a manager should be using more extensively. Technology is also making training easier. Last month, I wrote about the different facets of training. In the old days, training took place a classroom. Now training can be online, via Webinar or by podcast. Of these, online training is typically the most affordable and flexible, while still having the ability to track the progress of the student.
Learning management systems (LMS) typically were cumbersome and only available to developers in the past. Now technology have brought these LMS systems to anyone who has the ability to create coursework. These systems can measure how long the student was logged in, while also providing for review questions and automatically grading final exams. Anyone who has gone through the NMLS final exam knows what the testing features can do in a very controlled environment.
As I mentioned, online work does not replace field training or mentorship. They work hand-in-hand, but online features are much more flexible and affordable than having to travel to another city for a two-day live course. And while the interaction with a live trainer cannot be replaced, the ability to ask questions can be made part of online training, as well as the ability to review the material again and again.
This article is not meant to be a comprehensive treatment of all technologies that should be used by managers in this industry. Since most sales managers are also producers, technology and production is a topic that will be covered elsewhere within this edition. However, it does give a manager a taste of a few of the technologies that could help them more efficient.
The bottom line is that our sales managers have several functions for which they are responsible, each of which could be a full time occupation. These include personal production, recruiting, assessment, coaching and more. It makes sense for managers to use technology to become more efficient in accomplishing these tasks.
Dave Hershman is a top author in this industry with seven books published, as well as the founder of the OriginationPro Marketing System and the OriginationPro’s online comprehensive mortgage school. Dave is also director of Branch Support for McLean Mortgage. He may be reached by e-mail at Dave@HershmanGroup.com or visit OriginationPro.com.
This article originally appeared in the June 2016 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine.