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The Mortgage Godfather: Adapting to Technology? No Better Time Than Now!

Ralph Lovuolo
Jan 23, 2019
Kurt Pfotenhauer, Vice Chairman at First American Financial Corporation, has been appointed board chairman of MISMO

Yesterday, I was reading an article on the Web about when we should “start” something. It reminded me of an article written by my first boss, Tony Schweiger, when we worked together at South Jersey Mortgage Company back in the mid-1960’s. I think he wrote the article about 1967 and the title of the article was “The Time to Buy is NOW!” I wonder, every once in a while, if he remembers writing that article, because I think of it often. That article came to my mind on two separate occasions that particular day.
The first was during a group conversation where I was discussing the importance of technology in our business, the age of the average Mortgage Loan Originator and when we should start to use the incredible array of technology that is available. We have CRM’s, POS’s, LOS’s and more, much more.
Back in the 1980s, I recall that the agent that had listed the house I was living in was regularly sending postcards to my house reminding me that she was still in the real estate business while offering recipes for various foods to my wife. It was well-known at the time that recipes were the most popular way for people who sold real estate to remind their customers that they were still around. I also knew a salesperson who worked at Ethan Allen Furniture on Long Island that was required to write a postcard to every person she saw every day, thanking them for coming in to the store and that if they needed help, not to forget her name or phone number. She was not to wait to write, but to do so immediately, every day. In a short period of time, she became the top salesperson in that store. Most of her co-workers were not as disciplined, and it showed in the results of their sales.
The first time I encouraged my salespeople to use what I had discovered about the Internet was about 1995. I’m not sure of the date of course because it took me some time to learn what the whole Internet, including the World Wide Web, was all about. My first reaction was that if I touched the computer in the wrong way, it would explode and maim me. But the important thing I do remember was that somehow, we could send messages to each other through wires from one computer to another. I really thought that was pretty amazing.
And then I thought about how my salespeople could stay in touch with anyone they did business with. Further than that, I saw that we had an opportunity to both do it ourselves, but also to help Real Estate Agents do more business by staying in touch with their past customers in a different way than just by using the USPS.
My mind was always concentrated on improving my business and it was part of my responsibility to help my Loan Officers. Marketing was always on my mind. Additionally, I was always seeking ideas that would not be too expensive. Further, I felt a strong obligation to think differently than other Mortgage Brokers and also to be more helpful to our Realtors. I first had my son teach me how to set up an address book and learn how to be able to send mass mailings to my past customers. The most e-mails I could send was to a group of 25, but that was fine with me. It was better than I had done before. Then I had someone come to our office and teach my salespeople how to do what I had learned and start to use it themselves to stay in touch with their past customers, family and friends. Of course, most of them thought I was out of my mind, but I persisted. Most of the reason they thought I was nuts was because I wanted them to do it all the time. I thought we should be sending information about the financial markets and programs we had on a regular basis, at least once a month. Of course, because I was also producing business on my own, I didn’t follow up as diligently as I should have, but there were some people who did get some results and we discussed it often at our weekly sales meetings.
There was some point that I discovered that if I combined all of this information that was swirling in my head, it would be to the advantage of my Realtors to do the same thing we were doing. NOW, my sales staff really thought I was nuts.
What I wanted them to do was talk to their Realtors and ask them if they knew how to set up an address book, etc., etc. Of course, the answer, almost all the time was “No.” I suggested that they show their referral sources what they were doing. The ones who had begun to do what I had encouraged were doing more business and then everyone started to at least make some attempt on their own. This was the start of the concept that I use today of bringing value to referral sources. It is my first action in my Golden Circle, modeled after Simon Sinek as he has written about in his best-seller Start With Why. Trust me, with this, we were the first Mortgage Brokers in the country to begin the idea of bringing value to Realtors by teaching them to do something that would help them grow their business. In fact, even today, most of you are still selling rates, points, programs, service and denigrating the competition.
I’ve expanded the concept of helping referral sources, to a list of 80 ideas, all you have to do is ask, and I’ll send it to you.
The other and much more important subject that caused me to think of Tony’s article was concerning the use, or better said, non-use, of the overwhelming, incredible advances that are occurring every day in our world that has been so slow in embracing the wonderful changes, all for the better, of technology that will allow every one of you to do more business than you’ve ever dreamed of.
I spent some time recently discussing a POS that has some amazingly advanced and interesting abilities. I’d love to discuss them with you, but I need to hear from you in order to give you the information you need to become more productive. If you wait, you’ll find yourself and your company getting further and further behind those who act NOW! Feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or call me at (917) 576-1230.
Just think if I could tell you that after you meet with a proposed client, you’ve established trust, they know you know what you’re doing, they’ve heard from their Realtor that you’re the best MLO since ME, that you could direct those people to a place on the Web that will allow them to do wondrous things? Would you like that? Wouldn’t that allow you to go to find your next client, devise a new way to bring value your Realtors that would help them do more business? What are you waiting for? Just talk to your boss, ask them if they have any plans to bring you original ways to originate loans that will put you far ahead of your so-called competition.
I spoke to an MLO the other day who told me that his company has almost no technology. Believe me, the less you have the more likely you are to fail.
Go ahead, continue to sell rates, programs and service. The time to act is NOW!

Ralph LoVuolo Sr. has nearly 60 years history in the mortgage businessRalph LoVuolo Sr. has nearly 60 years history in the mortgage business. He was a Co-Founder/President of the NYAMB and a long-term member of the Board of Directors of NAMB. The Mortgage Godfather is available to help your salespeople do more business. He does sales rallies, Webinars, personal coaching. Call, text or e-mail (917) 576-1230 or e-mail [email protected].

This article originally appeared in the December 2018 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine.


Jan 23, 2019
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