National Mortgage Professional Magazine Presents ... Coaches Roundtable Discussion 2019
►“The only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary.”–Vince Lombardi
►“I’ve never felt my job was to win games–rather, that the essence of my job as a coach was to do everything I could to give my players the background necessary to succeed in life.”–Bobby Knight
►“There are three types of players: Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happens.”–Tommy Lasorda
►“There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either in or out. There is no such thing as life in-between.”–Pat Riley
And while their quotes are aimed at combatants who wage their wars on the gridiron, parquet floors or baseball diamonds, all are applicable even to today’s mortgage professional.
Roundtable participants …
Founder, The Legion of Loan Officers
Nick Carpenter is the founder of The Legion of Loan Officers, and one of the most sought after thought leaders and marketers in the mortgage industry. He is a “Realtor Attraction” expert, known for helping loan officers add 10 great referral partners within 90 days. Nick is an Eagle Scout and U.S. Air Force veteran, having served in Iraq. For more information, visit LegionOfLoanOfficers.com.
The Mortgage Godfather
Ralph LoVuolo is an author, speaker and coach to the mortgage industry. He has more than 60 years in “the business of mortgages.” There is almost no act that occurs in a mortgage company that he has not participated in and in some cases, he was a pioneer. He held in his hands the first GNMA MBS that was issued. He will tell you that story at the drop of a hat. He has started, either for himself or for others, nine mortgage companies. He has told the stories of his interaction with his father that will leave you laughing in disbelief. He extensively writes and speaks about all phases of the mortgage industry both to his coaching clients and groups throughout the USA. For more information, visit MortgageGodfather.com.
Adam P. Smith
President, CORE Finance Group & Owner, Just the Tips Coaching
Adam P. Smith is president of CORE Finance Group, a leader in lead-generation coaching, and owner of Just the Tips Coaching. Adam has taught many classes on contact management and marketing to colleagues in the real estate, mortgage, insurance and financial fields. During his lending career, he has helped thousands of clients, both individuals and corporations, in their goals regarding real estate finance, as well as both personal and corporate finance and has personally written billions of dollars in mortgage and finance deals. Adam has also coached hundreds of real estate agents on lead generation, client retention, repeat and referral sales prospecting and zero cost marketing. He lectures regularly, and coaches colleagues on lead generation through his Just the Tips, Zero Cost Marketing for a Repeat and Referral Business and Secret Sauce programs to the real estate, mortgage, insurance and financial fields across the country. He has taught classes for several of the country’s largest real estate companies, countless title companies, and many real estate boards. For more information, visit COREFinanceGroup.com or JustTheTipsCoaching.com.
Art "Ski" Swiatkowski
Art "Ski" Swiatkowski is passionate about developing people and businesses. He has dedicated the past 35 years to serving the real estate finance industry, first as a top producing loan originator and branch manager, then as a corporate executive, trainer and business development specialist. An engaging, entertaining speaker and trainer, he has taught and mentored thousands of sales representatives, managers and operations personnel across the nation. As a former trainer for the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB) and through other corporate training initiatives, he has appeared as a speaker at many national and state trade conferences. His articles have been featured in numerous trade publications. During his tenure as vice president of business development for the InterBay Funding and Silver Hill Funding divisions of Bayview Asset Management, he played a key role in the company’s meteoric growth and one of the most amazing success stories in the mortgage lending industry. A former collegiate football player and currently active lacrosse player and coach, his leadership and development messages draw on lessons from the athletic field and the conference room in order to challenge people to achieve the results they want in their life and business. He can be reached by phone at (610) 220-2224.
Chief Operating Officer, Actualize Consulting
Kerry Wekelo is the chief operating officer of Actualize Consulting, a consultancy firm specializing in business process engineering and technology implementations for financial institutions. Kerry has more than 20 years of work experience with top organizations in the field of consultancy, management, finance, technology, and research for Fortune 1000 firms. She is also an award-winning author of Culture Infusion, a speaker and a mindfulness advocate. For more information, visit ActualizeConsulting.com.
The roundtable ...
How did you first get your start in coaching mortgage professionals?
Nick Carpenter: I was a real estate agent for three years and then on staff at a Keller Williams office before being recruited to open the corporate marketing department for Benchmark Mortgage. That's where I really combined my skillset in real estate and online marketing with loan officers and used these concepts to attract more Realtor referral partners. My partner, Garrett Finkelstein, and I were hosting classes for loan officers every week. Eventually, I heard Jim McMahan give a quote at an event we were doing together in Breckenridge that made me decide to open my own company. Jim said "There are enough people who will do business your way that you don't need the ones who won't." I decided to shift my path and left to work with my own clients in 2014.
Ralph LoVuolo: I was the parliamentarian for the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB). It was 1989 and we were at a board meeting in Denver and I had just given a seminar on “Robert’s Rules of Order” to the other members of the board when two of them approached me at the front of the room.
Adam P. Smith: I have been coaching real estate agents for better than a decade on topics including: Zero cost marketing for a repeat and referral business, contact management, social media, video marketing, etc. Not only did that lend to my coaching business, but it also paid dividends to my loan origination business as the leads the agents were generating were being referred to me for mortgages. That evolved into more focused coaching on lead generation so I wrote and published a book on the subject titled Just the Tips: 365 Sales and Life Hacks to Get You Through Your Year. That content, coming from a mortgage professional, made for an easy transition into coaching other loan originators, insurance agents, financial planners, car salesmen, etc.
Art “Ski” Swiatkowski: Actually, I have been studying the mind and performance improvement since the 1980’s. I am fascinated by people, what makes them tick and what separates the successful people from everyone else.
I initially entered the coaching field around 1998, but not in the mortgage industry. My love of the game of lacrosse led me to start a boy’s lacrosse team at our local high school. I coached there for 10 years. Shortly after starting that program, I really began to appreciate the results coaching could achieve. And so, I decided to go through a business coaching certification program offered by Resource Associates Corporation, which is a leadership development organization. My objective was to expand my management style in the direction of coaching and bring more value to the mortgage people I managed.
Interestingly enough, in addition to coaching my team in the mortgage business, several small business owners in my area asked me to work with them. This provided me with yet another perspective through which to study coaching and formulas for building success.
Kerry Wekelo: My career path includes having worked as a consultant. Because of my experience, I was able to relate to my team and understand the demands required to work as a consultant in the finance industry. I learned how to breathe balance and authenticity into my own life, and people noticed. Individuals started approaching me for help, and that is how I began coaching Actualize Consulting’s internal team, which includes our Mortgage and Fixed Income practice. From there, my coaching expanded into working with our clients in the mortgage industry. I have coached individuals of all levels and large groups.
What do you as a coach bring to the table that differentiates you from other coaches in the industry?
Nick Carpenter: The community and culture are the difference between The Legion of Loan Officers and every other coach in the mortgage industry. Our core values are: Relationships (Come First), Excellence (in Everything), Courage (To Do), Commitment (To Succeed), and Integrity (Always). Our community is comprised of nearly 500 of the best loan officers and mortgage brokers from 45 states around the country, sharing best practices and providing mentorship and support to each other. I appreciate the OGs in the industry for what they did a decade ago and The Legion of Loan Officers has modernized the concepts they introduced for the current social era, while never cold-calling a single real estate agent.
Ralph LoVuolo: My coaching philosophy is very different and much more effective than many of my peers. What I have come to understand is that we need to first concentrate on developing a trust relationship with our referral sources. I focus my efforts to help the MLO’s I work with, the audiences I address, and the voluminous writing I advance to the marketplace, to see the essence of a business bond as a trust relationship built on the advancement of ideas that helps the referral source improve their business. This is done by understanding the marketing needs of the referral source and delivering it. This will produce more business for the source and bind the two people together in a trust relationship.
Adam P. Smith: My coaching strategy is strictly tactical and technical. I do not coach people on how to communicate better. I am not a life coach that’s going to help you with relationships. I coach people only on real rubber-to-the-road ideas and strategies to help salespeople generate more leads. I conduct initial office visits, do CRM analysis, help structure social media practices, and dedicate time to individually coaching clients each and every week. I also host an annual mastermind event with incredible content from other coaches and speakers every year, and have my coaching clients come visit my home and office in Denver.
Art “Ski” Swiatkowski: There are some awesome coaches out there serving the mortgage industry. But personally, I subscribe to something my dear friend and fellow coach, Ralph LoVuolo, once told me: “I am unique. There is no one exactly like me in the coaching world.”
Actually, I choose the people with whom I’d like to work. My approach is to qualify prospective coaching clients upfront to make that determination. If I don’t think I can help them or if I think we are not a match for each other, I will decline the opportunity and refer them to another coach.
Kerry Wekelo: Many coaches start with the end game and work to help the individual achieve their goals. I am different as I start my coaching sessions by focusing on what brings the most inspiration to the individual. I ensure that my clients are taking personal time daily to find or do the things they enjoy. Once they are personally fulfilled, they can serve others. I also draw from the principles in my book, Culture Infusion–Nine Principles to Create and Maintain a Thriving Organizational Culture in which I pull from each of the principles to help to serve my clients.
What are some of the biggest trends you are currently seeing in the mortgage marketplace?
Adam P. Smith: Technology is always a big one. Interest rates are certainly a significant trend today. Broker versus banker is a very hot topic these days. The thing about the mortgage industry itself is that it’s dynamic and always changing. You cannot remain stagnant or you will get run over. Knowing those trends and deciding what is important to the industry, and to your specific business, is something we all need to be watching all the time.
What are some effective marketing methods you would suggest to your clients to generate new business?
Nick Carpenter: Legion of Loan Officers members grow their mortgage business through three pillars of business: Consumer Direct, Referral Partners and Database Marketing. I'll share one idea for each area of focus.
For Consumer Direct Business, you can partner up with a real estate agent and run a single property ad on Facebook. These ads are getting us exclusive homebuyer leads for under $1.50 each in most markets and they are a great way to fill your database.
Ralph LoVuolo: My clientele is the MLO. There are two main sources of business for my clients: Their family and friends, and people who know that someone is buying or interested in buying real estate and will be helping that person on a professional level.
How can consulting a coach grow one's mortgage business? What tools/tips do you offer that can assist a client?
Art “Ski” Swiatkowski: Success-oriented people, regardless of their position within a company, see themselves as self-employed … the CEO of “You Incorporated.” They create a sense of responsibility for themselves in that role that drives what they think and what they do. They believe that, “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.” This is a huge mental shift that most struggle to make and which is even more difficult to act upon.
Kerry Wekelo: To grow your mortgage business, relationships are key. In our society today, people are starved for others to listen to their needs. I coach my clients on active listening techniques that will help them to develop relationships and ensure their clients want to do business with them. Active listening is a practice that can help you fine-tune the way you show up in your conversations. It is comprised of two simple parts: Listening and Understanding.
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