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The Mortgage Godfather: Marketing 101

Ralph Lovuolo
Jun 22, 2020
Photo credit: Getty Images/ipopba

A long time ago, I was at brunch with my wife, my daughter and the young man she was convinced she was going to marry. She was a high school senior at the time, and soon would be leaving our comfortable loving nest to start college about 500 miles away. If my memory serves me correctly, this was the last weekend she would be home. In order to better know the young man she had decided was “The One,” it was decided that we could spend a leisurely afternoon at a new restaurant. We had heard that, although new, their brunch menu was extravagant and varied.
Ralph LoVuolo Sr. has nearly 60 years history in the mortgage businessAlmost as soon as we sat down, the young man and I started a conversation pretty much to the exclusion of my wife and daughter. I’m sure that my wife was happy about that, my daughter, I’m not so sure. He was pleasant enough, and it had been relayed to me that he was doing very well at school and had been accepted to an Ivy League university. Being intrigued by that badge, I was interested in finding out what an Ivy League freshman-to-be was like.
We found areas of interest soon enough while my daughter was freely removing herself from her mother’s questions and injecting her own points of view into my conversation with the young man.
If you’re a faithful reader of my column here in National Mortgage Professional magazine, you know that I’m fanatically convinced that the method of coaching that I espouse is the way that will get you to the promised land. It is the only right way to accomplish your personal goals. It is the only way to realize your dreams of success.
You must also know that someday, somehow, the rest of the mortgage world will see that my ideas, stolen freely from some of the greatest minds in the field of sales and coaching were unquestionably correct. Then, because of that, everyone will become a follower of my principles.
In any case, my young brunch companion raised the thought about something that he thought was needed in the marketplace. I have no idea what it was, but I do remember his fervor as soon as the conversation turned in the direction that he was leading me to. I happily joined him in his excitement as he explained to me the many uses of his “invention.” I’ve checked with my daughter and what she remembers was that it was something that would help users of personal computers be able to more easily find information. Other than that, I’m admittedly flummoxed about its use. But his excitement was catching. It infected me and I became an immediate fan of his. What I am definite about is my memory of the part of the conversation that centered around the ability to see his idea to some company that would make him famous. I encouraged him to pursue his dream.
And somewhere in that time frame, my personal passions came out full force. There is a line from that conversation that I still recall almost verbatim: “If people will buy a pet rock, they’ll buy anything. All you need to do is market it properly and the world will give you whatever you want.” Of course, he agreed. I think I was so excited to get that line off that the people sitting all around us became involved as well.
As Simon Sinek has written extensively, first find your “WHY,” and everything will flow from that. I’ve used that line very often in my coaching career. It is the first basis for my beliefs. I combine that with the words of Zig Ziglar, who has posited countless times: “If you give people what they want, they will give you what you want.” It therefore seems simple that if you know why you do what you do and you combine it with freely giving away what will help your referral sources, the world will beat a path to your door. Finally, add to that the most difficult task of all: persistence. Without persistence, you will fail.
Getting back to my conversation with my daughter’s beau … I relayed what I have just written in the last paragraph.
Be sure you know your “WHY,” give people what they “WANT” and do it over and over. He had, of course, never met anyone who did what I do and have been doing for decades. He had not yet thought about how to sell his idea and was a bit lost about the next steps he had to take. I believe I was able to capture his attention.
Let’s turn to your needs and restate what marketing means in the time of the COVID-19 tragedy that has enveloped the world.
You have tools that must be used as they have never been used before. You need first to put your true mind, your sincere “WHY” mind into gear and see that what I profess will help you achieve the goals you’ve thought about, but in most cases, have yet to write down.
So, why do you do what you do? Why are you an actor in the mortgage industry? Why do you get up in the morning? Why? If you are clear on these points and clearly know your “WHY,” we can move easily to the next step.
Build your next step around helping others accomplish what they want. Remember Mr. Ziglar with every interaction you have with your referral sources. Think of ways to help them get “WHAT” they want. This will require you to find out their needs, you’ll have to study their business, understand what they do or wish they could do to secure clients who want to buy a “HOME,” not just a house.
Their needs are many. This is not the place for me to elucidate on all of the things I’ve learned about real estate sales during my life. Be sure as part of this step that your referral sources understand that there is a business relationship that amounts to a quasi-partnership. You’ll help them consistently and believe that they will include, to their customers, a recommendation about you and your professionalism and knowledge.
Most importantly, you need to be persistent in your attempts to help your referral sources become the success they want to be. I’ve said the following so many times that some of you might be tired of it, but I will never stop saying this: “If you are not persistent, you will fail.” I follow that up with, “In sales, ‘No’ doesn’t mean ‘NO,’ it means ‘maybe.’ ‘No’ means “You haven’t yet given me a reason to do business with you.”
Returning to the basis of marketing your services. Let’s point out a few “musts” you should take into account:
►Learn the full capabilities of your CRM. I have been saying this for years and it is true more than ever. Most of you have no idea of your CRM’s capabilities. Most leaders of most mortgage companies and banks have no method of following up with their sales force to ensure that their CRM is being used to its’ capabilities.
►Show your real estate agents how beneficial a CRM is to their own businesses.
►Research the real estate business as you’ve never done before. Find out what they do, don’t do and why. You need to know all of this in order to come up with ideas that will help them accomplish their goals.
►Read extensively about sales and sales techniques. For example, do you know there are multiple methods of selling? Do you know what they are?
►Learn everything you can about the bond market and the activities that the Fed takes, and how often the Fed meets and why. How and why is the 10-year T-Bill tied to the mortgage business and interest rates? Know why it fluctuates, and be able to explain these fluctuations to your clients and agents if the time arises.
►Learn how to use the various methods of interacting with your referral sources, such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime and more. Help your referral sources know how to use them.
►Come up with ideas to help your agents be more professional.
►Learn to say “I’m not like any other loan officer you’ve ever me. I want to help YOU be more successful!”
For specific ideas to present to your real estate agents, send me a message at [email protected]. I have an entire list, plus a plethora of backup material to help you better market yourself.

Ralph 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, and personal coaching. Call, text or e-mail (917) 576-1230 or e-mail [email protected].

This article originally appeared in the May 2020 print edition of National Mortgage Profesional Magazine.


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