Help Your Loan Officers Close More Loans with Sales Activities
In 2020 when we onboarded our first 10 loan officers, my business was fortunate to have the guidance of Rene Rodriguez, CEO of Volentum. He showed us what so many mortgage companies neglect and helped us outline the road to success.
Since then we have built training that is centered around learning how to sell. This means that the topics, activities, and accountability tracking are centered around the things that are most important:
• Building an initial database of people who know, like & trust you.
• Communication & scripting techniques.
• Finding ways to add value (beyond the normal “I have great rates & service” line).
• Holding new salespeople accountable to six things and six things only:
- Aftercare, and
I am sure that there are many of you scratching your heads wondering why we would cover such topics when a loan officer has so much to learn and soak in. The systems alone make their heads spin and then figuring out all the rules that are hidden in the thousands of pages of Fannie & Freddie guidelines, leaves no room for sales stuff.
If you have developed any sort of training, first pat yourself on the back for being 10 steps ahead of much of the industry. Then go and review it to see if it looks like most mortgage company training:
The first few weeks of training typically covers:
- Systems & technology used on the job;
- Products and loan types;
- The Loan Process, and
- People who will be working on your loans.
Also, review how training is structured & taught:
- Training? My company said there is no training, just on-the-job learning.
- Monkey see, monkey do. See this button in this LOS system, you enter this here and click there and then this screen will bring you over here, which is where you submit the request, that goes to the lock desk. They will send you a PDF, which notifies you to go back into that screen and … you don’t catch half of what is said or done.
- One week of onsite training with a workbook and videos.
Where is the SALES training?
Since your earnings potential is only limited by the number of loans you can close, you need to figure out the best ways to generate more leads and earn the trust of the clients and their friends.
Some of the best strategies we teach our new sales team members:
- Pick a niche to focus on and become known for.
- Pair new hires with an experienced mentor.
- Creating a Sales Playbook with scripts and ideas for prospecting.
- Discipline and accountability through tracking activity and accountability meetings.
- Gamification — come up with a way to make it fun.
Strategies for Adding Sales Team Members Who Succeed
As the owner of a medium-size mortgage brokerage, we have onboarded several new and experienced loan officers during the past few years. Figuring out what works and what has ended in failure continues to be our teacher in an industry that has no clear cut guidelines and rules.
The things we have found work really well are the following:
1. Hire the right candidates. We all have worked at companies where they will hire everyone and anyone to try and build a pipeline, but that is a disservice to the LO and is costly to you. The average person is going to experience sales-call reluctance and it is your job to coach them through that.
a. Depend on personality & sales assessments
There are many out there and finding the right ones are key to assessments helping you make the right business decisions. When you find the assessments that work, you need to create rules for what your team looks for, for each position, and not deviate based on your gut feelings. Here are a few assessments we have tried:
• DISC Assessment;
• SPQ Assessment, and
• Strength Finders.
2. Bring new loan officers into the business by first training them in the key roles that will give them on-the job-learning experience. This includes:
a. Loan Processing;
b. Loan Closing, and
c. LOA — Loan Officer Assistant.
This doesn’t mean you need to have them spend a year in each role. It can be as much as three months in each core position before moving into full-time origination.
You will have a much more well-rounded loan originator who understands and respects your operations team after their rotation. The employee will also have the knowledge and be able to focus on selling when they make the transition into sales.
3. Have a sales process & plan in place for new loan officers. Training new loan officers is time consuming and expensive, but if done correctly will return 10 times the investment. Create a plan with milestones, check-ins, accountability tracking, scripts, and a way to hold them accountable to sales activity.
Make sure they don’t get tangled up in “wanting to know everything” before being willing to sell. Mortgage knowledge is a deep pool that you can drown in and make you never focus on the activities needed to get business in the door.
4. Lean on the resources & partners you work with that can help save you time.
a. Mortgage insurance companies.
b. Wholesale lenders (if you are a broker).
c. Tools like Leadpops and Mortgage Coach have resources, videos, and information that will teach your loan officers how to sell with their services.