WANTED: GREAT ORIGINATORS!!!
I originally wrote the following article for the mortgage banker newsletter. It contains advice for sales professionals in general and mortgage originators in specific. It also includes a checklist for consumers to grade the professionals with whom they deal in the real estate business. Enjoy.
Are you on the wanted list? When a top producer in the sales end of the real estate business is looking for a pro to take care of the financing component, is your name on the list?
In my years of experience working with top producing real estate agents, most doing thirty plus, transactions a year, I learned a lot about their approach to the critical financing end of the business. Most had a short list of two to three originators who handled virtually all of their buyer side sales.
To be considered for the short list you have to be good. "Good" is a given. "Good" is knowledgeable in the field, trustworthy, prompt, responsive, well presented, positive, unflappable, comfortable with people, and able to access a wide array of competitive programs. Good is the baseline. If you are not at least good, find another profession.
To make the list and stay on it you have to be great. They say that the difference between the top moneymaker on the PGA tour and the bottom rung of that ladder averages less than two strokes per round. Same goes for the difference between the good and the great originator. It's that little edge of excellence.
- Know they can't be all things to all people. That's one reason for the "list" to begin with. If this borrower is better off with someone else, tell the real estate professional asap, and help expedite the transfer of that business. ("Miracle on 34th St.", Macys vs. Gimbals, it's for real!). This is how loyalty is built.
- Follow-up. Everyone is a bit loony in a real estate transaction. The tide rises and falls on that precious commodity "information". Great follow-up includes letting people know that you don't have the information yet, but you are working on it, you have not forgotten them!!! This is how repeat and referral business is built.
- Treat people as human beings. In a business with enormous competitive pressure, an incredibly fast pace, and huge "bureaucratic" requirements, it's tough not to get jaded. When it starts to become "just another deal", it's time for a break. The "flip" side of this is, of course, "don't take it personally". People will do things to you that seem unconscionable. Great originators know when they start feeling like a target; it's time for a breather. Vacations are mandatory! This is how relationships are built.
- Are honest with others and with themselves. "Honesty", I am told, "is the truth you tell others; integrity is the truth you tell yourself". There is a lot of temptation in the business. There is a lot of opportunity to manipulate and take advantage of people. Sometimes, it would seem, even for their own good. Only you know your true motives and goals. Be honest with yourself. It shows. This is how reputation is built.
Last, we must watch out for the greed factor. It's an ugly word, but we have to remind ourselves of the price we paid when greed kicked in the late 80's and again in this most recent decade. The people who survive and prosper know that whether they are on their way up or down the ladder of success, they run into the same people. It's tough to improve on the advice of the dean of motivational speakers, Zig Ziglar, "The more people you help to get what they want, the sooner you'll get what you want!"
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