The production life of a loan originator can be filled with great reward or total frustration. The “rollercoaster” of inconsistent production numbers can be very frustration to all involved, as well as provide an inconsistent level of service to the client and referral partners. While I have maintained for a long time that consistency is currency, and that the path to a great customer and referral partner experience is the very consistency we really require maintaining solid production numbers.
For many originators the very reason they can’t provide a consistent level of service is because they themselves are not clear on what their system is; or they have different systems for different people. All of which, prohibits the very thing everyone desires, consistent performance and experiences. The path to success is paved with a clear understanding of what you are trying to do, and how and when it gets done!
The best way for me to explain why my clients grow and mature in the business is that they have understood the premise, “what got you here won’t get you there!” It’s like driving a car; if you had only one gear, the car could only do so much and be only so efficient. As cars developed, the need to look at the possibility of changing the way work by the engine was utilized, the transmission was invented. By changing the gearing ratios, the work by the engine could be utilized in multiple ways to better serve the driver; a very low gear to get started more easily, then shifting to another gear to make the engine work less hard at a higher speed.
As time went on and power and economy became more connected, we saw two speed transmissions grow to four, five, six, even the eight speed transmission I have in my car today. Shifting gears makes the optimal use of power and economy.
Today originators face the same challenges. If you have only one gear, you are limited to what you are capable of doing. Most originators never produce more than five loans in a given month, and when they do, they are likely exhausted, unhappy, and the people they are serving are often less than happy with the level of service. Oh yes, the likelihood that the following month will be worse because that loan officer was too “busy” to keep prospecting for the next wave of business.
We all have to look at our process, especially when we are feeling stressed or at capacity. Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself or someone you manage, when in the middle of a “peak” production month.
- Do I have a clear path and process to take a client from contact to closing?
- Do I have a timeline for that process that I share with the client, referral partner, and my team to set the proper expectations?
- Do I have a clear communication schedule to keep connected with the client and referral partner to keep them informed and find new business?
- As you are finding yourself pressured for time, are you looking to see what tasks you can delegate, improve, or eliminate?
- Am I mastering the tasks in front of me, or do I keep making the same mistakes and wasting more of my time?
What gets you to five loans a month won’t work at ten loans a month. What all worked well at ten loans a month may not function as well at fifteen or twenty loans a month? Being able to “shift gears” by improving your systems and mastering the work is the only path to a manageable process. It can’t all be delegation!!! Far too many originators and managers add “assistants” into the mix too early! Doing this actually prevents an originator from mastering a skill and fine tuning his or her process! I never suggest an assistant until production is eight to ten loans a month for six consecutive months. This allows that originator to develop needed skills, define a clear process, and create the tasks and timing needed to grow the volume well with a team that works the same plan the same way every time!
Learn how to shift gears and grow your business while providing a great experience for yourself, the customer, the referral partners, and your team!