Were you aware that a significant number of mortgage loan originators (MLOs) quit the business less than a year after they enter it? I’d bet that, when you decided to begin your journey of becoming an MLO, you didn’t push through your 20-hour course, complete your state-specific pre-licensing education, study for and pass the NMLS exam, and secure your MLO license just to give up, right? Of course not! So what can you do to prevent yourself from joining the ranks of those who’ve given up? Read this article, that’s what!
Appropriate Expectation is Key!
Just as setting the appropriate expectations with your customers from the start is critical to the transaction’s success, you must set the appropriate expectations with yourself. If you’re pursuing your MLO license fully expecting to receive it, grab your 1003s, crank out loans, and watch the cash roll in, your unrealistic expectations are likely going to set you up for a very rude awakening. Yes, there is significant income to be earned from becoming a successful mortgage loan originator. But, like anything worthwhile, evolving to that level takes time and effort.
The Path to Success Starts with Education!
Would a police officer be expected to graduate from the police academy, immediately jump into a patrol vehicle, and begin patrolling? Never! The rookie police officer must complete a period of training through an experienced Field Training Officer before being allowed to patrol on their own. Similarly, once a rookie loan originator becomes licensed, he or she must be properly trained in order to compliantly and successfully originate mortgage loans. By understanding this from the beginning, the future MLO can avoid the frustrations of hitting the ground running without immediately incurring tangible results. Realistically, it may take a year or so before a good MLO starts appreciating the spoils of his or her new career. Be patient. Do what you’re supposed to be doing. And the money will come.
Building Trust Takes Time!
How would you react to a brand spanking new real estate agent calling you out of the blue and asking you to send him a borrower in need of real estate representation? Now multiply this request by a hundred! Do you really think that, once you’re a licensed MLO, you can simply call Realtors and other real estate professionals who will eagerly send you customers? You’d be lucky if they actually took your call or read your e-mail before deleting it.
Building relationships, and the trust that accompanies them, takes time and the culmination of shared experiences. The future originations star knows, respects, and accommodates this. Instead of cold calling potential real estate referral partners and asking them for their business, how can you meet and befriend them in less conventional ways? How can you become an added value to them and their profession? This is how you build a referral network. Joining real estate professionals at open houses is one option. The truth of the matter is that you’re only limited by the depths of your creativity. Networking can occur through professional and social organizations, partnerships, and even by conducting classes. Do whatever it is that you need to do to build your reputation and start establishing trust. Everyone offers, “the best service,” “the most programs,” and, “the best rates.” What are you going to do to stand apart and walk the walk while all the others simply talk the talk?
Cold Calling Sucks!
Whether you’ll be calling prospective borrowers and referral sources or targeting them through other methods, the fact of the matter remains that nobody enjoys cold calling. But this is where emotional intelligence and uncompromising fortitude is mandatory. Not being able to reach your intended target, hearing no after no after no, and even getting hung up on, can (and will) take an emotional toll. But making cold calls is an absolutely necessary “rite of passage” to the beginner’s success. The key to emerging from the cold calling experience free from the disillusionment that the inevitable frustration will bring is setting daily quotas. Plan on reaching out to 15 potential prospects and referral sources through various modalities (calls, e-mails, social media posts, impromptu visits, etc.) every day. Doing this allows you to feel productive while creating a tangible conclusion where you can stop until resuming the next day. This will eventually pay off. I promise!
I’ll always remember a cartoon I once saw depicting a miner digging a tunnel. From the viewer’s perspective, you could see that the miner had only inches to go before breaking through to the other side. But, from his perspective, all he saw was rock. When he finally gave up and walked away, unbeknownst to him, he was only two-to-three pick strikes away from achieving his goal. When the frustration peaks, don’t quit! Instead, simply remember that miner while reminding yourself that every “no” brings you one step closer to that coveted “yes!”
When There’s No Pain, There’s No Gain!
Would you expect to start a workout routine and not feel sore the next day? Could a baby learn to walk without falling? When you learned to ride a bicycle, did you take any spills? An inherent part of learning and growing is the pain you must endure getting to the desired destination. So you will be rejected. You can expect to be brushed off. And frustration is inevitable. But when the stress and thoughts of hopelessness cause you to consider leaving the industry, THEN is when your resolve, commitment, and dedication must prevail.
There is nothing differentiating you from the most successful mortgage loan originator. The difference is that the top producers persevered. They knew that the growing pains in the beginning were going to hurt and forged through them like bosses. They had plans to supplement their income during the time when they were building their business. Top producers know how to utilize creativity to reach customers, build their reputation, and establish a referral network of raving-fan customers and referral sources who consistently feed them new business.
You can get there. You can become that top producer too. You must simply possess and maintain the emotional fortitude to withstand the frustration of rejection and forge ahead knowing that your success likely lies just two inches beyond that rock.