he changes in the mortgage industry offer many opportunities
for career growth. Most originators have experienced a range of
great, average and downright lousy days throughout their careers.
What sets originators apart, then, is what they focus on.
If you can turn a lousy day into an average one, a good day into a great
one, and a great day into the best day of your career, you will find recurring
satisfaction in constantly challenging yourself to do better. With that in
mind, here are a few tactical ideas to pack into your briefcase for your
Define your goals
First and foremost, without definitive goals, you are going to have a tough
time getting anywhere. Although the goals need to be specific, they do not
always have to be long-term. Make a more constant system for yourself by
setting quarterly, monthly, weekly and even daily goals and deadlines.
The more often you set goals, the more often you will find yourself inspired
to reach them. Create a list of ambitions and check in with them often.
Although long-term and compensation-inspired goals can be motivators,
don’t get caught up in the mindset that the only way up is through an
eventual management position. Focus on the here and now with more
specific goals that you can check off your list on a regular basis.
Believe it or not, setting specific personal goals can lead you to tremendous success and advancement right where you are. Whether it’s increasing
your year-to-date funding by a certain amount or gaining a specific number
of new clients, with determination these quantitative goals will result in
Optimize your time
To attain your goals, you also must identify what traps might prevent you
from obtaining them. Look in the mirror and ask, “Am I giving 100 percent
to my goals every day?” If you spend too much time and effort on functions
that do not actually advance your career, remind yourself to stay in the
zone. Avoid these distractions and optimize your time and energy with
tasks that directly push you toward achieving your goals.
Once you have identified these tasks, stay committed through practice
and hard work. Even elite athletes need to practice to hone their athletic
skills. In the same way, top-performing veteran loan originators can further
refine their sales skills through practice. One critical characteristic required
to maintain this level of commitment to practicing your skills is patience.
In today’s society of constant social media updates and same-day deliveries, everyone tends to expect immediate gratification. To advance your
career as a loan originator, however, requires slowing down. Build relationships with care, precision and patience. Take the time to appreciate your
customers through personalized gestures like hand-written letters. Through
patience you are more likely to reap the rewards of a top performer.
Fine-tune with feedback
It can become easy to get complacent as you go through your day-to-day
routine, so welcome honest feedback as often as possible. Even after a goal
is reached, before giving yourself a high-five ask, “What could I do better?”
Whether you’re new to the industry or have a well-established name in
your company, ask for transparency when requesting feedback from peers,
clients, referral partners or your manager on how you’re doing. You will not
get anywhere if you only hear compliments.
Once you find where you fall short, gradually tweak your routine. If
you survived through the housing crisis, you are probably doing a lot of
things right. For this reason, you don’t have to rethink the entire playing
field in order to excel. Slowly chip away at issues pointed out by criticisms
you have received on a day-to-day basis. You’ll find that small but regular
adjustments can make a world of difference in your performance.
As you tweak your routine, find an accountability partner to help you
through the process. This does not have to be your manager and, truthfully, it does not even have to be someone in your company. Your accountability partner can be anyone as long as that person is brutally honest with
you. With this honesty, you get a much-needed push along the path you
set for professional improvement.
The key to motivation and improvement often lies in healthy competition.
One way to challenge yourself to improve is to compare your performance
against someone you emulate.
If this person ranks above you in your company’s list of top performers, for
example, figure out what that originator’s strengths are and match them. If
you are the originator who is leading the pack, keep in mind that this isn’t a
permanent title, and strive to beat your own production numbers.
An excellent way to initiate competition in this industry is through sales-incentive contests with trip and/or award giveaways. If your company
doesn’t offer a sales-incentive contest, don’t be afraid to suggest the idea or
create your own. If your company does have an incentive contest, consider
making some friendly side bets with peers. This can be a fun way to work on
improving your skillset and competitive standing.
n n n
If you think you’ve reached the apex of your career as a loan originator,
step back and look in that mirror again. There is always potential to become
a better originator by setting new benchmarks and reaching even higher.
Your title or paycheck does not necessarily have to change to make
advancements in your career. Utilize the tips presented here as motivation
to grow and improve, and don’t be surprised if you find the growth you
were looking for is right where you’re standing. n
Sarah Valentini is president and principal of Radius Financial Group
Inc. She is a leading mortgage professional with 20 years of experience in residential and commercial lending. Valentini launched
Radius in 1999, and under her leadership, the company has grown from a small local
lender into one of New England’s leading private mortgage banks. Reach Valentini
at (781) 742-6500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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