Michael DiMaggio (NMLS# 457855) is a branch manager for
Stearns Lending LLC. Since the early 1990s, DiMaggio has
focused on improving his skills to help those around him. As
a top-performing originator, wholesale representative and
manager, his recent accomplishments include forming lending teams intent on delivering value, and implementing and
enhancing strategic alliances between lending and large
real estate companies. He currently leads a well-performing
and growing team in Northern California. Reach DiMaggio
Going From Good to Great
Originators may need to break the mold to rise higher
By Michael DiMaggio
Why is turning the corner from being a really good mortgage loan originator to a great one so difficult? There are many very good originators out there who have won awards, are seen as
leaders in their organizations, take great care of their
clients, read books and articles to help crack the next
level and even make decent career progress. These are
skilled salespersons, but alas, the next level escapes
them and they feel as though they have plateaued.
These skilled originators reached their current
status by following regular routines. They are generally disciplined in their daily schedules, follow successful scripts, emulate examples from top producers
and work smart as well as hard. Still, they cannot seem
to break that next barrier of production.
Ironically, the answer to their challenge may simply
be this: What got them here is now holding them back.
Strong originators are often loved by their clients
because they help them every step of the way through
the loan process. The clients lean heavily on them and
the originator is always there to provide the highest
level of service. The result is a happy client. And the originator gets accolades and referrals for being instrumental in controlling the positive client experience.
That is the key to their limits, however: Control.
Many really good originators take control of the process and receive strong, positive reinforcement along
the way. Up to a certain point in their careers, it has
been possible to be completely engaged with each
loan and, although it has been a lot of work, it has been
These originators often credit their success to being
“control freaks.” To successfully increase sales and get
to the next level, however, they must do what many
good salespeople are not good at doing — making a
change by releasing control. This can be extremely
counterintuitive. After all, they got to this point by
taking control, not giving it up.
Releasing some control to their team and support
personnel allows originators to focus on additional
upfront meetings and sales, while the back office
works to close those sales. The assumption — and
often the reality — is that more sales meetings will
bring in more leads and referrals, which will translate
to more closings.
The trick is figuring out how to make this adjustment and feel good about it. It’s perfectly normal
to feel apprehension when faced with change but, as
one popular social media meme puts it: “The definition