The Value of Making Mistakes


You close the email and sink back in your chair. Your underwriter pointed out that you calculated the income incorrectly for your self-employed borrower, leaving the DTI at an interesting 57%. Of course, the loan referral is from a new RE Agent that you’ve been trying to make progress with… and she is NOT going to be happy. The borrower is a CIO for a new manufacturing company in your area, and now the loan you told him was a “slam dunk” is now actually DEAD. Gulp indeed.

These are the moments where Loan Officer’s reputations are made, for better or for worse. Every Top Producing Loan Officer has multiple stories just like this that they can recall with great clarity; they can tell you the borrower name, Agent name, the Loan Amount, the problem, and likely what shoes they were wearing that day. These types of errors are burnt into our memories.

Getting the Right Headshot Photo for RE Agents and Loan Officers

We’ve all seen and often chuckled at them. They’re everywhere. A poorly chosen headshot photo often leaves a first impression that’s simply too strong to overcome. (Insert mental image of a ‘busy professional’ on cell phone. Yikes.)

One of the trickiest aspects of getting the image is that the guidelines for a good headshot vary from one industry to another. A yoga instructor might be sending the right message with a well-done action shot, but how about a school administrator? For him or her, a traditional headshot featuring formal work attire likely is the safest, most effective choice.

Loan Officers and RE Agents have their own unique factors to consider when seeking a high-impact headshot photo.

Why is a Headshot So important?

There was a time, many years ago, when a RE Agent or Loan Officer might only see his or her headshot in a few different places: a flyer, a newspaper ad, and perhaps the Yellow Pages. That was about it.

Today, with the advent of Social Media, internet marketing, E-mail Campaigns, and other media, your headshot photo can be found in dozens of places. Here are just a few of the landing spots:

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Zillow and other Real Estate platforms
  • Personal or Work Blog
  • Website
  • Online ads
  • Business cards
  • Billboards
  • Drip Emails
  • Co-Branded Flyers

The reach of these tools far exceeds anything that mortgage and Real Estate professionals have had at their disposal in the past. This is a wonderful benefit, but it also intensifies the importance of your headshot. A poor choice will be seen over and over again across a wide variety of media.

Recent studies have shown that face perception affect humans’ judgments about the people around them. A person’s face greatly affects how we see that person’s character, trustworthiness, aggressiveness, competence, strengths, weaknesses and ability to lead.

3 Keys to Maximizing Your Client Database

“Who do you know?” In sales, it’s a simple, powerful and often overlooked question. Knowing the right people can often provide a shortcut to increased production. But before you run out looking to meet new referral partners, perhaps you should consider how much business you are currently losing from the people you already know. An illustration:

Imagine bringing water from a river back to your campsite. After a strenuous half-mile walk, you realize there is a hole in your bucket, and you’ve lost much of that precious H20. How frustrating! Your once simple task has become much more difficult than it needed to be.

Most Loan Originators and RE Agents have a hole in their bucket as well. Out of the hole drains Lost Transactions from People We Know.

We’ve all been there. You’re in the grocery store and a good friend excitedly begins telling you about the house she recently bought. You feel flush. You’re flabbergasted and ask, “Why didn’t you call me?” The answers range from “I didn’t know that’s what you did for a living” to “I didn’t want to bother you.” Huge potential commission… gone. Issue? A hole in your bucket.

And if you know a lot of people, this hole in your bucket can mean you’re losing a lot of money. Let’s consider how expansive your existing database really is.

Back to Basics with the Handwritten Note

3 Steps to Make your Next Note More Personal

It’s easy to be blinded by bright shiny objects as we try and keep up with the constantly changing landscape of social media and online marketing.

Some “guru” is always touting the next big thing and it’s up to you to decide if it’s actually worth your time and attention.

One marketing strategy that has never lost its effectiveness is sending out handwritten note cards to past clients, referral partners, influencers, and potential mortgage/RE clients.

Old Is New Again 

Not too long ago, we all had empty email inboxes, while our mailboxes at home were overflowing.

Nowadays, the reverse is true. According to a study by, the average American worker sends and receives 121 emails per day and that number is expected to grow to 140 by 2018.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t do email marketing, but focusing ONLY on email means you’ll be executing just like your competitors.

Jay Interviews Theresa Springer of Eagle Home Mortgage

This week I had the privilege of speaking with Theresa Springer of Eagle Home Mortgage.  Theresa is an experienced Originator and Sales Manager who brings us a wealth of knowledge in the areas of marketing, sales, efficiency, and relationships.

Jay’s Interview with Theresa Springer

In the interview, I asked Theresa to share a few of her habits and best practices that have helped her become a top producer in the mortgage industry.  We covered a range of topics, including Social Media strategies, building relationships with RE Agents, as well as how she overcomes objections.

Jay Interviews Michael Hanson of New York Life

I just finished my interview with Michael Hanson of New York Life, and I’m excited to share it with you. Michael was recently named the Pacific Agencies Partner of the Year for 2015, and in this interview, he shares exactly how he and his team achieved this honor.

In my discussion with Mike, we covered a variety of topics:  Sales, Networking, Time Management, Leadership, and more.  My favorite part of the interview was Mike telling his story of moving to Boise, knowing only five people in the whole city, and trying to figure out how in the world he was going to build a sustainable living in the Life Insurance Business.

Well… he did it, big time.

Jay Interviews Nick Carpenter, Mortgage Marketing Master, Sales Clubhouse

Nick Carpenter is the owner of Sales Clubhouse, a full-service mortgage and real estate marketing company that offers done-for-you marketing solutions for LO’s and RE Agents.  Nick wrote a Guest Blog Post for PressOn this week providing 4 Simple Ways for LO’s to Use Paid Facebook Ads, and his article received some outstanding feedback.  I then met with Nick later in the week to interview him about how he helps Loan Officers with their marketing, and to talk about the steps required to build a successful online presence.

I spent about 20 minutes with Nick picking his brain and asking him questions about the best ways for Loan Officers and RE Agents to leverage the power of Social Media in their branding efforts.  In the interview, you’ll hear Nick and I discuss:

  • Why You Need an Online Presence, Especially if You Are Already Successful Offline
  • The #1 Mistake Loan Officer’s Make in Their Online Efforts

4 Simple Ways for Loan Officers to Use Paid Facebook Ads

Guest Post by Nick Carpenter

Most loan officers agree that the mortgage business is really a relationship business if you want to have long term success. Sure, you can generate leads with paid traffic, hire people to cold call, and get more rankings on Google for organic searches. The real pleasure though is doing business with people you know, like, and trust.

This is where Facebook ads can come in to help supplement your referral partnerships and be able to generate extra home buyer and seller leads to pass out to Realtors.

Can you generate mortgage clients with Facebook ads?

Of course you can.

High Payoff Activities for Loan Officers

How did your July Production finish up?  Did you reach your Unit/Dollar goals?  What about your future goals… are you working on the activities today that will ensure your September and October numbers will be where you need them to be?  Now is the time to double-down and spend as much time as possible building and maintaining your Referral Relationships; this means closing your email, getting out of the office (or picking up the phone), and having meaningful conversations with your Referral Partners and Past Clients.

If you are not sure where to start, below are four High Payoff Activities that could likely use your immediate attention:

  • Proactive Phone Calls to Referral Partners and Past Clients:  Start with 5 per week, then look to build to 10+
  • Handwritten Notes to Referral Partners and Past Clients:  Start with 5 per week, with the long-term goal of 10+
  • Face to Face Meetings:  Start with 1 per week, build to 2+ per week
  • Email Campaigns to Database:  Minimum of 1 per month

Jay Interviews Kelli Cowell, Regional Account Manager, Essent Guaranty

I am excited to share with you my conversation with Kelli Cowell, both my friend and a Regional Account Manager with Essent Guarantee Inc.  Kelli has been in the Mortgage/RE Industry since 1998, and thrived in every position she has held.  I met Kelli years ago when I was managing a Wholesale Lending office and witnessed for myself why she is such a prolific salesperson… (here’s a tip – she’s successful at sales because it never feels like she is selling you anything!)