Modeling: The Shortcut to Success

Wherever I speak and teach, there is always a burning question that arises among loan officers: “What is the one thing I can do to be successful?” Until today, my answer has always been simple: “Take action on what you already know.” While this answer may be appropriate for those who already know the basics, it may not be the best answer for all loan officers, especially for the newcomers. Many loan officers, particularly new ones, may not have adequate sales skills, so advising to “take action” is not necessarily good advice.

As many people do, I sometimes get caught up in the day-to-day duties of running my training business and lose sight of some of the basic principles that have led me to success over the years. In my search for a better answer, I realized that I already know and have lived the answer. It’s a formula that, when followed, will result in great success. Not only is it the single most powerful learning tool that has enabled me to literally transform my financial future in a very short period of time, it has also enabled me to start new business ventures and turn them profitable in little or no time, while many others have taken months or even years to accomplish the same results.

The golden answer to the questions lies within the simple, yet highly effective concept called “modeling.” Without exception, every time I have implemented this concept, I achieved positive results faster and greater than if I had tried to figure things out on my own.

The Modeling Concept

Modeling is the process of seeking out individuals who accomplished exactly what you want to accomplish, learning their success formulas, and then taking the same exact actions. We have to remember that we are not trying to reinvent the wheel. Proven sales success strategies already exist within the mortgage industry. All you need to do is find successful originators who are generating business the way you want to generate your business, then duplicate what they say, how they say it, and what they do every day.

The reason why modeling is the most powerful way to be successful is because it gives you a choice of how to become successful. Many trainers today teach sales systems that have worked for them. Nothing is wrong with this, unless the sales system they are teaching doesn’t align with your method of originating business. For example, let’s say you work for a lender that provides you leads through telemarketing and advertising, but the trainer tells you to develop Realtor relationships. What you need to realize is the method you were just taught by the trainer is not aligned with your current business model. I believe that there is no “best” business model for success, other than the model that most closely aligns with your way of wanting to do business.

Many originators are more adept at originating business one way versus another. I have often seen LOs excel in specific marketing or selling situations while struggling with others. The key to success is aligning your skill set with the sales and marketing methods that you not only have mastered, but also enjoy implementing. Remember, having passion to do something and having the skills to implement the strategy make taking action easy.

Modeling: Step-by-Step

Let me clarify this concept of “modeling” by giving you step-by-step instructions. If you follow these steps, you are guaranteed to take the fast road to success, avoiding the mistakes that most salespeople make when trying to grow their businesses.

1. Determine your preferred sales and marketing method. Do you want to be an inside salesperson or an outside salesperson? Would you prefer to work with real estate agents?

2. Identify sales professionals who are already successful in using your preferred method. Find at least three loan officers who are achieving the results that you want to achieve. Longevity in the business is not essential; what you want is someone who is already achieving the financial results you want.

3. Create a list of questions that you would like them to answer. Believe it or not, most top professionals will be happy to share their success strategies with you. Offering to buy them lunch also helps. Sample questions can include:

a. How do you set your financial goals?
b. What is your focus when meeting with clients?
c. What do clients think of you (testimonials)?
d. What activities take highest priority for you each day?
e. How many hours per week do you work?
f. How do you balance new originations versus lead follow-up and managing your pipeline?
g. What do you find to be the most effective methods to generate high quality leads?
h. How exactly do you generate referrals from your existing and past clients?
i. If you work with referral partners, such as Realtors and accountants, how exactly do you get their attention?
j. How do you handle a prospect’s objections?

4. After interviewing your selected sales professional, set aside time to consider your findings. How can you emulate some of this person’s actions? The key is to evaluate the resources at your disposal, and to figure out what resources you can tap.

5. Repeat the questionnaire with other top producers.

6. Once you’ve met with a few sales professionals, figure out a strategy that assembles best practices you would like to emulate. Create a realistic action plan and stick to it.

7. And most importantly, remember to take the same actions they take.

A Personal Example

Recently I conducted a presentation for about 300 loan officers. I had just finished the program opening with a visualization exercise when I noticed that someone got up and walked out fairly abruptly, before I had even begun to teach mortgage-specific strategies. At the break, I inquired about the sudden departure, and found that the individual had left saying the words, “I did not come here to listen to a junior Tony Robbins”.

After absorbing what this person had said, I smiled. I realized that he had just compared me to the world’s number one business and personal development coach. Just to give you some background, I have been studying excellence for many years, and Tony Robbins has been one of the key influences in my life as a professional sales professional and national speaker. Based upon this individual’s comments, my modeling of Robbins had really worked. I was just compared to the best of the best in the speaking field. The only down side to this incident was that the person that left early never got to hear the mortgage sales and marketing strategies that I am sure he could have modeled to become more successful.

You might be saying that success cannot be this simple. But the truth is, it is that simple. I have used the concept of modeling to build a successful mortgage company as well as a successful speaking and training business. And by modeling best practices examples, I have taught thousands of mortgage professionals to accomplish far more than they ever imagined. All you need are good practices to model. Once you’re armed with ideas worth modeling, there is no limit to your potential for success.

By Ron Vaimberg