Number of Loans – 132
Mentors: His grandfather
Favorite Book: “Killing the Sale,” by Todd Duncan
Second-Year Goal: “Generating nine more prospects from each borrower.”
At 23-years old and only a little more than a year removed from college, Brandon Nicely finds it difficult sometimes to conceal his age. “People often ask me, ‘How old are you? Are you qualified?'” said the Blacksburg, Va. originator. “I have to work harder to earn their trust. I enjoy the task of trying to overcome the disadvantage.”
In his rookie year, Nicely proved successful in instilling confidence in his customers, generating nearly $15 million in loans on 132 units.
While a student at Radford University in Radford, Va., Nicely participated in a two-year internship at Atlantic Bay Mortgage. He answered phones and eventually began processing loans for two of the company’s loan officers. After receiving a degree in marketing, Nicely went to work at his brother’s new company, Alcova Mortgage. He continued processing there, but within months advanced to an originator position. “I had always wanted to go into sales and this was an opportunity I really looked forward to,” he said. “I enjoyed the processing part of the business and was ready to take a shot at selling loans.”
Nicely, who first worked with Internet leads from his company, “had a little bit of call reluctance when I started,” he said, “but then I began educating myself and developing confidence. I purchased the Mortgage Coach and Todd Duncan’s Mortgage Mastery and really focused on ways to gain some advantage over the more experienced people.”
To spread the word about his mortgage career, Nicely sent mail pieces and e-mails to family and friends to inform them of the services he could provide. He also relied on prior connections, such as the one with the CEO of Geico—a friend of his grandfather’s, who helped pass along his mortgage services through word-of-mouth. “It took a lot of hours and many calls,” said Nicely, who averages a 65-hour workweek, about the beginning of his originating career. His first loan came as a referral from his father and was cancelled at the last minute by the borrower, who decided it wasn’t in his best interest at the time.
After that frustrating beginning, he began pursuing Realtor business with a software-generated e-mail campaign and with extensive face-to-face time. “I would stop by at least once a week to say ‘I’m here if you ever need my services,'” said Nicely. “If you don’t make yourself visible, they tend to forget about you. I would try to offer them ways to help their business, such as stressing the importance of a pre-qual with their clients.” Nicely also advertised in the local Homes Search magazine and offered in-office loan program seminars to specific Realtors. His efforts paid off when an agent called with a rush-loan that he was able to close in seven days. “She gave me a shot and I was able to win her over with a successful close,” he said. “She then began referring me to other agents and that was my stepping stone.”
Nicely tried to distinguish himself by being accessible at all times to questions and calls and by emphasizing accuracy on his closing costs. “I guarantee closing costs to be the same as the good faith estimate, or I pay the difference,” he said.
He also continues to strengthen his Realtor relationships by co-hosting sales speakers to come and speak to his agents and maintaining a continuous e-mail campaign that offers helpful market and product updates.
In addition to Realtor follow-up, Nicely recognizes the importance of making a positive first impression with borrows and maintaining diligent customer contact. “I always attend my closings with a survey for them to complete and provide a gift booklet,” he said. “The survey allows for them to provide me feedback on my level of service and the booklet offers them several gift options. We pre-pay for the gifts and customers are able to make a selection from such things as a corkscrew, toolkits, clocks, and much more. This way they can actually pick something they want.” Once the loan is closed, Nicely follows up with e-mails to new homeowners, with pertinent topics like “how to increase the value of your home.”
Almost by default, Nicely has found a way to take advantage of his age—target those in his peer group. “I find that first-time homebuyers are a little more comfortable with me because chances are they’re closer to my age,” he said. “They are also a lot easier to work with because trust is a huge factor [in this business] and they are looking for someone to walk them all the way through the process.” To introduce them to the often-intimidating world of mortgages, Nicely prepares homebuying booklets that explain the process from start to finish. He also sets customers on an e-mail or mail campaign that helps them see the home purchase as it occurs over the course of two to three months. “My goal is to earn their trust and have them telling their friends how much help I was before they’ve even found a house.”
Nicely credits his processing experience with providing a solid understanding of how loans work. “I believe every loan officer should process loans for a couple of months,” he said about time spent in the back shop. “I learned about the various lender guidelines and I was able to build great relationships with attorneys, appraisers, and several other important people in the industry.” Additionally, processing helped him realize the importance of taking a good application. “A good application helps the processor and the originator get the loan approved a lot quicker and with much less stress.”
To further his mortgage education, Nicely reads sales and productivity books and downloads speeches from top industry speakers such as Tim Broadhurst, Tim Braheem, and Barry Habib. He looks forward to using his second year to improve on time blocking and to focus on developing high-trust relationships with top agents, accountants, and financial planners. “I am more excited now that I have ever been,” said Nicely. “The sky’s the limit.”