Brooks Grasso

Previous Profession: Dairy salesman

Primary Marketing: Marketing includes monthly mailings to over 2,000 past clients (recipe postcards), Realtors, and builders (loan program/other marketing fliers); monthly homebuyer seminar at the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce; two monthly mailings to apartments (one highlighting no-money-down programs and another inviting people to a monthly seminar); and instructing continuing education courses once a month at Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors.

Most Effective Marketing: Mailings to past clients. “I have been doing this for five years, and when I started I noticed a 20 percent to 30 percent increase in business,” said Grasso. “This brands me as the person to call and or refer to when it comes to real estate and mortgage lending.”

Niche: First-time homebuyers and builders. “One of our marketing campaigns is directed at first-timers. There will always be a market for people who want to buy their first home, regardless of rates. If you treat them right, they may buy two to five homes during their lifetime.”

Teamwork: An assistant, two processors, and one junior originator who is being trained to develop and maintain his own production and referral sources. “While in training, he will also help me by meeting with customers to sign loan applications, talking to potential clients on the phone if I am out of the office. By keeping everyone well informed through our loan commitment letter and preliminary HUD-1, we cut down a lot on the reactive work that can come with this profession.”

Key Ingredient for Success: “Motivation and desire to be successful. If you enjoy your occupation (which I do), you’re willing to put in longer hours necessary to maintain larger production. I’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done, including working six or seven days a week.”

Achieving Work/Personal Balance:  “Effective time management. I have several systems in place that reduce the reactive time spent in the office. This allows me to be proactive and develop more business, while the existing business is flowing smoothly through the pipeline. I also delegate any responsibilities that I can in my personal life, such as cutting grass, painting the house, and landscaping. It’s more cost effective for me to pay someone to do it, so that I can maximize my time originating more business, and also the time spent with my family.”