Whether you’re an independent loan officer who works alone, or you manage a team of LOs, LOAs, and support staff, building a mortgage team that works well together is the best way to ensure you’ll hit your loan volume goals. On top of that, if you’re seeking a better work/life balance, hiring great staff is the most critical place to start.
Before You Hire
Before hiring for your team, a crucial, but often forgotten step is to define your own workflows. Without specific and scalable workflows previously set-up, your team will be floundering. They will lack the guidance they need to be successful. Plus, it’s difficult to delegate tasks if you don’t even know what the next step is!
Remember, your team represents you and your brand. So, if you don’t hire well, you will not feel comfortable assigning tasks to team members that don’t share that brand equity.
Questions to consider in the initial planning process of building a mortgage team are:
1. Who are your current team members and what are their individual responsibilities?
2. What exactly do you do every day? Write it down and determine the specific workflows that you already have in place. Plus, consider the ones that you’d like to implement.
3. What tasks do you want to transfer from one employee to a new hire? For instance, maybe you spend a valuable chunk of your day sending follow-up emails or creating new contacts in your CRM. A new hire could be trained to take over these responsibilities.
4. Determine what sort of positions you’d like to fill, and be realistic about how many team members you’ll really need. Whether you’re looking to hire a LOA, processor, coordinator, or some other form of support staff, it’s important to know who you’re looking for before you begin your search!
Here are a few of the different support staff members you may choose to hire for building a mortgage team:
Loan Processor: When searching for a great loan processor, keep an eye out for highly organized and detail-oriented individuals. These are the folks who need to be able to handle lots of documents. Their job relies heavily on accuracy and efficiency.
Loan Officer Assistant: A LOA works directly under a loan officer to assist in the management and processing of loan applications. They generally manage many of the administrative tasks required of a LO. Additionally, they may work with borrowers to gather documents or prepare cost estimates.
Other Support Staff: Just like in any office, you could also choose to hire administrative staff. These individuals could help you answer emails and phone calls, as well as help to create marketing materials. If you decide to hire a receptionist or administrative assistant, an ideal candidate will have industry experience. This will allow them to jump right in with you since they are already familiar with the terminology.
While You Interview
An important step while considering a job candidate is how you envision them fitting into your team. Can you imagine working with them on a constant basis, and do they have the experience necessary to make you comfortable delegating important tasks to them?
Another critical factor to building a mortgage team is considering a potential new employee’s willingness to learn.
Every loan officer has a different workflow, and new hires need to be willing to learn and work within yours. Although you will undoubtedly shift your practices with time and experience, a team’s willingness to learn and grow together is foundationally important.
Once Your Team Is In Place
Congrats! You did it, you hired awesome support staff to help you close loans. Now what?
Start with great training.
Make sure that you invest the time and resources needed to give your new hires all the information that they need to get started. If you have preexisting software platforms that you use, put your new team members through all the necessary training.
Although this may feel like a large time investment up front, it will give your new employees all the skills they need to succeed.
Communication Really is Key
Once training is complete, the most important factor in a successful team dynamic is communication. Especially as your team is learning your business model, it’s important to be clear on your expectations.
And don’t forget to ask your team to give you feedback. After all, their outside perspective could be just what you need to increase efficiency in your office.
Setting milestones for individuals as well as for the entire team is essential for being able to measure the success of your business.
Office milestones could include how many loans your team closed in the month, quarter and year. In addition, you’ll probably want to track volume in dollars for those respective time frames as well.
Utilizing a CRM that links to your LOS makes tracking loan volume and pipeline very easy.
You should also track the number of leads that convert into borrowers thanks to your team’s marketing efforts. We like to do this by lead source for our own leads.
On the individual level, set goals for your support staff like the number of loans they personally helped to close. Or, the number of leads that they helped to convert into borrowers.
Once your team and individual goals are set, it’s time to set up some workflows to reach those goals. Top producing loan originator and Jungo power user, Jeremy Forcier, utilizes workflows to help his team work together as efficiently as possible.
There are some loan officers who work independently. However, building a mortgage team of qualified and talented individuals can be the first step toward skyrocketing your success. Just remember to do your homework before jumping into hiring. Then, determine how you like to work on your own. That way, you know how you’d like to craft your team dynamic around it.