She shared many valuable insights into how she’s crafted strong and valuable mortgage team relationships. We took the strategies she swears by, added some helpful advice we’ve learned from other top producers, and created the seven things you need to be doing to craft an amazing mortgage team.
Understand Why A Strong Mortgage Team Matters
After all, the mortgage industry sees an exceptional amount of turn over, with the originator turnover in 2018 around 29%. What does this mean for you? Well, you know how costly it can be to hire and train a new employee. Therefore, your goal should be to have a high employee retention.
Strong Mortgage Teams Are All About Relationships
Additionally, teams that have the most success are those whose members have good relationships with each other, both professionally and on a personal level.
Susan Pryor says, “You have to understand that people want to know that you care, and that’s really the most important thing. People stay for leadership. They don’t just stay for money or for time off.”
Pick and Choose Carefully
Bigger doesn’t always mean better. Susan says, “At one point, I had a very big team…I was able to take the best of the best from my 30 person team, and make it into an amazing five person team that is able to do significant volume.”
While considering your employees, focus on quality, not quantity. Craft a strong team dynamic of personalities that bring out the best in each other, and you’ll find great success from a fairly small mortgage team.
As in any job, pay matters when building your mortgage team, but it’s not everything.
“We try to have a good time and we try not to wear anybody out. Part of coming to Benchmark is to create this peaceful lifestyle that allows us to go home,” Susan Pryor says. “Taking care of your people, having fun with them, and then, of course, you have got to pay them well.”
In addition to a great company culture, meaningful work, and the space for rest, compensation tied to the team’s success is a great way to motivate your people. Some team’s choose to provide a base salary, and commission based upon loans closed. Others are solely commission based. However you choose to compensate your mortgage team, make sure that it is more than fair to them and their hard work.
Provide Great Bonding Experiences
One way to encourage great team relationships is to set-up activities outside of work. Whether that be a team dinner, throwing a holiday party, or even taking your mortgage team on a trip, the options are pretty much endless. And there are great options no matter what your budget!
Susan says, “Whatever it is, whatever you do to show love to your family and to spend time with your family–do the same things. We do group trips to Disney, it just depends on what the budget is. Sometimes it’s cooking, sometimes it’s a little more extravagant than that.”
Hiring Your First Team Member
When it comes down to it, hiring your first team member will probably be the most difficult, but important hire. After all, you know that there’s only so much that you can handle on your own, so in order to grow your volume, you will need an assistant.
Susan recognizes how difficult that very first hire can be, especially because you are probably ultra busy already. She recommends having your new assistant “sit in your office with you, and you listen to them talk on the phone, and you have them listen to you talk on the phone.” From there, when it’s time to pass tasks off to them, write a manual about what they are expected to do and exactly how to accomplish it.
…And All the Rest
Now that you have your first mortgage team member hired, building your team will become a bit more straightforward. Take that manual that you created, and use it to train your next assistant. Delegating tasks is difficult, especially if you’re used to handling all parts of your business yourself. But, it is critical, in order to be able to let go and handle the high value tasks that will elevate your entire mortgage team to the next level.
It’s All About the Process
No matter whether you are the only person on your team, or you manage a team of 30, your success all comes down to the process. Susan points out that although the first thing you have to become really good at is communicating with your client. However, she says, “You have to be meticulous about everything that you do, and ensure that every client has the same experience.”
Whenever you learn something new and want to implement a new process, be consistent with the decision. Set the tasks required to successfully complete the process, assign the necessary tasks to your mortgage team, and then follow-up as needed to tweak the process. Then, you’ll be able to let go and not always worry about whether certain tasks are being accomplished.
Creating a strong mortgage team takes time and great employees, but it also takes specific things on your behalf. By providing fair compensation, team bonding experiences, and clear processes and expectations, you’ll set you and your team up for incredible success.