In Branding

Prior to 2008 I attended several of the national conferences held by different organizations in the mortgage industry.  As the dust settled on the financial crisis, only a few conferences remained.  One of those that continued was the Mastermind Summit.  I had never been to one prior to this year, but I had seen many of the advertisements about celebrity keynote speakers and some of the top personalities in the mortgage business.  Several months ago I committed to being at the Palms in Las Vegas this year, because I wanted to see for myself what it was all about.  Here are the 10 things that I think most mortgage professionals are going to want to know from the 2018 Mastermind Summit (in no particular order):

  1. The job of a Loan Originator is changing. Quality service, competitive rates & fees, and closing on-time every-time used to be enough – not anymore.  Quicken and their Rocket Mortgage product were frequently used as examples of how polarizing the industry is becoming.  Is the business model of mortgage companies to use technology to squeeze out the need for human originators, or is there still a place for the professional originator in a world where information is a commodity?  The idea that technology can fully replace a human professional is a battle that the real estate industry has been fighting for years.  As the mortgage industry catches up with other industries technologically, there is a need greater than ever to do what automated systems cannot do – personalize and explain information to homebuyers beyond the numbers.  That is a value-proposition that originators-turned-mortgage advisors can capitalize on.
  2. The Loan Officer with the most friends wins. Michael Maher, author of 7 Levels of Communication & CEO of Refco, talked about being the most referable in your market; Tim Braheem, formerly of Loan Toolbox & CEO of Performance Experts, talked about creating better connection with clients and referral partners;  and several top producers, $100M in annual origination or more, in panel discussed being in committed relationships with referral partners.  In a world where rates are changing, companies have similar value propositions, and “adding value” is subjective, creating real connections and relationships will be the difference for those who grow in 2018 and those who don’t.
  3. Video is the future. There were two types of talks given by speakers: mindset and tactics.  Anyone who talked tactics talked about video.  One top producer panel focused exclusively on social media and digital marketing, and talked about the importance of getting comfortable in front of the camera when deploying these marketing strategies.  Tim Braheem suggested recording a pre-approval intro video personalized to listing agents and sellers, so that you can make a personal connection and give your client the best chance of an accepted offer.  Another speaker proposed recording video responses to texts and emails to make it more personal.  While written blogs and audio podcasts are still popular methods, there was an emphasis on a shortage of quality video content in the mortgage space.
  4. Rates are on the rise, and margins are being squeezed. “Margin compression” was a frequent expression among speakers, and it was typically followed by a dull groan across the room.  The solution was always to add more value to your clients and differentiate yourself in a market full of originators touting the best rates & fees along with superior service & on-time closings.  The trick is to determine what kind of value you should bring and what market you want to focus on.
  5. Who wouldn’t want to have a drink with George W. Bush? His off-the-cuff humor kept the audience’s attention while he told stories about Russian leader Vladimir Putin, the current political climate, and his new-found love of painting.  Yes, GWB is now an accomplished artist.  Regardless of people’s political leanings, everyone seemed to find value in his messages on leadership, influence, and decision making.
  6. Jay Abraham doesn’t care if you need personal space. For those not familiar with Jay Abraham, he is one of the world’s most sought after business consultants.  He has helped create billions of dollars in sales and profits across thousands of industries.  He has personal relationships with people like Tony Robbins, Warren Buffet, Jack Canfield, Daymond John, and that guy who created Planet Fitness.  I doubt most in the business consulting world will question his brilliance, but many at the Mastermind Summit found themselves wondering why they needed to exit their personal space and sit directly next to the stranger in front, below, or next to them.  This was at Jay’s direction and he was not going to start his talk until we all did just that.  Jay spent most of his time recalling stories to describe how “thinking outside the box” made all the difference.  Most went over people’s heads, but those who stuck around and listened found more than their weight in nuggets of wisdom.
  7. The fortune is in the follow-up. Whether it’s a hand-written card, a house-warming party, or a highly automated CRM drip campaign – staying top-of-mind is more important than ever. The market is full of originators chasing your clients business, so if you don’t stay in contact with them, someone else will.
  8. Leads from reviews have limited trust, but referrals are the height of trust. We all might say that we are skeptical of 5 star reviews, but we all still look at them…  When was the last time you saw a restaurant online that had no reviews and actually ate there?  Probably never, but even if I’m wrong, I’m sure you’ve tried a restaurant that you’d never heard of based on a recommendation from a friend or family member.  Getting client reviews for the world to see is part of building your brand, but getting client referrals is the height of trust and lead conversion!
  9. It’s not about lead creation, it’s about lead conversion. The assumption was made by most speakers that the audience already knew how to create at least some leads.  So while a few talked about lead creation, the majority talked about lead conversion – how to get the most out of the leads you are getting & how to keep them from going with your competition.  Tech tools like Mortgage Coach and MBS Highway were often referenced as having massive amounts of features to create value as well as to educate and engage clients, and post-closing house-warming parties and scripts strategies were also favorites of many speakers to help convert leads into closings.
  10. Barry Habib is everywhere. Barry is the CEO of MBS Highway, former elite producer, and a long-time mortgage industry leader.  Every session, every cocktail party, and every hallway you look down you’ll find Barry with a group of people waiting to talk to him.  His talk on the housing market was one that kept people’s attention.  Rates are still near historic lows, supply is tight in nearly every market, and he predicts another recession in approx. 2 years.  Don’t think he’s preaching doom and gloom though, because with a recession usually comes lower rates and a shot of adrenaline in the housing market.  It makes you wonder…is that why rates are creeping up in the first place?
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