Three ways to scale during a boom: focus, pivot, outsource

Three ways to scale during a boom: focus, pivot, outsource

By William D'Innocenzo

About 4 min

Three ways to scale during a boom: focus, pivot, outsource

Redistribute lenders' lower-value tasks to increase efficiency and productivity

Scaling and adding efficiencies are challenging in any market, but being behind the curve in a boom market makes it that much more stressful.

We asked some of our clients to share their advice on how they’ve been able to scale their business to take advantage of unprecedented opportunities in this current boom market.

Here are their insights:

Keep MLOs Focused on Sales.

Clients using Pareto’s 80/20 principle to increase volume from their existing sales team are seeing significant increases in originations by focusing 80% of their MLO’s time doing only the 20% of things that make money.

At Caliver Beach Mortgage, Brad Bennett moved the most time-consuming tasks to other resources in the organization, allowing his MLOs to focus 90% of their time on selling.

"They just pitch it, close it, book it and move on to the next one and that allows our loan officers to get three to four times the pipeline size that they normally would get," he said.

Redistributing the MLO’s lower-value tasks moves the needle for efficiencies as well as productivity.

Instead of spending time chasing documents, verifying income and ordering appraisals ad nauseam, move those tasks to other resources who can focus on reducing and eliminating conditions to pave the way for underwriting. This is the exact strategy JFQ Lending used to go from $0 in August of 2017 to over $300M a month in volume in February of 2020.

Pivot Your Products and Mindset.

Additional training is added to keep minds fresh, talent scaled up and confidence high.

Bennett applies the '5-wide' football strategy used by defensive players to draw from any of five different plays.

"A 5-wide strategy means VA, FHA, conventional, non-QM and purchase. It gives me 5 pillars to stand on and I looked at the business as a tabletop,” he said. “So, if I have four legs, I’m good. If I break one, my table is going to be a little wobbly. If I break two, I will lean to one side, but I’m still standing on this side. If I have 5 legs, four on the sides and one in the center then I’m indestructible."

Pivoting your MLO’s mindset is also critical, “because it’s the difference [between] being an order taker versus being an adviser and you have to be an adviser,” explained Nick Borunda, vice president of sales at JFQ Lending.

"The No. 1 thing is recalibrating that mindset and practicing what it actually sounds like. And it’s not just a one and done. I’m on a regional level, so every Tuesday and Thursday we'll [train] a hundred people plus at once. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, our sales directors are doing that on more individual basis with the people that need more practice."

Outsource Your Marketing.

"Go with experts," explained Franco Prezioso, President of Service 1st Mortgage. "I wear a lot of hats; I’m too busy for that. I let them do the stuff that I’m not an expert at. I’ve got other things to do in order to stay on top, to grow our business."

For lenders who use direct mail in particular, there’s no question this task requires time, talent and focus most leaders don’t have in abundance. Especially if you have no internal marketing team, getting this critical business process off your plate frees up hours or even days each week.

Manny Fajardo, President of Premiere Lending, knows consistent lead generation is the golden egg and direct mail marketing is the goose.

"We had kind of poked around on some landing pages and stuff like that but to me that’s just hoping and praying that the SEO is performing the way it needs to" he explained. "That’s why I think this approach for us has been so successful because we understand that we’re not blindly sending mail. We may be sending mail to people that aren’t expecting it, but that mail is going to that specific person for a reason. It makes it more powerful. And we have really given up all other lead sources that we were involved in before and gone 100% with Monster because of that."

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