What the Mortgage Industry Can Learn from Walt Disney

Last week, I was in Florida training managers on how to coach and develop originators. The experience made me think of Disney and how they are so successful at delivering excellent customer service. I must reveal that I have been interested in Walt Disney for many years, especially in how he was able to transform a traditional amusement park business into something magical.

The first amusement park was founded in 1896 in England so while Disney didn’t initiate the idea, he changed the definition of amusement parks by taking it to the next level. Disney made going to the amusement park a fun, positive experience. More importantly, he was able to replicate a positive customer experience through his employees for over 90 years. When you consider that Disney Amusement Parks has more than 150,000 employees worldwide (Dun & Bradstreet), you can appreciate what a significant milestone this is. The mortgage industry can learn a lot from what Disney implemented.

As we all know too well, the challenge for every business and every sales team is to deliver a memorable experience for their clients and referral sources. Everyone knows that it is important but the hard part is to embed it in a company’s culture — a set of beliefs and behaviors that will ensure a positive experience is delivered. But how does Disney do that? They are a big organization with thousands of employees who are geographically diverse. A daunting task to say the least!

In Pete Blank’s great book, Employee Engagement: Lessons from the Mouse House, he reveals how expectations are set for guests and how they will be treated. It also covers how employees will be managed. The four expectations for guests and employees are pretty much the same which should not be a surprise. They are:

1. Make me feel special
2. Treat me as an individual
3. Respect me
4. Be knowledgeable/Make me knowledgeable

These are four simple ideas that Walt Disney lived by in a time when others did not. For 90 years, Disney and his successors have stayed true to these tenets during good times and bad. I think that the mortgage industry would be wise to adopt them because they are the drivers of sustainable success. Disney believed that the magic always started with a happy employee who has bought into the company’s culture and value system.

Do your employees buy into your sales organization’s culture?