How Well Are Your Originators Managing Their Most Important Asset?


Since 1999, I have analyzed top originators’ practices and personality traits — that’s 22 years and counting! I have conducted numerous validation studies in collaboration with psychologists to pinpoint the innate competencies that drive individuals to succeed in mortgage sales.  The simple reality is that mortgage origination is a hard business and not everyone is matched to the up and down cycles of mortgage banking. Individuals who excel at commission mortgage sales are successful regardless of marketplace conditions. These producers are invaluable and the better a company is at selecting the right individuals for commission sales, the more successful the firm will be. This isn’t rocket science. Better sales talent equals better sales results.

During refinance booms like we experienced in 2020, individuals who are not a good match for commission sales can still generate volume and earn a high income. Unfortunately, refinance volume can mask a producer’s lack of sales talent — an issue that only comes to light when the originator has to source new customers and referral business.

But, if mortgage sales success was only about innate talent, those with the highest IQs and most sales talent would be successful and others would not. We know that isn’t true either. Not all highly talented sales professionals make it to the top of their industry. What gives?

In my experience, one of the most important factors in mortgage sales success is how individual producers use their time. Some originators prefer to do everything themselves. Others recognize where their strengths are and outsource tasks that they are not good at.

In the short term when interest rates are low, both types of originators can succeed. However, once interest rates inevitably rise, originators who have delegated activities so they can concentrate their efforts on what they do best will win in the long run.

Mortgage sales involves consistent marketing outreach to prospects, former customers and referral sources. To maintain and promote their personal brand, top producers will often add team members or hire freelancers to handle these marketing activities.

Like so many other successful individuals, the best originators understand that they are not good at everything. No one can be. Even Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had limitations.

As the marketplace shifts to a purchase money environment, this is the perfect time for managers and originators to meet and answer two critical questions:

  1. What are your three most important money-making activities?
  2. How much time are you spending on those activities?

If originators are not devoting the bulk of their day to money-making activities, now is the time to outsource tasks that are holding their performance back. Time is money! If producers want to earn more money, they must change how they spend their time. It can make all the difference in the world.