By: John Seroka
Recruiting high-performing loan officers is one of the most important things you can do as a mortgage lender to sustain your company. Yet, right now, this job is more challenging than ever as all hands are on deck managing sky-high origination volumes. For many LOs, changing companies is likely taking a back seat.
This certainly is not to say, however, that recruiting should be on the back burner. It can’t be. At some point, mortgage loan interest rates will go up. The refis will stop. And you will be reliant upon your LOs’ abilities to attract and retain referral partners and leverage business from their existing relationships.
As you head down the recruiting path, what are you doing to differentiate yourself and make your company a desirable workplace for these high performers? Why would they want to join your company instead of a competitor? And what are the best tactics to use to support your recruiting strategy?
If you’re going to be successful at recruiting high-performing LOs, there are certain things you must do to lay the initial groundwork and tactics you must apply consistently to bring about the desired result.
What should you be doing to recruit new LOs like a pro?
Below are 5 tips. If you lack resources to help you in any of these areas, feel free to reach out to us for help.
1) Have a clearly defined value proposition. Everybody, and I mean everybody, talks about their competitive pay, service, technology and how they go above and beyond to provide a family-like environment where everyone loves to work as a team and help each other. Well, no kidding. If you don’t deliver on the basics, you’re going to fail as a business.
We’ve found that lenders who want to recruit rarely talk about the things that really matter, such as why they are respected in the communities they serve, what they do to support those communities that builds awareness and helps lay the groundwork for success, mentorship programs, how they help new recruits grow their business and the marketing support systems that are in place/being built. And it’s just as important to share the company’s philosophy and approach to lending, technology to help LOs win, why they believe they will win as a lender in the marketplace, the personality and culture of the company and more that go far beyond business basics.
To be fair, some of this is hard to come up with. Articulating things like why you will win, what makes people want to do business with you, why people come to work for you and other seemingly simple questions take deep thought and investigation to develop and then convey.
You may consider hiring a company that can guide you through this entire thought process… an expert that will ask you the right questions ─ hard questions ─ that will help you carve out your value proposition. Few companies go through this exercise. Instead, they push marketing messages that are incredibly similar to others and frankly make it hard on themselves to compete.
2) Make sure your website is up to speed. If you want the best people on your team, your website must hit the mark. Do not just compare yourself to the community bank down the street or other local lenders. They may not even be your real competition. Rather, compare yourself to a handful of the top originators in the industry that you can discover in places like Scotsman Guide or National Mortgage News where they’re ranked. Set the bar high. Your site must have the right calculators, a great UX and be up to date. If you question whether it is functioning properly, providing the right experience or conveying your brand well, these are all great reasons to have a pro take a closer look and provide you with an evaluation and recommendations.
3) Manage your social media properties and have a written strategy. A written strategy ensures your ability to measure and get better over time. Having a robust social media presence is more critical now, given the new environment we are all living in and adapting to. Social distancing has seriously mitigated our ability and desire to meet in person and establish relationships the way we have in the past. Therefore, your ability to convey your brand, industry knowledge and personality through social media is more important than ever.
Even without a pandemic playing out, the modern loan officer is going to want to work with a company that knows how to use modern communications. This means frequently updating your social media accounts which should at minimum include Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Ideally, you would add on Instagram and YouTube. If you really want to be cool, you’ll take a serious look at TikTok and start to leverage that before everybody else gets there!
4) Have a media relations and PR plan in place that you are actively executing. A vibrant presence in industry trade publications and in the local areas you serve will go a long way to paint a picture of what kind of company you are and what’s important to you. Make sure you take advantage of award opportunities, both inside and outside of the industry. There are many of them including best places to work, technology awards, 40 under 40, best mortgage lenders, top originators and more.
5) Leverage direct marketing to round out your broader activities. Fortunately, we live in a time when it’s easier than ever to build awareness with specific individual targets in mind.
To make it work, you need to clearly identify the background qualifications of the individual you want. What is their production volume? Do they have a specialty? What geographic area do they serve? How many years have they been in the business? Are you willing to mentor and train someone new to the industry? If so, what qualifications should they have?
There are lists you can purchase that identify LOs and their origination volumes so that you can build out a campaign targeting them directly with email, SMS text and phone calls.
Making that initial contact where you have an actual conversational exchange is the obvious goal. So, be sure to test by setting up competing sequences to learn what messaging tends to work best to capture attention.
Also, how do you know your emails are getting delivered and not being categorized as promotions or spam? Did you prime your IP? Do you have a good sender score?
If you feel like your direct campaign is underperforming, reach out to us and let’s look at it together. We’d be happy to help you or at least give you some advice.
In today’s environment, everybody wants the best talent. And mortgage companies are making money they are willing to reinvest in recruiting. We all recognize that this low rate, refi environment is going to come to an end at some point, so ideally your recruiting efforts are already underway.
To be successful, you must give loan officers a reason to want to come to your company. And that means your brand must be clear, your messages must be concise, and your brand communications must be on-point.
If you are looking for help, reach out to us today!