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Ask The Expert: How Can I Take My Production to the Next Level?

A struggling loan officer asked: I had a pretty decent year last year, but I can’t seem to get over the hump and move to the next level from a production standpoint. My biggest issue is time. I spend so much time closing loans, I can’t seem to find the time to market. What do you suggest?"

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[caption id="attachment_9654" align="alignright" width="150"] Dave Hershman[/caption]

Dave: I get this message a lot. There are so many parts to this issue, it will be hard to provide solid advice in such a way that it will solve all your problems. But then again, I am a big believer in a “one-step-at-a-time” approach. All journeys start with the first step and you can only take one step at a time.

The first step is to analyze your application system. You can’t solve the problem if the front end is a mess. You have heard the term, garbage in, garbage out. This could not be any more applicable here. If your applications are a mess, then even if you hire an assistant as a long-term solution, the assistant will not be 100% effective.

What you need to do is become a “backwards investigator.” This means that you uncover all issues that might come up on your loans and solve these issues before they become issues. Basically, you need to underwrite the loans as you take them—structuring them in the right way. And above all, make sure they are 100% documented up-front. And if there is missing documentation, go after it with a sense of urgency.

This self-assessment is essential, because if you are spending a decent amount of time fixing loan problems that should have been fixed up front, it will keep you from moving to that “next level."

On the other hand, if you deliver great service because you have taken control from the outset, you can now move onward to the second phase of the plan.

The biggest complaint I get from loan officers is they don’t have time to market because they are too busy closing loans. No matter what the shape of your pipeline, closing loans is a labor-intensive activity. What loan officers need to realize is that their best opportunity to market is actually right under their nose.

What is that opportunity? It is within your pipeline. What if each closing brought not only the ability to receive referrals from the applicant(s) but also lead to a variety of other opportunities to develop long-term and short-term referral sources? We will talk about a few of these in the my next column.

Dave Hershman is Senior VP of Sales of Weichert Financial and the top author in the mortgage industry. Dave has published seven books, as well as hundreds of articles and is the founder of the OriginationPro Marketing System and Mortgage School, the online choice for expert mortgage learning and marketing content. His site is www.OriginationPro.com and he can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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