How White Lies Drive Low Retention

By Pat Sherlock, Founder QFS Sales Solutions

Recently, an originator asked me for advice about changing lenders, citing three issues:

  • Failure of the lender to have a consistent follow-up system or CRM to contact the originator’s previous customers (and expecting the originator to do it on their own).
  • Failure to give him an assistant, even though the originator was producing close to $20 million in annual volume.
  • Compensation and overtime issues (versus what others were doing with their originators).

The originator lamented that during the recruiting process, the lender verbally agreed to provide both a CRM system and an assistant, but denied they made these promises after the originator was hired. When the originator went to the manager’s boss, the senior manager sided with the local manager, who was then upset with the originator for going above his head.

Sherlock: not having an accurate view of sales performance is a recipe for disaster
Pat Sherlock

Unfortunately, this scenario happens a lot in mortgage lending. And, it is completely preventable. If a better process was in place by the recruiting manager and the originator, all the anger could be avoided.

There is no question that the pressure to hire originators is intense. Crushing competition for sales talent means that encouraging an originator to join another lender is hard work. During the recruiting period, both sides want to present themselves in the best light. Promises are made whether the lender has the deliverables in place or not.

This is further complicated by the fact that companies don’t hire rookies. And there is no contingency plan for when originators leave and need to be replaced. As a result, there is always a mad scramble for sales talent. Until senior managers invest in rookies, there will be no end to the recruiting wars.

It is inevitable that overpromising and underperforming occurs. Consider that most written offers don’t cover what support the lender will give to the sales candidate besides the usual verbiage regarding compensation. When companies don’t get the recruiting process right, new hires may feel duped and angry if the lender did not represent themselves accurately. At some point, these individuals will leave the new firm because their expectations were not met.

On the flip side, originators eager to leave their current company don’t listen or ask enough questions. Because they are so unhappy at their present lender, they don’t want to rock the boat during the interview. They often just assume things will work out.

Experienced originators need to insist that a commitment to lender support is discussed and agreed upon. This can be included in the written offer or emailed so that the new lender and the new employee are on the same page. Failure to do so can set the stage for retention issues down the road.

Isn’t it time to recognize that little “white lies” during the recruiting process can lead to an unhappy originator who will not stay at the new lender when another opportunity arises?

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