With so many major players in the mortgage industry, it’s always difficult to gain market share as a local provider. Unless you have the budget to purchase a Super Bowl ad slot, you’ll never match the visibility that national mortgage lenders achieve. However, visibility doesn’t necessarily translate to success—homebuyers want personalized service, and huge companies aren’t exactly known for their warmth and hospitality.
If you want to become known around town for your top-tier service, you need the best loan officers representing your brand, which is easier said than done if your business is brand new. Joining a young company is always a gamble, especially when switching from an established lender. To successfully recruit top talent for your new mortgage company, you need an extremely convincing sales pitch, culture and benefits that your competitors can’t offer, and a long-term recruitment strategy.
Our Northeast-based mortgage client had no problem putting together a compelling sales pitch highlighting their unmatched company culture, but they were missing the most crucial growth component—an organized loan officer recruitment program. They turned to us in late 2020 because they needed new loan officers on their team, and fast. What they didn’t expect was that within a few months of becoming an Abstrakt partner, they would have two new loan officers on their team and dozens more in the recruitment pipeline.
Here’s how we convinced two successful loan officers to make a career change during a global pandemic and join a company that opened its doors less than two years prior.
Recruiting new employees takes time in any industry, but it’s an especially lengthy process for mortgage companies. Most of our loan officer recruitment partners aren’t looking for recent college grads with no experience—they want established employees with a proven track record of success. Unsurprisingly, these successful loan officers usually aren’t sitting around waiting for their next opportunity—they already have great jobs with competitor companies.
It takes more than a few phone calls to convince a loan officer that they should consider leaving their current role. In regular, non-pandemic times, the average loan officer recruit waits three months before setting an appointment. Add a global economic crisis into the mix, and there’s no telling how long it might take to lock down your first loan officer recruit.
Of course, averages aren’t always a good indicator of how well a B2B appointment setting program will fare. Some of our clients see instant success; others have to wait months to set their first appointment. That’s why we didn’t let the three-month number faze us when we began our new loan officer recruitment program. Instead, we used our proven appointment setting process to set our clients up for guaranteed success—starting with implementation.
Need help growing your mortgage business? Abstrakt can lend you a hand.
At Abstrakt, we kick off every new B2B appointment setting program with an entire month of preparation. During those 30 days, we lay the groundwork for a healthy sales pipeline by learning about our client, creating a list of potential loan officer recruits in their target audience, and gathering preliminary information about every person on our list. This preparation period allows our sales development representatives (SDRs) to hit the ground running on their first day live.
During implementation, we learned the following about our mortgage client:
- Despite opening their doors less than six months before the pandemic swept the globe, they came out of the lockdown months relatively unscathed. Both founders had over 25 years of experience in the mortgage lending industry, so they were able to use their expertise and connections to achieve substantial growth in the company’s first few months.
- Our client’s goal was to foster sustainable growth. After expanding their team and building a customer base, our client no longer had the time or resources to handle recruitment, but they needed more loan officers on their team if they wanted to continue growing. Plus, they were picky about the loan officers they wanted and needed outside help finding suitable recruits.
- Their ideal recruits carried industry credentials and issued a minimum of $750,000 of loans each month or more than 10 loans in a three-month period. Additionally, our client preferred recruits who lived in one of five specified counties.
- A handful of local competitors were off limits. After more than two decades in the mortgage industry, our client company’s founders had developed long-lasting relationships with some of their biggest rivals. If we found out one of our leads worked at an off-limits company, we immediately needed to remove them from our list.
Once we determined our client’s goals and narrowed down their lead criteria, we compiled a lengthy list of potential employees. From there, we got to work cleansing our leads. Our sales reps reached out to potential employees and gathered essential information, including their phone number, email address, current employer, and experience level.
After a month of research, it was time to put our appointment setting plan in motion and start generating leads.
We kicked off our loan officer recruitment program at the perfect time. January and February are the most popular months for people to look for a new job, and we started making calls as soon as the new year rolled around. We spent most of our first few calls gathering additional information from our leads to see if they were a good fit for our client. Our SDRs narrowed down our list of qualified leads by asking a few key questions:
- What would it take for you to leave your current company? This first question was crucial for two reasons: it helped us determine if our prospect would ever actually leave their company, and it let us know if our client had what the prospect was looking for.
- What does your ideal employer look like? Our SDRs used this question to alter their sales approach. If a lead mentioned that their employer was laid-back, we sent them testimonials from current employees about our client’s fun working environment. If they wanted more job support, we told them about our client’s training opportunities.
- What does a typical month look like for you? Because our client had specific criteria for their recruits, this question allowed us to weed out unqualified loan officers. Leads that fit the minimum transaction threshold stayed in our pipeline, even if they only had a few years of experience.
Our qualifying questions helped us pinpoint a viable lead within the first few weeks and focus our efforts on setting an appointment. We learned that this lead joined a national mortgage lender a few years prior and liked their job, but their current employer didn’t provide much operational support. With this information in mind, our SDR emailed the lead a brochure highlighting our client’s commitment to providing processing support and ongoing training. Less than two weeks after the first call, our lead agreed to attend a meeting on Jan. 19, 2021.
A few days before our client’s first meeting, we connected with another viable recruit. Unlike our first lead, this one was initially lukewarm and wouldn’t agree to an appointment right away. However, based on the lead’s comments, we knew that a few weeks of lead nurturing would provide the push they needed to entertain a career change.
At Abstrakt, we use a four-step appointment setting process with our clients. Step one, cleansing, begins during implementation and continues throughout the sales lifecycle. After the initial cleansing process, we move into the introductory phase. Then, some leads move into the lead nurturing phase; others skip to step four and schedule appointments. At any given time during a B2B appointment setting program, we have leads in every step of the process.
By month two, our first lead was already in step four—they had already attended an appointment and were making their way toward a job offer. Our second lead was in phase three: nurturing. This phase looks different for every prospect, but it typically involves weeks of follow-up phone calls and personalized emails. In this case, our lead seemed to drop off the face of the earth for a few months while we kept trying to get in touch. But upon reappearing, they immediately set an appointment for March 22, 2021.
Our job is to set appointments with leads, but we can’t guarantee what will happen from then on. We usually assist our clients with creating knockout sales proposals, but this particular client didn’t need any help. It wasn’t hard to explain to potential employees why their company was so great to work for—they had grown from a tiny startup into a stable business during the pandemic and their current employees weren’t shy about loving their jobs. We knew that it was only a matter of time before our two leads officially joined our client’s team.
In mid-April, both experienced loan officer recruits signed their offer letters. In the same amount of time it usually takes for loan officer recruits to set an appointment, two leads entered the pipeline and successfully exited as new employees. Currently, our client is considering expanding into more states—with our help.
Our rapid ascent to B2B sales success was only possible because our sales team followed these sales best practices:
- Don’t disqualify a lead too soon: Our client’s second recruit only had a year of experience in the loan officer field but produced over $1 million in loans each month. If we had disqualified them solely based on their years in the industry, we would have missed a perfect opportunity.
- “No” doesn’t always mean “never”: Our second lead initially said they weren’t interested in leaving their current job. That didn’t stop us from nurturing them through our pipeline and eventually getting a “yes.”
- When a lead doesn’t respond, it doesn’t mean they’re not paying attention: Even when our second lead didn’t respond to our emails or pick up our calls, we didn’t stop trying. As we learned later, they weren’t dodging our calls—they were just busy. Our emails gave the lead the push they needed to get back in touch.
Starting a lending business is no easy task—you need an overflowing source of capital and employees who are willing to take a gamble on your business. Once you make it past the first few months in business, growing your lending business may seem easy. However, you need a solid B2B lead generation strategy and lots of time to recruit the top loan officers in your area.
If employee recruitment is outside of your comfort zone, Abstrakt can help. We take the recruiting weight off your shoulders so you can focus on supporting your current employees. With our help, your mortgage office can grow from a small operation into the top company in your area.
Contact us today to learn more about our loan officer recruitment program and take the first step in growing your business.