Dear Loan Officer: Focus on the 80 Percent!

Dear Loan Officer,

Coming to you with a lesson from Brasada Ranch in Central, OR! I wanted to get a lesson out to you today from a book called Ninja Selling by Larry Kendall. It’s a great book for any sales career, and it addresses mindset, how the brain works and how we are perceived.

In the book, Larry cites a study that shares out of all prospective clients that come across your desk, a whopping 15% are looking for the best price. If you are the cheapest, you might get my business. Surprisingly, another 5% will be price, but for the highest price. This encompasses client thinking that, “If I pay top dollar, I will get top-dollar return”.

What does that tell us? That leaves 80%. Focus on the 80% client – the one that will pay your price, if you do a good enough job of expressing and articulating your value.

Read it again; if you do a good enough job of presenting your value proposition, your customer will pay your price.

If you win this customer’s business:
-Your hourly rate goes up
-Your enjoyment goes up, and you’re working with people that value what you bring to the table
-Your customer will likely take less of your time up
-There’s a good chance they will tell other people about you because they value your advice

The way to get there is this: look at your current loan pipeline now, and pick out the 15% that have been beating you up regarding the price. Figure out these clients ASAP, and clear them out of your world so you can focus on the 80%.

Then, relay your value proposition as best as possible to your 80% clients. Your income will go up, and your stress will go down.

I wish you all the best!

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Dear Loan Officer: The Law of the Scale Part 2

Dear Loan Officer,

Happy Tuesday! Last week I shared about the High Trust Law of the Scale which states, “If you want more business, have fewer clients.” The victory isn’t getting a client to do business with you once, it’s getting a client to never be able to forget about you. Does your customer know that you want them as a customer for life? 


I wish you all the best!

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Dear Loan Officer: The Law of the Scale

Dear Loan Officer,

Happy Tuesday – I hope this week finds you in good health! This month, I am diving into the… drumroll…. Law of the Scale. The Law of the Scale remits that if you want more business, have fewer clients. Now, I don’t know how you feel when you first hear that. When I first heard it in my young days in the business, I did not quite understand what it meant. But after digesting it, I knew it was profound (see below facial expression for emphasis):

My takeaway after 22 years in the business, is this: Go deep with your referral partners. Choose the people you really enjoy working alongside, and whom you want to do more business with. Quit digging a bunch of 1-foot wells, and start digging 5-10, 100-foot wells. My first step in employing the Law of the Scale gem, was identifying who were the referral partners that I wanted to go deeper down the path with.

Here are some qualifying questions you may want to pose to those partners:

What makes them tick? What are their biggest stresses? Why did they get in the business in the first place? What is important about being successful to them? What is their 3-year vision for their business? What does their team look like down the road, and how many of them can I help? What are their biggest frustrations with the lending side of the business, and how can I help them?

In a sales profession like ours – continuing to build on your relationships engages more trust and keeps you top-of-mind, which will lead to true victory. I wish you all the best!

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Dear Loan Officer: Are You Getting Tired?

Dear Loan Officer,

Conversations with Dave Savage are always fun, insightful and thought-provoking! On his Mortgage Coach platform, Dave and I share our playbook on how to finish 2020 strong.


I wish you all the best!


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Dear Loan Officer: High Trust Tuesday!

Dear Loan Officer,

I hope this message finds you well. Walking into this week waving my High Trust flag high! As many of you know, I’m a High Trust coach, and was recently a panelist for the Sales Mastery conference last week, for a panel titled “Implementation for Success”. This week, I’ve been asking my coaching clients what they plan to initiate based on their takeaways from the conference (Attended digitally by 48,000 professionals…!)

High Trust founder Todd Duncan has shared the Law of Diminishing Intent with us in this context, which expresses, the longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it.

Spend some time today thinking through the top “nuggets” that you may have received from Sales Mastery, and please share with us: what are the top 3-5 things that you plan to start on first, as takeaways from Sales Mastery?

I share mine below:


1. HomeBot – We already leverage this as a tool at my branch, but I have some ideas on how to leverage 10x the ROI that we’re getting now from HomeBot

2. Hiring – I plan to keep adding members to our team. When opportunity arrives, its too late to prepare. I’m not worried about “when the market slows down”, and I want to be primed to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise in 2021.

3. Be a Leader, not a Savior – I intend to chew on this concept, to continue practiced awareness on what it means to be a leader.

What might your 3-5 takeaways be? What resonated the most when checking in to Sales Mastery this year?

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Dear Loan Officer: Focus on Your Victories and Learn from Your Failures


Dear Loan Officer,

Everywhere I look, I can see a hurdle, a problem, a stumbling block.  Sometimes, things just go wrong, and perhaps continue to go wrong.  I recently talked with two dejected Loan Officers who were each dealing with an “ugly” loan transaction.  If you are in the mortgage business and have done a good amount of business, you’ve been in similar situations.

The reality is, it’s part of our growth in this business.  As with everything, the difference is how you respond.  One or two tough mortgage transactions, or clients, can temporarily crush your confidence.  And if you only HAD one or two loans in total, you’ll question your own capabilities when it can feel like “every loan transaction is a disaster”.

But that’s not the reality.  An “ugly” transaction does not make a career.  Start by focusing on the good ones you’ve had.  Pull out those raving testimonials you received on the LAST loan or two, from the clients that loved you and applauded your team.  Remind yourself that a bad transaction doesn’t mean YOU are bad.  Move on, be better next time and LEARN from any mistakes you made.

Confidence is the key to everything, so you must proactively build your confidence back up when things go sideways.  

Then, from a constructive mindset, “autopsy” the bad experience. What worked?  (Hint:  There is ALWAYS something that went well, no matter how bad things feel.)  Then, write down what didn’t work or go well.  How would you improve your systems to ensure things go better next time?  What questions would you ask earlier in the process?  How would you set expectations better next time, with the client, the Realtor partner, etc.?

Point is, don’t beat yourself up too bad over a tough/bad loan transaction.  Yes, we are in an emotional business and we take it seriously.  Heck, there’s a lot of money at stake for everyone.  But it happens and will continue to happen, though hopefully less and less. Stay confident.  Keep learning and improving.  It’s not easy…but if it was, everyone would be doing it.

I wish you all the best!


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Dear Loan Officer: Feel Like You Never Have Enough Time?


I envision everyone reading this nodding and raising their hand. I face this challenge pretty much every day, being a highly motivated, goal-oriented professional. Many of us, are also juggling virtual school for our kids, and working from home during COVID-19.

Too often we compile a ridiculous list of things we want to accomplish in the day, the week, the quarter, and the year. We then look at this list and balance the emotions of excitement and overwhelming stress.

Here’s the reality:
If you often feel like you don’t have enough time, it means you don’t have clear enough priorities.

I heard Tim Ferriss say something to this effect on one of his podcasts, and it immediately summarized the dilemma with such clarity.

If I’m being honest, I do feel I do a better than average job of setting priorities and saying “no” to the less important things. But I am nowhere as effective as I would like to be in this area.

The above mindset has really forced me to think about my “to-do’s” each day. Am I doing THE most important things first? Am I setting myself up for failure by setting TOO many goals for 2020?

It comes back to this question: What ONE thing if accomplished, would have the biggest impact on my work/life/finances?

Using this as a filter really helps me gain greater clarity on my priorities…daily, weekly, and yearly.

What tips do YOU have? What works for you?

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Pole Pole! A Lesson from Climbing Kilimanjaro

*Repost from November, 2016

Having just gotten back from climbing the highest mountain in all of Africa, I can say that the journey on Mt. Kilimanjaro taught me many lessons. What was the most important one? Set crazy, big goals that scare you and excite you at the same time…then focus on taking one step at a time in the direction of the goal.

As we began our ascent toward 19,341 feet, the guides would constantly repeat, “Pole Pole” (pronounced poh-lay poh-lay). This means “slow, slow” in Swahili. Honestly, I trained hard before our trip, but there’s just no way to train for how slow they encourage you to walk. Naturally I, and everyone else, just wanted to get to the summit as fast as possible. But going 42 miles, uphill, across every type of landscape you can imagine, with less and less oxygen available as you climb in altitude, requires you to slow down. The advice of “pole pole” forced me to concentrate on the task at hand, one step at a time, and not get too overwhelmed with how far I still had to go to reach the summit.

Every once in a while I would pick my head up, look to the peak of the mountain for inspiration, and then back to my feet. Minutes would go by, and eventually hours. But as long as I knew my steps were in the direction of the primary goal, I was happy.

In business, and in life, we must have goals. Big goals. They push us to grow and get outside of our normal comfort zones.

The secret is to not focus on how far from achieving your goal you are, but rather turn around, and focus on the progress you’ve made. As long as your daily actions are in alignment with your vision of where you want to go, you can be happy and confident.

Pole pole! Sometimes we just need to slow down. It’s not a race. If you know where you want to go, you WILL get there, step by step, if you stay focused and confident.

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Dear Loan Officer: Manage Your Energy FIRST

Dear Loan Officer,

I’ve been doing some studying on emotional energy.  Your thinking.  Your feeling.  Your vibe so to speak.  (Which comes from ‘energy vibrations’.)  And how all this impacts our ability to sell, build teams, and lead others.

We broadcast energy all around us, every day, to anyone around us.  We also receive energy from everyone around us.  But what KIND of energy?  Happiness?  Excitement?  Gratitude?  Fear?  Anger?  Scarcity?

We control our vibe with our thoughts and feelings.  Others pick up on this and respond to your energy…good or bad.  We are either giving others energy, or taking energy away from them, based on our thoughts and feelings…our vibe.

Like attracts like:  people radiating positive energy will naturally move away from you if you are radiating negative energy.  Even worse, people with a negative ‘vibe’ will seek out others with a negative vibe, bringing their fear, anger, grief, and negativity into your life.   Misery loves company, right?

In business, sales, or even life, your mindset and vibe tells others whether you are a ‘player’ or a ‘victim’.  Nobody wants to be around a ‘victim’.  Teammates, friends, family, prospective clients and partners…want to be around players.

A negative vibe, a ‘victim’ vibe, can start an awful feedback loop, affecting our relationships around us, and leaving us feeling like we’re in a downward spiral sometimes.  Tough to escape.  Especially since what we focus on…expands in our mind.  (Thanks to our Reticular Activating System).

Whereas top performers, or ‘players’ spend the majority of their life in a positive mental state, giving off positive energy that attracts others.

Knowing this, how do you start your day?  What are your morning rituals that will put you into a ‘player’ mindset, giving on positive vibes? 

When stuff doesn’t go your way, and you feel yourself heading to the “dark side”, how do you control your thoughts/feelings/energy to stay positive…part of the solution…get back to the ‘player’ mindset and vibe…continuing to attract others rather than repel them?

Some hints:

  • Gratitude
  • Exercise
  • Reading positive stuff (i.e. not news)
  • Learning something new
  • Music
  • Talking to other positive people
  • Affirmations/Visualizations
  • Sending a note or personal video – focusing on OTHERS and giving

If we don’t invest the time to better control our emotional energy, daily, we will continue to make everything else more difficult in our lives and in our business.

Every day is a GIFT!  I wish you all the best.

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Dear Loan Officer: Why It’s Important to Take Time Off (Even in COVID-19 Times)


(This is a repost from March 7, 2017)

I’m about to tell you something that will radically transform how you think. In fact, for some of you, it may change everything about how you run your business and life.

When I tell you this new way of thinking, I am betting you will react in one of two ways:

Scoff in disbelief, and convince yourself that it’s just not possible to operate in that way. You’ll probably even say, “Trevor doesn’t know my business…it’s different for me.”
Breathe the biggest sigh of relief, feel a tinge of excitement, and think, “Finally, someone is going to save me from quitting this business!”

Are you ready? Here goes:

Taking time off is not a reward for working hard; time off is a requirement for you to be at your peak for your customers and team when you come to work.
Read it again. I imagine that for some of you, this way of thinking about time off just hit you like a ton of bricks. You get it. You may not know what to do with it yet, but you love it and want to adopt this new mindset.

Others are reading it and still scratching your head. That’s ok. We’ll get there together.

Let’s take a quick trip back in time. When you first got into this business as a commission-only Mortgage Loan Originator, a couple of things were extremely appealing to you:

-Unlimited income potential
-Nobody telling you when to be at the office

Whether you’ve been in the business two years, or twenty years, take a quick assessment of your current career so far. Are you earning the income you imagined possible when you first were starting out? It’s possible you are. Some people simply didn’t realize the potential that exists as an MLO, so your goals may not have been big enough. Here’s another way of asking yourself this question: Are you earning as much as you could be? Are you capable of earning much, much more?

Second, how are you enjoying the time component you were so excited about when you took the entrepreneurial leap into this commission-only world? When coaching loan officers, I often will say,

“Nobody tells you when to be at the office, but there’s also nobody telling you when to go unplug!” The reality is, I have no way of knowing how you answered the above questions for yourself. In fact, your answers might be different today than two years ago and may be different 5 years from now. But I do know, after two decades of being in this field that the average income for commission MLOs is low (relative to what is possible) and that an insane percentage of MLOs work more than 40 hours per week. In fact, when I take surveys at workshops I facilitate, 80%-90% of hands are raised when I ask who works more than 40 hours per week. Many hands continue to stay up as I move up to 50 hours, and even 60. In fact, it saddens me when there’s still some hands in the air expressing they work at least 70 hours per week.

For most, these hours include far more than just typical time in the office. They include the weekend calls for pre-approval letters, or working late to “meet” with a new homebuyer to map out a plan.

It’s up to you to transform how you view time off. Re-read the statement above. You must rejuvenate (Even in COVID-19 times) regularly to be of maximum value to others and be at your peak state in creatively solving problems.

I wish you all the best!

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