The 3 Skills You Need To Acquire To Become A Top Performing LO
Sean Zalmanoff, Regional Manager at Better Rate Mortgage
Everybody keeps talking about skills. You need skills to do a job, or to have a hobby. Everything you do and the way you do it is based on how good you are at doing it, in other words, how skilled you are. Anything you want to do, you need to acquire the skills for.
The great thing about skills though is that, unlike abilities, they can be acquired and refined — a happy bit of luck for all of us who are determined to keep our career moving forward.
A good loan officer is skilled in establishing strong interpersonal relationships, has excellent communication and research skills, and knows how to stay on top of their game. The top 1% of the highest performing LOs distinguishes themselves from the pack by taking these skills and refining them to perfection, every day. Let’s have a closer look on the top three skills to concentrate on to make the cut.
First and foremost you are a salesman. As such, you need to have every part of the sales process under your thumb: prospecting, maintaining relationships, following-up consistently, objection handling, and closing. Even though you use these skills on a daily basis, just using them isn’t enough — you need to practice them every day; to work on improving them. I don’t care if it’s pitching to yourself in the mirror, or reading a chapter from a new sales book, you need to do something.
One of my primary goals is to remove all the busy work from my sales team, so that my LOs can focus on doing their job. Nevertheless, even if you work at an organization like mine where you have minimal back-office busy work, you still need to realize the extent of your tasks and responsibilities, and always be on top of them. If you work in a more typical mortgage environment, where you need to stay on top of other people’s paperwork and push the back office, this is even more true.
Not being a good manager (at least in the sense of time) will have a fatal effect on your career sooner or later. Bad management of your own time will lead to messy organization, holdups in the workflow, and ultimately it will leave cracks in your clients’ trust in your services. This is something that a top performing loan officer can never allow to happen.
Finally, you have to be great with people to put it all together. You’ll be dealing with all kinds of people from various social, cultural, religious and financial backgrounds, who will all have different expectations and requirements from you. You’ll need to always be available, always provide meaningful and reliable insight, always find the best solution for everyone individually, all that while maintaining friendly and trusting relationships.
Of all the “skills” required, people skills are the most likely to be debated as “skills” per se. There’s a tendency to think of introverts and extroverts, and draw the (erroneous) conclusion that being good with people is a natural ability. The difference between extroverts and introverts is the manner in which they deal with people; but the goal of building people skills is improving the quality of those interactions — regardless of manner. Being situationally aware, using and understanding body language, active listening. These are just a few clear skills that can be learned, that apply whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, and which fall under the broader umbrella of people skills. If you’re going to be great at this job, you need to be great with people, so start with this list of three and ad them to your weekly agenda of self improvement.
Not everyone can become a superhero, but anyone can become a top performer, if they set their mind to it. So, will you start improving your career today? Do you agree with my top three choices, or do you have a different idea? Let me know!