For nearly four decades, Dale Vermillion has dedicated his life to helping loan officers, sales managers, and lending executives reach new levels of success in their lives and careers. Join Dale and I as week speak more about the industry and how it's doing today.
In this snippet of the Modern Lending Podcast...
- Learn Dale Vermillions BIG 3 Tips
- Work life Balance is a key to success
- Make sure to have the same mindset of success at throughout the day
- What needs to be focused on during this unprecedented time in our industry
[Alec] Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another Modern Lending Podcast live. Baby, are we loving the lives. This is the world that we live in. Welcome to COVID . Exciting guest today. We're gonna dive into the real dirt, like the real meat of what our mortgage professionals, our sales professionals, are dealing with today. Solutioning out how to thrive in their business and how to even go beyond what's we're facing today with record volume and all this craziness, so Dale Vermillion is the founder and CEO of Mortgage Champions. Nearly four decades this guy has been pouring his life into helping loan officers, leaders reach new levels of success. He's trained over a million professionals. If there's anybody that knows what he's talking about, it's this guy or he's convinced everybody he has. And so I'm really excited. He's joining us on vacation. So you gotta give him some love for that. So without further ado, let's bring on Dale, and rock and roll. Dale, thank you for joining us.
[Dale] Alec, great to be here, man. Thanks so much for having me. What a privilege.
[Alec] So I love to share this 'cause it's funny we were on guys, before we went live and there was this jingling happening in the background. I'm looking at Dale's, I'm like, "Are you out in the woods? Like, this is amazing." And it had these wind chimes he had to take down. Dale, where are you? So everyone can get a little insight here.
[Dale] You know I'm up at our cabin up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and just loving some time with my bride and just enjoying the beauty of nature. It's just unbelievable out here.
[Alec] That's so cool. That's amazing. I was jealous just seeing the background. That's amazing. So Dale let's do this as we dive in, before we get into the questions and really digging into the the tactics to help our loan professionals right now in this really crazy time. Share with everybody like, how did you get into this space with doing what you do? Like what pulled you into this area of the world?
[Dale] Yup. Well, back in 1983 when I started in the industry, I actually came out of high school in 1979 and worked construction for three years and was actually standing on a scaffold and guy said, "You talked a lot, you ought to be in sales."
[Dale] I don't think it was a compliment. So I took him up on it and got a job. I actually first selling pots and pans door to door. Didn't wanna do that for a living and then got in the mortgage industry and you know, this is, Alec, the greatest industry ever. I mean, I spent 12 years in the business from a loan officer to a branch manager, to district manager, to regional vice president to running a national mortgage company. And in 1995, decided to go out and actually start training and consulting because I was fortunate enough to work with thousands of top producers that I had worked with and trained and brought in. And we've learned, we'd built a selling system that just absolutely worked.
[Dale] In 1995 I decided to try my toe in being an entrepreneur. And 25 years later here I am, had a chance to train over 600 companies and a million loan officers and just love this business, love what we can do for consumers and love how we change lives every day.
[Alec] You know, I was just talking to a buddy. in the industry and you're so dead on and where I'd love to kind of go first in our conversation is that this is almost the greatest hidden industry in the country. I mean, people don't know about it or talk down on it or whatever all that stuff, the biases against it but it is incredible. I mean, it's blessed my life unimaginably.
[Alec] So let's talk about new blood. Like why would somebody join the mortgage industry today? I think that's a really important question. I hope that the viewers who are watching this now and in the future tag somebody who's not in our business because by the way, there's a pandemic happening. There's some businesses that are struggling and yet the mortgage industry seems to be thriving. So Dale, what would you say to somebody who was new and thinking about joining the mortgage industry?
[Dale] Well, 'cause I think we're the oldest business in the industry or in the economy to be honest with you, other things that are claimed to be, but look, we're the money business. We're in the business of helping Americans become homeowners and then take that home ownership and capitalize on it and maximize it. And when you think about, you look over the last 50 years and you look at wealth built in the U.S. it's predominantly built through real estate. That's how most people do it. And therefore, if you're thinking about being in this industry today, you'd be crazy not to do it because our product is never going away. It's money. Everybody likes it, everybody wants it, nobody's got enough of it. And they're all looking for more of it. And we got an ultimate supply. It's a great business.
[Alec] You know, I compliment that too. And I look at it this industry today, how radically it's changed, I got into the game in 2003, and there was another refi boom happening back then, which was interesting. But like now looking at the game and looking at social media, looking at video, looking at all these in places that we're on I'm like, man, if you are a young millennial this is the perfect industry. You can flex all your entrepreneurial desires, you can be on social, you can be connecting to human scale, you can be virtual effectively 'cause COVID forced that on us anyway, but you could have before. And I'm like, man, and the sky's the limit. The sky's the limit.
[Dale] It is. I mean, I'm a poster child for that. I mean, I came out of high school. I had no college degree, never went to college and ran a national mortgage company with 2300 employees before I became a consultant. Like you can't do that in any other industry that I know of. So the opportunities in this business are endless. It is an incredible industry and we truly do change the lives of our customers when we do it right. And that's the beauty of this business.
[Alec] And the crazy thing too is that we change the lives of our customers, our lives get changed.
[Dale] That's exactly right.
[Alec] It's unbelievable. So speaking of our lives being changed, it seems that there are loans falling from the sky.
[Alec] And that's causing massive issues. Good and bad to our professionals, our salespeople. Leslie noted that on LinkedIn, it seems audio and service are cutting out a little bit less. If you could jump to Facebook or YouTube. Let me know. I super appreciate that. It sounded clear to me and we're on bandwidth but I super appreciate you jumping in and sharing. So Dale like, with record volumes comes record pain and hopefully record paychecks. I mean, good and bad. But like in your coaching people through this stuff, what are you hearing? How are people responding? What are you leaning into and pushing through for people? What's going on?
[Dale] Well, a couple of things that I can mention about that. First off, if you think about the Charles Dickens book "A Tale of Two Cities", it starts with the statement. "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." That's where we're in right now. We are in the best times we've ever seen. And also it is the most stressful and high volume times we've ever seen. So here's the first thing that I remind people. Number one, keep reminding yourself every day, constantly throughout the day, how blessed we are to even be employed in this world we live in. And to make the incredible amount of money we can make with unlimited potential. That's number one. Number two, if you really wanna move your pipelines and you really want to be effective and successful to be able to handle this high volume, the answer to that is not speeding up and rushing. That's the wrong thing to do.
[Dale] The answer is slowing down. You have to slow down enough to do it right the first time so that you get a good file and you build a good relationship. You protect that, that you know, loyalty of that customer, and you give your Ops team a chance to do something that really allows that file to move through without a lot of touches and a lot of hesitation and your files move quickly and you're very successful in these times.
[Alec] So let me ask you this 'cause it's one of my favorite things. So right now we're in a housing shortage. There's not enough houses. There's huge pressure.
[Alec] So somebody is out there trying to buy, is trying to put in the best offer they can to buy the house.
[Alec] And our real estate partners are under a lot of pressure to make their deals stand out. So they're turning right around and putting pressure on their lending partners saying, "You better close this loan fast. I need to guarantee you close this loan in 20 days." And the loan officer is looking at their pipeline and looking at the company going, "Huh!" And then either they're laying down and saying, "Yes, I will". And they're promising something they can't commit to, hoping that they can somehow pull this out. But you know, how do you go back to the, to the realtor and say, "I can't close that fast". And watch the realtor say, "Well, I'm using somebody else or something." How do you deal with that pressure?
[Dale] You know first off, you have to educate on realistic expectation. The number one mistake Alec that I'm seeing today that I believe loan officers are making is we don't set right expectations from the start. We're not training our realtors to understand. It's not a 30 day business anymore. It's a 45 to 60 day business now. And it's because we're not the only ones that control it. We've got all of the outside companies that we use from the title companies to all... different services, everything we've got. It's a multifaceted process. So we don't control what happens with people getting COVID. We don't control what happens with people being at a home with children and they can't get to things to get them done. It's a different world. So you have to set right expectations. And you have to understand this, that if you can prove to your realtors that you're gonna give better service, a better loan program with better options that provides better choices and you're gonna be better for that realtor in promoting their business than anybody else, that borrower will wait 10 more days. I guarantee it. You just have to set that expectation from start. And, you know I always push back and say any lender out there saying that they're gonna close in 10 days, clearly must not have a big pipeline. They must not be good at their job. They must be pretty bad at their job if they're like, "I have tons of capacity." Like, "You don't do loans very well then? 'Cause you shouldn't."
[Dale] You are their only customer.
[Alec] That's a bad sign. So here's the other thing Dale I think is a challenge. You know, setting expectations, telling your partner, having the courage to tell your partner the reality of the situation, without feeling that they're gonna abandon you and run down the street to the guy who saying they can close in two days, all that stuff is as part of the game. But I'm also watching people turn into order takers kind of. And I know you're passionate about this. You have thoughts on it. And I'd love for you to kind of just start sharing your viewpoint on this because it can be hard, right? We were getting calls. And people were like, "Can you do this?" And you say, "Yes". And then "Can you do this?" And you say, "Yes". And we're not even working in our business anymore.
[Dale] Yup. You know, these kind of markets I've been through a bunch of them in 37 years, as you can guess. These kind of markets, when you have incredibly low rates, high volume like this can wreck a career more than any other thing I've ever seen.
[Alec] I love that you said that. Because right now people are having their best month of their career. And you're saying you're gonna wreck it.
[Dale] You are. Because what happens is, we stop taking care of our business the way that we traditionally and normally do in a normal marketplace. And these marketplaces are far and few between they come and go very quickly. You can make a lot of money if you do it right. But you have to understand you gotta nurture your customers, you gotta build the same relationships. you gotta do it the right way, Because if you just start order taking and rushing through everything, remember everything that you do everyday creates a new habit. You're building new habits. So all of a sudden the industry changes, The FHFA comes out, they raise, put this tariff that we've got.
[Alec] Tax, Yeah.
[Dale] Yup. It changes everything. And also business slows down and they're like, wait a minute it's not working anymore. This order taking mode isn't working because now customers actually want me to tell them why I should choose them versus just, "Hey, I want that 3% rate. Can you give it to me as quick as possible?" So you've got a 10 year business well in this time, so you build a longterm business and you don't become unsuccessful after this is done.
[Alec] Man I love that advice. You know, it's the ant and the grasshopper, right? Like, so if the ants are preparing for winter, the grasshoppers saying, don't worry about it it'll never come.
[Alec] And I think that the message you're sharing is so dead on. Like our great mortgage professionals have to be focusing on what's next. And it's a hard thing to balance for sure. But if you're not focusing on what's next, they'll just like you said, it's gonna be here before you know it, and you're not gonna prepare for it.
[Dale] Yeah. And I would ask every producer out there this question today. What are you doing with the excess that you're making right now? If you're spending it, you're crazy. You ought to be banking that because you know what, there is always gonna be ebbs and flows in this business. And when the market turns and we've been through tough times and we've been through great times and guys like you and I have been around for decades, we've made it because we understand that. We know that's how the business goes. Therefore you wanna make sure that you're banking that stuff and you're being very wise about how you're handling not just your business, but your financial side of your life.
[Alec] That advice cannot be stated enough. Especially if you're new in this business. Like if you're lucky enough that you're in like year two, and you're like, "Oh my God, this is incredible". Like, this is not going to stay like this. Like put the money over there, like, please don't make the mistake that so many mortgage professionals do and go out and buy the Lambo or whatever it is. Like don't do it. It's the disaster.
[Dale] Well, and don't fall into the trap that I see all the time. So we hit the high volume of leads. So what do we do? I got to get through the lead, I got to get through the lead, I got to get through the lead so I can get to the what? To the next one. So what we do is we rush to fail is what we actually do. You got to remember, and I say this every time I'm interviewed, but it's so important. One committed sale a day, one committed sale a day. If you get a borrower that commits to the deal and does all the things you need them to do to show full commitment. In your pipeline is gonna put 21 deals a month in your pipeline. That's 15 loans closed. Two of those a day is 30 loans closed. And three of those a day is 45. So my question all the time to the loan officers is, what's your rush? Why are you hurrying through? Because if you do it right three times a day, you close nearly 50 loans a month. Which is incredible numbers and incredible income, and you'll sustain the right kind of business going forward.
[Alec] Yeah, I mean, talk more about the importance of a loan officer saying no to the non[Dale]ideal customer. Like there's so much maturity in that. To look at a customer and be like, "I'm not gonna work with you."
[Dale] Hey, if you're dating for marriage, you're gonna have to say no. Because if it's not the right match, it's not going to last. It's that simple. So one of the things that loan officers have to be very very good at in these times is very quickly pre[Dale]qualifying that bar on the front end for the major things that matter. Credit scores, income availability, income verification.
[Alec] Sustainability, yeah.
[Dale] Sustainability. those are simple things to do that save you time so that you can spend more time with the borrowers who are qualified. But look, here's the bottom line, don't be chasing business in this marketplace. Don't be taking the junky stuff and running after that. When you look at something and you know it's gonna take three or four times, as long as the normal deal, kill it. Move on to a better one. Because you can do three or four more deals in the same time as that one. So why are you wasting your time chasing that rabbit?
[Alec] Dale I love that so much 'cause so many loan officers I know they see dollar signs. They get the lead, and they think bank, money in the bank. And they don't realize that one customer could derail your entire pipeline. They could be such a time suck.
[Dale] Yup, they can. And an attitude suck too. Don't, don't forget that.
[Alec] Oh, yeah. And then not even fund. And then just cancel on you for like. And you're like, well that was[Dale] But that's a really great point Dale. And it's something everyone needs to be focused on. Is this the right customer for me? Am I the right consultant for this person? And if not, let him go. Let him fly for you. There's more fish out there right now.
[Dale] Yeah. Especially in these times.
[Alec] So Dale, what other threats are you seeing that our loan officers might be missing because they're so busy that they need to be paying attention to and making sure they're intentional with, to stay viable in the long run.
[Dale] The one thing that is absolutely critical today and I think loan officers think this is a problem when it's actually their solution. Is you have to continue to nurture the relationship with the customer and the relationship with the realtor through the process. What I see a lot of today is okay, we get the deal. Alright maybe we think we do it right, maybe we even do a high quality application and we stick it in. But then we go on the black hole that we don't talk to that customer, we don't talk to that realtor and then we wonder why we get unhooked three weeks later. Look, you've got to stay in contact because there's so much pressure from technology and credit triggers and all of the different things out there that are attacking your borrower. You gotta stay in touch.
[Alec] And it's hard to do when there's a lot on your plate.
[Dale] It is unless you know how to plan well. If you understand, it's all about time blocking. And it's all about saying, you know what, I'm gonna take one day out of the week, maybe that's my Friday afternoon at two o'clock in the afternoon. And I'm just gonna call every one of my deals in my pipeline. I'm sure you don't have more than a hundred deals in your pipeline if you make a hundred calls. So what? And I'm gonna make sure that I touch base and make sure they're okay. Because weekends is where you lose deals...
[Alec] Oh, that's a great comment. That's a great comment. Yep, So let me ask you this Dale 'cause you're coaching a lot of people. How do you lean into that old work life balance kind of conversation when you mentioned a great comment. Weekends you lose deals.
[Alec] Right? So, 'cause people are out there like that there, they finally have free time, they're shopping, they're moving, they're doing all this stuff. So how do you coach into that? And what advice do you give right now to people about balance? Because it feels like maybe there isn't some.
[Dale] Yeah, but that's such a great question Alec because it's very true and it's very important. You know, I just did a post with a picture of the, mountains here that, we see on LinkedIn and said, look, you gotta remember in these busy times, it's easy for us to make excuses why we don't have time to get away. You better make time to get away because you need sanity and you need to be at your best game in these times. Here's the bottom line. Balance is important at any time no matter what the marketplace is doing. As I've said many times, you don't wanna work so hard and so long and make so much money that your current spouse can spend it with their future spouse. That's not the goal.
[Alec] That's the nugget. That is so good. Absolutely.
[Dale] That's so true. So, what you have to do is you have to plan and purpose everything. Make sure you build your purpose first, plan everything around that. And when you plan your schedule and you build your time blocks, plan for not just your professional business time, plan for your personal time. Make sure you're putting time away for your spouse and your kids and your friends and yourself taking care of yourself. These things are very very important. Because you're no good to anybody if you're not in balance. It's just that simple. You're gonna break.
[Alec] Yeah, I know it's hard 'cause there's some people that say, "Hey, the fish are swimming, time to fish". But if you don't figure out when to take a break and breathe, and by the way, this is so funny. Like when we started the work from home craziness, I had an aha moment because I was sitting in my garage in my desk in that little office I built. Like up for like all day. like just right in the zone and I'm like, Oh my God, I've taken zero breaks. Like I've just been zero and I'm like, why am I blasted? Because I was, there's no natural breaks, there's no drive to work, there's no lunch. You just sit there and eat, you're at home and that discipline is huge. Changes the game.
[Dale] Yeah, you've gotta create an environment working from home as if you weren't working from home. But you also have to be sensitive to those things in life. So if your kids are home and you're sitting in your office and you know you wanna spend a little bit of time with them, you're gonna be feeling guilt where you're not gonna be performing at your highest level anyway. Plan breaks during your day. Take 20 minutes, go out, sit down with them, have a snack with them, enjoy some time with them. Make sure that you're building your day out so that you're more efficient and effective in the times you're working but you're taking those breaks to kind of catch that breather and get yourself regenerated. Regeneration throughout your day is really important.
[Alec] I love that. I wanna echo it. I mean, the fact that you can plan a lunch date with your daughter or kids, that you can build it into the schedule so that you can be like, "Okay, now I need to shut this off". And don't operate just organically, like build a plan around it and you'll be happier. I love that. Dale, Let me ask you this, I love this question. I normally ask it at the very, very tail end, but we're gonna go down a rabbit hole here. So I wanna just hit it now. If you're sitting in front of a 30 year veteran of our industry, like mortgage professional, right pro, and next to them is a five month brand new loan officer,
[Alec] And they've got you for whatever kind of time they paid for and they're gonna ask some questions and they're looking for advice,
[Alec] Where do you start with them? What do you start talking about? What do you start sharing with them? They're looking for direction. You've got a lot of wisdom here, where do you go?
[Dale] Well, I think the first thing that I would do is remind them that, if you don't continually educate yourself every day for the rest of your life, you're never gonna get to where you wanna be. I think that's number one, okay. Robert Ringer has a great quote. He says, "Success is a process of literally just taking and learning and learning and learning and taking great habits and replicating them." That's all it is. It's really really important to understand that. So I would start by saying first off, I'd look at the veterans and say, "What do you on every day to recharge your battery and get yourself in the right mindset and make sure that you're continually growing and educating yourself." For the new person I be like, "You better be studying and talking with guys like this one right here, or girls like this one right here or senior veterans who are crushing it and learn from them as much as you can." The single most important factor that I talk about with managers and leaders every day in finding great employees, is finding people with a teachable spirit. Who are willing to learn, who are willing to grow, and who are willing to change because this is an ever changing business. So the first thing I would tell anybody is, be prepared to educate yourself regularly, be prepared for change. And remember that it's not about how much you know, as much as how well you do what you do. Attitude is such an important part of our business. And yes, you need to know the business. There's no question about it. But at the end of the day, if you know the business and you've gotten grizzly and you've gotten cranky, and I see this all the time when I travel the country, you're not doing anybody any good. You're not closing a lot of loans.
[Alec] You know, I really love your first comment there. So I wanna pick your brain more. Constantly be educating yourself, constantly be leaning into new things, figuring out new ways to play the game because it's always changing. I think that's such an overlooked, you know, facet. Because there's a lot of people who like today, this is a great example. Like digital marketing and digital social media, this whole new space here these little boxes now that we live in on screens. There's a lot of more professionals like me who were trained to go out every single day and get eight business cards from realtors and don't come back if you don't have those business cards. And so we went through that pain, it was uncomfortable, we sucked at it. I was 23, I was walking in to try to talk to this top agent I felt like an idiot. And you kind of went through that uncomfortableness, and a lot of us that are still in the game kind of came through it. But now it's almost like you're asking me to go back in, 'cause now I'm saying, now there's a new place to play and you're not good at it yet, but you're gonna have to go in. And people are like, I don't wanna go get uncomfortable again.
[Alec] I did all that in my early days. But your first comment, Dale is dead on. Always be learning and always be looking for the next thing.
[Dale] Look, if you're not willing to change, then you're in the wrong industry. The mortgage, constantly things are changing. Our partners are changing, products are changing, regulations are changing, pricing is changing. It's a constant ebb and flow that you've had to work within. So you've gotta be willing to understand that I gotta know where the market's at. I gotta stay ahead of that market all the time. And I gotta make sure that I focus on the one thing that matters more than anything in this business. And it always has. And that's relationships. If you don't have relationships, you don't have a business in this business.
[Alec] So let's do a little pivot here for a second Dale. I know you coach and mentor a lot of leaders. And leading in this digital space right now is a whole new thing.
[Alec] And it's causing its own challenges because you can't get physical anymore. I know a lot of leaders that are used to being physical. They wanna be in the office space, they wanna be having face to face meetings and all that. And they can't do that the way they used to do that. So where are you coaching in this regard? Where are you seeing the people thrive or not perform? I mean, let's get some advice, let's talk about it.
[Dale] So let me give you the big three. And the big three is what I teach every single leader that I've ever trained in my career and it's transformational for many companies and many leaders in the way that they look at their business and the results that they get. And the big three starts. Number one with, you have got to have a morning meeting every morning with your team. It is an absolute essential part of the business. Like there's no way I managed for 11 and a half years. And as a branch manager, I had a morning meeting. As a district, I did and all my managers did. As a regional, everybody underneath me did. We did it every single day because here's what I knew. As a leader, my job is to infuse in my people, three things in that morning meeting. Number one, what are your goals? What are you gonna accomplish today? Let's talk about that. I wanna make sure we're on the same page. Number two, I'm gonna educate you on something. I'm gonna teach you something today that you may not know. I'm gonna make you better every day 'cause that means I improve you 250 times a year. And number three, I'm gonna motivate and inspire you. I'm gonna make sure you walk out of this meeting, excited about your day, excited about our company, excited about what you're doing, because my job is to infuse my energy and my motivation and my enthusiasm into you every day. Not to just let you show up when you feel like it and go work and do it the way you want, because here's what I know. People will start their day very poorly if you don't start it for them. It is critical you do that. And today we can do it by Zoom. We can do it in these kinds of ways and that's the way we should be. You wanna see your people. You don't want to do it by telephone 'cause you wanna make sure they're actually in the game each morning. That's the first thing.
[Alec] Wait, hold on Dale. Well, don't go deeper yet. I gotta unpack the first thing again.
[Dale] You got it.
[Alec] This is massively impactful. I absolutely agree with your statement and I'm realizing in myself like I don't do that very well myself as a leader. But I love it, so your encouraging. Your number one is get face to face in the video world Zoom. So make people show up. That way no one can hide, don't get on it. You gotta have the camera on. You gotta show me you're here to play the game.
[Dale] That's right.
[Alec] Unless something's going on in your life, where you have a doctor appointment or like things that were normal back in the day. But that's a high level of accountability.
[Dale] It is.
[Alec] That you're providing not only to yourself, cause you got to show up. Like Dale is gotta be on there every day. But for everyone else on the team. Man, I love that and I think that's a huge call[Dale]out, 'cause I guarantee you, I guarantee you that's not happening.
[Dale] There's no question about it. And the reason is 'cause we think we're too busy. But...
[Dale] We gotta stop and we gotta make sure that everybody's working in the same direction and everybody's working with the same positive powerful mindset, and everybody's working to accomplish the same goals. And I can look even on a Zoom I can look at people and tell if they're just off kilter.
[Alec] Oh yeah, of course, of course. So, okay. What's number two?
[Dale] Number two is once you complete that, then the next thing I want you to do is I want you to have your people. And this is going to sound crazy to veterans because they always argue with me on this until they do it. And that is, they need to warm up. You literally should never make a single sales phone call without having warmed up first. It should never happen. Why? Because you could get 10 leads today and you don't know which of those 10 is the best but there might only be one or two good ones. And that might be the first one you get. And if you have not done any level of practice or warmup, what happens is you're going in cold. I don't care how much experience you got. You just rolled out of bed. You haven't had your three cups of coffee yet.
[Alec] So true.
[Dale] You're not prepared for this customer and they whack you. And I've learned this when you get whacked first, I mean, I've said it many times, how many of us show up at nine o'clock in the morning, pumped up and ready to go. And by 9:30, we're ready to go home. Happens a lot because we get beat up on the first call because we were not prepared. Practice is the baseline of preparation. So I want my people to practice as number two. And the number three, and this is so critical...
[Alec] Wait wait wait. Don't head to three yet. How do you practice?
[Dale] So two things. Number one. I want you to first, just you shouldn't[Dale] Every loan officer should have a presentation for both the realtors and for their customers. Their value prop should be less than one minute. It should be the conversation on every single call you get. And I teach these all the time. When you get a bar on the phone, you better have something powerful to say in the first 60 seconds that they go, "Oh wow, okay." They should understand you, they should know your credentials, they should know what benefits you're gonna provide, they should know how good your service is, they should know that within the first minutes. So you wanna practice a warm up with that. You also want to practice your pitches with realtors. What are those conversations gonna sound like on a prospect? If I'm prospecting today, I wanna warm up my prospecting calls before I make a prospecting call, so that I'm doing it the right way. That's really essential. And then get a role play partner. Actually have another loan officer that you guys call each other in the morning, just for 10 minutes. And you beat the tar out of each other with objections and you overcome them because what it does is to get you in the mojo that you need to be very powerful. And I have had many people say "I don't have time for that." And I've had people look at me and go, "Well, you know what, I'm closing 40 loans a month 'cause I took that tip from Dale 20 years ago and I've been doing it ever since and it works."
[Alec] You know, I love it so much 'cause I can see somebody now turning on their camera, and then just delivering their pitch. And then playing it back and be like, was that any good? Like would I buy from myself right now, like if I rewatch my video? Am I pumped up and ready to go? I love this. And it's underrated, people don't practice in our industry. You say role playing and people get uncomfortable immediately. Like they don't wanna do it. They don't wanna be called out. They don't wanna feel uncomfortable and so they avoid it. And your point Dale is, if you avoid the uncomfortable things, you don't get any better. And you kind of said it clear.
[Dale] That's right. And not only that, but I'm gonna ask you a question. Would you rather be embarrassed or be frustrated or feel like you did something wrong in front of a colleague where you lose $0, Or would you rather make that mistake with a borrower that could have been a three, four thousand dollar commission for you and you just blew it 'cause you don't get a second chance with borrowers, you only get one chance to make a first impression, once it's over, you're done, you're toast.
[Alec] I love that so much because thre's so much power in people who are willing to be vulnerable. Who are willing to step through that space and go, I'm willing to suck right now, I'm willing to be coached, I'm willing to make a mistake, I'm willing to be uncomfortable and if people are willing to get in that space, they can crush it. So I love your[Dale] I love number two, okay. I'm now ready for number three. I'm ready.
[Dale] So number three is called the daily checkpoints and this is so essential. So here's what we do, okay. Even if we're a great manager and we get our day started right, and we get our people pumped up in the morning, and we get them to practice, crap happens all day long.
[Alec] Somebody calls, the loan blows up.
[Dale] Exactly. Stuff happens. That's just all there is to it. So what I always taught my managers and I always did, was I said, look, we're gonna have three checkpoints a day because I got you going in this direction, but I know that you're gonna start to do this on me at some point in the day. Because I was a manager for too long, where I saw other managers that they'd say to their loan officers, "Here's what I want you to accomplish today." And then at 5:30. "So how'd it go?" "Ah, not so good." And here comes all these excuses. So I used to have an 11, 2:30 and 5:30 check[Dale]in every day with my people. It was a one minute check[Dale]in and it was all I was checking in on. "How's your sales going?" "How's your sales going?" "Have you sold anything?" "Did you get anything?" "Are you staying on track for your goals today?" "Have you gotten off in that pipeline black hole again, where you're not getting anything done and your attitude is gone?" If you are, I'm getting you back in the groove right now. It was so powerful and it changed the lives of my loan officers.
[Alec] So I mean those, those big three right there, I mean, those are gonna turn into clips for sure. 'Cause those are incredible nuggets and they're not being done, like I know they're not being done. Not only because, not that the people have bad intentions or they're not great leaders, but they're distracted, they're busy, they have chaos around them, there's COVID issues, there's thousands of excuses. But the advice Dale is so universal that the great leaders are gonna show up that way and the ones that are struggling are literally disappeared, have disappeared right now. They're not holding meetings. They're not even holding[Dale] Like they might host a monthly Zoom maybe.
[Alec] Maybe they allow people to have their cameras off. They allow people to mail it in and they're not connecting. And to your point it's like, no, we're gonna do this on steroids. We're gonna have a morning connection FaceTime, we're gonna have check in throughout the day and we're gonna practice and role play. And I don't think that would skyrocket any leader in our industry right now if they just practice those three.
[Dale] And King Solomon was one of my favorite people that I try to model after. He was the wisest man that ever lived. Proverbs 27:17, he says "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." There you go. Like, that's one of the best bits of advice I'd ever heard in my lifetime. And I realized that as a sales person, as manager, I get soft without accountability. I need accountability, so do my people. If I can keep my people on track, you know what, the numbers are sensational.
[Alec] Dale, I love it. Alright, so Dale let's wrap here for a minute as we kind of bring down. issues are you facing with the loan originators right now that you're kind of trying to lean into to help people navigate through this? What other nuggets that are coming in from that field here that can help leaders or our own realtors figure out how to get through this successfully?
[Dale] I think the key is, first off, I want you to remember one important thing in this market we're in right now. And that is that your partners, your real estate partners which are a vital part of your business, have been disenchanted over the last four months with most of their lenders. And there's never been a greater opportunity that I've seen to prospect and get those realtors you wanted to work with for a long time than right now. This is the time to do it. So, what happens in these times is because we're so busy, we do almost zero prospecting. It's we're just trying to keep our head above water and again, I know a lot of people are gonna watch this and go, "But Dale, I don't have time for that." I'm like, no, you're just not managing your time properly. You've got to take your day you've got to time block for the time, for the things that you know you need to get done that are critical to your business. And then you gotta do what we call flex block for the two or three hours of stuff that's going to happen.
[Alec] Flex block.
[Dale] Didn't know it's gonna happen.
[Alec] I love flex block. I knew exactly what you mean when you said that but let me give you the excuse. Let me throw the excuse to you, ready?
[Dale] Yeah. Sure.
[Alec] But Dale, I have my capacity. My loans are taking too long to close, I'm scared to go get a new relationship with a realtor and then I get a deal from him and I can't do my normal, 22 day close because my turn times are too long.
[Dale] Yup, so the answer to that is make sure you get good realtors and educate them well from the start. Set the priorities right from the start. The biggest thing that we do for realtors is not buy him lunches or even close their loans for him, it's actually educating them on how to get good buyers. When you do that and you educate them on how to bring you better customers that you can close faster, everybody wins. The realtor wins, the loan officer wins, the lender wins and the consumer wins. And that's the way you need to do the business.
[Alec] I love it Dale. Okay, words of wisdom. Final thoughts. Dale I'd love for you to share a couple of things that are going through your mind. As you're looking at this industry, you're looking at the current state of it, you're looking at all the wonderful leaders and mortgage pros that you've coached there that you've known for probably a long time too in this space. What do you share with them here to help them get through this and fly through it and prepare for the future?
[Dale] Well, I think number one is just remember that right now, the mortgage industry is the darling of the economy. We are the glue holding the economy together. We've never been in a better position in our entire careers to really win people over and really show them what great people we are. So that's number one. Number two, just remind yourself constantly how blessed we are to be in this industry. Like I wake up every morning and I pinch myself. I look out this window at this cabin I'm like, that never would have happened without the mortgage industry.That just never would have happened. And the last thing is, give back.
[Dale] You know, I always talk about this. Like if you're gonna be successful, don't hoard it, give it back. We started an organization many years ago, I think in 2006, called Mortgage Professionals Providing Hope, that is not for profit charity that we've run for all those years. And a hundred percent of the money we take in we just give it out. We give it away. We house homeless people in the U.S. We housed over 200 families last year, we build orphanages, we build schools, we do things with it because I've learned if I'm gonna be blessed enough to be in this business and be successful, I'm gonna be a blessing to others, too. I think it's so important if you remember those three things, that we're in a great business, we are absolutely blessed and give back. And then the last thing I would say, and we already talked about this, stay balanced. Just stay balanced because you're of no use if you're burnt out. You're of no use if your life's falling apart around you personally, but you're making a ton of money professionally. Nobody cares about that. Focus on balance with these other things and you'll just crush it in this business.
[Alec] Also say that you got me thinking on Dale is, now is a great time to inspire, motivate and bring in the next generation.
[Dale] It is. I love that.
[Alec] Now you're talking about giving back and that's exactly where my head went and I love it and I think it's right. Like now is some of the time for you and our senior leaders to bring in the next generation and mentor those kids and teach them the game and share with them the opportunity that's here. And I think there's an unbelievable time right now where there is volume to sustain it, there's leads to sustain it. You can bring these people in and help them swim and I think that's another truly incredible way you can give back and change someone's life.
[Dale] I love that Alec. That is such great advice. And, you know, I managed for 11 and a half years and my hiring policy was people out of the industry. I never had a single experienced mortgage loan officer one time. I trained them up from the ground up and I hired a lot of college kids and gave them a career. And many of those are running mortgage companies today and making incredible amounts of money and doing very very well. We wanna pass that torch off to that next generation and give them the opportunity to continue keep this business. This industry that we cherish so much to continue to keep it strong going forward.
[Alec] Well now Dale, I have to ask this question then because I even though we're kind of wrapping up and hitting the end here, but I gotta ask it. So, what do you look for in somebody when you hire them? If you're hiring out of the industry, you're not looking for experience?
[Alec] Cause they're just kids out of college or coming from Nordstrom or whatever. What do you look for when you hire somebody?
[Dale] Well, here's the key, hire personalities not resumes 'cause resumes are a pack of lies, that's number one.
[Alec] Well come on, so you saying that the resume with their proficient Microsoft Excel skills isn't real?
[Dale] Look, I'm gonna give the leaders out there the best tip you'll ever get for interviewing and finding talent. And here's the tip. Quit interviewing people. Here's all I want you to do. Ask them one question. Alec, if I were interviewing you today, here would be my question. Alec, take me from birth to today and tell me every reason why I should hire you. That's how I used to interview people. I would let you either hire yourself or hang yourself. It was all in your case and I would learn about you. I would learn...
[Alec] Yes you would.
[Dale] Your successes, I'd learn about your personality, I'd learn about your family and I'd see how you interact and communicate. I get stars doing that.
[Alec] I love it. Throw the resume away and just ask them to tell you why they should hire you from birth to now. Dale, this has been an absolute pleasure to get[Dale] Friends, I want to share this with you. First of all, if you're watching this in the future, I love it so much. Please hit me up with a #bypassed. I love when I get a little notification that somebody in the future passed to hang out with us and watch this stuff just brings me tons of joy. Second, Dale you're all over the internet. You're all over social media. Everyone should pay attention to this guy and go follow Dale right now. Like go and engage with what he's doing on social, 'cause you're dropping tons, so much great information for people and you're pushing the industry forward. You're a great guy for people to have in their social sphere, in my opinion. So guys find this guy online and engage. Dale any closing thoughts, comments? My friend, this has been really fun.
[Dale] No, I'll just close with this. My whole business and my whole career has been built around one thing. It's called the others first mindset. And you see it on everything that I do. It's placed off my life first. Philippians 2:3[Dale]4 says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in all things with humility, value others above yourself looking out for their interests not your own." That to me is the game. That's the game of life. That's the game of the mortgage industry. If we do that, we're gonna not only do well, but we're going to feel great about what we did and Alec, I just want to tell you, it's been such an honor to be with you. And I'm so thankful that you asked me. And thank you for the opportunity.
[Alec] Oh Dale, you're the man. Ladies and gentlemen, we're wrapping up today. If this brought you value, give me a share. Give me a #bypassed. Spread the love. I appreciate you guys and I'll see you all on the internet. Take care.