Modern Lending Podcast | Randy Hamilton

COO of  mellohome, Randy Hamilton is here to tell us how mellohome is transforming the real estate place and loanDepot Loan Professionals are finally helping our real estate partners with new customers!

Your snippet of this episode of the Modern Lending Podcast:

  • Learn how mellohome is such an amazing addition to your business
  • "Concierge service" is your new quarterback
  • Embrace the change - Diversify your business strategy
  • Be Proactive not reactive.

Episode Transcribe

Alec:
What's up Modern Lending podcasters?

We are back episode eight. Man, we're going to unpack some crazy stuff today.

If you've been paying attention to any of the episodes or if this is your first one, you understand that the consumer is changing how we have to do business in real estate mortgage. The way they're interacting, the way they have access to new data and social media and MLS on their phone, man everything's changing. So, what's loanDepot doing around that.
Well, let me introduce you to Randy Hamilton, the COO of mellohome services, a sister company and a real estate company to loanDepot. Let me show you in the next 45 minutes how the consumer is transforming the space and how we're transforming it right along with them, to help them find local professional realtors in their marketplace. Buckle up, episode eight, here we go. Oh, like, subscribe, share. Spread the message. Love you guys.
All right, everybody here we are with Randy Hamilton.

Randy Hamilton:
Good morning.

Alec:
This is going to be a really fun conversation. So, for those of you that don't know Randy, I'm going to let him introduce himself in a second. I'll start with some baseline stuff. Randy is the COO of our mellohome services platform. Sister company to loanDepot real estate organization and, man, if you've been following any of the episodes, you know we've been talking about it. One major theme has danced through it all, which is the change in consumer behavior that has resulted in the mortgage industry, the real estate industry and all having to pivot and adapt to new technologies.
The biggest being the MLS became public. I talked about this with Dan many episodes ago, that was like the first step in this total change and transformation of the industry when the MLS data became public. And then consumers could access everything on their phones and all of a sudden now, tons of stuff has dominoed and changed, et cetera.
So, we're going to go through what we've been doing and what mellohome's been doing as a response to that, how we're serving customers today that's unique and different. I'm really looking forward to this conversation I guess it'll be super fun.

Randy Hamilton:
Me too, yeah.

Alec:
So Randy, for a couple seconds, couple minutes, give everybody a download on your background, because some people don't know who you are and let's just let everyone get to know you a little bit.

Randy Hamilton:
Sure. Great and I appreciate you having me.

Alec:
Of course, man.

Randy Hamilton:
Yeah. So, I'm a mortgage guy at heart from the mid-80s back when you took everything on paper and sat down at the dining room table-

Alec:
Yup. Still had fax machines and yeah, pagers and all the life.

Randy Hamilton:
You got it. Yeah.

Alec:
So good.

Randy Hamilton:
So, it was in the 80s doing that, stayed in the mortgage business until roughly 2005 and got out and decided that I wanted to sit on the other side of things, because unfortunately I felt that with a business partner that the world was going to start coming to an end and believe it or not, it did.

Alec:
Yeah. No kidding.

Randy Hamilton:
I was called [Igor 00:02:58] By my wife-

Alec:
If you got out in 2005, you smelled what was coming down the hill.

Randy Hamilton:
Yeah.

Alec:
Well, good for you.

Randy Hamilton:
I was at WMC. GE Money had just purchased it. Everyone thought that the rose... the glass was clear and we started saying this 80, 20 stuff and Domino's making $40,000 a month stated this is not looking good-

Alec:
It's not going to work.

Randy Hamilton:
Yeah. So, fast forward ahead, we spent roughly 10 years with business partner Pat Flanagan, who was our CFO-

Alec:
Our CFO, yeah.

Randy Hamilton:
Current CFO at loanDepot, buying distress debt.

Alec:
Oh, interesting.

Randy Hamilton:
For a large private equity fund. And then we did it on our own up until 2015. We dabbled with a real estate platform in that end. Built an actual alternative mortgage product-

Alec:
That's super cool.

Randy Hamilton:
That put people in a house, that had come out of say-

Alec:
The crisis.

Randy Hamilton:
Bankruptcy or the crisis. They weren't qualified yet. We would actually buy the house but instead of it being a lease to own, they actually were in contract to buy the house from us, but we gave them up to six years to cure their issue.

Alec:
So clever.

Randy Hamilton:
So, yeah.

Alec:
That's super interesting.

Randy Hamilton:
That's in 2015 and got back into mortgage in 2016 and I've been here at loanDepot in what was quietly known as next gen lending and took over-

Alec:
Now COO of mellohome.

Randy Hamilton:
Took over mellohome about fourth quarter last year.

Alec:
Let's talk about what mellohome is. Some people don't know. What is mellohome?

Randy Hamilton:
So, mellohome is a real estate service provider for loanDepot that connects home buyers and home sellers of loanDepot with expert agents in their area. So, consumer has a need... About 70% of the consumers believe it or not come to us and they do not have a realtor relationship. Or, they're interested in interviewing realtors and they use us as a platform.

Alec:
This is such a fascinating change. So, for those of you that aren't familiar with loanDepot's platform, we'll give a little pause and pull everybody up here and kind of explain what we've been doing from the direct side. Because people... we have a retail channel, we have a direct consumer channel, both are serving customers the way they want to be served. It's a very important distinction.
And so, from a high level, kind of a contextual understanding here, loanDepot aggregates leads, they make around a million outbound phone calls a day from a contact center. And that contact center's job is just to reach out and touch people who have pushed a button online.

Randy Hamilton:
Correct.

Alec:
And so, they have questions, they want to know information, they push a button, the contact center... these are unlicensed employees. They call the people, they say, "You pushed the button. Do you want to talk to a loan officer what's going on?" And they kind of qualify them. And then as they find out what they want, they direct transfer those people to the appropriate areas. Retail, direct, all over the country.
And I think it's fascinating how mellohome came into existence. Anthony has such an eye on what's happening. And for him to understand that hey, 60 to 70% of these customers that we're contacting, that have pushed buttons online are in this pre realtor state. They're still kind of poking around. They haven't decided who to work with. They probably know agents and are connected agents, but they haven't decided who to use. They get pre qualified and are preapproved by loanDepot loan officers. And then, there's this unique opportunity to say, "Hey, do you have an agent?" And there comes mellohome.

Randy Hamilton:
Right. And even if you do have an agent, are you interested in at least maybe exploring other opportunities with someone else? Get their view. We partner you up with somebody that's an expert that we monitor along the way. That's-

Alec:
I find this hysterical that mellohome is a real estate company with no realtors.

Randy Hamilton:
Yeah.

Alec:
But because we network with them. Right?

Randy Hamilton:
Right.

Alec:
So, kind of go over the structure of that. So, how do agents get into the network? How do they become connected to mellohome and be able to raise their hand and get business from loanDepot loan officers? How does it work functionally?

Randy Hamilton:
Sure. If you think of it, there's two paths. There's the organic. So, mellohome was out in the marketplace, I'll call it recruiting. And realtors are no different than consumers. They're looking for ways to... how do they electronically get referrals.

Alec:
For sure.

Randy Hamilton:
Right? So, if you think of that, that was one avenue. The other avenue is loanDepot loan officers have realtor relationships-

Alec:
Absolutely. And they invite them in.

Randy Hamilton:
It's about a 50 to 50. To date we have over 4,000 approved agents on the network today.

Alec:
That's what I was going to ask. 4,000 agents.

Randy Hamilton:
Right. And that's across all 50 States. And it's probably a 50, 50 split. So, organically they've heard about us. They might have heard about us from an industry leader. They might have heard about us just from looking at how do I get referrals?

Alec:
So, 4,000 agents in the network.

Randy Hamilton:
Yep.

Alec:
How old is mellohome?

Randy Hamilton:
It'll be two years, April.

Alec:
That's super cool. Super cool. So, two years anniversary, congratulations. It's a big milestone to crush that. And let's hit some high number stats and then we'll dive into the complexity of it.

Randy Hamilton:
Sure.

Alec:
How many referrals have been sent to agents across the country?

Randy Hamilton:
So, in dollar amount, it's a little over $3 billion.

Alec:
That's significant.

Randy Hamilton:
15,000 referrals that are out in the marketplace during that time.

Alec:
That's awesome.

Randy Hamilton:
Right. We probably today have over a thousand that are shopping.

Alec:
So, active in the market, with agents.

Randy Hamilton:
Yeah. Pushing right around a billion dollars just in that as far as home buying. 90% just so we're clear are home buying. But we do have home selling. And a lot of times someone comes to us they've pushed the button-

Alec:
Great point.

Randy Hamilton:
And all of a sudden it's, "Hey, I still want to sell." And that ends up being in a lot of cases two transactions obviously. Realtor loves it, loan officer is able to stay involved along the way. So, 4,000, there's probably been around 400 million that have been purchased.

Alec:
You mean closed?

Randy Hamilton:
Closed transaction today.

Alec:
Oh, closed transactions. Awesome.

Randy Hamilton:
Yep. So, it continues to build.

Alec:
Obviously there's momentum behind this. Obviously none of that closed in April in 2018, that was like the first referral ever sent out.

Randy Hamilton:
Right.

Alec:
But it's amazing to see the momentum build up. And how does an agent get involved? How do they get into the network?

Randy Hamilton:
So, they go through a simple application process today, online, obviously. And then we have an onboarding team that vets them make sure that everything's above board on their end. So, it's just a simple approval process-

Alec:
They're a real realtor.

Randy Hamilton:
Yes, real realtor, real stats, they have good ratings. We do the same thing that they do right? We look on the different review boards and we actually can see their stats.

Alec:
Oh my gosh. It's so funny, the power of brand and Google and all that stuff. It's like, "Yeah, we do the same thing everyone does. We Google them. We look them up online trying to see what they're like."

Randy Hamilton:
Right. In a lot of cases, it's somebody that's a part of a big team. So, it's one agent but then what it does is it opens up the door for our loan officers to build further relationships with, one agent, but they're actually connected to a team of 60.

Alec:
Well, let's walk through the tactics of it.

Randy Hamilton:
Okay.

Alec:
So, if I understand it... as I understand it. Contact center makes a call, engaged with a customer who pushed a button. They want to buy in Georgia. So, the contacts and a person pushes that transaction out to one of our loan officers in Georgia, they get a chance to talk to the customer, find out what their needs are, hopes and dreams are.
In your opinion or your experience, where is that customer in the buying process? How long... Are they buying today? Or are they six months out? What are you seeing?

Randy Hamilton:
I would say it's a little bit of everything. We have a certain percentage that are already in contract. So, obviously they're not interested in-

Alec:
They're ready to rock and they just want to get a good deal.

Randy Hamilton:
Right. Or they have a deal and they're bringing in-

Alec:
[inaudible 00:10:52] their deal.

Randy Hamilton:
Yeah. That's the online customer today right? So, they've lots of choices. But I would say the majority of the folks are in this kind of three to four month window. That's probably your biggest. So, if you were to stat it out there's very little that actually closes same month right? So, the loan officer's going to take a pre-qual, they're going to find out what the needs are, they're going to potentially... if that customer wants to be introduced to an expert in their local area, that's where the mellohome comes in.
But to get back to the broader piece of this today, we're still funding loans from 2018. Our closing transactions I would say from referrals. It's not the majority. The majority is in that kind of four month window-

Alec:
But they're still long incubation.

Randy Hamilton:
That's right. Longing incubation. There's a big [tale 00:11:36] on purchase as loan officers now.

Alec:
So, the loan officer pre-approved the customer. Looks across the street they don't have an agent. They go, "Fantastic". It's a loan officer's dream. It always has been. Because even when I was originating and I would walk into a real estate office or open house for the first time to meet an agent I've never met before. They would always throw in the, "Bring me a buyer." And I was like, "If I brought you a buyer, then you should just pay me. That's your job."
And now, loan officers across the country are doing that. They're doing that exact same thing. They're saying, "Yeah, I'll absolutely bring you this buyer." And they're sending it to the agents they want to work with in the mellohome network. And it's crazy... I'll give a quick kind of anecdote. There's a loan officer here in Orange County that I watched all the time on the numbers on the screens. And they're sending on average two to three transactions a month to their preferred agents in the mello network. And, I'm so shocked by it because that would have so transformed my personal origination business and it's just shows how the changing world is pivoting.

Randy Hamilton:
Yeah. And the key with it and we can hit on this a little bit later too is that concierge service. So, when they push that button it's not just going to the realtor, you've got now a partner. mellohome service provides this concierge service. So we can speak a little on that.

Alec:
So, tactically just to put a bow on it so everyone understands. Loan officer preapproves the customer, discovers they don't have an agent. Says, "Hey, I have some of the best agents in the world in Georgia. I've been here for 20 years. I know who they are, would you like to be introduced to them?". The customer says, "Absolutely. I'm interviewing agents." And they push a button in our mello system right?

Randy Hamilton:
They do.

Alec:
They just go boop. And-

Randy Hamilton:
They're connected with the concierge.

Alec:
Yeah. So, here's the concierge. So, explain how this position got created, what it's used for, how it's positioned in the ecosystem.

Randy Hamilton:
Sure. So, the concierge is the quarterback that is there. As much as the consumer, the realtor and the loan officer may want to use them to help coordinate things. So, their first job is to do what you just said. They're partnering them up with the agent.

Alec:
Yeah. If I'm the loan officer and I say, "Look, I need this deal to go to Susie. She's one of the best agents in Georgia. I love her." And after I push the button, the concierge goes, "Got it, sent it to Susie."

Randy Hamilton:
And Susie has a text on her mellohome mobile app. She gets a notification.

Alec:
So, she has an app?

Randy Hamilton:
Yeah.

Alec:
So, let's break that down. So, the agents that get into the network and they're part of the community, they get a mellohome app.

Randy Hamilton:
They do.

Alec:
And so on the app, what happens when they get a deal.

Randy Hamilton:
They get a text message that says, "Mrs. Jones is ready to be introduced to you."

Alec:
That's got to be a really good feeling.

Randy Hamilton:
Yeah.

Alec:
A lot of people got to be like, "Oh, it is incredible." So, the contact info comes over what else comes over?

Randy Hamilton:
Contact information comes over, and then what the realtor is able to do is get connected with that home buyer. And then from that point going forward they're using the application to talk about the status. Like, "We've met, now we're going to go out and start touring."

Alec:
Oh, cool. So, they're updating the app with where the customer is in the process. Alerting the concierge, the loan officer and what's going on with the customer.

Randy Hamilton:
That's right. So, it's the hybrid in between while the loan is working on getting them approved and collecting their docs, they're out in the marketplace with a realtor shopping and communicating along the way with this mobile app texts so we can-

Alec:
You know what I really love about this, it's giving the customer this cool digital experience right? Because they're getting connected all over the place without having to do anything. And that's what technology seamlessly does in the background but we also like the concierge. They're almost like a neutral helpful third party position right? And they're staying in touch with the customer. And what I love about that is if the loan officer is dropping the ball, for whatever reason. Life gets in the way or the real estate professional is busy, can't return calls as promptly or whatever's happening there. That concierge is like a backdrop for that customer. And I'm assuming they get feedback all the time.

Randy Hamilton:
Well, right. And one of the things that they'll actually do and let's just face it, it's a competitive world. So, the agent will say to the concierge, "This guy's talking to three other lenders." So, you get the signal and make sure that our loan officer is-

Alec:
Understands that they got to compete.

Randy Hamilton:
Right. [crosstalk 00:16:06].

Alec:
That's incredible.

Randy Hamilton:
So, along the way that concierge right from the beginning is building that relationship and letting the consumer know like, "I'm here for you, but I'm not going to interrupt if you don't want to talk, that's great. But if you need [crosstalk 00:16:19] and if you need somebody to get connected to, I'm a text away, I'm a phone call away, however you want to communicate with me then we go from there."

Alec:
And then they're out, they're going to go shopping, they go [crosstalk 00:16:29] the escrow and the whole thing happens.

Randy Hamilton:
That's what the goal is. Keys at the end of the day. Get funded and get the keys.

Alec:
It's a wild paradigm shift. What have you noticed is happening during this process? What are the customers experiencing? What key learnings are you experiencing managing this platform?

Randy Hamilton:
I would say that the biggest part is the communication between agent, loan officer and all the information that they're getting. If you think about how these leads are originated, it's a very competitive environment today. So, consumer has choices. They're having other voices along the way. And so, what we're trying to do is really meld the high human touch with high technology right? Because, you have this paradigm shift where people are ducking answering the phone, they want to be texted.

Alec:
This is so fascinating. Let's just unpack that for a minute because you're so right. And this transition from a customer who is a full digital customer. They're on their phone, no human connection. Just kind of stay at arms length, I just want to shop for homes. I want to get it, I want to get quotes. And then when it has to go into the meat, they have to talk to people. They got to talk to a [inaudible 00:17:43]. They got to talk to a real estate agent and they prefer to text. I joke or I ask questions with a lot of our guys in the field and I go, how many of your transactions start with an upfront communication consultation and then transitioned into just text updates? And it's the majority.
They want the human connection. They want to know everything's good. They want the comfort. But then they're like, "Okay cool. Just update me. I got to go do my thing." That's wild.

Randy Hamilton:
And it's all day every day right? So, if you think of the spectrum of customers, if they want to be left alone, we're there. If they want high touch, we're there. If they want that blend-

Alec:
And who doesn't want a concierge? Let's be honest. I would love one in my home buying process. Just somebody to call and be like, "I need help. I need information. And they can direct and assist."

Randy Hamilton:
Yeah, and sometimes there is that, "I don't want to ask a dumb question to my loan officer or my realtor. So can I ask you first?"

Alec:
Dude that's gold. You're right. What else is the concierge doing in your experience? What stories do you have about them and how they're assisting customers? Do you have any fun stories?

Randy Hamilton:
I'm trying to think. You're putting me on the spot on that one.

Alec:
I know. I just feel like they're in the middle of getting so much, like the dirt. They're the one that's going to get the actual, "I'm really upset with my loan officer."

Randy Hamilton:
Yeah. They're trickling that information through. But that's... They're there as, and I call them the quarterback for the transaction. That's what they're... it's a service, but at the same time it's a support.

Alec:
Yeah. I got to go sit there and listen to them someday and just hear all the good stuff that happens. Because I'm sure they're getting all the goods.

Randy Hamilton:
And a lot of it is text right? The consumer's texting them back. They have a CRM system that pops up. They're able to communicate back with the consumer. If the consumer says, "Call me right now in capital letters." It's no problem.

Alec:
And they're texting out of the mello CRM system?

Randy Hamilton:
Yeah.

Alec:
Oh, that's awesome.

Randy Hamilton:
Yeah. So, it's all there right at their fingertips and again, it's really about human touch using high tech right?

Alec:
I shared this analogy and I think it's so right. I ask people in our new hire orientation, "What did Amazon do when they came to market?" And everybody immediately goes, "They sold books, they sold books, they sold books. And I go... In my opinion what they did, was create a software system that connected a book seller and a book buyer.

Randy Hamilton:
Yeah.

Alec:
And now you look forward and they connect everything. Even down to the driver. There's Amazon trucks that are all over the place, right around this building that we're in. Every time I come to the office, I see like 17 Amazon trucks just burning out to drop off something off instantly. And it's all being seamlessly connected with technology.
And then I watch what you've done, and what mellohome's done to connect a customer to more people in the transaction seamlessly through technology and I'm like, "Man, it's the same thing happening."

Randy Hamilton:
Yeah. It's a real estate marketplace.

Alec:
It's connecting humans to resources, to local professionals to help them get what they want.

Randy Hamilton:
Right. Making it more efficient. Everyone's time is busy right? So it allows you to not have to be on the phone, but you can get updated.

Alec:
Yeah. Now let's kind of pivot for a second. I want to talk about the learnings we're having for our loan officers. And then I think this might even translate to other loan officers that participate in digital customer acquisition strategies, whether they're company provided or they're buying them on their own or whatever they're doing.
So, functionally in our mello leads program, we send out live transfers to loanDepot fellows.

Randy Hamilton:
Yeah.

Alec:
And, it's been an interesting two years experience. Because I'm on the sales side, you're on the home side. I mean, from your perspective, how's it going with these leads? Where are we winning? Where are we not winning? What are we missing and not understanding? And maybe if you know it off the top of your head, what are some of the results that we've seen historically with loan officers answering their phone? All that stuff.

Randy Hamilton:
Well, the first key to it, and as you know is about adoption, is the leads only going to get to you if you're able to answer the phone. So, you got to be logged in right? To participate.

Alec:
Yes.

Randy Hamilton:
So, that would be the first hurdle that is improving over time let's just say.

Alec:
Oh my God. Two years ago it was... I'm like, "There's a customer there, just answer the phone." I was so mad.

Randy Hamilton:
Well, and just so the audience knows, the nice thing is there's someone to catch it, but it kind of rolls from our retail division and then it's going to go into the direct call center.

Alec:
For sure, the customer will always get served. Yeah. Which makes me so happy. When my people don't answer the phone, it just makes me furious.

Randy Hamilton:
Exactly. So, the next learning is you are dealing in this space with somebody who has a lot of options. So in your typical-

Alec:
And to your point they're four to five months, six months out.

Randy Hamilton:
Right.

Alec:
So, they're going to massage this thing.

Randy Hamilton:
And they're being braided at the same time. These leads are not exclusive for the majority of them. It's a competitive marketplace. So, I think that the next piece is building that trust early on in the conversation that is all about, I want to be your trusted advisor throughout this loan process. Now, there's a segment that are in contract and... "I just want my rate now. Tell me, can you beat it Randy or not? I don't need any of this other stuff." But the majority of the customers are what you said. They're going to be there for the next two, three, four months needing a trusted advisor.
So, it's really about building the trust to where you can get somebody preapproved, because they're going to need that in order to get out in the market with the realtor right?

Alec:
You know what I noticed too, and maybe you can validate it or say it's more anecdotal but, my experience has been with these kinds of customers they do get attacked.

Randy Hamilton:
Yes.

Alec:
So, they get called multiple times from multiple-

Randy Hamilton:
Throughout the day.

Alec:
Throughout the day, and so they go, "This feels icky." They kind of back off. Some back off and say, "I don't need to deal with this." And then what I've noticed has been amazingly effective for local retail pros is the subtle, nice, hands-off followup that says... even via text. Or even via text video, which I know has the best impact and just have a real human show up on their phone and say, "I'm sure you're getting a lot of attention. I've been in Georgia for 20 years, and I'd love to help you if you're not getting what you need, or if you need more information, or if I can just buy a coffee and help you navigate this craziness." And, Oh my God, the customer goes, "Thank you. I'm so overwhelmed a little bit. And that sounds really nice."

Randy Hamilton:
And everyone's just asking me for my social security number-

Alec:
And everyone just wants to run my credit. And this is exactly what you said earlier. That transition from the digital customer to the human touch should be a very elegant, natural process and that's where I feel like local pros just shine.

Randy Hamilton:
Yeah.

Alec:
Because if they come at it with that kind of grace and empathy that, "Hey, this person's getting bombarded. And if I call them, I'm one of 17 calls that they got today. But if I get strategic and I figure out how to approach them from another angle, or maybe I look them up on social media because I got their contact information and I find out we have mutual friends."
I mean, that one actually is so underrated. Because if you're in the local community and you get this customer's information because they pushed buttons online and your ability to go, "Do I know someone who knows them? We live in the same city, maybe I do." And then you could come at it from a whole new angle and say, "Hey, we've got a mutual friend in Johnny over here-"

Randy Hamilton:
Right. "I want to be your trusted advisor right now. I want to help you-"

Alec:
"If anything, let me just guide you through the process, give you advice, no strings attached."

Randy Hamilton:
Exactly.

Alec:
What are the learnings that we have as going on in that process?

Randy Hamilton:
Well, I think the next step is the realtor itself right? That's a whole other experience. So, I think that the professional loan originator today that is able to differentiate themselves by saying, "Look, I'm not just looking to get your social security number. If you want to give it and we're going to get this going right away, then great if I already earned your trust. But I want to help you along the way. And by the way, I can also do this for you. I can provide extra services, right? I can partner you up with someone in your local market that is also in your neighborhood every day. Might live in your neighborhood for that matter."
And really just build that relationship. Again, that is no obligation. So, again everyone else's pinging them from so many other angles, right? Like, we need this, we need that. And we're here trying to take that, "I want to help you. I don't want to be your customer. I want you to be my customer for life."

Alec:
The other skillset that I know has just been hard for us is lead management. Because, it's very clear a lot of these customers have a longer tale. And I'll paint this in the picture of my past experience. Realtors would send me customers that are ready to go. And that was the game. I would help them, I'd go to open houses and do flyers and I would sit there and talk to customers and help them incubate customers, all that stuff for sure. But really the game was, the realtor was kind of the prospecting side of the coin, I would flay the fish. They'd catch the fish, they'd give it to me and I would help them get the loan.
And so, I was used to talking to customers that are ready to transact. Well, this customer is not ready to transact necessarily in a majority or not-

Randy Hamilton:
It's a new discipline.

Alec:
Now four to six months of lead management? Man, not a lot of retail loan officers or local pros are good at that. That's not a skillset they've ever developed.

Randy Hamilton:
And the one thing that everybody should know is, to say it again, that's where the concierge if you're using-

Alec:
Concierge helps.

Randy Hamilton:
If you are a loan originator at loanDepot and you're using that service, that concierge on that long tail, they have a CRM system. They're working with that realtor. They're touching-

Alec:
So, even if you're failing as a loan officer they've got your back.

Randy Hamilton:
That's right. That's the key. And one thing that we do notice is the conversion at three months is 20 to 30% higher when they use the service. At six months, it gaps out to over 50%.

Alec:
Really?

Randy Hamilton:
Yeah. Closing percentage.

Alec:
It totally makes sense though.

Randy Hamilton:
Because again, loan officer your team is busy right? They are busy. I know they do have to have that discipline, but it's not a hundred percent perfect art yet, everybody is transitioning like, "Jeez, I spoke to Mrs. Jones in March. She's ready in August. And I forgot that she's ready in August. But great, I'm using the platform. The concierge is talking with Mrs. Jones and the realtor."

Alec:
And you can't undersell that.

Randy Hamilton:
No.

Alec:
That's an incredible partnership and you're right. Sometimes it's nice to have a little teamwork.

Randy Hamilton:
That's right.

Alec:
But I will continue to drive on the LL, like get better at lead management. Learn the skill, learn it because you're not good at it. And someone's mad at me now like, "I am good at it." Okay, you're the exception but the most are like, "What's a CRM? I don't log in and I don't know what's going on." And it's a huge disadvantage because the way I see it as this evolution continues, lead aggregation and lead management are going to become such a differentiator of who is successful and who is not.
Because, the ability to incubate leads with your real estate partners, with mellohome, with the leads coming through mello leads. The ability to take all that in... I always make the joke of, hey, if you walked into a real estate agent's office and finally landed a meeting, and the first thing they said to you was, I'm so glad you're here. I get around four to five hundred leads a month from my efforts. How can you help me convert that business? And I just imagined some loan officer deer in the headlights being like, "Just send them to me when they're on escrow." No dude, no. New strategic skillset.
Because, the way I'm seeing mellohome kind of land in the marketplace is, and I'll say this tongue in cheek and I don't mean it so aggressively but, when I was originating and a lot of traditional local pros would still fall into this category, I was almost a vendor. Now, I had to have some skills. I had to have little package loans, walk customers through a complex transaction. I had to have some skills. I wasn't just a vending machine you put a quarter in you get alone. But, at the same time, I was backing up the agent. I wasn't organically creating my own business. It was coming in from my referral partners. I didn't bring anything to the table unless I went back to my old database and did good customer relationship management and then got a new customer and could send it back to my realtor.
But, the velocity was never dual. It was coming from them and I was maybe kicking one back over when I could. But I was focusing on loans.

Randy Hamilton:
It wasn't 50% of your business.

Alec:
I think today, the reality of the evolution from a mortgage partner being a vendor, and I'm not trying to offend anybody. But changing that and watching them become strategic partners. It's such a different conversation. It's walking into a real estate professional shop and going, "Look, I have the chance to send x number of deals your way a year and you're one of the best agents in the market and I want to be a strategic partner with you. I don't want to be a vendor in your office. I don't want to bring cookies every day."
I'm fine bringing cookies. I always crap on that, I brought cookies, delicious hippo cookies to open houses. They were amazing. But, that conversation shifting is just fascinating to me because-

Randy Hamilton:
I'm going to let you in to something that we're actually doing that's going to get released that... The secret sauce.

Alec:
See this is great because all four of my listeners right now are going to be just totally... Mike's laughing.

Randy Hamilton:
So, if you think about that, the agents are in the same boat that as loan originators were all in right? We're migrating and changing. So, you just gave a perfect story. It was maybe one tenth of your business where you might have served somebody back up because you touched base with them and they said, "I'm interested in selling my house." Right?

Alec:
Totally.

Randy Hamilton:
And you're like, "Holy cow, okay, I'm going to get you partnered up-"

Alec:
I had the golden ticket.

Randy Hamilton:
"And then we're going to go help you buy a new one." Right? So as agents are moving more and more on to social media platforms themselves because they need to get out in front of this audience. One of the things that we're looking to do is a social media reciprocation program. So, you just mentioned walking in, I want to be your partner. Imagine at the same time loanDepot, mellohome is allowing them to connect with us in social media, and they like us, we like them and we start working together to build that brand.
So, their individual brand, our brand and then at a loan officer level, ,you're generating your individual brand at the same time. So, we're going to be partnering up with you on that later in this year.

Alec:
That's going to be incredible.

Randy Hamilton:
So, those four listeners just got some insight.

Alec:
Exactly. So, man, it's fascinating. The battle for the consumer's attention. This is a total pivot a little bit. This is kind of outside of mellohome, outside of... but just the conversation I think it's so cool. The battle for the customer's attention, to get in front of them, man, they are so... we, are also over marketed to.
There's billboards that change colors as you drive by, there's your phone in your face all the time, there's ads everywhere hitting you in the face. I joke to, when you do get your credit pulled in a transaction, that data gets sold and you get hit again by a bunch of people throwing noise at you. And just the race to curve through that is this beautiful combination of a national contemporary brand and a human personal brand coming together to meet a customer where they're at. Digitally and locally. To build influence and say, "Hey, I'm the right choice for you."
It's amazing. There's Superbowl commercials, there's so much noise and trying to cut through that and find... because at the end of the day the local pros are what's going to close the deal.

Randy Hamilton:
That's right.

Alec:
So cool.

Randy Hamilton:
Yeah. At the end of the day, you still... there is a way to probably buy a house. They're no different than you can technically sell a house today like iBuyer. Call that growing market, but at the same time somebody still wants to talk. And they still need that local presence. So, you're absolutely right. And it's about cutting through that to say if I'm continually there with you along the way, we might be texting, we might be this, you have brands that are popping up on your phone all day long, but I was able to be there for you socially, also.
So, you were able to meet me, you were able to talk to me, you were able to have one off conversations and then yeah, we do transition to text and stay away and go.

Alec:
So, we kind of went over a little bit of the stats for mellohome and kind of the velocity. Where's it going? Where's the velocity going? Obviously in April, two years ago, there was one deal sent out.

Randy Hamilton:
Well, if you think of... Well, it's going with where your business is going too. As more and more of your loan officers are starting to move to serve digital customers that we've been talking about, we're there along the way growing. So, I think month over month, as you have more and more loan officers that are working on our digital program, that is feeding that initial growth.
Now, strategically we're going to start doing some of the things that I said. How do we form better partnerships? Not just about referrals right?

Alec:
Yeah, great. That's very cool.

Randy Hamilton:
So, how do we work with you locally? How do we work with you on social media? How do we work with you from education and really at the end of the day, it's how does mellohome help partner with our internal loan officers to help them build their brand with their real estate partners? And then for the agents that are not currently working with loanDepot, we're a great marketing arm to help open that door for our loan officer to say, "You're a top agent in this area, but did you realize that loanDepot is a top lender in your area and let's get serious.

Alec:
That's fascinating.

Randy Hamilton:
So, I think we'll be able to start seeing more and more growth just from that alone and just getting our brand out there in the market. And when I say brand, I mean loanDepot at the end of the day from that end.

Alec:
Yeah. Man, it's been a fascinating conversation. So Randy, I kind of always do this as I close down and just kind of give you a chance to... You've had mortgage background, real estate background. For the modern loan officer out there who's tuning in and trying to learn new things and leaning in, what advice do you have for them to kind of help their mindset get right. Maybe a skill set they should be paying attention to. How would you encourage them in this changing dynamic industry right now?

Randy Hamilton:
Well, I think first off by them joining loanDepot, they need to embrace change right? loanDepot's trailblazing the change and the shift in consumer behavior. And I think while those days of relying on your agent to give you those referrals, you have to diversify. And we provide that tool kit-

Alec:
I love that comment.

Randy Hamilton:
And the platform to grow it right?

Alec:
Yeah. I had a great episode with David King and one of the things he talked about in marketing was diversifying how you market yourself. So, don't just be a one trick pony. Don't just post the same thing over and over again, diversify your messaging, diversify. And actually when I hear diversify, I feel like diversify your business strategies. Get the, what I call traditional business from your local pro real realtors. Great, get those referrals. But also don't be afraid to lean into other things like mellohome and mello leads and figuring out how to manage that customer too. Because those are humans that want to be served just a different way.

Randy Hamilton:
Right. And that market's growing. So, internally, other businesses that I've run before, it's about being proactive versus reactive. Because if you're sitting back and you're just saying that everybody is going to walk over to me because Mrs. Realtor has always given me that business. Well guess what, she now has a lot more choices because now she's out on social media. She's diversifying, she's being introduced to new lenders every day. So, you cannot sit back. You need to be proactive.

Alec:
You know what? I love that. I love that because the consumer is taking control. And we, and I'm putting myself in the consumer bucket, we always want control. That's why Uber is so successful. We want control of when we order it, we want to see it, we want to see them getting lost, we want to rate them. We want that control.
We don't want to have to call a number and then stand outside like an idiot wondering when they're ever going to show up. So-

Randy Hamilton:
And you are researching before that right? Because you can see their ratings before you go, "Oh no, that's not something I want to use."

Alec:
And then all of a sudden now you look at real estate and the same thing's happening right? The consumer is taking control and you've got to go... I'd love to come and diversify, I'd love to becoming a proactive versus reactive and I think it's right. I think it's the right thing. It's just be ready to embrace change. That to me is a message all of us should just curve into our skin.

Randy Hamilton:
And your loan officers as we're building your sales force, that's who needs to come here right? They're realizing that and they're going, "Where do I want to hang my hat?" Well, this is where you hang your hat because you're going to have that ability to trailblaze.

Alec:
Absolutely. All right, dude. Thank you for coming on.

Randy Hamilton:
I appreciate it. It was fun.

Alec:
I think we hit so much stuff in such a short period of time. I'm sure we will probably have to do it again to get everybody to kind of unpack this more because the change in the consumer behavior, how mellohome and loanDepot are responding is really fascinating. And man, what a cool conversation. So, thanks for the time today.

Randy Hamilton:
I appreciate it.

Alec:
You're the man. For all you listeners out there, thank you guys for hanging to the end. I appreciate you. Please share, like subscribe to spread the message. I appreciate you guys have a wonderful day. We're out.


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