Dustin Owen is on The Loan Officer Wealth Podcast this week! During this exciting conversation, he shares his tips on finding good leaders and how to nurture and grow your employees for your business.
The Loan Officer Wealth Podcast | EP. 39
Guest – @Dustin Owen, @theloanofficerpodcast (Instagram)
During this incredibly valuable conversation you will learn:
How Dustin Owen trains his new employees when they first start and what kind of goals and targets you should expect from them. The importance of consistently networking and having meaningful conversations everyday with people who can become referral partners and generate more business for you! Dustin also explains why it is so important to relentlessly follow up and connect with your generated leads to convert them into actual customers. And More!
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Listen to the Podcast Below
Dustin Owen Shares His Tips On Finding Good Leaders And How To Nurture And Grow Your Employees For Your Business
I have an incredible offer for you. What we’ve done is we’ve taken the ten most profitable methods to grow your mortgage business that we have learned from interviewing the producers on this show, many of whom are doing over $100 million in volume per year. We’ve packaged them together into a condensed 45-minute training where you get to learn the ten most successful and profitable activities that you should be running in your mortgage business.
We show you how to automate those processes with people and systems so that they run and continue to produce loan applications and new partners that want to send you business pre-booked into your calendar without you having to do any cold calls, chasing or any work. It’s a blueprint for you to be able to produce more in your business while working less. You can get that training now for free at ChrisWebinar.com.
Make sure you head over there now, grab that training for free and make sure that you watch it because the sooner you get started on implementing these strategies, the sooner you can see results and continue to grow your mortgage business. Thank you again for being here with us for this episode, and enjoy another one.
We are very blessed to have Dustin Owen on the show. Dustin, thank you so much for being here.
You are very welcome, Chris. Thanks for having me.
You have got an incredible career and accolades and all kinds of amazing stuff. Before we get into the episode, can you give your background like your 90-second elevator introduction, to the audience so they know who you are?
At my heart of hearts, when it comes to my professional career, I am a mortgage loan originator. However, that’s not what I do nowadays. I still have a production team, and at my height, my production team would fund about 180 units a year. It was 90% purchase, all realtor builder database referred and driven. I’ve since, along with two partners, have, from the ground floor up, grown a region.
We represent Waterstone Mortgage in the marketplace. We run the Florida Region, which also encapsulates four satellite offices outside the Florida State area. We have roughly 11 branches upwards of 85 loan originators. The next twelve months, this is market specific, not trying to go 2021 numbers on you. 2022 and 2023 numbers will fund right out of $1 billion, a $1.1 billion. Of that, 90% will be purchased, and the bulk of that will be realtor builder-referred.
That’s the bulk of my day-to-day is more helping run the region and manage the managers. I’m highly involved in the Mortgage Bankers Association, so I achieved my CMB, my Certified Mortgage Banker. According to the MBAs, it’s the highest designation you can obtain in our industry. I’m currently enrolled in the MBA’s Future Leaders Program, which I would highly recommend to anyone who is interested in expanding your career outside of origination and into leadership.
You should look into that particular program. I moonlight, like you, Chris, as a podcast host. I launched a passion project that I call The Loan Officer Podcast. If you want to check us out, go to TheLoanOfficerPodcast.com. That would probably have everything you would need to know but it started as a passion project.
I’m going to have to do something about it because, at this point, we are garnishing somewhere around 70,000 to 80,000 downloads a month. We have almost 11,000 subs on YouTube alone. I have a lot of fun doing it. We release two episodes a week every single week. Each episode is somewhere between 30 to 50 minutes. It’s not just for LOs.
I called it The Loan Officer Podcast because, at the end of the day, that’s who I am as a professional. It’s who I will always relate to. As a loan officer, I spent most of my time teaching basics of financial principles that should have been taught in high school but weren’t. I tend to tell our audience like, “Our episode is for anybody who owns a house, wants to own a house, finances, homes for a living or sells homes for a living.” If you do the math, that’s probably about 85% of the American populace.
I know that was over 90 seconds, Chris, but in totality, that hopefully would paint a decent enough picture about maybe who I am as it pertains to being a professional. Outside of that, I’m boring. I’m a dad. I’m a husband. I am training for a half IRONMAN. To some people, that would be something of interest. Other people, it shows you how off my rocker I am.
There’s so much there to dig into. We are hearing a lot of conversations about loan officers that are looking for a different place and recruitment. You’ve built your entire organization without recruiters and just natural organic, bringing people to the organization. Can you talk to us about that? How you built the organization? Why do you feel your recruitment is so strong and what that looks like in the business?
First and foremost, people work for people. End of story. I work for a great company. I’ve worked for Waterstone Mortgage. You should never come work for Waterstone Mortgage unless you are the branch manager or the area manager and as a loan officer, even as a producing sales manager because the company’s good. You should come work for the particular leader because we are not the only good mortgage company out there.
I could probably name a dozen good mortgage companies, and that’s probably only scratching the surface. Companies that I respect, whether it’s a CMG or a Prime or a Summit across the country, an FBC, a mortgage firm or HomeBridge. I could keep on going and going but those good organizations still have crappy leaders and great leaders.
First and foremost, if someone is looking at why they would leave, my hope would be because, “I’m going to work for a better leader. I’m leaving a leader who is maybe disengaged, who is not supportive, who is not spending time mentoring me, coaching me or them themselves doesn’t work on professional improvement or self-betterment.”
I would start there. I would start with who you work for currently. Not company but person, human being. If you make a move, are you making a move because you are surrounding yourself with the type of people that you want to be more like, and then trust that the company’s going to be good too? There are sometimes more good companies than there are great leaders, and you want to work for a great leader. There are enough good companies out there.There are more good companies than there are great leaders. Always work for a great leader. Click To Tweet
As a leader yourself, being that person who’s helping to drive the organization and bring other people up, where are you finding your resources from? Where are you learning? How do you stay ahead of that curve? How do you stay hungry as a leader to make sure that you are the best that you can be?
As simple as what our parents taught us, you practice what you preach. I love the leadership style of being in the trenches. If I’m not in the trenches, I better be sitting on top of the trench with my feet dangling over. I need to be that close to what’s going on so that I can relate. I want to be able to empathize, as well as sympathize with those in the field.
If I’m demonstrating a certain behavior, I would expect others to follow in that behavior, from how I dress, to how I speak, to what time I get to the office, to what time I leave the office, to how accessible I am. If I’m not accessible, if I don’t follow through, if I’m not reliable, if I’m not dressed professionally, I think that gives everyone else permission to do the same.
If I’m a producing sales manager and I have a sales competition going, then the producing sales manager needs to be competing. Not in a cutthroat manner but in a supportive manner, but showing the field that it’s not beneath me either to make these calls, attend these events, fill out this greatness tracker, etc. The question may have stemmed from, “What do I look for in a good leader. Where do I find the people to lead?” You find the people to lead by going where they are going. Are you involved in your local MBA chapter? Are you attending your state MBA functions? I’m heading out to a mastermind in September 2022. I’m going to be out in Vegas.
I’m going to be out there because A) Vegas is a lot of fun, B) Steven Marshall puts on a great event but C) I’m going to be with hundreds, if not thousands, of other people who do what I do for a living and are into the same things that I’m into. I find that I meet my “friends” because, to me, a stranger is a friend I’ve not met yet. I meet my friends at these events, and then you never know where it’s going to go from there.
It’s putting yourself in places that those people are also attending. Something that we do well that I know is difficult for all to pull off we do a good job of creating our own talent. This is something we do out of our headquarters in Orlando, Florida, where we are able to bring in anywhere between 2 to 5 rookie loan originators per year and put them through an assimilation program to where if they will follow in our footsteps. After two years, not only will they be a successful self-sourced, full-time mortgage loan originator but they will also have opportunities to be recognized as top producers 1%-ers and win trips to places like Costa Rica and Cancun.
That assimilation process is very interesting because I’m assuming you’ve got somewhat of a business in a box, and I know your organization. As you mentioned, over 90% of your business is purchased. There are a lot of readers right now that are desperately trying to pump up that purchase volume. Can you walk me through what’s in that course? What do they learn? What do they focus on? How do they generate their business while going through that program?
For clarification and accuracy, in 2020 and 2021, we were 65% purchase. We went out and got our fair share of refis. Don’t kid yourself. We are suffering gut punch like everyone else is. We might not be suffering as badly but it’s 90% now because that’s where you need to be. It was always 80/20 prior to the refi boom of 2020 and 2021. The way that our rookie assimilation program starts, it’s like anything in life. You start by doing it, and then you figure it out along the way, and each time, you learn from what worked and didn’t work. You make your tweaks and adjustments. Anyone reading, kudos to you because you are going to get the now version, which is ten years in the making.
We will onboard a rookie loan officer. They’ve come from everywhere, from ex-military to ex-salespeople, ex-realtor, and some retired law enforcement. We’ve run the gambit of the personalities you are looking for. I will share this with you, and I wish this had been shared with me way earlier. You only want to hire people who can show you examples in their life when they were recognized as being the best.
Whether it was, “I was the captain of the baseball team at Auburn University or out of 30 people in my insurance office, I was in the top six every single year.” You look for people that have had a high level of success regardless of what it was because that’s going to probably tell you the most about that particular person. You also look for people who can do basic math well.
If I asked you, “Chris, what’s 15% of 70?” You would run some math like, “I don’t know, ten and a half?” The answer is ten and a half if I ran my math right but I don’t even know the answer. I knew how to do that math quickly in my head. It wasn’t AP Calculus. It wasn’t College Algebra. You look for people that can do that type of math quickly in their head, and you look for people who have had fantastic success in other realms of their life. Casey over at Xinnix, here’s an opportunity for a handwritten thank you note. You spend $1,600 or $1,800. I don’t know what it costs these days for Xinnix’s ground school. I’m not on here promoting flight school. I’m not promoting officer school.
I’m not saying they are not fantastic and that you shouldn’t look into them but I don’t work for Xinnix. I don’t get commissioned by Xinnix. I know that as a mortgage professional, I have used their product for over a decade to help teach newer professionals the basics, the foundation, what’s DTI, what’s LTV, the difference between an FHA loan, and a VA loan, how I calculate basic income, etc. I, as the employer, will purchase Xinnix for them.
Depending on the year, a 2022 year, maybe not so much. The 2020 year, probably. I have offered certain people a base salary or a nonrecoverable draw for their first 3 or up to 6 months. I don’t know where I stand on that. It depends on the year or on budgetary constraints. Currently, we are not offering that but we have in the past. I’m not saying that in the future, if finances didn’t allow for it, we wouldn’t. Most importantly, what we do is we get them in, and they show up to the office every day between 8:00 and 9:00.
I don’t care what time they show up. It has to be between 8:00 and 9:00. They are leaving anytime between 4:00 and 6:00. Again, I don’t care. I need them coming into the office. If they leave, they leave for a purpose. It’s a combination of shadowing other loan officers, processors, marketing assistants, and underwriters. It’s also getting on the phone and dialing out. When I say the phone, I still think of calls as phone calls. I don’t care if it’s a phone call, hopping in my DMs on IG, sending me a Facebook Messenger or texting me.
I need you to reach out to 12 to 15 people a day, introducing yourself and scheduling a meeting. I need you to go out and get belly-to-belly, face-to-face with one potential long-term referral source a day, every single day, until you’ve done 100. As you get loans and leads, then bring them back to the office and between you, your mentor, and your manager, we will make sure you don’t screw something up.
Even along the way, Chris, they sit down. They have a scripting class every other Monday. We teach mortgage school every single Wednesday, and they are included in an LO coaching group that meets for half an hour every two weeks. They are taught principals like greatness trackers or were given some scripting support. They are taught the history of the mortgage banking industry. That’s all taught at the office.
We use Xinnix to teach things like LTV and DTI because it’s beneath most mortgage professionals that have to teach that. We outsource it. When applicable, we do offer to go on sales calls with our rookie loan officers but not too many because what we found is if I go on a sales call with you and you are the rookie, ultimately, it’s hard for me to take a back seat and it’s hard for me not to command the room.
That referral source wants to refer me-business and not refer you-business even if I am non-producing. Lastly, this is a recommendation for any producing manager. You are supposed to be doing lunch and learns. You are supposed to be doing happy hours. When you do those, let your rookies tie into them. It gives them an opportunity to have an event that maybe they don’t speak to. Maybe they will introduce you.
They can pick up the phone and call and invite people to attend your lunch and learn. They can have a speaking part which is introducing you or the topic. The same thing applies when you are doing happy hours to allow your rookies to bring 1 or 2 realtors. It’s only going to add $50 or $60 to your tab but you are going to bring immense value to your rookie loan officer, and you are also leading by example.
When you get them reaching out to that one potential referral partner per day, do you help them with a list? Do you get them a qualified list? Is that all self-sourced? Are they looking for anybody influential in their network?
All of the above. I would tell you, “Chris, this is week one stuff.” Week one is when you are still doing four hours of your day. The first six weeks are doing Xinnix ground school. The other four hours is working on either shadowing or creating your database. I would tell you to first start with your friends and family. If you were to throw a Mac daddy wedding, like a banger, best DJ, open bar, live music, the whole nine yards, and you would invite 300-plus people, who would you invite or who do you send holiday cards to? Start with those that are the most local. Pick up the phone, and let them know about the exciting career opportunity but don’t hit the phone or text to hit them up for business.
Let them know that your number one job is to help realtors and builders sell more homes, make more money and look good while doing so. Ask them for a realtor or a builder referral, who did they use when they sold their house? Who did they use when they bought their house? That way, you can create your list of 100 realtors.
Now when you call this first 100, it’s not a cold call. It’s, “I got your name and number from my college roommate, my high school buddy, and my ex-colleague at the company I used to work for. I told them about my affiliation with X, Y, and Z mortgage companies. I’m reaching out to you because I find it to be my job to help people like you sell more homes, make more money, and look good while doing so. I’m curious when we could sit down to talk about how I could do that for you.” Something along those lines.
They build out their own list. There are certain times when we may go through our database, and maybe there’s a slew of listing agents that, for whatever reason, the loan officer that brought in the deal isn’t working or maybe that loan officers out of the business. We will say, “Call these people. They’ve all had a successful transaction with our organization,” but we try to coach them and mentor them to self-source all of that.
You are seeing people come through this program all the time. You are seeing the successes and the failures. Where are you finding that somebody gets to that two-year mark and they are in the president’s club or they are in the 1% club? What is it that those people are doing that you see over and over again that makes a successful loan officer?
Interestingly enough, if you could ask me this nine months ago, I would give you a different answer. I didn’t place enough value on aptitude. These are people that honestly are above average when it comes to their deductive reasoning, their ability to think quickly on their feet, and their intellect in general. Aptitude plays a key role in it. A hustler can always have a successful career but a hustler with an average or even below average aptitude is going to struggle to ever achieve that 100-unit, 200-unit, 300-unit threshold that some of these top producers are doing with the team building and flexing their entrepreneurial spirit.
I would start with aptitude, believe it or not, and then it’s going to come down to how organized you are. Do you treat this as a profession or are you treating this as a side hustle? The mortgage industry is not a side hustle. You get up every day, put on your uniform, and go to work. When you are at work, you do work things. What is a work thing? Prospecting and marketing. End of story.
Someone asked me like, “What do you do for a living?” I said, “I can boil it down. I am in the training and development industry, where we focus on sales and marketing. Our trade happens to be mortgage finance.” Even if you are a solopreneur or an LO, what are you doing to develop yourself? Are you focused on sales and marketing activities? Are you now focused on becoming a solid technician?
I would look for someone that, “Is your aptitude above average? Can you show me past experiences where you have been recognized as being the best at something? What was it? Let’s talk about it. Finally, are you going to treat this like a profession? Are you going to be detailed and organized, predictable, and patterned? Much of what we must do needs to be patterned.” Ford did it best. Ford created the assembly line. How do we create the assembly line in anything that we are doing?
Thank you, Dustin, for being so generous with your time. It’s absolutely fantastic. As you look at growing your organization and building the people around you, what do you find is the thread to a long-term successful loan officer? Is it database marketing? Is it referral partner marketing? What is the one thing that stands out to you for your top producers that that’s the activity that they do?
The first thing is don’t be a jerk. Life is way easier if you say, “Is that something a jerk would do, a jerk would say or did that sound jerky?” If it is, then stop doing that. I wholeheartedly do believe in that. To answer your real question, it’s twofold. You have to consistently be out there networking and having meaningful conversations with people who can refer you to business or refer you to people who need the services that you provide.You must consistently build your network and have meaningful conversations with people who can refer you business or individuals who need the services you provide. Click To Tweet
The second part is where I, as an originator, struggled mightily until I met my business partner Mike Smalley. We’ve worked so hard to generate that lead. What are you doing to convert it? Mike calls him his TBD calls. How many times are you going to call, text or email this person so that they never lose sight of you, what you do for a living, and how you can help them? It was Jeremy Fourcier at a Todd Duncan event that I heard Jeremy on the stage say, “I will relentlessly pursue all leads until they buy or die. By dying, I mean they fall dead or pick up the phone, tell me to F off and ask me to quit calling them.”
Those are the two things because anything else, if you are not a jerk and you can go out there and have meaningful conversations daily with people who can refer you business and then the people who are referred in if you can then relentlessly pursue them until they buy or die, then I can hire out everything else. I can hire an awesome technical loan originator from a bank or from a builder who is bad at going out and getting business and have him or her take great care of my client. I can hire and train a phenomenal processor who can make sure my files get apt and disclosed, and submitted to underwriting properly. I can then focus on what I need to focus on.
I’m going to add a third one, although I said only two. You have to be a great advisor. You have to know something about personal finance. You have to be able to teach and educate the general public about the general principles of being fiscally savvy or educated. A component that is a way that we bring value but it’s also our way of changing our world for the better, is to be that educator.
That maybe would fall in line with my having a meaningful conversation. My meaningful conversation is, “Did I share something with you that made you a better, more educated person? If I did, did that make you want to do business with me? If the answer is yes, awesome. I’m going to take down your information, and then I’m going to relentlessly pursue you until you finally say yes. Once you say yes, I can then hand you over to maybe the technician that I’ve trained to do all of the heavy liftings, the minutia so that I can get back out there, have more meaningful conversations, work on educating, being impactful,” and then my lead follow-up.
I always look for three incredible tidbits on every show, and you are so far beyond that at this point. Thank you so much for sharing your time, and if we have a reader out there that’s like, “This is right up my alley. I’m jazzed by this,” how do people find you? How do people reach out? What’s the best way to connect with you?
I’m easiest accessible on LinkedIn, @DustinOwen. I’m connected with 17,000 of my mortgage friends out there. Hit me up on LinkedIn. I pride myself on being accessible, to my wife’s dismay, maybe a little bit too much. We were celebrating our anniversary, and we went to the Northeast and did the whole Boston to Maine type trip. When we were in Boston, I made friends with some of my podcast listeners. I’m like, “Honey, before the game, we are going to swing by and meet up with Ben and Gabby.” She’s like, “Seriously?” I go, “Yeah, they are awesome people.” She’s like, “But this is our anniversary.” I’m like, “Yeah, but.” My wife is reminding me, “You might not always be able to be that accessible,” but I would like to think of myself as being accessible.
LinkedIn’s the easiest way. Honestly, the website, The Loan Officer Podcast. Our friends call us TLOP. If you are an avid listener, we will refer to you as a TLOPer. We also bought TLOPOnline.com. It’s the same exact website. They both point in the right direction. Check us out there. Hit me up on LinkedIn. I love to connect. I love to talk shop. Chris, I appreciate you asking me to be on. I would love to return the favor. Next time you are in Orlando, would you carve out an hour to come to hang out with me and JC and be on The Loan Officer Podcast?
It would be my pleasure. I would be honored.
We haven’t had a chance to jump into this, and we don’t have enough time but I have used your product. I do get your ad, so I know your product works.
Thank you for that and another conversation for another day, which I’m very much looking forward to.
I will look forward to it as well. It’s you that I learned how to take my past client database, upload it to Facebook, and then run targeted ads. I teach that on any coaching I’m doing or if it’s a relevant topic, I will discuss with people, “By the way, I’m not the expert.” Someone like you is the expert. I know it can be done. I encourage people to look into ways to do that.
We got to get together. I can’t wait to share with you what we are doing on the appointment booking side of things because it’s a ton of fun. Everybody, thanks for reading, and we will see you in the next episode.
Thanks for having me.
Thank you so much for reading, and I hope that you enjoyed our guests on the show. This is a reminder that we have finished taking the greatest lessons from all of our guests and packaging them together into a brief online video presentation that’s going to teach you the ten most profitable ways to grow your mortgage business. We show you how to automate those processes in your business with people and systems so that you get the results without you having to do the work every day.
This is quite literally a blueprint so that you walk into your mortgage business every day with pre-booked appointments, with borrowers that want to meet with you and referral partners that want to send you business so that you are spending your time inside your mortgage business on the highest dollar per hour activities. You truly become the executive of your business, a true business owner rather than somebody who’s going to a job every day and making a wage on the way through. This is an absolutely incredibly powerful training for you, and I cannot wait for you to experience it. Head on over to ChrisWebinar.com to get that free training.
If you could do me another favor, if you enjoyed this episode, please head on over to iTunes, search the Loan Officer Wealth Podcast and give us a five-star rating and review on any platform. That 30 seconds of your time goes to help another loan officer in the industry discover this information and help put their life and their business on track for more success. We are all in this together and there is more than enough for all of us in the industry. I would love it if you left us that five-star rating and review. Don’t forget to stay tuned for our next episode, and I will see you then.
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