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Erik Janeczko is the head coach and chief business development strategist for Maximum Acceleration, a coaching system designed to help loan originators build their businesses by implementing proven core strategies. National Mortgage Professional Magazine readers can download Erik’s free goal planning and performance tracking tools at He may be reached by phone at (573) 2984237, ext. 101 or e-mail

By Dave Hershman produce. This is not necesWe have thousands of mansarily the case. In addition, agers in this industry, but the production of a managonly a small percentage that er is often not of the highare actually great examples est quality. Again, the lack of leaders. I applaud of time can exacerbate this National Mortgage Professituation. However, if the sional Magazine’s focus on manager does not do a the topic of leadership this great job of bringing in high month because if we are quality loans and taking going to thrive as an induscare of business from a try in the future, we certaincomplete loan application ly need more effective leadto settlement, then they are ers. Of course, it is incum“Yes, we often have bent upon us to define the to teach and inspire as not the great example they difference between a “man- leaders, but if we don’t need to be. Even the way that a manager handles ager” and a “leader” so that listen, we will never stress is an important part our managers might recogfind out what our nize where they need employees really need.” of being a good example. When the fires hit, does the improvement. The following represent my keys to great leadership manage react to stress by fanning the fire, from my book, The Complete Mortgage or by leading others to safety? Management Kit.


Following up Having long-term vision Everyone in this industry has vision. However, because managers are typically producers, recruiters and coaches, they often do not have time to look beyond what is in front of them day-to-day. Therefore, we can say that they don’t have great long-term vision. Great leaders can see the big picture. Every action we take can affect that big picture, but we don’t necessarily see the connection because of our myopic view. For example, do you know a loan officer that needs to be coached in a particular area, but you do not have enough time to focus on that particular issue? When the issue arises, you tell yourself that you need to talk to them. But when the issue quiets down, you let it ride because you have so many other pressing concerns. What kind of long-term damage is being done? Could you perhaps cause another loan officer who is bothered by the problem to resign? What are the longterm consequences of inaction?

Is a great example A great leader is a great example for their employees. Actually, we typically select our managers as examples in one respect. The top producers become managers. Branches are typically more profitable with a top producing manager. Unfortunately, we also assume that a top producing manager will be able to show others how to

How many times have you told your loan officers that they must follow up to both convert leads and get loans closed? Well, following up is just as important for leaders. Again, because of time constraints, managers are hard-pressed to follow-up on every detail that is important. But if you don’t return phone calls and e-mail on a timely basis, how do you expect your loan officers to do the same? Again, you set the example in this regard.

Communication skills Great leadership is displayed through great communication skills. This includes not only follow-up skills, but what I will call “proactive communication.” While following up requires that we respond to problems quickly, proactive communication means that we prevent problems from happening. Perhaps it is an extra communication to an underwriter on a file or getting the word out about a program change. An example of communication skills are not limited to just calls. Leaders should have above average public speaking and writing skills. If you cannot get in front of a group of loan officers and inspire them, how do you expect your loan officer to get in front of a group of real estate agents? continued on page 42

 APRIL 2012

A big part of accountability and performance management is tracking.

So, can a leader be made, or are the leaders of the world simply unique individuals who come with the right set of personality and experience? Certainly, personality traits and skills are required to be an effective leader, but, in life, there are very few “natural born” leaders in existence. They are almost always created through the crucible of effective training, practice and experiential learning. If you are a sales leader, a sales manager, or the owner of a company, I encourage you to implement these five keys to effective leadership in your business.

Are You a Manager or a Leader?


Step 5: Establish effective accountability and performance management

The law of the Hawthorne Effect tells us that what gets measured gets done. Compare it to tracking your diet and your sugar intake. If a doctor gives a diabetic an effective tool to track sugar levels and eating habits, the disease may be managed. But, when the patient forgets to keep track of dietary intake, the sugar levels can spiral out of control fairly quickly and with dire consequences. The same goes for performance tracking. But, much more than the traditional “call report,” an effective performance tracking tool should help your loan originators sustain the volume of activity necessary to ensure they hit their desired closing numbers. Your tracking tool should also help each LO recognize what efforts are successfully working and which ones aren’t, and track the source of the lead and the specific obstacles faced in trying to capture that lead. It should make clear which lead sources are providing a 20 percent conversion rate versus an 80 percent conversion rate. This enables the LO to adjust time and energy spent on various work efforts, and adjust strategies to reach significantly higher volume levels in dramatically less time by focusing on high pay-off activities. 

To get your entire team dialed in and really working as a team, you must encourage collaboration. Schedule meetings on a regular basis to brainstorm ideas, discuss the company’s branding strategy, and leverage the unique talents and strengths of your team. This consideration includes advertising, attending trade shows, an Internet presence, social media activity, e-mail campaigns, direct mail, and traditional person-to-person marketing and referral partner development. For example, if you have an LO with a strong marketing background and a passion for direct mail marketing, encourage that LO to use those skills to benefit the entire team. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if a different LO has the natural charisma and passion for meeting new people, encourage that LO to attend as many networking events and trade shows as possible, to attract new clients and at the same time connect the entire team and company to the community in a very visible way. As a team, discuss how to establish referral networks, what’s working and what are the best practices in your marketplace. Explore what opportunities you have as a team to reach a wider audience and leverage existing relationships into to multiple opportunities. A well-oiled, well-orchestrated sales team that sees the benefit of idea sharing profits tenfold what one individual can create. But, it is critical to steer the team away from internal competition and backstabbing that can very quickly kill morale. It’s important for the sales manager to be fair in these open forums. It’s natural to have one or two LOs who stand out from the rest. Help the ambitious, goal-oriented members of your team to direct that energy in a positive way towards helping the weaker members of the team. Help them understand that the greater goal is to strengthen the team’s presence in your market by sharing their insight and wisdom. The reputation and the strength of the team as a whole is how market share is captured.