Two heads are better than one, the saying goes, and no one knows that better than Dawn Svoboda, Academy Mortgage branch manager in Casa Grande, Arizona. In fact, she's taken this to heart with a co-branding marketing tactic that's gotten her significant market share in the area. Every time she speaks with a new realtor partner, she makes sure that they receive a co-branded package, complete with social media content.
"I don’t think other lenders do that, or offer that on a consistent basis, and we try to do it consistently,” Svoboda said. Once we send them a co-branded flyer pack, then about three months after fact, I get feedback from them and see what they want specifically done for flyers and then we are going back to them to update those and resend them out."
Like any originator worth her salt, Svoboda spends a lot of time cultivating relationships, and that includes “saving” any less-than perfect deals. Communicating well through a complicated closing is just as important as sharing good news during one that runs smoothly, as she discovered during a recent “rough” closing.
“Just because it didn’t go smooth, I was still able to get him to agree to set up an appointment because the communication throughout the process of the loan was huge on my part and on my team’s part,” she said. “Even though we had a little delay . . . there was communication at every point of the transaction going on, whether it be email or verbal with this guy, and so I think he was impressed by that. And now we have another opportunity to earn more business from him.”
It’s all about bringing value to that realtor partner, and lessening their load, whether it’s by communicating well with them so they don’t have to hunt you down for updates or providing them content for their own marketing purposes, is valuable — because their time is valuable.
Time is also valuable to an originator, of course, and Svoboda says it's difficult for an originator to decide the best use of it.
"Time management is a word that’s very hard to work with in this industry and what we do. As a manager of my branch, one thing that I have not given up is the files," she said. "The loans that are being worked on my team. I am still very involved. To try and I feel that I have to stay on top of the loans I’ve lost deals because of stepping back. You have to know the loan that you’re working on, or at least know the LO has everything in control up front."
One of the benefits that Svoboda has over her competitors is that she worked her way up to branch manager from being a receptionist courier, going through processing and operations along the way. Experience counts, and a big part of that is understanding the file flow and processes that underwriters experience with a file.
“I trust and value a lot of my knowledge. Even though I feel like every day the rules are changing, I have a grasp of the basics. What I hear and see is, ‘hey, anyone can originate home loans, just get ‘em in and get ‘em out marketing and have them bring the deals in the door.’ Well, that is not the way that I roll. Frankly, I think it is a mistake waiting to happen, and it shows when you talk to agents that deal with inexperience."
Svoboda relies heavily on AMP, Academy Mortgage’s CRM. Not only does it generate reports that allow her to follow up with clients and ensure her team isn’t losing them to competitors, but she said that AMP provides so much additional intel that has generated a lot of referral business from past clients coming back.
“Their sons are buying, their daughters are buying, their friends are buying, they’re selling, whatever, it’s generated more deals for us. And then it also markets to those co-branded realtor partners that we work with and we’re really working to build that co-branded realtor base so that we can get more agents working with our branch.”
Q&A with Raymond Bartreau at Best Rate Referrals
The origins of an originator