A common thread shared by mortgage originators nationwide is how much a difference mentoring and being mentored makes to their business.
Shelby Elias is no different. He works hard to coach, to mentor, to motivate and provide accountability, to stress the importance of a database, and how to revitalize a business and reconnect with past customers by sending direct messages on various social media platforms.
The difference with Elias is that he provides just as much coaching to his real estate agent partners as he does to other originators.
Their system, Elias says, is archaic. Most real estate agents don’t have a database, or any effective way of following up with past clients. They don’t have a CRM, they don’t know how to do Instagram stories or any other way to stay in front of their audience. Shifting the focus from how great you are to how great they can be is a fresh perspective, and something different than what every other originator is telling potential realtor partners.
“When you really coach somebody on that level, they’re like, ‘holy cow.’ And what we’re doing is growing their business. That’s real value. If somebody’s operating one way and they don’t have a real database, when you give them the database now their business goes up by 10% just by knowing who they’re reaching out to. They’re not reactive, they’re proactive. That’s really what the major focus is for us: coaching agents that we believe in and helping them truly grow their business, because their success is ultimately my success.”
Elias is all about figuring out what his partners are lacking in their business, and that’s everything from specific skill sets to teaching them how to become a true entrepreneur: how to structure their business, the need to physically show up at the office every day, time blocking, creating good habits, making good choices.
“It’s just crazy when you actually start to be intentional with people, and then you’re growing real relationships, and they feel like you’re really on their team. That’s really what they need,” he said. “Everybody has something that the need to focus on, and really it’s just hearing what their business plan is, hearing what their goals are, and finding out what they’re good at and what they’re not good at and filling those holes.”
Elias has always had an entrepreneurial mindset, and founded United Wholesale Lending in 2008. He runs a large outfit, with more than 100 originators working under his license and a personal team that handles his individual production. He sees himself as a visionary, and spends most of his time focused on coaching his originators and helping realtor partners grow their business.
Unlike many originators who fell into the business sideways, Elias went in eyes open after hooking up with a mentor who himself was a loan originator. At 19, he was hooked on his mentor’s work ethic, and the more he learned, the more he liked.
“I grew up in a small town and didn’t really know anybody that was successful. I really fell in love with the business and learning because the business was really hot. This was 2005 and it was fun and it was exciting, and people were making money, and I was just really young. Within a few short years, I rose to number three in the entire company, one of the largest lenders in the nation, and at that point, that’s when I really realized that it doesn’t matter how old you are . . . I showed up, I worked 7-7 every day, and so I was just given more opportunities, and that’s really what it came down to.”
Skip ahead 14 years, and Elias is still at the top of his game. This year, he’s planning on launching seminars for real estate agents, the types of events that they’d normally need to travel and pay to attend. They’re going after high-level influencers who can share nuggets on how to grow a brand through social media and perhaps another on breaking into the luxury real estate market. Elias and his team are also moving hard and heavy into digital advertising, “high level stuff” on Facebook and Instagram.
Before originators can effectively provide true value to their partners above and beyond the job of origination, however, Elias said that originators have to start at square one, which is knowing their own value first. For some people, that may require coloring outside of the lines a little bit. Into fitness? Partners want to be healthy, too. Create a realtor boot camp, and spend time building relationships while engaging in a shared activity. Excel at organizing events or fundraising? Chances are, there’s a local charity, school, or nonprofit organization that a partner supports. Team up and help them help others.
“You just have to really write down what your value is. How are you going to help other people become the person that they want to become? Elias said. “That should be with everything. If you post something online, people need to get value out of that. You can’t just post a photo with no merit to it. . . . What do you have to give to the world, give to referral partners or clients?”
Apart from originators knowing their value, Elias suggests that they also learn how to create the perfect loan process. For every one of their clients that gets a preapproval, for example, Elias and his team sends them a branded phone charger with a note along the lines of: ‘Congratulations on getting preapproved. We’re going to be attached at the hip at this point, I’m probably going to be draining your cell phone battery! Keep this on you at all times, it’s very important that we have a clear open line of communication.’ It’s different, it’s useful, it’s memorable, and it goes over like gangbusters.
Any therapist will say that there's inherent value in someone knowing what they're worth. Turns out that it's also just good business.
For more strategies from top originators, come to for our Power Originating session featuring Shant Banosian, Ben Anderson, and Oleg Tkach.