I recently took part in a conversation with a leader who wanted to grow his multiple mortgage branches and our conversation went something like this………
So why do you think you haven’t been able to grow your branches over the past year?
Leader Wanting To Grow:
I am unsure, it seems I can’t get any traction with the loan officers I am talking with. I have had several out to lunch and coffee but haven’t been able to get anything outside a first meeting with them. Maybe my timing is just off. I guess this recruiting thing just takes time, right?
Will you walk me through a first meeting with a top recruit so I understand what you are communicating to them?
Leader Wanting To Grow:
Well I start off with small talk and building rapport, then move onto discussing the important things about our company such as products, compensation, rates, strength of company………
Let me stop you for a second. So you discuss products, comp, rates and strength of company eh? Let me ask you something. When you first dated your wife what did you talk about on your first 10 dates?
Leader Wanting To Grow:
Hmmmm, seems like I remember us asking each other a lot of questions as it related to our dreams and desires for life.
Yeah and that is probably why you all have been married for almost 2 decades now. You were positioning yourself as an “attractive character” in the story of her life and she was drawn to your dreams and desires as much as she was to your looks. As a leader who is now wanting to attract branch managers and loan officers you will only attract people who are already committed to a move if you continue handing your first meeting with a recruit as you have been.
It is going to be critical that you take a page out of your dating playbook and position yourself as the attractive character who uses the first meeting to share dreams and desires. You have to show them who you actually are as leader. They want to see authentic, caring, humble, serving, generous and so much more, just as your wife did so many years ago. If you don’t you won’t give your recruits something to move towards. They don’t see you as being any different than the stale leadership they are possibly under today.
Okay I will stop there as the conversation went on for the next 60 minutes +. I am sharing this as it is a typical conversation I have with many leaders today who find themselves struggling to grow their branch or branches.
Let me first start by giving mad props to this leader as he was doing something many don’t. That is getting in front of top talent. It all starts here so I applaud him for making the time to identify top talent, connect with them and secure a face to face meeting with them. This alone will lead him to being more successful than 90% of his peers as I have found most leaders in the mortgage business wait for their recruiter to establish this first meeting. Stop limiting your success with this idea. The leaders who are most successful are incredible recruiters.
As a leader who built more than 20 branches I can tell you it was rare that meetings came from recruiters. If it did come from a recruiter then it was highly likely that the individual already knew who I was and what I represented through what I call the “attractive character positioning.” I will discuss more about this in a moment. For now let me advise you to begin engaging your recruits in conversations centered around their desires and dreams. This little tip will change the trajectory of your relationships. Simply ask questions such as “what are you hoping to get from the mortgage business?” “ What is it that you love outside of this business?” “What do you love about this business?” Questions like this will change the trajectory of your conversations.
Back to the “attractive character” concept. I have found that most top leaders who are strong recruiters do a great job of this. If you aren’t working to position yourself as an attractive leader in your market long before you or a recruiter make that first phone call then you have reduced your chances of moving a recruit onto next steps.
Now here is where many get discouraged and state “well I have focused all of my energy on running a branch” or “there is already a strong leader in my market who has done this so it makes no sense for me to start now.” If this is you the great news is that it’s easy to begin and its never too late to start. You can go from nothing to something of significance in a matter of 90 days as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn give you the ability to communicate to the world who you are. I am going to outline 3 basic principles you need to adhere to in building your Attractive Character into what I call an Influencer Platform. This platform will allow you to wield more influence in your market than any of the other local mortgage leaders. It will make your branch an attractive place to work and grow. A place that people can get excited about moving towards.
- You must be able to articulate who is the authentic you. Not who you think your recruits want you to be or who you have seen other successful people be. Rather what is it that you love, what do you represent and what does it look like getting to work alongside you. For me personally it was simply 4 things. Family first, personal development, leadership development and valuing growth. I will go into a more detailed explanation of this in a future article.
- You must have a plan for communicating the authentic you to your market in order to give recruits something to move towards. With social media dominating online time today you have to be visible. Statics show that over 50% of time online is spent within a social media app. If the candidate doesn’t know you prior to your first phone call they will immediately formulate an opinion of you based on your online presence. Make it easy for them to find you and connect with the real you.
- Keep your plan simple (need help keeping it simple check out Essentialism by Greg McKeown). You don’t need to hire a marketing firm to do this. Take a few moments each day to formulate a few thoughts and capture them somewhere so that you can use them. When I first started I built a Trello board for it so that I had something I could refer to that would stimulate ideas and thoughts. I kept that on my Iphone and would review it to ensure I was on track with anything I posted. Here is what that board looked like.
Now for connecting all of the dots and what to do next…..remember recruiting is simple!
- First meeting with a recruit you should engage in sharing dreams and desires
- Identify what the authentic you represents into no more than 4 thoughts
- Know how you are going to communicate the authentic you through stories. When working with Branch Managers we identify great stories they can share which clearly identify their values and culture. We all live in story so don’t skip this. It’s a game changer for your growth. Do this and you will leave your candidate being able to relate to your ongoing communication and will give them something to move towards.
- Make sure they are able to see what you represent before and after your meeting through the content you post in social media outlets (make sure and include LinkedIn)
- Take action! Don’t wait, begin taking action. Create your own version of the Trello board example I have included. Make it easy for candidates to move towards your attractive character.
For those of you who would like a copy of the book Essentialism which I mentioned in this article, inbox me and I will mail you a copy. I have 12 of them and until they are gone consider one of them yours.