On the afternoon of November 4, 2014, I was fortunate enough to have closed the mortgage that put my career production over the $1,000,000,000 mark.  While there have been many featured in this magazine who have achieved the $1 billion mark in much shorter  period of time, my first billion took just under 30 years, yet the percentage of originators who have made it that far is still tiny which makes it kind of cool.   Cool not justt because it represents 29 ½ years of monumental effort but also because it is further proof that by applying and embracing some basic principles we learned as children, good things happen…to those who wait.


A billion dollars has a nice ring to it but it’s the other numbers and the people behind them that go into abillion that are far more important.  Numbers like five different employers, nine office locations, eleven branch managers, hundreds of processors, closers, underwriters and appraisers, just over 7000 closed loans and somewhere way north of 100,000 issues, complications, and headaches.  We need to love every person and embrace every challenge by learning to deal with the situation rather than the person.  By doing that, people will gravitate to you and keep coming back.  We are in a people business and we all have a whole lot of them to thank for our successes and livelihood and they all deserve the best we have.  One of life’s most important rules is the more love you give, the more you’ll find!


It all began on June 10, 1985 and within the first few months of working 50-60 hour weeks and making nothing, I wanted to quit the mortgage business so bad I could taste it.  However, my grandfather informed me that I was not a quitter and my sense of obligation to him so late in his life encouraged me to keep trying.  After the first 6 months I had finally closed my first $1,000,000.  At that point, I was on a pace to make it to $1 billion somewhere around my 500th birthday! From there it got better before it got much worse.  We had the wonderful refi boom of 1986 which was followed by the epic bond market crash of 1987 then several down years in Colorado Real Estate.  It was 1991, I now had a family, hungry mouths to feed, almost no money and not a day went by where I didn’t second guess my choice of careers, but things were about to get better… a lot better. In 1991 I was fortunate to join the now defunct but forever beloved CTX Mortgage Company.  CTX was quite possibly the greatest company in all the land and nearly everyone who worked there still refers to CTX with great reverence.  We had all the products, great leaders, and a wonderful company culture. Thecompany was sales driven, customer focused and most everyone there loved their job and it showed.


During that time I grew tremendously as a loan officer thanks to all of the training and exposure to great role model leaders and originators we had.  Then all of a sudden, I became one of them.  I began helping others perform better and my business really started to thrive.  It was then that I began to understand the universal law of giving.  Whether it was time, money, advice, a smile or anything else I had to give.  The more you give, the more you get back.   Look for opportunities to give every chance you get and trust this universal law. It will change your life! 


Back then our marketing department was one of the first to fully embrace the concept that our past clients are far more important to our long term survival than any other source of business.  Do a great job for your customers, stay in touch with them and the rewards will continue indefinitely.  Better yet therewards would not only continue but they would multiply many times over if you practice great customer service.  It is that kind of thinking that has developed into a business that continues to grow with very little effort other than a commitment to the process and consistently reinvesting in your business to stay in touch with those customers who will sustain you for the long term.


One of my favorite sales pillars is that of the “referral tree”.  Like most people, I can trace most every customer back to meeting just three people.  From there the tree has continued to grow and multiply without painful prospecting or cold calling.  This is a classic lesson in why we never give up and we never take anyone for granted because that person could be the one that opens up a door for you that opens up a thousand more doors down the road.  


We are fortunate to work in a wonderful people business with unlimited potential.  However, it takes time to build the skills, the customer base and the business that everyone wants from the beginning.  By following some of the simple rules that we all learned as youngsters and applying them with confidence, the results will always be excellent although maybe not as immediate as we may want.