Interview with Linda Rudd — the CORE mortgage training coach

Interview with Linda Rudd — the CORE mortgage training coach

Linda Rudd of Your Lending Team in San Antonio, has originated $31 million in year-to-date loan volume, putting her on pace for $46 million in volume this year.

We checked in with Linda, who doubles as a mortgage coach with the CORE Training, to see how she keeps her team performing at a high level, and here’s what she had to say:

Building a mortgage team

What’s your secret to building a high-performing mortgage team?

I think that what makes a winning team is culture. It’s motivating, it’s fun, it’s inspiring, it’s high accountability, so that we are keeping ourselves very, very sharp at what we do.

How do you keep your team members accountable?

First and foremost, make sure that they know what their top three job duties are and what defines success in those jobs. As an example, the top job duties of one of my team members is to capture leads, fill my calendar, and convert those leads to clients.

The metric is: I need to have 12 appointments per week set by that person. If I don’t have 12 appointments per week and our conversion rate isn’t at least 35%, then we are going to drill down and see why not. It’s very specific and unemotional, and I don’t think too many team leaders are that specific. We are continually looking at what we’re doing and checking the metrics.

What is the most challenging problem you’ve faced with your team?

The biggest challenge I’ve ever encountered on my team is when members of the team have a different level of integrity than I bring to my clients. Having a high level of integrity is a non-negotiable for me. Employees need to demonstrate that same level of integrity to me, whether that’s: being honest, doing what they say they’re doing, or completing their job as they’re supposed to be. Nothing ever involving a client, just behind the scenes things like team drama stuff. It’s very clear from the beginning that it’s not something we allow here, on my team or at the company.

Working with referral partners

How do you cultivate referrals? Is there a solid process for developing leads outside of the realtor focus?

I think if you were to look at a pie chart of it: 50% is realtor related; 25% is clients, past-clients and client referrals; 25% is personal networking and business partners. I break it all down in to lists. Agent list and how we’re following up with them. Past clients and what we’re doing for them. Business partners, like financial planners, attorneys, and CPAs, and how we’re staying in front of them. We do monthly mailings, monthly video newsletters, client events twice a year, and phone calls on a consistent basis.

How do you go about building those relationships with your referral partners?

I think it’s working your client contacts and your agents backwards. For example, if we’re working on a transaction and that client’s CPA is who we have to go to for documentation and that client loves that CPA, it’s a matter of working backwards like, “Hey, if you love your CPA can I call them and introduce myself?” It’s working it backwards from the other angle to their centers-of-influence and who are the people that are important to them.

I also work with a lot of bankers, so banks that don’t have mortgage companies are great for me because I am a former banker. I speak their language and am very comfortable with it. That’s a great opportunity for me to develop those relationships.

What is your favorite publication, or website, that you use to keep up with the industry?

The Chrisman website is always a pretty good one. It’s all about economics and keeping you updated on the market, what’s happening and what’s coming. I haven’t been following it lately, but in the past Mortgage Market Guide was always pretty good. Internally we get our local board, local builders association intranet articles and stuff like that.

Can you give us an idea of about how much business you are doing?

I’ve helped 4,000 clients in my lifetime. For this calendar year-to-date, it’s about 104 clients for a little over $31 million. I’m working very diligently to get my average loan amount pretty high. Right now my average loan amount is around $400,000 and my goal is to keep it around the conventional limit of $417,000.

I do a lot of jumbo, that’s a great niche for me. I do construction, one-time close, niche self-employed stuff that’s a lot more complicated. My goal is to do 25 clients per month.

I went through a bit of a team shift at the end of last year, but things have stabilized and we’ve got a great culture and I’m super excited.

Linda Rudd, the CORE Training coach

You’re a Mortgage Lender Coach with the CORE training program. How has the CORE helped you grow your business?

What’s been most impactful for me about CORE is, first and foremost, just being around the other CORE coaches, Rick, Reeta, Todd. It’s pretty amazing. It keeps you very grounded and very humble and no matter how great you’re doing there’s still so much more to do.

For me it was all about the accountability, keeping me very focused on my metrics and what I’m supposed to be doing.  You have great months and it’s wonderful, and then you have slow months and it’s very easy to turn your head and find something to distract you easily: going out and doing some shopping, surfing the internet, getting your nails done.

It’s all easy to ignore, except when you’ve got homework due every two weeks and your production is in black-and-white. There’s no hiding from it, at least not for very long.

It’s the accountability, but also the tracking as well.  Within the two years of my initial commitment to the CORE, I had more than doubled my income and doubled my savings, which is what the CORE is all about, through metrics and accountability.

Make a lot of money, keep a lot of money, and now the third one we’re incorporating is, give a lot of money away. As an example, in this upcoming month of September we’re having “Change The Planet Week”, and all of the CORE Coaches and Students are adopting a project in their local area and their whole team is getting involved. We’re super excited about that.

Being a CORE coach, there is a super-charged level of accountability. Every two weeks I’m on a  phone call with Rick, plus my coach, and then I also coach 12 students. So everywhere I turn I’m being held accountable or I’m holding myself accountable because of that.

How does it feel being a coach and holding others accountable?

I love it. It’s in my blood. My mom was a life coach back before it was all cool. She became a certified life coach in the early or mid 90’s. She’s always been a trainer, a motivator, an educator, and a professional speaker, so it’s very natural for me. I love it and it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever done.