A hungry salesperson knows their ABCs when it comes to having a successful business, but do you? Every successful company is run by someone who understands how crucial it is for every team member to succeed, but unfortunately, the mortgage lending industry often prevents that. Thankfully, change is necessary at some point in every industry. A change to the normal structure of doing things. Michael Mikhail heralded that change in the mortgage lending industry.
Starting out as a Loan Officer
In 2017, Mikhail returned to the United States after traveling to 19 countries in 5 years and ended up homeless. He was looking to change his life and search for his next big opportunity. In 2003, he had previously worked in the mortgage lending industry and decided to seek out employment. As he couldn’t get a position at a traditional lending firm as he hadn’t been licensed in quite some time due to traveling, he landed at a private lending institution and became a mortgage loan officer.
It was this experience that illuminated the problems and highlighted exactly what wasn’t working in the mortgage industry. As a loan officer, he was struggling to look for his own leads, making his own meetings, all while spending his own money with no guarantee of ROI.
One of his biggest gripes was having to blindly figure out where to find organic leads, ensuring he had the mortgage loan programs that those leads needed, and all without any support from upper management.
The lack of leadership from the top and no interaction with the team, there was no culture developed within the company. It felt like a company of lone wolves all fighting for their one meal. Unsurprisingly, this was an ineffective method of operation. A pack of wolves is always more effective, yet Mikhail strongly felt that this company didn’t believe that.
Setup to Fail – The Revolving Door of the Mortgage Industry
It was evident to him, that the structure of a business in the mortgage lending industry was set up for loan officers to fail. There would always be more salespeople vying to be loan officers coming through like a revolving door and with a quick turnaround. To Mikhail, it didn’t seem as though the company cared for the direct success of their loan officers or sustaining business from prospective borrowers. The quality of the leads were resting on whether or not the company he was working for had the right loan products available to provide them.
Moreover, the leads he was able to gather on his own were not thrilled with the options this company offered. Most mortgage lending companies offer a limited selection of loan programs to choose from. With money being such a complex matter, it isn’t too surprising that real estate investors need a wide array of options. We, as people, are complicated and each individual has their own needs and wants when it comes to their finances or investment desires. As a result, many of his potential leads couldn’t find the right fit at the company he worked for. This caused Mikhail to turn away countless leads, which only further frustrated him.
This combination of a lack of support from management, lack of direct leads, sparse program options, and toxic work culture, lead to a high turnover rate at these companies. The pressures of doing this all without any management support cause loan officers to quit fairly quickly. The worst part is that they’re rarely missed because the loan officers that leave are quickly replaced. This revolving door of loan officers surely doesn’t play well with the team member who hasn’t left yet. Feeling you’re replaceable only adds to the toxic environment created by companies like these.
It’s not too surprising that soon Mikhail left as well. However, unlike most of his fellow loan officers, he didn’t run to another company where the same exact situation would be repeated. He started something new in 2018; he founded Stratton Equities. As a kid with dyslexia and ADHD, he often struggled with the things that came easy to others but this only motivated him to always work 200 percent. As a result, he knew he would be the perfect person to disrupt the mortgage lending industry. And he did.
Creating a New Business Model around the ABCs of Success – “Always Be Closing”
Mikhail can’t stand watching people taken advantage of and he was fueled by the frustration he experienced at his previous job. He felt that the industry was littered with companies run by leaders without leadership to their teams.
The knowledge that loan officers are forced to carry the weight of the success of a business and suffer the consequences of all these companies’ inadequacies, became the foundation of Mikhail’s new business model. He made it his mission to change how these companies operate, how loan officers are treated, and how to create strong relationships with real estate investors.
Stratton Equities was created, developed, and run with a sustainable business model where everyone succeeds.
The structure was created around the mindset of “Always Be Closing,” and this was done with three key ideas in mind.
1. Say “Yes” More Sales Structure – Quality and Conversion
The “Say, YES, More!” sales structure allows loan officers to accept more clients and find a solution to better fits their needs. Stratton Equities offers more nationwide private money and NON-QM mortgage loan products under one roof than traditional lending institutions. Mikhail was frustrated that he had to turn away so many clients and lose time finding leads. His mission was to provide every resource so that his team members could always say yes and close leads.
Furthermore, he wanted to help more borrowers obtain their dream properties and life investment goals.
He established the following within his new company:
- Daily Organic Leads – no more hunting for business, leads come directly through the company to the loan officer team without losing time and money.
- Supply and Demand – Increasing the volume of various innovative mortgage loan programs available under one roof.
- Management Support and Training – he created a training program that educated each new loan officer on every NON-QM loan program to ensure they were well-versed in all options.
2. More Loan Programs
Stratton Equities offers the largest array of mortgage loan program options under one roof. No more did his team have to lose leads. Mikhail knows that the company only makes money when his loan officers do. It’s only reasonable to provide as many opportunities to his team so they could thrive. This multitude of options leads to an influx of direct, organic leads to Stratton. Loan officers don’t have to spend exorbitant amounts of money searching for leads. The leads come to them. Mikhail is so confident in this that he promises his loan officers will close a deal in 6-8 weeks after their initial training, which leads to his next solution.
3. Support & Training
Training and support from management is another cornerstone at Stratton. If a loan officer doesn’t know what to do, how do you expect them to be effective? Just like many industries, the mortgage industry can be a confusing world. And when you are thrown into the deep end, it can be easy to drown in the confusion. Stratton offers the safety jacket loan officers have been searching for. Mikhail believes that if you want a strong team, each member has to be confident in their abilities. With a comprehensive training program, Stratton ensures its members know what to do and can help every borrower succeed. Their focus is not on instant success but on the continued success and growth of each loan officer at Stratton.
The training, support from management, and a wide array of options build the encouraging and successful company culture at Stratton. The success of each individual member is celebrated.
Success has no time for animosity and you can only succeed with people by your side. Michael Mikhail has successfully shown how a company in the mortgage lending business can thrive while providing support for its loan officers and its real estate investor clients.
The mortgage industry needed to change and Michael Mikhail did exactly that.