🔥 No Brand, No Business - The Letter X

Oct 17, 2020 1:56 pm




Presented by: EPM

I’m a HUGE Gary Vaynerchuk fan. He opened my eyes to the power of personal branding. I believe we all need a brand, and we all need to be marketing. And that’s one of the things I get the most pushback about.

So many mortgage professionals say they don’t need a brand. They show me their logo and tagline and tell me that it is their brand. They tell me they don’t do marketing.

That won’t work. Today we live in an internet-connected world. We live in a social media-driven world. Every person in your company should be a marketer. You don’t have to be an expert, but you do need to be marketing.

Think about it like this. Your logo and your tagline are the clothes your business wears. But the clothes don’t make the person. They don’t make the character. You are the brand - the logo displays the brand.

Your brand and your marketing are all about how you serve others. Your brand is how people feel about you. It’s what stands out about you. It’s what people say about you. Marketing is making people aware of that.

When consumers are looking for a referral, they don’t want a recommendation for Chase or Wells Fargo. They want a personal connection. That’s the power of a personal brand

And speaking of brand check out all the awesome people who have created their own personal brands in this week’s TLX!

Say Yes Every Day 

Laura Brandao - President of AFR Wholesale

This week say yes to TIME! It’s the one thing that none of us can buy or obtain more of so live your life as if what you are doing has already occurred and is a memory because as soon as you blink it has already moved to the next moment. The question is, how do you want to remember this day, week, year? 

Sharing is Caring! Remember to share your personal referral link (bottom of email) for a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card! 


Diana Bajramovic of MBS Highway

Mild Inflation?

Earlier this week we saw that the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation on the consumer level, stayed the same on the Core reading at 1.7% year over year. The CPI has two different readings: The Core Rate, which strips out food and energy prices, and The Headline Rate, which is the overall measure of CPI. On a monthly basis, both The Core and Headline numbers were up 0.2% with Headline increasing from 1.3% to 1.4%. 


The Effect of Rents


If the market is concerned with this inflation pressure, why did we not see it in CPI? Rents make up a whopping 40% of The CPI and they continue to move lower due to COVID-19. Rents have been rising 2.7% across the country which is down from 2.9%. Because rents make up such a large portion of the CPI, we are seeing a somewhat artificial drag down of CPI.


There are other factors that support the fact that higher prices are in the cards. One factor is The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, which surveys small business owners in the US. Those that expect higher prices increased by 5 points to 11 points, which is the highest reading we’ve seen in some time, and may point to higher prices and inflation moving forward, even though it was not seen in The CPI. Inventory levels are very tight, and we will see demand coming back faster than supply can keep up due to compromised supply chains.


We continue to track and analyze these reports in our Daily Morning Update which will help you sound smarter when speaking with your clients and referral partners, ultimately allowing you increase production and enhance the relationships you have with your referral partners.

The News X Recap!

Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey reported the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.81%, the lowest rate in the history of the survey dating back to 1971. At the same period in 2019, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.69%.

The pandemic spurred a new home-buying frenzy, but is it becoming harder to find a new home?

September was a good time to get a mortgage, at least from an interest rate perspective. The 30-year loan averaged under 3% that month, which gave borrowers an opportunity to lock in affordable housing payments. But despite those low rates, many mortgage applicants struggled to get a home loan.

COVID-19 has changed the way everyone lives. The chances are good that it will also transform how the economy is run going forward.

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection bureau revoked CFPB Compliance Bulletin 2015-05, the five-year old piece of legislation that essentially banned joint marketing agreements between lenders, real estate agents and other service providers involved in the business of home buying.

The Biggest Threats First-Time Homebuyers Face Right Now. Many first-time homebuyers are battling dragons in today’s housing market: From shrinking credit availability to rising home prices, there’s no shortage of peril.

Mortgage Lender IPOs are Booming! A historic mortgage market is also remaking the public-stock universe for home lenders. It’s important for investors to consider how their models and multiples vary.

Ocwen Financial Corp., based in West Palm Beach, has agreed to provide more than $11 million in cash and services to settle a lawsuit by Florida’s attorney general alleging widespread misconduct by its mortgage servicing business.

Bowtie Economist Quick Hits

Over the next five to ten years, housing will enjoy a nice tailwind primarily due to demographics. With the youngest Millennials now 26, the demand for single-family units will steadily rise, but the Millennial’s inability to accumulate wealth due to two deep recessions will prevent many from having a down-payment. Thus, I suspect single-family rentals will be the best market, followed by the owner-occupied single-family market, and lastly multifamily.

The FY2020 (10/1/19-9/30/20) budget deficit of $3.1 trillion more than tripled from $984 billion in FY2019. As a share of GDP, the deficit rose from 4.6% to 15.2%, the largest since 1945. Revenues totaled $3.4 trillion, down just 1% from a year earlier, as revenues from Oct-March rose 6% due to strong economy, but fell 7% from April-September due to Sars-Cov-2, while spending hit $6.5 trillion, a rise of 47%. 

Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to Americans Robert Wilson and Paul Milgrom, both professors at Stanford for their work in improving and designing auctions; a branch of game theory made famous by John (A Beautiful Mind) Nash. Auctions are used to allocate public goods like mobile phone spectrum and airport landing rights. These are superb examples of economics designing markets to solve practical problems.

Good things come to those who Mastermind! Have you joined the Mortgage X Mastermind yet? I would like to invite you to join our community that is 100% focused on helping MODERN industry professionals crush it. 

The Vieaux

Brian Vieaux - President of FinLocker

The Point of Thought – This is the real race to the consumer!!!


Did you see the news that Mint has integrated with Rocket? What does this mean? Mint has millions of consumers using their personal financial management (PFM) app. As part of the mint experience users create a profile, link financial accounts, create budgets and goals, etc. The data from the user app can be passed to Rocket to start a mortgage application.


“With the integration, Mint users have the ability to pre-fill information such as current mortgage information that exists in their mint profile. Next, they will be able to search for, apply and lock-in mortgage refinance rates with Rocket Mortgage in as little as eight minutes, according to the release. This marks the first time Rocket Mortgage has been integrated with a personal financial solution.”



The race to the mortgage customer is no longer focused at the “point of sale (application)”. The Fintech enabled lenders are arming themselves to be at the “point of thought”, well up the sales funnel. What is your strategy to compete with this?  When serving first-time home buyers, consider enabling your clients with technology that supplements your 1:1 coaching, by enabling education, budgeting, monitoring credit, and even searching for real estate. This is a battle worth fighting and I believe that the local professional can win.  Find partners that will enable you to do these things as part of a consumer’s journey towards homeownership readiness.   

Lending, Leadership and Life

Eddy Perez – President & CEO of EPM


This week on Lending, Leadership and Life, Eddy Perez speaks about challenges that new leaders face.

Let's face it, being in a new role is a challenge, but being new in a leadership role comes with its own set of challenges on a larger scale.

So, HOW do you step into a leadership role being new? 


Non-QM X: Highly Qualified Non-QM News

Tom Hutchens - EVP of Production at Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions

Non-QM is no longer a backup plan that helps you close an additional loan or two. You might be asking yourself, ‘How can I actually tap into this growth and expand my business?”


First and foremost: Build new referral pipelines through partnerships and education. A proactive marketing approach is critical when trying to establish a profitable non-QM pipeline. 


Here are 3 ways to grow your non-QM business:


Be a resource to real estate agents


Many Realtors often turn away potential homebuyers who fall outside of the agency box. These individuals might not know there’s another option to help them close more deals. Contact Realtors in your area. Educate them on non-QM, promote your products as a solution to their problem, and how it can help them grow their business.

Partner with LOs


LOs at large agency institutions have no other option but to deny potential borrowers who don’t meet Freddie and Fannie guidelines. Their loss can be your gain. Explain how your non-QM products can help their customers when they typically can’t. By working with LOs at large institutions, not only they can assist more borrowers, you can grow your business.


Contact Financial Advisors or Certified Public Accountants 


Many potential homebuyers might not go to a Realtor first with their mortgage questions. They may go to their FA or CPA instead. These professionals could be unfamiliar with the current non-QM products out there, especially those for the self-employed. You can help them best serve their clients and potentially close more non-QM loans in the process.

important because it allows lenders to continue to make new loans and keep up with rising demand. 


For those who have not yet tested the non-QM waters, but are itching to try it out - I’m here to help or answer questions.

Mamapreneur: Real Talk with a Side of Mom Jeans

Jess Vogelpohl Southwest Coaching

Navigating Buying Styles:

Did you know there are 4️⃣ Buying Styles? We are all a mix of each of these but have our front runner! Which do YOU think you are:

Fighter 🥊

Detective 🕵️‍♀️

Counselor 🤔


🚨Spoiler Alert🚨: I’m an Entertainer.

We miss out on so many sales because WE are selling the way WE like to buy! Which means WE are missing out on the other 3 buying styles. Eeeeeek.

We coach heavily on ways to spot the buying styles through vocal tonality, cadence, types of words, questions they ask, etc. And, if you want to start improving this skill, begin by simply listening without and agenda. See where that takes you.

Podcast of the Week!

Family Matters


Podcasts of the REAL Disrupt Network

Positively Charged

The Marketing Trench

Confident Closers

Blondes Have More Funds

Next Level Loan Officers

Laugh Lend and Eat

Treasure Coast Podcast

Charlotte Real Estate Buzz

Culture Matters Podcast

Virtual Coffee with Estie Briggs

Mortgage X Podcast

Mortgage Interrupt

Mortgage Industry Professional of the Week

Suha Zehl of EPM


Make sure you tell Suha you saw her in The Letter X!

ANDYGRAM – 75 Hard Thoughts


Are you playing the long game?

How many times have you encountered sales people who relentlessly bug you until you buy something from them, just so they’ll leave you alone?

They’re the same kind of people/companies who post on social media at the end of every month, essentially begging people to buy from them so they can hit their sales goals.

I bet you know some people like that…

But how many of those people are on the list of successful, wealthy, and influential people who are industry leaders?


Do you know why?

It’s because the people who concentrate on just making a sale…

Will likely never build a solid, loyal customer-base.

They don’t care about following up with their customers…

They don’t care about whether their product is benefiting the customer or not…

They don’t care about their customer’s wins...

They only care about their own.

These people are after that one quick transaction, then move onto the next one.

They’re constantly hunting for new “targets” all their life.

Successful people, the ones who really win, know it’s a long game.

They care about their customer…

They follow up and check on their customer regularly … because they care.

They understand that the longevity of their business depends on the happiness and satisfaction of every single person they interact with.

Whether you own a business or not…

This concept applies to anyone who wants to be successful in life.

Do you treat people as a transaction to help you hit your sales goals this month?

Or do you see it as an opportunity to contribute and help them solve their problem, and as a result create a customer for life?

Are you playing to just win today?

Or are you playing to win the championship?

A question to ponder.

Mortgage X Marketing Manifesto

Andrew Pawlak, CEO of Leadpops

"The Most Important Phrase in Marketing You've Probably Never Heard" (Part 2) 

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Last week, I introduced the phrase "conversion rate optimization" and made the claim

that it's the most important phrase in marketing you've probably never heard... 

Whether or not you've heard the phrase before is contestable. 

Whether or not it's the most important phrase in marketing is not.

Without CRO, you'll spend a lot of time and money on marketing, and LOSE many (if not

most, or all) of the clients you should be helping/closing.  

It's an incredibly expensive mistake, but the good new is that it can be fixed pretty easily.

So what exactly is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

In short, CRO is the systematic process of increasing the % of:

· Website visitors

· Video watchers

· Blog readers

· Email recipients

· Social Media followers

· Referrals from business partners & past clients

· Basically: ANYONE that sees you, or your marketing, ANYWHERE...

And who takes a desired action.

Whether that desired action is potential clients:

· Calling or texting you

· Engaging with your content (likes, shares, comments, etc.)

· Sending you referrals

· Filling out an online form

The CRO process involves understanding how users see your marketing...

What actions they take -- and what's stopping them from completing your goals.

Big companies like Zillow, LendingTree, Quicken Loans, Bankrate, etc. figured

out a long time ago that simply spending a bunch of money on marketing and

driving traffic doesn't do you any good if you're not converting clicks into leads.

There is an Order of Operations:

1. Optimize for lead conversion.

2. Spend time and/or money on marketing.

Way too many people jump directly into #2 and then incorrectly assume the marketing didn't work.

It never even had a chance.

So what's the CRO formula once you've gotten a visitor/eyeballs? 

a. Valuable Content (videos, blogs, emails, landing pages, website content, etc.)

b. Calls-To-Action (CTAs)

c. Buttons & Links -- driving consumers to...

d. Gamified Lead Forms

Next week, I'll provide a big fat list of great CTAs you can use in your marketing (*hint* -- not "APPLY NOW!")

Thanks, and catch you on next week's The Letter X!

Remember to share your personal referral link below for a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card! I hope you enjoyed TLX #26! Have a great weekend.