Episode 023: Kevin O’Laughlin, Movement Mortgage

Joel Epstein:
Good afternoon everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Big Joel Show. Excited today. I've got Mr. Kevin, watch this. I'm not going to butcher it, O'Laughlin.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Yes. Sorry. You got it.

Joel Epstein:
Who operates in the great state of Pennsylvania in the great city, great sports city, of course, of Pittsburgh.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
We're 1-2, the BURGH.

Joel Epstein:
Exactly. Even though he's not from there, We're going to talk about that in a second. Kevin is a... Well, he's a market leader, but, Kevin is really a big fat loan officer. Kevin originates loans for Movement Mortgage in Pittsburgh Metro. And Kevin is a large producer, but I'm going to let him tell his story in a second, but just to give you some stats. Kevin, how old are you real quick?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
27.

Joel Epstein:
27. When are you gonna be 28?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
June 20th.

Joel Epstein:
All right. So he's in his 28th year. Just to give you some stats, he really didn't really start originating loans with agent partners until mid 16, right?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Yeah, towards the end of 2016.

Joel Epstein:
Okay. So maybe two years in, 2017 his first full year, 134 units, I'll give you the volume, but it doesn't even matter. It's all about units for 23 million. But 2018, 200 units for 35 million.

Joel Epstein:
Those of you with calculators, you're recognizing that in Pittsburgh, the average sale price and average loan amount obviously is not as high as in maybe a lot of the areas where you're listening. And it's an area where I just did an event there last week actually with Kevin, with agents, and it was so cool to meet that many agents that really sell a lot of houses, because they get paid the same commission.

Joel Epstein:
So they got to sell more houses. They gotta sell more units. So let me just say that again. So 200 units, 2018. Even if it was your third full year in the business, which it wasn't, we'll call it that, is awesome. It's a massive stat. So, Kevin and I are going to talk a little bit about today. Obviously we don't have all day, but hopefully we're going to have some great takeaways for you today about just what he does, what he did, how he operates, what he does all day. He's very active on social media. Of course, Kevin being almost 28 is one of those... Sorry, that was a whisper. He's a millennial. He's one of those people.

Joel Epstein:
So if you're a millennial loan officer or even I bet if you're a real estate agent, they'll probably be some cool takeaways here for just dealing with millennials. And those of you that have seen my podcast with a millennial buyer, I'm sitting with a millennial loan officer right now, which is so cool because the average age of loan officers is 53, so it's so awesome to have young people come in. I got in the loan business when I was 24, so very similar paths. And this guy's killing it. And this year, what are we projecting for this year? We projecting like 280, you think? Is that safe?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Yes. So our biggest goal this year is 50 million in volume.

Joel Epstein:
What's the units though? Give me the units. What would that be about, 260?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
It's probably gonna be 250 to 300 range, depending on where the loan size is falling. Probably 250 to 280.

Joel Epstein:
Okay. So 200 to 250, so that's adding 50 or adding a 20%. Don't hate me if I did my math wrong, but that's a lot. That's a big jump in a year. So Kevin, just give me your background because you have a little bit unique background. I know you're from upstate New York. Tell me a little about that, and how you got in the mortgage business and how you got where you are today. Then I'm going to ask some questions.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Yeah, for sure. So I started and grew up in an actual car dealership, a GM dealership back home, about an hour south of Buffalo, New York in a small town. And it was always kind of the family shadow to stay in the car business, been in the family for-

Joel Epstein:
So that's the family business, your dad's business. That's-

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Six generations in, been selling GM products since the 1900s, craziness. And I knew that wasn't for me. I kind of started out in sports, played basketball and football in high school, played a little bit of basketball in college, started in college with a sports studies degree, realized I couldn't jump that high. I was like, all right, I gotta find a way to make money now. Started out and actually doing auto loans for about three years. I worked with one of my dad's friends at a bank in upstate New York. And that kinda got my introduction into lending. And I ran with that for about three years and they moved me down to Pittsburgh to develop their market after I was with them for about two and a half years.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Pittsburgh was a brand new market. My job was to walk into car dealerships and get them to send their loans through our bank. Long story-

Joel Epstein:
Originating car loans.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Yeah, basically originating car loans. It came natural to me just because I knew how to go into the dealerships and speak their language as a banker, which was rare just because I grew up in the dealership.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
And then after a while, I was just looking for a better opportunity and just started sending my LinkedIn resume to any warm states. So being from Buffalo, then going to Pittsburgh, I was like, man, this cold is too much for me. So I just was on LinkedIn, just firing my resume out. Any place warm, Texas, Florida, Carolinas, Cali. Everywhere. Got linked up with a position in Houston, Texas. I ended up jumping on, pack my bags from Pittsburgh, moved to Houston. Didn't know what a mortgage was, but apparently I was in a call center selling mortgages, FHA and USDA manual underwriting.

Joel Epstein:
What year was that?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
That was beginning of 16.

Joel Epstein:
So beginning of 16, call center selling manuals, which means the place you worked was looking for like sub five 80 credit scores, basically, right? Or 620s, or whatever it was, right?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Essentially, and my first three months in the mortgage industry, I probably lost about 25 pounds. I worked 13 hours a day, did not take a single day off in my first three months, and it was like bootcamp for mortgage. And without that, I wouldn't be where I am today.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
So I'm so thankful for that opportunity.

Joel Epstein:
Did you actually learn? Is that actually where you learned? The last guest was a VA specialist and I was talking about how I learned so much about how to package a loan, because I learned how to do VA and FHA first. And you know how to do that. You do conventional all day. So you had to know that. It wasn't just five slam a jam on the phone. You were actually structuring.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right. And there there was very limited training. I remember my first or second day on the job, my manager at the time came over and dropped the USDA manual on my desk, about a hundred pages. I just started going through it like I was studying for a final. Started memorizing all this stuff, didn't know what any of it really meant or how to apply it. And then that first Saturday, I was on the phone called probably 60 people for a three hour time slot, just selling and see what happened.

Joel Epstein:
Live I always say, did you know there was a T in the word mortgage? That kind of separates most people. So you end up from Houston, you go to Pittsburgh, and did you start with movement there? In Pittsburgh or-

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Yeah. So essentially what happened was I stayed with the same branch manager and we kind of went through three or four companies as we're bouncing around.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
And then I heard about movement and they actually came in and did a presentation to our office in Houston. It was actually Chris Blevins. And as soon as I heard about movement, I was like, wow, if you give me this platform, I'm going to dominate with this platform. And what happened after that, my boss at the time didn't decide to join with movement and I just started firing messages to Casey Crawford on LinkedIn. I was like, man, I'm about to move back to Pittsburgh.

Joel Epstein:
Casey Crawford's the owner, right?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right. Go right to the CEO, and it was crazy because he responded right back to me, which I was surprised about. I was like, the CEO is not going to respond, but who cares? I'm just going to shoot this guy a DM, right? He responds right away. He's like, "Kevin, man, I love your energy. Definitely, let's talk." Three months go by. I don't hear anything. Missed another closing. Just couldn't take my current company at the time and it just wasn't working out.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Reach back out, like I'm in Pittsburgh now. I got boots on the ground. You don't have a location or give me a shot with my two other best friends that I kind of start a Movement with, blew us down like a week later. And then the rest was history, kind of with... I kind of found Movement in a way. So craziness.

Joel Epstein:
That's a crazy, wacky story. But those of you that are watching right now in the mortgage business, you know how crazy and wacky this business is. So this is wacky, but not that wacky. So Kevin, let's talk a little bit. So you're a young guy, right? Like I said before, the average age of loan officers is 53.

Joel Epstein:
Okay. I'm 31, I'm not 53, but the average age is 53. Let's talk before we get into what you're doing all day. Let's talk about your work ethic. Like how are you looking at this? What do you do when you get up in the morning?

Joel Epstein:
Tell me a little bit about that. Because you know, a lot of 27 year olds, unfortunately, and I think it's why there's not a lot of younger people in the business because there's no like time clock. There's no, oh, you have to be here at 9:00. There's no boss going, where were you? Where's this report? So it's very easy to do what I call stay home in your boxers and watch SpongeBob all day and close three loans a month and collect your money and go to happy hour. And basically you love that because that's your competition. Those are the people you're basically stepping on their neck every day.

Joel Epstein:
So tell everyone, because I want you to tell them. Because I personally know your work ethic. I want you to tell him that it's a job for a reason. And if you put your nose to the grindstone, you can crush the competition.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Yeah. And I joke with everyone. The first thing right off the bat, I swear, I'm like a 50 year old trapped in a 27 year old's body. And like some of my coworkers and managers, like from other markets and stuff, they all make fun of me because I'm kind of the old man. But no, I think the biggest thing is discipline and consistency are probably my two big words, especially going into 2019. And I typically wake up pretty early and I get to bed at a pretty good hour, get to bed early.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
And I usually start my mornings around 4:35 AM. I hit the gym, get the mind right, get some cardio in, hit the weights a little bit. And then, most people are just getting out of bed by the time I'm clearing out my emails and I'm attacking the day. So I think a lot of what a lot of people don't realize, especially the younger generation, they want their cush salaries, they want their cush benefits and stuff.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
And I was always the type where I want to write my own paycheck. And I feel like that's hard to find right now. And I'm the first to tell anyone, when I'm interviewing loan officers and stuff potentially to join the team. Tell them like, hey, this is not easy. There's a ton of sacrifice. There's not much social life as you're building. Your life revolves around work. You have to be available 24/7 and it's a pure grind. I mean, it is a grind, so it's not easy. I'm the first one to tell anyone that. So it's taken a lot of hard work.

Joel Epstein:
My famous comment is, if you want to get paid like a surgeon, you got to do a residency? Are you prepared to live in the hospital for two years, not get paid a lot, and work your ass off, basically? But then, I tell people the flip side, I always tell people too, Saturday and Sunday is Monday and Tuesday for a couple of years for you.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right.

Joel Epstein:
But the flip side is, is the greatest job ever, because if you're doing business, you're making money. Nobody cares where you are.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right.

Joel Epstein:
Nobody cares what you're doing. You really are your own boss. You are an entrepreneur. You're running Kevin Mortgage. You're running it on Movement's platform, but you're really running Kevin Mortgage.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
And that's probably my favorite thing, Joel, is it truly is a playground. And I mean the fact if I want to change something in my day to day on processes, like after you came out, my team, and we made some changes immediately. And if I want to invest more in marketing, if I want to add more support, for the most part, as long as it's within reason, it's really up to me.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
And Movement gives that culture of, hey, it's your business, run with it. It's your brand. And I know you've talked about it before. I think that's one of the most important pieces is it's your brand. It's not your company's brand. It's build your brand, and then you have that company, that great company that can back you to build you.

Joel Epstein:
So let's talk about that for a little bit. Because you use social media in a way... I enjoy the way that you use social media. I'm obviously on social media as well, but I always tell people, when I see people putting all kinds of business stuff. Like in their Facebook, I'm like, guys, they're unfollowing you. They don't want to see that. They want to see you choosing between the Nike high tops or the Underarmour three quarter tops. I mean, they don't want to see what your rates are. They don't want to see what houses are for sale.

Joel Epstein:
They literally want to see what you're doing and what you're up to. That's what connects them to you. They assume you're a professional, they assume you're good at what you do, but you just kind of went there. So let's go there. The brand piece, because I see you, I'm watching you slowly build your brand. It's already there. The brand is there, but it takes time to build the brand. Give some advice and let's drill down on it as well.

Joel Epstein:
For older loan officers as well, who don't know how to do an Instagram story. Okay. Or can do one story, but don't know how to put two together. Okay. Give some advice. Talk about your thought process there. What are you thinking, how often you're posting stuff, where you're putting things, and what your goal is. And I also want you to talk about your Friday thing, which I think is interesting as well, which takes you all of a hot minute to do or whatever. No production quality whatsoever. Basically, guess what? Nobody cares. They don't care. You know, if the things shaken, it doesn't really matter, but talk about that. Talk about brand and talk about social media and brand. That's a great subject for you because you're good at it, right?

Joel Epstein:
I mean, look at your volume, and a lot of that is because you've been branding yourself all over the place.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Yeah. I think one of the biggest things is just showing a personality first and foremost. I just feel like in my market in Pittsburgh, first off when we came in, there was no one doing 15 day closes. There was no one doing upfront underwrites. There was barely anyone doing closings in under 30 days. So Movement gave me a spark, in that I could combine with my personality just because it was an antiquated market to a degree.

Joel Epstein:
I call that a USP. So you had a unique selling proposition from your company. So anyone listening, any of you all can do this. It doesn't matter where you work, right? So you pulled a unique selling proposition, which in Movement's case was closing loans fast. I'll just put it in a box like that. And that was a weak spot in your market and you grabbed it. And where did you start with? And then what did it become?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Yeah. So essentially, every quick closing, we would post timelines of the milestones simply submitted to underwriting this time, clear to close this time. And that got a lot of attention right off the bat.

Joel Epstein:
Where were you putting it?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
I would be putting it mainly on Facebook and Instagram.

Joel Epstein:
Now, who was seeing... let's back up for a minute. Okay, so you're new back in the market. You're no longer car guy.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right, right.

Joel Epstein:
So what are your rules? Like how do you, I'm going to take it down for people? How do you friend people on Facebook? I know you laugh, but people are thinking, well, who cares if you put it on Facebook, if you've got five friends. It doesn't really matter.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Yeah, it's pretty simple. So no offense, but the realtors are easy to spot because most of them it's in their title on their Facebook. And they generally, most of them have some sort of professional photos. So anytime in my spare time, if I'm at the gym. I'm just chilling on the couch, whatever. I'm scrolling through my Facebook and adding every single person that looks like a potential real estate agent. It's free marketing, so that's the first thing that I recommend to people going into a market or trying to build your social media presence. You have to have the audience first. Build your audience, request them all, and then you get your free marketing and push out.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
And one of the best things about Instagram is what I like about the story feature is you can see who views it. And I'm one of the biggest people where-

Joel Epstein:
Hold that thought just for one second. Because I want to go to Instagram. I know where you're going is good.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Yup.

Joel Epstein:
So Facebook, in your free time sitting around, you could be on a recumbent bike. It doesn't matter. You could be doing cardio while you're doing it.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
On the telephone.

Joel Epstein:
You're just flipping through. And just literally looking for agents and as you see them, you're just friending them. Are you sending a DM, are you sending a message through messenger? You're just friending them and you're just basing that based on the fact that agents, they're doing the same thing that loan officers are doing.

Joel Epstein:
Why wouldn't they want to be friends with you? It just expands their network. Right?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right.

Joel Epstein:
Okay. And so, maybe you send a friend request to 10 of them and seven of them accept it. Right?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Don't DM them though. I can't tell you, that's probably the worst thing to do, especially on LinkedIn. You get a request from someone you accept, and then boom, they got this script. Do not do that because that will get you on the black list of like, do not contact ever again.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
But yeah, just go through, add people. Don't DM them. Build your audience first. And then you're going to naturally run into these people throughout your market. So what kind of had happened once I built my audience up, I would reach out to an agent or have a listing agent on the other side-

Joel Epstein:
How many people did you have in there? At the beginning when you were just new to Pittsburgh boy, basically. And so you went from zero to say maybe 300 friends or something like that, and you really didn't know any of them.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
None.

Joel Epstein:
Right?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Anyone in the real estate game in Pittsburgh would be added, insurance agents, title companies, not just agents. Anyone that could possibly talk real estate is who you want to be in front of.

Joel Epstein:
Okay. All right. And then what you started doing is you started posting your USP, okay. To get something going. Okay. Because obviously they don't know you and you use that to parlay over to the all personal. Is that a good-

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Pretty much.

Joel Epstein:
Okay, so everyone, I want to just unpack that a little bit. Okay. Because I'm not a big fan of putting business stuff in Facebook because I think it turns people off. In Kevin's case, what he did is he used it to get their attention, then he turned it off and went personal. Is that a pretty accurate description of what you did to get going?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Yeah.

Joel Epstein:
Okay. And so if somebody comments on a Facebook post that you have, do you always address that? Do you always either like it or comment back?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
For the most part. Yeah. Especially if it's an agent, you like it or comment back for sure.

Joel Epstein:
Okay. So again, that's important. If you're going to do this, you have to actively do it.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right.

Joel Epstein:
If you put something up there, say you put something... You had something just stupid on there a couple of days ago, but I was cracking up, which meant I know it was working. Vest or no vests. Some crazy.. I'm like really? Should I wear a vest in the cold weather or no vest?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Single suburban dad life, it's not an easy life to live.

Joel Epstein:
It was so funny. But as soon as I smiled, I'm like, all right, you got me. Because you want someone to smile. Right?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right.

Joel Epstein:
And so if somebody comments on that, you're going to let them know that you know they commented. Right?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right.

Joel Epstein:
And for those of you that don't know this, Kevin's probably bigger expert than me, but I know a little bit about this. The biggest way and fastest way to increase your social media presence is to comment on other people's stuff and always address when they comment on yours. Would you agree?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right.

Joel Epstein:
Because then they start to comment on yours and it rolls up. So you start doing that. And then tell me about Instagram.

Joel Epstein:
Obviously Instagram is owned by Facebook, so were you Instagram friending people? You really started with Facebook and then moved that way.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
What's Facebook? Instagram, it just wasn't where it was as of today two years ago when I first started. Facebook was kind of the thing. So started there and then naturally I've been doing more and more and more on Instagram.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
My favorite part about Instagram is when you put up a story, it'll actually show you who viewed that story. There's no likes normally or anything. You can do polls and stuff.

Joel Epstein:
It's views.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
It'll show you views. And my big thing is I rarely, rarely, rarely... I'll never ask an agent for a referral, just won't do it.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
I hate when people call me and ask me for business, like title companies and stuff. I will not do that. So this is an indirect way of, hey, how do I stay top of mind as much as possible all the time. They got their coffee mug from me on their desk. They see me on Instagram, they get a thank you card. How many times? It's just top of mind awareness is the goal.

Joel Epstein:
Okay. So again, that's a big one, top of mind. It's a huge one. I say this all the time. People argue with me and I say, you can't sell anything to anyone. You have to be in front of them when they're ready to buy.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right.

Joel Epstein:
Period. If you have to talk them into it, it's usually bad.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right. Right.

Joel Epstein:
It usually doesn't go well. It's funny, coming from the car business too, where they teach talk them into it. Don't let them leave, handcuff them to the desk. The old school, hardcore stuff.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Do or die, yeah.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah, exactly. So in a nutshell, the social media stuff is actively be present, right? In front of an audience that you've built or that you're building. And so how many times a day... Do you have rules? Do you post at least one thing a day?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
That's a really good question. And no, I don't, the only thing that's really consistent in my business is I usually do a video every Friday. Towards the end of the year, there was some Fridays that went by that I didn't get to it just because appointments built up. I was like, oh crap, it's Saturday. I never did my free tip Friday. That's the only consistent thing I do it.

Joel Epstein:
You went over that fast. What's that called?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Free tip Friday. Yeah.

Joel Epstein:
Okay. And tell me about that.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
The free tip Friday is essentially, I try to talk on something, whatever is a spur of the moment thing that happens that we've done that week. Like you know what? This can create value for other people out there, whether it's a tip for home buyers, real estate agents, but the audience is real estate related.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Sometimes I'll just do general sales tips for salespeople. Anything to try to provide some sort of value to push out.

Joel Epstein:
How long are they?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
No longer than one minute.

Joel Epstein:
What do you need to be able to do that? Just literally, if you have an iPhone, do you just need the video?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Be out here, smiling. You actually got to go this way. Right? That's about it.

Joel Epstein:
But that's it.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Yup.

Joel Epstein:
Okay. So you don't need anything.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Well, you go to fiverr.com, create yourself a cartoon. Some people like the cartoon that I made myself. So that was funny.

Joel Epstein:
Okay. So yeah, I know. Fiverr.com. He created a cartoon. That's right. I forgot about that. Kind of looks like you a little bit. Yeah, exactly. Okay, so free tip Friday show. So everyone's listening like, ah, yeah, that's all cool and everything, but that's not going to get me loans. Okay. What it'll do is we'll get you exposure.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right.

Joel Epstein:
To then puts you in a position to get loans. So let's walk that backwards now. I wanted to not do this and not talk about social media because you're good at it. What about LinkedIn? I see people put stuff on LinkedIn all the time and I just crack up because I can see how much time it took them to do it. And there's like five likes.

Joel Epstein:
Well, it's not that LinkedIn is necessarily garbage, but people aren't looking at it there. It's the wrong platform. There they are looking for a job or there or they're networking, but they're not like checking you out. And do you put anything on LinkedIn at all? If anything?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
I've started putting my free tip Fridays up there. That's really it.

Joel Epstein:
You get any action at all?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Very, very limited. And it's mostly other professionals in my industry that see it. So some agents do have a LinkedIn, but it's a very limited presence. I think more so having a good LinkedIn profile is crucial to make sure your profile looks good. It's presentable as the details about yourself because more so I see my potential clients connecting with me on there and be like, okay, is this kid legit? Right. And then it shows my-

Joel Epstein:
Resume. What about Twitter?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Twitter, I do absolutely nothing on.

Joel Epstein:
It sounds like your platform choice is Instagram, and then it's obviously Facebook. Facebook owns Instagram, but it's all sort of tied together.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Snapchat as well. Yep.

Joel Epstein:
So now let's talk about that for a second too. Do you use Snapchat for business?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
No. And it's interesting. So like my whole approach, and this stems a lot from your coaching as well, is I don't want to look down at my phone and see an agent calling me that I'm not friends with. So I think Snapchat is a more personal interaction, social media tool, because if you're friends with... whoever you're Snapchatting, you more so have a more intimate, deeper friendship type of relationship, if you're Snapchatting someone, from what I've found. You're not going to just blast everything out on Snapchat. You know what I mean? It's kind of a more intimate setting, I would say. And it's just funny because like the-

Joel Epstein:
That's platoon agents?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Yeah. But platoon, exactly.

Joel Epstein:
Okay. I get that. I get that. But it's interesting.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
It's just another way to communicate and be top of mind, once again, without asking for business. And at the end of the day, like I'm really trying to make this to where I'm really out just having fun with my friends every day. That happened to be real estate agents, that happen to refer me business. Right. We just have fun with it. And to kind of back up a little bit, because I didn't answer your last question about the frequency. I think a lot of loan officers and a lot of people in any sales job look at frequency tables and say, hey, I need X amount of posts on Facebook per day, X amount on Instagram, blah, blah, blah.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
I think that's where it's completely missed and where it's completely ruined. I think if it's going to be natural and it's going to be your true personality, it's just as thoughts come into your head, you're going to put that out on social media. I feel like the people that are forced feeding and on a schedule, the content isn't good and it's not necessarily a true personality. Like I see a lot of loan officers post about programs and rates and stuff like that. And it's like-

Joel Epstein:
Nobody cares.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
No one cares. And it's more so what is your personality? Because these agents also want to work with people they like and trust, most importantly.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah. And loan officers and agents that are watching this, I know are gonna agree with me. When an agent looks at you, they see you alone with their client at 9:00 at night being asked about fees and what are you going to do? You're going to pee down your leg, or are you going to handle yourself with their client that they're getting a lot of referrals from? And so you're right. You know what I would say the two best sales techniques are guilt and sympathy, and you can't have either one of them without a relationship. So let's talk about that just a little bit. Thank you for the social media stuff. There's a lot of like really good nuggets in there. Some of y'all might need to wind back the tape on this because you are correct.

Joel Epstein:
Just to put that to bed for a second. I would say that probably 90% of loan officers and real estate agents use social media wrong.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
And I think the other thing too is I would-

Joel Epstein:
For your business, sorry, I'm using it wrong.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
I would think to probably, at least in my market, at 50%, 60% of the loan officers that are out there, they just really don't have engaging personalities. It's like, can you make someone laugh? Can you make someone feel comfortable? And I feel like a lot of Los aren't good at that. You know?

Joel Epstein:
It sets you apart.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Yeah. I think that's what sets you apart. If you can have a good personality, you can make somebody laugh. You can actually like exponentially grow your business in the mortgage field.

Joel Epstein:
No, no, I agree. So Kevin, so you're young. And you're doing tons of business and hopefully you're going to hit that... If you hit 240 this year, by the way, the way I look at things, you knocked it out of the park because I'm a... I know. I know. Mr. Aggression. I know. But it's that slow, steady, never go down, never go backwards build.

Joel Epstein:
Let's do some takeaways for loan officers, young or old. People that are not doing the amount of business they want to do. People that actually will say, I hate real estate agents, which I think is the funniest thing I've ever heard. And I always know who I'm talking to when I hear that. Because you know, I've been coaching loan officers for a long time.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right.

Joel Epstein:
You know, when I hear a loan officer say that, I just know. I know exactly who I'm talking to. And within a half hour they're looking at me and I'm like, "You don't hate real estate agents, you maybe don't like the people you're working with."

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right.

Joel Epstein:
But I don't think you hate real estate agents. I think you're misguided on that one. I think you're not working with partners. So give me the Kevin O'Laughlin just big three takeaways, implementable, turn this podcast off. Do stuff.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right.

Joel Epstein:
The real term is do stuff. Because if you just do stuff every day, you'll get stuff done and you'll close loans.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Yeah. So I think a couple of things. So loan officers out there, don't think you have to recreate the wheel. And it's kind of what I've applied to my business is the modeling concept. So when I came in, I didn't know how to do loans and I didn't know how to sell properly and I didn't know all this stuff. So what I did was I found the top people in my industry at my company, and I sat down with them. And I took a portion of each of their game and applied it to myself.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
So these top producers out there, they're approachable people. They love to talk about themselves and love to share what they do. So I think my biggest tip is if you're looking to grow your business, find someone that you envy and the level of production they're already at, and talk to them and see what they're doing. I think that's one of the biggest things.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
I think another thing is if you're looking to grow your brand and business through social media, just like we talked about, build your audience out. Build your audience out and start pushing a positive message out to your audience. I think that is a very big thing as well.

Joel Epstein:
Wait a second, wait a second, because this is... And this is something that you just saw me talk to agents about this, when I was telling them to add to their CRM, the people that weren't in there and they were all like, ah, wait a minute.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right.

Joel Epstein:
Anybody can build their audience. Your audience is not the 50 people that you've done loans for. So don't think, oh, Kevin's audience is bigger because he closed 200 loans. I want to unpack that so people don't miss that message. Your audience is not loans you've closed or agents that you've dealt with on a transaction. Your audience is anyone that knows who you are.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right. Correct.

Joel Epstein:
And a lot of people miss that, and I want to make sure they don't miss that because anyone can do this. I don't want people poo-pooing, oh, well, he does a lot of loans, therefore his audience is bigger. No, BS. Right?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right. And I think it's a major misconception that referrals can only come from real estate agents. Part of our campaign and what I do within my team is we have our wow campaign and essentially what that details on is we want every person that's a part of the transaction to be blown away with our service.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
That's not just the real estate agent. That is the listing agent, that is the buyer's agent, that is the buyers themselves. That is the title company, that is the insurance agent. What can we do on every transaction? It'd be like, wow. Kevin's team went above the norm. So what I wrap my mind around and what I'm so focused and obsessed with is how many things can I write down on a piece of paper and say, I'm doing this. My competition is not. And I feel like that's what separates me.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
If I send a thank you card to the title processor that did the title work, they've never got that in their life, and they're surrounded by real estate agents. They're always talking and networking. They have a deal goes out, they're calling me to do that rescue. And those referrals come from everywhere.

Joel Epstein:
All right, so let's not glaze over that for a second. Okay. So wow campaign, that's what you call it, wow campaign. Right? So what you're doing and what the people that work with you understand every day is that it is priority one to wow every single person that touches the transaction, right?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Correct.

Joel Epstein:
I just want to make sure everyone understands that. That is the buyer's agent, the seller's agent, the title person, the home inspector, it doesn't matter. If they touch it and you touch them in any way, you want to make sure that you provide stellar service and you wow everyone. Now, this is interesting, everyone, because this is sort of PR 101 and branding 101. I probably got some of this and it's in your DNA from the car business a little bit.

Joel Epstein:
No, branding 101, it's a crowd mentality. It' Kevin. Kevin. Oh, Kevin. Oh, you know Kevin? Oh, Kevin. Yeah. Kevin. Oh, yeah. Kevin. Kevin. Oh, Kevin. You've got 10 people saying Kevin, instead of the buyer's agent that everyone's all closing gift, the whole bit. How did we do? You know where the referral came from? Don't get me wrong. It's very important to acknowledge that, but what you're doing is you're taking it to a whole other level that, I'll be honest, most loan officers don't do, 98% of them don't do. And real estate agents, if you're watching this podcast, this applies to your business as well.

Joel Epstein:
You touch a lot of people too, and think about wowing everyone you touch, not just the buyer or your seller. Think about creating wow service. So tell me a little bit about that. Because I think this is a big takeaway. What is wow service mean? You're the boss. What do you want to see? What do you want to make sure happens on each transaction?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
So we really just want that client walking away knowing that they can go to a friend, family member, coworker, and be like Kevin's team hooked it up. You have to use them. And the only way we do that is just going above the normal in everything. So it just starts with that first phone call and that interaction with that client. If you are not on your A game, ready to pick up that phone and you're having a bad day, don't even pick up because that first phone call from that referral, it's so important to have your tone on point. And that's what I learned obviously being in phone sales when I started.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
So I tell some of the guys on my team, if you're not ready to pick up the phone and be on your A game, don't even pick up. So it starts from that first call, all the way to the end of the transaction after closing, when you're giving them the first payment letter and helping them set up their first payment. Everything is so intricate, and it's really hard to put that in place. It's taken me three years to build this out and have the right support around it. But once you have that firing on all cylinders, they're going to go and talk about you to everyone. Create that raving fan experience.

Joel Epstein:
So when you get an inbound, you mean you don't just talk to him for a minute and send them into your automated system? Sorry, that was a cheeky setup, but lots of loan officers are watching this right now. There's such cool technology. There's three, four, or five mortgage companies right now leading the charge in technology movements.

Joel Epstein:
One of them, and there's obviously four or five others. I'm not gonna mention them all right now. You guys all know who you are. They spend a lot of money on technology and have cool technology. And have the kind of technology that honestly, you could literally wink at the person and send them into it. And it will change their clothes for them, press their shirt, get them a glass of water, and have their loan approved in 10 seconds. I mean, it's out there. Okay. And loan officers I find, they're not using it. They're abusing it.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Correct. And it's funny because last year, I would not take an application over the phone. I would not do it. If they did not fill out our easy app or online application, I would not talk to them over the phone. We completely changed that this year and we've seen exponential conversion rates just go through the roof because we're taking that first phone call and we're inputting that application right into our system.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Pulling credit. Getting everything ready to go right then on the phone, they're calling you, they're ready to go. We missed the boat last year and I probably would have closed 20, 30, 40 more deals if I had this in place. This is the first full month that we've done it, and we're actually at a record right now.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
We're at a hundred credit pulls this month. Last year, our previous high was 72 credit polls, so I know-

Joel Epstein:
And t's January.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
And it's January-

Joel Epstein:
In Pittsburgh, black snow.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
So the tip there. Guys, the technology's great, don't get me wrong, but don't put all your eggs in one basket. That human interaction is so important and just focus on your conversion. We've completely eliminated using the easy app in most situations.

Joel Epstein:
So let me give you all something to think about as Kevin says this, and Kevin just had this conversation more intimate with me just a couple of weeks ago or last week. Go back and look and see your credit polls from 2018. You can call them whenever you want to call them, credit pull, call them an app. I don't know what you call them at your company. Then turn around and subtract un-mortgageable credit. Go ahead and subtract. Did you pull credit on a thousand people? Did a hundred of them have credit that was on mortgageable, 480 credit? They could not get a loan.

Joel Epstein:
They need credit repair. Then take your closed loan volume, your units, and do the math. What's the percentage? Is it 20%? Is it 25% Is it 28%? Is it 32%? And then sit back for a minute with your calculator and just look at what would have happened if you would've just raised the number 5%. Not 10%, not 15%, just 5%.

Joel Epstein:
I want to make sure you hear what Kevin is saying right now. What he's saying is by switching away, not that he's not using the technology because he is. Okay, they are putting it in. But from switching away, from changing his interface from consumer to steel, which means they borrowed directly into a steel box to body to body interface. Your pull through has gone bananas. Correct?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right. And I sat down my team last week, Dave and Greg, and we're looking at our numbers and we, just like you said, we did those conversions. We're like, guys, last year we already took in enough business to hit our goals this year. We just have to convert this a little bit higher and we're at our goal, so we're blown away because last year we didn't know our numbers. We did not know our numbers. We didn't look at our conversions and break the numbers down. And when we did, we're like we're already bringing in enough business. We just got to convert. Let's convert, convert, convert.

Joel Epstein:
That's right. That's right. No, it is a mind numbing exercise for busier loan officers. And guess what? You don't even have to be busy. You can be a loan officer, pull credit on a hundred people for the whole year. Okay. If you close, if you put credit in a hundred people for the whole year and you close 36 loans, whatever, three loans a month, I think on average loan officers close between three and four loans a month across the country.

Joel Epstein:
That's good. That's solid. Average. Maybe pulled credit on a hundred people and you closed 40 loans. Whoa. What if you would have converted 10 more? That's 50.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right.

Joel Epstein:
That's 10 more. That's a lot, right? That's a big number. It's all relative. I mean, you're saying 30 more. Someone out there listening, 10 more. It's a huge number. It's a game changing number.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Well, I think everyone gets wrapped up in the wrong thing, Joel. I think everyone's looking for an easy way to do a magical post on Facebook or find the new CRM or find the new technology and get wrapped up in being-

Joel Epstein:
I'm spending $3,000 a month on Facebook ads.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Yeah. Right. And it's like, how about let's focus on your quality of conversation and interaction with that client, your conversion rate. That takes care of your problems. For most Los, focus on your conversion.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah, yeah. Well, I'll be honest, Kevin, a lot of them have a problem getting the... They need the opportunity first. They're not getting the opportunity. But those of you out there that are getting the opportunity, this is strong. But the whole pickup the phone. Kevin, I've had loan officers in coaching with me or in coaching groups that are closing like two loans a month, three loans a month.

Joel Epstein:
And they'll admit when I get to the BIC, PP part or whatever, they'll admit that they don't talk to anyone. They push everyone... and I'm like, wait a minute. Stop. You don't even what? Oh, yeah. I sent him this really cool email. I mean, this email is so cool. It took me hours to write it. It's so awesome. It tells him all about my team and what's going to happen. And then I never speak to them again. And they just go phew, into air. So you've got this lead, right?

Joel Epstein:
So you've heard me say this a bazillion times, your job is not to do loans. Your job is to find people who know people who need loans, become best friends with those people and get them to refer you to the people that need loans.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah. Right. You've got to get the referral to have the loan.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Sure.

Joel Epstein:
Right. Okay. They're getting the referral and they're basically just putting it in a shredder. Right. And the automated system is the shredder.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right.

Joel Epstein:
And I say this all the time, that's like a steel ball. You need to put that thing in a fur coat and warm that thing up little, which is what you're doing. You're talking to them first. You're using the steel ball, you're using it, you're just guiding them, you're just placing them in there. So he said pick up the phone. I know we spent 15 minutes on pick up the phone, but big concept here, people. And the more technology that comes out and the more things you get hit with and the more your company invests in technology.

Joel Epstein:
Okay. And Kevin works for a company that invests a lot of money in technology. You have to be stepping back and taking a breath and going, okay, let me analyze this. Yes, all of this is super cool. But how am I going to use this to do more loans? Not less loans. I'm going to use just to do more loans, because let me give you a little hint. That's what your company wants, by the way. They don't necessarily need you to use it a specific way. They might need you to pull credit in a specific way for compliance, but they want you to just do more loans.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right. And I feel like one box doesn't fit all, so you have to get on the phone, figure out your client and their needs.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Once you figure that out, there's some clients that I will send our online app to be like, all right, it's a millennial. They can't talk on the phone right now. They said that it's better for them if they can complete it on their own time tonight. Perfect.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah. But you figured that out.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Correct.

Joel Epstein:
You knew that.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
That's the piece you have to figure out, because I probably sent out 30 links last year. Never responded. They call the next lender on the list that they got from the agent and apped them right over the phone. Gone.

Joel Epstein:
We can do mic drop on that right there. Gone, gone. 30 opportunities at an average loan amount of $200,000, which is $6 million in production. $6 million in production, people. $6 million. Don't know what your comp plan is. Don't care. Gone. Pure negligence. You should go to jail for that. That's like a misdemeanor or a minor felony or something. You know? And let me tell you, all of sales is based on find people, get in front of them, and tell them how great you are.

Joel Epstein:
Literally show them all your brochures and all your cool stuff and tell them how great you are. You know, it's really not about that. What sales is about is showing not telling. And when you follow up aggressively on leads from your partners and you have a buy or die mentality, meaning that person's either going to get a mortgage or they're going to die. One of the two, agents tend to tell other agents that. Yeah. You want to be working with Kevin. Because when I give him people, they get in houses.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right.

Joel Epstein:
Because he doesn't stop. And so it's interesting, I want everyone to hear this. So Kevin readily admitted that last year, he pretty much screwed it up. I mean, sorry, screwed it up and did 200 loans. That's a pretty big screw up. And he did 200 loans, but he's still sitting here going, yeah, I could've done that way better. Okay. So this is someone that already did a ton of loans. He did 17 loans a month or whatever on average and is sitting and going... I wouldn't do the duh thing. They're going to kill me in the booth with the mic. But you know, like what? Oh, my God. How many extra loans? So pick up the phone. What else? Before we run out of time, because we could sit here forever, just big takeaway. How about getting the phone to ring? How about getting out there? How about just quick things too.

Joel Epstein:
You talked a lot about honestly, about the branding and that's a big help at the beginning that any loan officer can do by the way.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right.

Joel Epstein:
Okay, and you're unique, man. You got dropped into a market, like they sent you to like Missoula, Montana or something. I was in Pittsburgh last week. I did a big realtor event. They're waving at me by the way. I did a big a realtor event. And it was asking Kevin, "Hey Kevin, how do I get here?" He's like, "I don't know." I'm like, "Dude, you live here." He's like, "Yeah, but I haven't been here that long." They're waving at me. Give me a big takeaway they can leave with today, as far as getting that phone to ring.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
So the biggest thing, and this is from one of my buddies, Alex Rivera, market leader at Movement Mortgage, his biggest talking point that has impacted my business is just general visibility. You have to be visible to your marketplace, to your target audience.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Be at every event, be at every networking opportunity, be involved in everything that has to do with real estate. All the time. We were at every single event. We went to open houses, realtors would cancel on me all the time for coffee and lunches. I'm like hey, I'm gonna go to the open house. Try to make them laugh because they can't ditch me there. They're gonna be sitting there. Right. So just being visible-

Joel Epstein:
Captive audience.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Yeah. And keep coming over and over and over again. They have to think mortgage, Kevin. And the only way you do that is if you're everywhere. And I don't think-

Joel Epstein:
If you want to get hit by a car, where do you stand?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right in the middle of the street.

Joel Epstein:
Traffic, right? I mean, that's what you're saying. You want to meet agents, go where they are.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right.

Joel Epstein:
And that doesn't mean sit in your pajamas with your fuzzy slippers on, on a Sunday, from 1:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon, watching pro golf when there's hundreds of agents that you want to meet that maybe you've even exposed yourself to at... That did not come out the correct way. That you've gotten in front of on social media, and literally you could walk in, they'd be like, "Hey, you're Kevin. We're friends of Facebook."

Kevin O'Laughlin:
One of the funniest things is myself and my team has probably been thrown out of every single real estate office in Pittsburgh at some point. And then-

Joel Epstein:
You know that's a badge of honor, right?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Right. And then when I get the one to ones and the belly to belly meetings with these agents that I've never met before, they're like I feel like I know you, you're like the single suburban dad of Pittsburgh and you do your free tip Fridays. And what were you doing last week blowing your leaves around? And it's just more warm when you build the audience, you're putting your content out and it just makes it easier.

Joel Epstein:
Let me tell you, putting the content out. I'll just share with any of you all that follow me on Instagram. And you see what I post, you know.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Foodie.

Joel Epstein:
But I go places, I travel all over the place and I go places. And people are like, yeah, that veal chop, that veal Parmesan chop. And I'm like, who are you? And there's all these metrics for how many people see something, how many people will like it, and how many people will comment.

Joel Epstein:
And the people that actually like it, it's a tiny little metric. But the people that actually see it's massive. So just because they don't engage doesn't mean they didn't see it. And that person that said that has probably never engaged with you ever. You're like, who are you? How do you know I was blowing leaves in my yard?

Joel Epstein:
And it shows you, you just have to keep doing it because they're watching it. So they're waving at me in the booth right now. So Kevin O'Laughlin today, producing market leader Movement Mortgage, Pittsburgh, PA. Steel... I almost said [inaudible 00:47:52].

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Buffalo Bills.

Joel Epstein:
Steel [inaudible 00:47:54].

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Steel [inaudible 00:47:55].

Joel Epstein:
Yeah. But he's an upstate New York. He's an upstate New York guy.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
We do more [inaudible 00:48:00] on houses.

Joel Epstein:
Exactly. On houses. And you pick up your room, you don't clean it. You pick up your room. Great story. Young guy. 200 units last year. All his contact information will be on YouTube. It'll be on my Facebook page. If you have questions, he's glad to ask them. Very interactive. I challenge you. Go ahead and follow him on Instagram. And what is it? It's _KevinO_.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Yep.

Joel Epstein:
And I always call you KevinO, even though it's Kevin O. You know what I mean? KevinO, underscore. You could find him. You follow me, Joel Epstein, he's in there. You can find them that way too. Easy to find on Facebook. You want to friend him and really see what he's doing. Because I think based on this podcast, it's probably a good idea for them to see what you're doing. And I suggest Instagram because you put some stuff on there that I'm just like really?

Kevin O'Laughlin:
Vest or no vest.

Joel Epstein:
No, no, no, no. But every time you do it, I go... But then I know everybody else is doing it.

Kevin O'Laughlin:
You always DM me and you say, "Dude."

Joel Epstein:
Because I know everyone else is doing that. I know it's good because it's funny. All right, we'll sign off again. If you love these podcasts, please let us know. You go to My Big Joel coaching page on Facebook, where they are, iTunes, any place you consume podcasts and YouTube.

Joel Epstein:
So we're going to sign off and thank you till next time. Bye, bye.

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