Episode 028: John Palmiotto, Guaranteed Rate

Joel Epstein:
Hey, good afternoon everyone, welcome to another edition of The Big Joel Show coming to you live and on tape from Washington D.C. and today pretty excited I got my friend and mortgage, I'm going to give you icon only because you're extremely old, mortgage icon John Palmiotto in the studio with me today fresh off the plane from Albany New York. So that's exciting John is... What is your official title? Give me your official title.

John Palmiotto:
Chief Production Officer for the Midwest and East Guaranteed Rate.

Joel Epstein:
That was very long. Chief Production Manager for Guaranteed Rate, basically Mississippi River East, Correct?

John Palmiotto:
You got it.

Joel Epstein:
Okay. So John deals with... By the way, lots of massive egos all the time. We're not going to necessarily talk about that a little bit. But I thought it'd be fun to have John on the show for a more global view of what's going on in the industry. What's going on in general. John, as you know, large part of my audience is mortgage professionals and real estate agents and I find I get a lot of feedback from real estate agents that they're watching the mortgage ones and they like them, and vice versa. So John, give us a little backstory, I know how old you are because John and I are the exact same age. I think our birthdays are a week apart or something.

John Palmiotto:
Let's not remind ourselves that.

Joel Epstein:
Something weird like that. Give us a little bit of the history, so people get a flavor for where you're coming from. Obviously, I love having young people on here and I have them on all the time. People that you all would call Millennials are the crazy social media people. I also find so much value in having people like me that have been around for a while because most things never change, maybe add some email the little technology, but the core of what we do really doesn't change a lot. I don't think. I don't know if I agree or not.

John Palmiotto:
I totally agree.

Joel Epstein:
Give the audience your background a little bit. I already said that you live in Albany, New York.

John Palmiotto:
I do.

Joel Epstein:
And they know your job at Guaranteed Rate now, but give your background a little bit. Do you go to college? Where'd you go to college? What you do? How'd you get into the business?

John Palmiotto:
Went to Alfred University, graduated there 1987, which is hard to admit.

Joel Epstein:
Nice.

John Palmiotto:
We're two old guys.

Joel Epstein:
Played football?

John Palmiotto:
Play football, defense man for four years, learned a lot. Had a great time, met my wife there and 30 years married to her. So she's from New Jersey. After college, we both moved back to Albany. And I kind of got in the mortgage business by accident. I was in a contracting business and my buddies were in the mortgage business and I kept seeing them kind of making all this money and I'm working my butt.

Joel Epstein:
Heard this story so many times.

John Palmiotto:
Everybody's got their story.

Joel Epstein:
"That guy is an idiot. How is he making so much money?"

John Palmiotto:
Totally. I won't mention his name, but he was an idiot at but a fun idiot. I was best man in his wedding, actually, and went down there, and his boss said, "Hey, we need our building painted." It was mortgage office and they got a quote for $9,800. And I was like, "Well, I'll do it for 9700." Went down with a bunch of guys, we did the job and made a lot of money in one day. And then shortly thereafter, he called me and said, "Would you like to get in the mortgage business in Albany, New York and start it up there?" I said, "Sure. I've been watching my friends make money for a few years now," and jumped into the business-

Joel Epstein:
What year was that?

John Palmiotto:
1995.

Joel Epstein:
Okay, yeah.

John Palmiotto:
And got into production, found it pretty easy opposed to owning my own business, had success pretty quickly, pretty fast. Really liked the business really liked the relationship aspect of it. About three years into writing, I was called for a job to be a producing manager. And I turned the job down three times. It's probably the greatest recruiting story I've ever witnessed. The woman that was recruiting me Donna, she's down in Florida retired now, but she called my wife and convince my wife to have me take the job. Otherwise, I would have never taken the job.

Joel Epstein:
That is a ninja play right there.

John Palmiotto:
It really was back in the day.

Joel Epstein:
By the way, still works now, ninja play.

John Palmiotto:
Yeah, ninja play.

Joel Epstein:
Everyone goes home and says to their spouse, "What do you think? Do you like them? Do you think I should go there?" Everyone does that.

John Palmiotto:
Yeah, absolute true story. So I accepted the position. I didn't decide to get into management. It wasn't a design of mine. I was pretty happy writing and thought I would do it forever. Once I got into management really enjoyed leadership growing, it just kind of took a life of its own. I got into regional type divisional leadership in the late 90s and probably been doing it for 18 to 20 years.

Joel Epstein:
That is a lot of cats that you've herded, correct?

John Palmiotto:
Very many. Yeah.

Joel Epstein:
So now you're at Guarantee Right now. I want to ask you some just global questions, then I'm going to ask some good leadership... I think right now, number one, the hardest job in mortgage banking has always been producing branch manager, there's just no harder.

John Palmiotto:
Hundred percent hardest.

Joel Epstein:
Every single day you're choosing between your own loan and the loan of somebody that reports to you, and you're going to make about maybe an eighth of what you'd make on your loan. And it's a complete firestorm and they've originated it wrong, and it's just a nightmare. Those people are very hard to find and a lot of people won't take those jobs anymore.

John Palmiotto:
They're very hard to find.

Joel Epstein:
Like the job that you took a lot of people are like, "No, leave me alone."

John Palmiotto:
They're afraid of it. Particularly since the economic crisis.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah, yeah. What do you from a big picture, loan officers watching this podcast that think about wanting to go into leadership because I know you're a big leadership guy, and we'll get into this in a minute, but I'm just going to tell you that John leads, or in an upside down pyramid reports to some of the best loan producers in the business. And I say reports to because I think leadership is and upside down pyramid. I think the guy at the top reports up, up, up and everyone reports the guy in the street.

John Palmiotto:
It's servant leadership.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah, that's exactly hundred percent. And I just do that pyramid thing with the CEOs down here and the loan officers are up top, the people reporting to the street. And so John reports to some very powerful people that do a lot of business. But I'm curious, I want to ask you this question. I'm a loan officer and I'm watching this and I'm thinking, I like helping people and I like leadership and I'm thinking, I might want to maybe be a producing branch manager. What type of advice, how would you talk to that person? What should that person be thinking about?

John Palmiotto:
I get this all the time. And first thing I say to someone that's considering going into producing management is, number one, you don't do it for the money. It's not about the money.

Joel Epstein:
But meanwhile, usually the reason they want to do it is, "Oh man, better get this big override on all these people."

John Palmiotto:
Paradoxically, saying that I've never seen one stop doing it and give up the money, so it's very interesting. So people are like, "Well, why do they do it?" Number one, they want to control their environment. They want to control who's on the team, who comes in the branch, where the branch is, they want that control.

Joel Epstein:
And you list that as a, "Hey, this is a reason, this is a legitimate reason."

John Palmiotto:
For sure. Definitely.

Joel Epstein:
The override is not a legitimate reason.

John Palmiotto:
It's probably number four.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah, okay. So number one, control your environment.

John Palmiotto:
Yes.

Joel Epstein:
Meaning, have a say, have a place to table if say you're hiring an LOA or you're moving office space or something.

John Palmiotto:
Whatever it is, two isn't working.

Joel Epstein:
Okay, what's number two?

John Palmiotto:
Number two is prestige within the organization, a lot of them desire the title. They want to have a bigger voice in the organization. They think they're going to get more resources and they will if having a management title. So that's number two.

Joel Epstein:
It's interesting that you bring that up because I tell people at big companies all the time, you guys actually do this, your company does as well actually, a lot of companies don't do this well. And what I mean by this is they do take phone calls and take action based on title. It's just a thing, especially when you're dealing with ops people and sales people and we can talk about that for nine hours. But, "Oh, there's a VP of whatever, There's a branch manager on the phone, I got to take him." Meanwhile, on line two is a guy doing 150 million a year, who, by the way, is not a raving lunatic, who's just as professional as the branch manager, but they're taking the manager first.

John Palmiotto:
Sometimes, yeah. A lot of times yeah.

Joel Epstein:
I'm not saying you're [inaudible 00:08:46] I'm saying it's pretty normal. How many times do you have a situation where loan officers coming unhinged because no one will take their call and one production manager who does an eighth of the production is the guy calls and takes his call? It's horrible. It's horrible that they would need that as a reason, that they even need number two, but it's real. But it happens.

John Palmiotto:
It happens, for sure.

Joel Epstein:
So what's number three?

John Palmiotto:
Number three is a bent for leadership, I call it. Some people just have a natural inclination to want to lead, to want to manage people, many don't, many loan officers just don't have that desire. The ones that I see that do well, they have an inherent desire to do that, and it's not necessarily monetary based. And then number four is financial.

Joel Epstein:
Those are the questions you should be asking yourself, what should you be thinking, what do you expect as a producing manager? What should you expect? What is the job I love? Forget about the job at Guaranteed Rate, in general.

John Palmiotto:
Ain general. Here's another thing I always say.

Joel Epstein:
What do you think that job is?

John Palmiotto:
I'll say to a producer who's never done it before, I'll say, "Look, you come in the office, the manager has the corner office," go a little old school, back in the day I got the office all this stuff. Today you walk in and out, you come and go you as you please, whether people are happy or sad, it's not on you. You go into that corner office, whether people are happy to be there enjoying work, finding success, whether the office is vibrant or dead or dull or dying, it's on you. All of a sudden-

Joel Epstein:
Hundred percent.

John Palmiotto:
Hundred percent. And the other thing is, it's an eight hour sales call. You're on show eight hours a day, not just the hour or two you're out in the field all day long. People are watching you.

Joel Epstein:
I might argue more than that.

John Palmiotto:
Yeah, probably more.

Joel Epstein:
But yes, it's eight hours minimum shall show. So do you find that you discourage people very, very quickly?

John Palmiotto:
I really don't. If I feel like they have the qualities to do it.

Joel Epstein:
I don't mean discourage them on purpose. I mean, when they say, "Yeah, I don't want that," after listening to that

John Palmiotto:
I really don't. I don't try to discourage them. But I try to tell them what the reality is because it's important to know what you're signing up for.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah, because I think a lot of people they're just calculating an override, they're just saying new override.

John Palmiotto:
Definitely.

Joel Epstein:
And I'm telling people all the time I'm like, "Hey, production walks and bs doesn't basically, or production talks and bs walks," or whatever it is. And there's no reason to not maintain your production because if you're producing, you're indispensable.

John Palmiotto:
You're the strongest [inaudible 00:11:23].

Joel Epstein:
That's exactly right.

John Palmiotto:
You're the valuable wide receiver in the NFL or something and making things happen.

Joel Epstein:
You can move teams, not that you want to see that but you can do whatever you want. So managing loan officers today, and how they're operating today. We know the old school, where do you see the most successful loan officers today? What are they doing? What are you seeing in the field? Other companies, I know you're involved in all kinds of high level recruiting so you're talking to people all over place. You talk about what some people are doing at Guaranteed Rate is fine. But what are you seeing in general, what makes for you, when someone calls you up and says, "John, we got to talk to this guy XYZ mortgage in Columbia, South Carolina," or whatever. What is making you interested in that loan officer?

John Palmiotto:
Of course, you're looking for volume, you're looking at the professionalism of the person. What I'm seeing now is there's becoming a larger disparity between larger producers and smaller producers. I'm seeing the bigger producers think a lot more like business people than sales people. They have a plan. They're detailed, they're disciplined. They're pros. And they're starting to outperform the weaker out there because they're actually running a business. And realtors are looking for more reliability and predictability in their service because it's a representation of them. So when they come across, I don't want to mention names, but people-

Joel Epstein:
No, no, no. Don't mention any names you don't need to.

John Palmiotto:
... that are at level, they can feel it.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah, they feel it at 100 miles an hour. It's interesting, traditionally, and don't don't take this wrong way because there's lots of pros in the mortgage business, lots of them. I know lots of them you know lots of them. But traditionally, the mortgage business has been filled with honestly unprofessional people, and it's made it easier for pros, to just crush and just mow people down. I agree with you 100%. When people ask me about some of my clients that do a lot of loans at probably 10 different companies, it's the common denominator, I'm like, That guy could be selling pencils, he could be selling computers, he could be selling books. His book is a loan. He is really running a business.

Joel Epstein:
Now, it's a very hard business. I mean, people really don't even know what goes on in there. It's an extremely hard business, but he's running a business as predictable as possible. I can tell the difference in a pro when I get a new client. I'm like, "So you got job descriptions for everyone?" And I hear crickets. I'm like, "Okay, here we go." I'm mad that this guy is not doing their job. There's no job description. And by the way, not the corporate job description, not the guaranteed rate LOA 9 job description, like the ellows job description. If they don't have it, I'm like, "Dude, what are you doing? You're mad that you're LOA is underperforming and there's no job description."

John Palmiotto:
See it all the time.

Joel Epstein:
The best ones, they have something, they might not be what I want, and we fix it up, but they got something.

John Palmiotto:
What's hard is with these producers, it's just like management. To define what good management is, can be difficult, but it's very easy to know management sucks.

Joel Epstein:
Very easy.

John Palmiotto:
It's very clear. But it's hard to really quantify or define when it's good. Same thing with these top guys and gals.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I tell people all the time if you're leaving a company, if you're leaving your company for [inaudible 00:15:02] rates you need your head examined, because those two things can change in 10 seconds.

John Palmiotto:
That's right.

Joel Epstein:
You leave a company for systems and people. Your people are there, usually the systems are not going to change, but boy, they can change the rates on you in 10 seconds. I mean, as someone that's owned a mortgage banker before I could do it every day, I could do it on the hour if I want. Change the pack on that and that's it. "Wait a minute, you told me?" I don't care. We changed it.

John Palmiotto:
Absolutely.

Joel Epstein:
But you told me my composite so at New Year new comp, wait what? I mean, that's always a bad idea to do that. So leadership in the mortgage business is more important than ever. And I feel like there's not a great pool. I mean, it's so hard to find people to do that job. And I feel like we need to start really developing those people. That's why I asked you that question to start with because there's lots of loan officers, they're going to watch this that are thinking about it a little bit. It'd be good for them to be thinking about the right way.

John Palmiotto:
Yeah, you can't just do it for the money. If you want to make a ton of money and it's all about money produce. And there's plenty of producers that have that mentality. Do you want to lead? You want to help people? You want to mentor people? Then you go into leadership, you go into management, but there's no question. There's been a void in leadership talent, particularly since that 2008 economic crisis, as a lot of folks are fearful to give up their book of business and go into a non producing capacity. The other thing is, a lot of them don't know what it means, and to me it's like you have to create value every day for your people.

Joel Epstein:
With what I do, I can't tell you how many times I get a phone call from a John Palmiotto like body, your level or maybe one level down or whatever, you're at the top of the house, level down or whatever, and they'll be like, "Joel, can you work with this producer?" And I'm like, "Okay, who is it?" What it ends up being is a really big, strong gorilla type of producer. And what's happened is, is the management, the local management can't provide value. And they can't handle the person. So literally, they're hiring me literally to come in, and I don't even work for the company, but they're hiring me to provide the value, because there's no one in the field that could do it.

John Palmiotto:
Yeah, the juice to do it so to speak.

Joel Epstein:
15 years ago, there were plenty of people, but they're all gone. I don't know where they went, maybe they got smart and said, "I'm not managing anymore. Bye. No more herding cats. I'll be over here in the corner. Oh, you need me to come to a meeting? I'll be in Aruba, I will be there. Try to give me a hard time about that. I'm not coming I'm just a loan officer."

John Palmiotto:
You have to be artful in it. And what I always say is, it's like being a head football coach. You don't own the field. You don't own the team. You might not necessarily even have control of all the players. You don't have control of maybe the training department, but at the end of the day, you're on the hook to get a result.

Joel Epstein:
You're responsible.

John Palmiotto:
You're responsible.

Joel Epstein:
Even though you don't have a draw.

John Palmiotto:
Bingo, for the wins and losses. And then within the context of that team, there's all different personalities, performance levels, egos. So it's definitely challenging.

Joel Epstein:
And for what it's worth, it's usually a low paying job. It's funny. This might be very controversial so I don't want you guys to hate me for saying this, but a lot of loan officers are over comped at the level they're at. There needs to be some kind of reset where we can pay these leaders more, because they're really doing a lot more with a lot of loan officers, meaning lot of times they're doing three quarters of the job of a loan officer. They're just throwing trash in. And it's the manager that's cleaning it up, but yet making a very small portion of that loan and they're really literally doing all the work on the file, or they're handling it all

John Palmiotto:
I haven't had a big problem with that in my experience most of our guys are pretty technically proficient luckily, fortunately.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah, yeah. But you know the guys I'm talking about?

John Palmiotto:
Yes. Oh, yeah, there's a lot of it out there.

Joel Epstein:
Used to have some of those guys work for you where the manager is making X, this little tiny thing and the yellow is making like this. And took literally eight digits of the social security number and told everyone to guess, and then turn their phone off and still gets paid this. It's a big issue. So let's talk about technology for a minute because your company, there's three or four companies in the US that invest a lot of money in technology, you're is one of them. We know who the other ones are, we don't need to name them, that were the owners or the upper management leadership is very invested in a lot of technology. How do you see loan officers in general, the most successful loan officers, what is their relationship? And I'm asking this very specifically with technology, what's their relationship with it?

John Palmiotto:
It's such a broad term, technology. When you think of technology, you think of the system you actually do loans on.

Joel Epstein:
Let's do this though let's do this. Let's chunk it down to app, apped in the system too. How do you see the best loan officers at your company or others, again, you are a unique guy, you know what's going on in every other company because you're recruiting those guys. How do you see the best [inaudible 00:20:19] dealing with that part of it?

John Palmiotto:
You've got to have great technology from an execution standpoint so the borrower can self- fulfill. The notion of a loan officer doing a 1003 with a borrower face to face, it's kind of out the door. To get scale as a producer, you need a really good app, so to speak, really good technology so the borrower can self-fulfill, the borrower can get information, they can get educated, they can get notified at different things throughout the process. You have to have that efficiency to be in the business today particularly, and certainly in the millennial market. They want information quickly. They want fast, they want it high touch but they also want to do it on their terms, so that's a complex demographic to service.

Joel Epstein:
Well, it's high touch high tech. And so what I see is I look at technology, the app as literally a room where the temperature is set at negative 20. It's basically an igloo. And what most loan officers do is they strip the borrower naked, throw them in the room. They're like, "Yeah, go in that room and while you're in there, push those buttons, and let me know when you're done pushing buttons." And the loan officers to do that at your company and other companies that don't supply coats at all, in that room have very high fallout. They have very high credit pull to close fallout, the ones that have mastered the art of high touch high tech, or the dangerous loan officers when those are the ones, they're just not winning, those are the guys you were talking about before.

Joel Epstein:
They are mowing people down. They're taking [inaudible 00:21:51] that used to close eight loans a month now the other guy is closing four. They just picked the four off they're moaning people to the ground, because they figured out that yeah, I need to use this, but it's not everything. That's why I use the analogy of the ice cold room and the person they're naked because it works. They're like, "Oh my God, that's right. I just threw them in there. Go to my online app. And then when you're done, I'll call you." "Okay, what? First of all, what does app even stand for? What are you even talk? There's an industry word. What does that even mean?"

Joel Epstein:
Your company has great technology. We gave them this insane technology and now these dummies are using it like it's the only thing they got. And they forgot and what I see people at your company and other companies that have this, the best loan officers never do that. You grab your fur coat on the way into the room. And by the way, when you get in the room, you know what's even cooler? Someone's in there with you, meaning you're not in there alone.

John Palmiotto:
Well, you're talking about salespersonship, right?

Joel Epstein:
Yeah.

John Palmiotto:
When people have a conversation, whether it's a loan officer with a client or me with an employee, analogy I use is like hitting a golf ball. If you hit that golf ball an 80 degree off the ball goes this way, it strays to the left. Same thing when having a conversation-

Joel Epstein:
Mine goes to the right by the way.

John Palmiotto:
I try to keep it straight.

Joel Epstein:
I'm a Shanker.

John Palmiotto:
Yeah, same.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah.

John Palmiotto:
But same thing with a human being, how you have that conversation can leave that person going in many different directions, the great loan officers, as you're saying they have those great productive conversations, they're focused, they're clear, they give the borrower the confidence. And then you add that to the technology and that's how they retain such a high level.

Joel Epstein:
So those of you watching this, I would say almost everyone, whether you're a broker, or whether you work for a tiny, tiny banker, it doesn't matter. You all are using some type of technology, whether it's in house, or whether it's off the shelf, you're using it and I would listen to this message and listen to it really loud and clear. Technology is important. You have to have it, it means everything from a proficiency, productivity standpoint. But from a customer Service standpoint, it will seriously damage the relationship with your client if you are not using it the right way. If you are just dumping people in there at will, your pull through will be in the can, it will be down at the bottom. And what I mean by pull through is credit polls minus can do's those are bad credit or can't close for six months divided by loans closed. Everything in the middle is your pull through. Everything [crosstalk 00:24:25].

John Palmiotto:
It's a relationship business.

Joel Epstein:
And when you start looking at those numbers, when I look at those numbers when I come into a company or even a guy like you brings me and, "John, I want you to take a look at this," and I start looking. I get to it right there. I can find it's right there. Pull throughs are literally right there. Today 2019, it's an [inaudible 00:24:41] bouncing people into technology with topspin like [inaudible 00:24:45] without any, nothing... I'm using the term fur coat but there was no coat check, no fur coat the buyers just in there and they vaporize.

John Palmiotto:
You're bringing up a good point you're talking about measurement too. The ones measure their activity.

Joel Epstein:
They track.

John Palmiotto:
They track everything and that's important.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah, big time. So if I'm a [inaudible 00:25:06] and I'm watching this and yeah, I might be doing some brief eyes right now, I might have a little false bravado going on right now. But I want to I really want to take my game up a notch in 2020 because, by the way, everyone, it's 2020 already. It's October 8, 2019 when we're taping this, I'm saying this because sometimes we don't release them for a couple months. But as far as I'm concerned with all my clients, it's 2020 right now, like literally, that's what it is. That's what we're playing ball for. I didn't care about the rest of the year. I say to my guys, "How many loans will you close in April 2020?" They're like, "Wait, what?" I'm like, "Yeah, that's what I want to know. How many closing?"

John Palmiotto:
We're there. It's coming.

Joel Epstein:
What do you telling? What do you say and you've been in the industry a long time. Now you're top of the house but you're a grinder you're street guy, you're dirty guy. You get it. You could sit with LOAs or sit with loan officers. What do you tell a guy closing three loans a month? What type of stuff does that person need to start doing right now from your opinion that you just see in the market, whether it's from Elos or your company, or even other companies, because I know you know tons of people.

John Palmiotto:
There's lots of things, Joel, first thing I think they need to do is be willing to learn. What I see sometimes at the lower end of the production scale is they're unwilling to learn new techniques and emulate people that are actually having high level of success. So number one, find somebody in your organization or in the industry that you can follow and just follow what they're doing. It's not complicated. It's calls, its sales, its relationship.

Joel Epstein:
So get out of your own way and be willing to learn.

John Palmiotto:
Definitely, you have to and change. You talked about technology, there's still some people I'll sit with and be like, "Hey, my clients, they won't use technology." Meanwhile, I know 95% of our applicants actually apply online. Yeah. So I know it's a fallacy.

Joel Epstein:
Meaning right in the market or the guy you're talking to.

John Palmiotto:
Exactly, exactly.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah, exactly.

John Palmiotto:
But aside from that, be pliable, learn. Social media, you got to have a presence. You've got to be in the game. You can't be this person that says I hate Facebook. I don't want to be on social media. It's annoying, whatever.

Joel Epstein:
I love hearing another old person say that but that's a great... It sounds so [inaudible 00:27:12] whatever that's not a big deal we all know that. No, we don't know that I'm telling you right now I'm more in this a little bit than John is but I hear this all the time, "No, no, I don't want anyone to know my business," or, "Social media is bs I don't have time for it or it's a time waster." Meanwhile, I will tell you some of the best loan officers in the country best with a capital B, who you and I both know together at your company, different companies all over the place. Oh, they're in, they might have somebody helping them with it, but they get the value of it. Probably, there's been no time in mortgage banking. Do you remember how hard it was? For us?

Joel Epstein:
I'll say me because I got into business even before you to go out and brand yourself. Do you remember what had to be done? It was like 80 hours a week of physical on the street in people's faces branding yourself and you couldn't even brand yourself really to the loans you closed I mean there's really no way to do that. You could just brand yourself to the agents. You know how hard that was? That was hard.

John Palmiotto:
It's funny. If you go back and forth was a harder than harder now I don't know it's kind of like athletics you're trying to relate an athlete from the past to now, it's always been hard. It's hard now it was hard then. I remember to your point trying to go into a potential office and I kind of stopped the place and I figured out that the receptionist left from 12 to one so I'd go eat somewhere 11 to 12-

Joel Epstein:
That's a Joel special move by the way. Yeah.

John Palmiotto:
... then bomb in there and start building some relationships.

Joel Epstein:
"Hey, what are doing here in the back?" "Oh, I don't know. There was [crosstalk 00:28:44] in the front." "What's up?" "[inaudible 00:28:45]. How you doing?"

John Palmiotto:
Exactly. Before you know it you're closing the place and you're giving me your key.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah, exactly.

John Palmiotto:
But in today's world, going back to social media, people want to know you, they want to see what you're like, are you a good person? So they're going to search you and they want to see what you're all about. To me, it's very important. I see a lot of people neglecting it or only thing they're doing from a social media perspective is the canned kind of sending out a flyers and all that.

Joel Epstein:
Let me tell you when I see that, okay, because all my clients, whether they're in a group, or I have them one on one, I'm connected with them on social media. And when I see posts in their social media that I know came out of their corporate, like the corporate canned post, I just haze them. I'm like, "Turn that off. Everyone is unfollowing you right now. It is so obvious that you're paying someone to post that," and they're like, "What do you man? I paid someone 30 bucks a month for that." I'm like, "Yeah, get your money back. You're better off taking a picture of the pizza you just ate and saying something cool about it, than that post."

John Palmiotto:
They want to see you as a person.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah, that's exactly right. What do you think about LinkedIn? Important or not important for a loan officer?

John Palmiotto:
You absolutely have to have a presence because if you don't, it's kind of odd. But, again, LinkedIn can be a little generic, and I'm not sure it's a relationship tool. But I think it's a credibility tool where you have to have a professional presence.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah, I'm going to agree with you. And I think that, for borrowers and even for agents, if they want to see what you're about as a professional, they usually start with LinkedIn. If you have a couple husband and wife, wife and wife, husband and husband, I don't care, and one of them is more social and one of them is more engineery, the engineery one is going to go to LinkedIn first. And they're going to look at it I can't tell you how many loan officers I'll go look at their LinkedIn page and there's typos and stuff on there. And I'm like, come on, man. They're judging you on this immediately they're going to borrow $400,000 from you. You have misspelled words in here, clean it up.

Joel Epstein:
And then the social media, sorry, the Facebook or Instagram or whatever you use, that's more the fun that's the other client, the other spouse, the fun one. "Oh, look at John's daughter lives in San Diego," or whatever it is. "Oh, my daughter lives in San Diego. Oh, cool," whatever it is they're looking at that.

John Palmiotto:
That's right.

Joel Epstein:
And I don't think that you can escape it can you?

John Palmiotto:
No, it's here it's not going away.

Joel Epstein:
I think you cannot play the I'm not under game can you?

John Palmiotto:
You can't. Absolutely not. It's a piece to your game.

Joel Epstein:
Has to be.

John Palmiotto:
Absolutely.

Joel Epstein:
I think there're some loan officers out there that are playing, "Joel I don't really look at it. I have it but I don't really look at it." And I'm like, "Okay, well just so you know, everyone else is looking at it. Every new client you get they're going right in and going John Palmiotto."

John Palmiotto:
Searching immediately before you even meet them.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah, hundred percent. And some of the best loan officers, they're friending they friend every borrower, so that borrowers can see and they're linking in, you link with everyone, what a great way to stay in front of people. What else are you seeing... Now, if I'm a really newer loan officer, not an underperforming loan officer, because I ask the questions two different ways. I think our industry, I think everyone, you and I know more about this than we should. Everyone's trying to be the first company that is training their sales, that's pulling the people out of wherever it's going to train them into loan officers and I think we've seen how many people fail.

John Palmiotto:
We've done that together.

Joel Epstein:
A lot of people. A lot of people have epically failed at that. I could list a bunch of loan officers that I've taken from zero to hero that were selling pagers, not pagers, boy I just aged myself there, selling mobile phones or whatever. And they're crushers, they're killing it. This guy that works for you, James Allen, not to give him a shout out or whatever, but he's a guy whose doing nothing, two years ago he's killing it already.

John Palmiotto:
Unbelievable.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah. But in a group, what would you tell newer loan officers that are watching this? They've been in the business a year, they're sitting in their office, they're scratching their head. They're watching what you and I might call some dysfunctional loan officers running around doing crazy stupid stuff. What would you tell them to do? What would you give them as a first, just get off your butt and do.

John Palmiotto:
First thing is set a goal board. You've got to have goals, you've got to map it out, you got to write it and you've got to keep it visible. I have one in my laundry room and it has every facet of my life, check marks with everything I do.

Joel Epstein:
So they're closing two loans and they want to close four?

John Palmiotto:
Got to be up there. Got to look at it first.

Joel Epstein:
So then what would you tell them to go do to even get two to four? Which by the way is hard. That's taking your golf handicap from 20 to 12. Two to four is hard.

John Palmiotto:
First thing I would tell them to do is profile their market, not shock on their market. A lot of people think larger is bigger. It's not necessarily I think more narrow and deep is better.

Joel Epstein:
Rifle. Sniper.

John Palmiotto:
Yeah, you're going to sniper a little bit in the beginning, but you have to look through your marketplace, get a good understanding of the real estate community. You want to identify people in that real estate community maybe you model match with. If you're a younger person, for example, coming into the mortgage business, there's a lot of young stud realtors now. You're probably going to have more in common with them right out of the box. I would be profiling people like that on social media, on Facebook, find out whose most relatable and I would strategically market to them specifically.

Joel Epstein:
You guys hear this is from an extremely old man too telling you to do this. I got a guy that I work with, works for another company in Pittsburgh, and literally they dropped him in the market. He's not from there. And he's like four years he's like 30 loans a month now, killing it. But that is exactly what he did. He's 28. He literally sat for hours coming through Instagram, and Facebook and everyone was laughing like, "Oh, you're wasting your time." "No, I'm not waste my time."

John Palmiotto:
Strategic. Yeah.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah, I'm connecting with people and it's interesting. We could have told someone to do that 15 years ago.

John Palmiotto:
When i started out I did it.

Joel Epstein:
That's why I was how hard it was for us to brand.

John Palmiotto:
Yes, right.

Joel Epstein:
I think the branding part is easier now. I think you could make an argument it is easier to brand yourself now because we all just had our bodies that was it.

John Palmiotto:
What's harder is the access.

Joel Epstein:
Agree.

John Palmiotto:
You know what I mean?

Joel Epstein:
Yeah.

John Palmiotto:
You can't just walk in offices like we could not that we could walk in all offices.

Joel Epstein:
Some you can some you can't.

John Palmiotto:
Yeah, it's just different. People aren't in the office anymore, realtors are working from home.

Joel Epstein:
The social media access is wide open wide.

John Palmiotto:
That's huge. Wide open.

Joel Epstein:
That's the same access we had walking into an office.

John Palmiotto:
Definitely, yeah. You're right.

Joel Epstein:
And some might say more powerful because you can tell your own story if they look you up you're able to tell more than me standing there trying to explain it.

John Palmiotto:
The other thing too is take an interest in your partners. I viewed realtors as my partners, my friends. I had ultimate respect for what they did because when they sent me business, they were given me an opportunity to feed my family. They're helping me and they're working really hard to help me so I never resented realtors.

Joel Epstein:
Don you love it when a loan officer opens with, "I hate agent."

John Palmiotto:
I don't get it.

Joel Epstein:
And you're like, "What business are you in? We're partners. We're in this together. How do you hate your partner?" They sell the house. We do the loan. I don't even understand.

John Palmiotto:
So get back to creating value. It's just like you're managing, leading people, you have to create value. It's the same thing with the partners, find a way to make that person's life a little better. Either helping their business, taking an interest in their kid. I mean, I remember this one night this builder account, many years ago, the guy that ran the sites had a big kid, big strong young kid. I took him to the gym. I trained his son every morning, I met him at the gym.

Joel Epstein:
How old were you? 25 or something?

John Palmiotto:
I was 29. The kid was like 15. He was 6'8 280. And I met him every morning for a whole summer to get him prepared for football. It was awesome. I like doing it was fun. My partner enjoyed me doing it.

Joel Epstein:
Bonded with that guy huh?

John Palmiotto:
Yeah, for sure. All kinds of stuff like that. You don't have to limit yourself but I also think that make the job part of your personal life. The more that your work in personal life intermingle I think the more enjoyable it is the more fun you have and then therefore you have a lot more success.

Joel Epstein:
I think that that's a very important message because a lot of people that don't send that message.

John Palmiotto:
That's right. It's all business.

Joel Epstein:
There are people that train in our industry, real estate and mortgage that will tell you, "No, this is what you do. You have to have this time you have to have that time." And I would always look at that and I think that is BS, that is someone that really doesn't understand what we're dealing because if you make it all combined, like I always say you create a set a new best friends. It happened to people that sell real estate. I find those are the most balanced, happy loan officers I ever talked to. When I'm sitting with them and they take an inbound call and be like, "Yeah, what's up? Okay, I'll meet you at the game. Will you save me a seat at the game." Like who was that? "Oh, that was Jim Smith. That's one of my buddies." And I'd go, "What do you mean Jim Smith?" "Oh, he's REMAX guy," and I'll be like, "Okay. All right. This guy knows what's up."

John Palmiotto:
Well, it's back to if you're strategic about who you're marketing, most likely the people you're marketing, you're going to have a higher probability of liking so making them part of your personal life isn't a sacrifice, it's not painful.

Joel Epstein:
Hundred percent. Hundred percent. So for newer people, social media is a big leg-up is that what you're saying? Big leg-on?

John Palmiotto:
It seems like kind of stupid to even have to talk about it.

Joel Epstein:
Yeah, but John, people go one of two ways. They don't get it or they have the stigma. They think that if I'm looking at my social media, I'm wasting time. And what you need to understand is, is if your career is in a certain place, you are not wasting time at all. And when you get to the point where you're that busy anyway, you can have somebody helping you posting, doing things for you and I don't mean that canned stuff, real stuff.

John Palmiotto:
Yeah, real stuff.

Joel Epstein:
You might give them pictures. "Hey look, these are the pictures I took this weekend post it," and they'll post it for you. But if you're not closing 20 loans a month you have time. Believe me, you definitely have time. So, John, before we wrap up, they're waving to me in the booth. Are you open to phone calls, emails or whatever if there's somebody watching this that maybe wanted to talk to you, even from a mentoring perspective, or wanting to learn more about you or just wanting to ask more questions, are you good with that?

John Palmiotto:
Of course.

Joel Epstein:
Okay, how do people find you? What's the best way to find the book?

John Palmiotto:
I'm on Facebook. I'm on LinkedIn, Instagram.

Joel Epstein:
And it's your name, right?

John Palmiotto:
My name.

Joel Epstein:
It's John Palmiotto, P-A-L-M-I-O-T-T-O, correct?

John Palmiotto:
That's right.

Joel Epstein:
John Palmiotto or they could probably find at Guaranteed Rate as well, which is?

John Palmiotto:
johnplamiotto@rate.com.

Joel Epstein:
Okay, now John's in the East Coast. He's Eastern Time Zone and like you all just heard he's willing to take questions or comments or if you just want to talk to him, he's been around and knows most of the answers. So I just want to thank John for coming on today. And thank you for watching or listening to another edition of The Big Joel show. Again, you can consume this any place you want on any type of platform where you like to consume your podcasts. And as always, if you'd like the episode, love for you to go on there like it. What's even better is for you to leave some comments or actually if you have any questions for me or John about this episode. So that'll wrap and thank you very much for watching. We'll see you again soon. Bye. Bye.

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