No matter how much success they have attained, true top producers are passionate students of their trade. This is true of Lori Richardson, vice president at Cornerstone Home Lending.
Working in Colorado, Richardson has built an incredible track record. A 26-year mortgage industry veteran, she is a recognized industry leader and coach in creating scalable systems. In the last two years, she put nearly 400 families into homes and achieved loan production of over $110 million. With numbers like these, many would assume that Richardson has nothing else to learn about the mortgage industry. She would be the first to disagree.
“I’m a lifelong learner,” she explained. “I just love learning. I think going back through programs, like the XINNIX IGNITE program, keeps me motivated because I learn something new every time. It’s kind of like reading scripture, right? Every time I read it, I get something different out of it.”
Through her considerable experience and dedication to continued learning, Richardson has developed some definite practices that she believes are responsible for her great success.
CREATE A VISION AND SHARE IT
For Richardson, the most important step in her journey to becoming a top producer was creating a clear vision for what she wanted to accomplish.
“I started with the big why. I sat down and said, ‘What is that? How do we want our clients to feel?’ I literally wrote on a piece of paper what I wanted it to feel like to work with my team and on my team. Then we set out to create it.”
Starting with this vision was integral for attracting the right referral partners to work with. She found that a relationship only worked when she and her partner shared the same goals and ideals.
“I had to fire a couple of agents over the years. They just didn’t treat people the same way that we did.” That led her to create a document that helps her agents understand and follow her vision of service. “We say, ‘Hey we really want to be the best partner we can possibly be and help you be as successful as you can be, and here’s 15 ways that we can do that.’” She runs through these practices with all new partners a few times during the year to ensure everyone is one the same page. According to Richardson, this shared vision is key. “That’s probably one of the most important disciplines, just making sure that I’m working with the people that are in it to win it the way that we are.”
MAINTAIN RELATIONSHIPS TO CREATE CUSTOMERS FOR LIFE
When Richardson starts a new relation- ship with a homebuyer, she wants to be more than a one-time lender. She wants her team to be the customer’s “everything financial people.” That’s why she stays in communication with customers long after the closing.
“I’m calling at least five past clients per day and just asking them how they are, what changes have occurred in their families and lifestyles over the last 12 months, and what changes they anticipate coming in the next 12 to 24 months,” she said. “Then I just kind of shut up and let them talk.”
While these conversations do not always create immediate results, Richardson said, “Sometimes, I hang up the phone, and there’s not necessarily an, ‘Oh my gosh, I need to refinance my house right now.’” But she plants the seeds for future business. “I’ll say, ‘Unless you’ve outgrown your home or you don’t like your neighborhood anymore, you are in great shape.’ Two weeks later I get people calling back saying, ‘You know, we’re expecting twins,’ or ‘We’ve outgrown this neighborhood and it’s just not the way it used to be. Can we start talking about what a new home would look like for us?’”
Richardson easily admits that this strategy might not seem groundbreaking, but it has helped seriously set her apart from the competition. “It doesn’t sound so unique to say I call my clients to check in and see how they’re doing, but the more people I talk to, the more I realize that a lot of folks aren’t doing it. This has absolutely been one of my favorite tools.”
BRING VALUE TO PARTNERS AND CUSTOMERS
Richardson also works to bring value to her customers outside of the requirements of the traditional mortgage process. “We do a lot with education. We feel like if we share information without obligation, it will help people make better decisions.” By offering these free resources to her clients, she builds deeper relationships built on trust and care.
One way she brings this additional value for her referral partners is by hosting mastermind groups. In these monthly meetings, Richardson brings top producing agents together for no other reason than to share ideas. “Somebody will have a really great idea or strategy about open houses or overcoming price objections. Right now, we’re talking about helping people grasp the value of building their net worth through owning more expensive assets.” The group will discuss how to implement these ideas and get messaging out to their clients. The agents benefit greatly from these new strategies, and for Richardson, “Putting those people together in a room allows me to connect with them and add value at a higher level.”
Bringing incredible service to customers is the crux of her business strategy. “When I first started in the business, I decided that I really wanted to be my own best referral source. I figured the best way to do that was to take really, really great care of people.