It’s been said, “success leaves clues.” If we want to achieve a goal, there are others who’ve likely already achieved what we want and we can learn from them.

In 2016, I began a journey to deconstruct the habits, routines and daily rituals of the country’s top performing mortgage loan originators and share their stories on the Mortgage Marketing Radio podcast.

Here are the consistent attributes I discovered from more than 100 in-depth conversations with today’s top performing mortgage loan originators.

1. The power of belief
You cannot outperform your personal beliefs about yourself because this is your identity. The fact is we are hardwired to follow through on who we believe we are.

The top performers believe they are 100% responsible for their results – regardless of market conditions, company or any other external factors. They believe their advice and value proposition makes a difference in the customer experience and in people’s lives.

2. High standards
Top-performing LOs set high production and sales activity standards, refusing to accept average or status quo from themselves and others around them. Dana Meadows with Movement Mortgage sets a goal to add $10 million in production volume every year. In 2018 she achieved that goal, closing 327 loans for $71 million.

3. Consistency
They have self-integrity to follow-through and continually complete the required activities to achieve their goals, safeguarding them from the typical rollercoaster production cycles of most LOs.

4. Habits and systems
Many LOs set production goals. Most don’t achieve them. It’s not setting the goal that gets you to success. It’s the habits and systems that lead to consistency and determine your outcome.

Stacia Weishaar, ranked in the top 1% with Homestreet Bank, lives by the adage, “If it isn’t on the calendar, it doesn’t happen.” She time blocks her priorities, prospecting and past client calls, ensuring she acts on the habits and systems in place to achieve her goals.

5. Knowing your numbers
It’s been said, “If you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know your business.”

The top loan originators can tell you how many conversations with prospects leads to an application and how many loan applications result in a loan closing.

Once you know your numbers, you build your sales activities and process improvement around that. Want to grow your production? Simple. Talk to more people or improve your conversions.

7. The power of focus
Little hinges swing big doors. Top producers focus on the few key activities that drive 80% of results. They don’t get shiny-object syndrome or try to implement too many things at once. Master the fundamentals before getting diluted or distracted by other lower ROI activities.

6. Process improvement
Top performers are relentless in finding ways to improve and streamline the customer experience.

Heather Bomar of Cornerstone Home Lending in Oklahoma gives a process improvement journal to her team. When any team member runs into a process that could be improved, they document it and review it during her weekly team meetings, creating a plan for how to improve that process.

8. A good team
To scale and grow your production, you need a competent operations and support team. Hiring the right team freed up Debbie Secord of Guild Mortgage to implement new sales and marketing activities, helping her funding 260 loans.

9. Product knowledge
Being a top producer requires you to have a thorough understanding of loan product guidelines. Shant Banosian, the No. 1 ranked loan officer with Guaranteed Rate leverages his rapid recall of product knowledge to quickly instill confidence and loyalty in his clients and referral partners, developing a reputation for knowing how to get deals done.

10. Personal brand
Getting noticed in todays noisy world requires you to stand out with a unique brand and relevant message that attracts your ideal clients. Sean Cahan of Cornerstone Mortgage Group in San Diego branded himself as “The Mortgage Geek,” which helps him fund $134 million in closed loans.