Full Transcript is Below:
– It is “Top Producer Series” time, again. Not that easy to find top producers these days in light of market conditions, but I found one, a really good one down in Richmond, Virginia. He’s been at NFM for seven years. Greg Cowart joins us, Branch Manager. Greg, great to see you again. Really appreciate you joining us.
– It’s great to be here. You’ve been a really important mentor for me and I wouldn’t be here at NFM without you, so it’s really awesome to talk to you seven years later and do some looking back and some looking forward.
– Well, I appreciate you saying that and you’ve got such a unique way of approaching moments like this. I should say your background is in counseling. So mentally you’re probably more prepared than most to take on the kind of headwinds that we’re facing. But it’s an entirely different thing to execute and stay kind of mentally strong in moments where rates shoot up so dramatically. So how are you doing it? And of course I’m gonna want your advice for others out there that are struggling.
– You know, you and I have talked, we both are I’m approaching 20 years, you’re 25 in the business and if you’ve done this long enough, this isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last. It’s tough as a branch manager to be in a production capacity when the demand for our product ebbs and flows. I recently told my haircutter, I was like, “Imagine if people’s hair grew really fast and then didn’t grow at all. How hard would it be to staff your job?” And she’s like, “It would be impossible.” And that’s what we deal with in the mortgage field. We’re fortunate to be here. It’s a great industry with tremendous opportunity. And you know, it’s not what happens to us, it’s what we say to ourselves about what’s happening. And like you said, it’s a great time to stay focused, controlled and know that this is temporary.
– So I wanna just kind of preface this conversation with some production numbers because it’s the Top Producer Series obviously. Just want everyone to know that in the month of September you expect to help 25 families, in the month of August, you helped over 25 families. It’s mostly you. And then you’ve got some really great up and coming stars in your branch location. So no small feat. I know that recently you were a panelist on a top producer panel for the Virginia Mortgage Bankers Association. What was that experience like? What was the vibe and the mood like?
– It was nice being up there. One of the things I’ll say is it’s very interesting and one of the things I love about this business is there’s not one way to do it. So amongst the four panelists, really all of us kind of approached the industry with a different background and a different outlook. One of the women was a product specialist, the other was younger and was heavily TikTok social media oriented, so it was really unique to see that success doesn’t look like just one way in this industry.
– Yeah. I want you to elaborate on that because you also recently saw Gary Keller, the amazing leader from Keller Williams and some things that he said about staying in your lane really hit home with you. Can you share that and kind of how you’ve spun that into a purpose for you?
– Gary Keller, who I really admire was really encouraging everyone to not think about what they should be doing but to think about what they shouldn’t be doing. In other words, like you said, staying in your lane, choosing something that’s consistent with who you are and executing at a high level on just one, two, maybe three things. So I think we’ve all got to not try to be like everybody else and wake up thinking what we should do differently or next. We need to decide the opposite, which is what do you want to do? What’s consistent with who you are? And then try to achieve that with consistency on a daily basis.
– You’ve got an interesting perspective on home ownership in a 7% fixed market. Some people feel like they’re in the midst of a category five hurricane and they’ll never get another consumer again. I want you to share your unique perspective that that pipeline of people looking to buy is never gonna end. And share with us why you feel that way.
– Some people wake up and they want to do refinances. I don’t. I’m purchase oriented. I hold people’s hands through the complex home buying process. And the good news about being purchase oriented is that death, marriage, graduation, relocation, children, divorce, these things are constant. My database is over 5,000 and of those 5,000 people, no matter if rates are at 9% or 3%, someone’s gonna be going through one of those six or seven activities. And my job is to be sure that just like you know who your plumber is or who your hair stylist is, when you need a mortgage cause you’re going through a life change, you give me a call and that’s how I view it. So I’m not really too distracted by interest rates. Most of these folks we’re closing now will be refinance opportunities in the next year to year and a half. And so if you look at it that way, any closing you have is really a two for one.
– Are you addressing that when that issue of rates come up?
– Absolutely. In fact, it’s really helped calm clients to show them that versus a 4.5% interest rate, today’s rate has the payment of only $200 more. And if we come back and in 18 months refinance down to four and a half, which Fannie Mae is saying is possible, you’re only out $2,000 and you can almost hear them on the Zoom call be like, “Oh good.” Yeah, you buy the house, you don’t buy the interest rate. That changes as the market changes. And I’m here to help you when that time comes, knock on your door and tell you it’s time to lower your payment.
– You have to work much harder now to pack that pipeline. And I know you feel strongly you can’t just rely on one source to accomplish that. It can’t just be your realtor base. It’s gotta be a little of this, a little of that. Tell us more about that viewpoint.
– I think that the good news for the way I’ve done business is we are well designed for this shift, my branch. We are 25% medium size builders and we have three or four. We are 50% large realtor teams that we go very deep with, very deep. We know these people really well. We go to their open houses on the weekend. By the way, huge tip. Go to open houses on the weekend if that’s your thing. We’re having tremendous success connecting with clients. And then the other 25% of our business comes from keeping in touch with our top 100 who are raving fans who we try to talk to as frequently as we can.
– So the comment, go to open houses. That’s a tip. Obviously, we’ve been hearing about that for years and a lot of people have moved away from that.
– What’s that look like? Are you literally saying figure out where the houses are and where the signs are and just go, just walk right in?
– Each weekend when you’re on call, you aren’t off, you’re on and you’re going to open houses. And when I’m on call, I’ll hit two potentially and I’ll sit in each for two hours and just be there to keep the realtor company and go deep with the realtor or talk with customers and ask them questions about whether they feel like they understand their numbers. And so many people are in open houses that don’t understand their numbers. We’re finding not only are we getting more leads but we’re much more connected with them cause we’ve already met them out in our local community.
– Do you feel like realtors are open right now for developing new relationships? And if so, why?
– [Greg] Absolutely. I think there’s never an easier time to get in front of a realtor. I think realtors are really worried about the future and how they’re gonna pay their housing payment and feed their kids through the winter. And I think they really wanna know what we have to say about one, how to survive these times and how we can partner with them to help them make it through it. But then also that the light’s not too far ahead at the end of the tunnel and that they need to stay in the game, head in the game, keep their teams strong because next summer, next spring are gonna be very busy times for us all.
– Well, I can’t think of a better person. And you just proved why, to have on at this moment in time in our business. Greg Cowart, love you to death. Thank you so much for agreeing to be our top producer for the month of October.
– [Greg] If I could, Greg, there’s so many great people at this company and I just really wanna say thank you to you and the whole leadership team for the amazing changes I’ve seen in my seven years here. This is a great place to work and thanks for doing this top producer every month. I look forward to watching it and thanks for having me on.
– That means so much. All right, Greg, thanks. That’s Greg Cowart, from one Greg to another. I’m Greg Sher. We’ll see you again next time.