Why Are Loan Officers like Hollywood Screenwriters? Hint: It Holds You Hostage

You know this one…


You have a story to tell. Each of your clients has a story to tell. Everyday you’re writing stories.

I remember reading Scotsman Guide and the featured top originator said something that stuck with me. He said loan applications are more than just a pile of papers sitting on your desk. Each one has a story to tell. I’d never thought of it that way.

It’s interesting, but that’s not the subject of this post.

This post is about your story. It’s about the movie playing inside your head that you’re not aware of.

You say you want more leads, you want to close more deals, you want those fat checks coming in every month. Each one bigger than the last.

But there’s a nagging movie playing quietly in the background of your subconscious.

That movie inside your head is holding you hostage.

You’re addicted to it. Your body feeds off it.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? You check your email, check Facebook, check the news. Then you get your morning coffee, grab breakfast and head out the door.

You drive to work and it’s the same people you see every day. You get to your desk and it’s the same feeling. Same emotions. Every day.

Life is a series of habits. You’ve done this routine so many times that it’s automatic. Your thoughts, behavior and emotions have become a habit.

If everyday you’re worrying where you’re leads will come from, that’s a habit. When you’re worrying about RE agents not giving you referrals, that’s a habit. When you’re discouraged because each day throws you more curve balls, that’s a habit.

Worry, disappointment, fear, guilt: these are habits. They result from the same movie playing on repeat in your head.

Change the habit. Change the movie.

This first step to changing your habits is to recognize they exist.

Second, stop judging yourself. Ok, here’s what usually happens when you acknowledge your habits. You might feel ashamed or guilty. That’s normal and pretty much everyone goes through that.

Step three is a psychological trick that will make you more productive and overall happier.

I’ll get to that in a sec, but first…

What does stress have in common with a lobotomy?

Being stressed is like redlining your car’s engine every time you drive.

You could get away with it, but you might need to buy a new car. At least cars can be replaced. You only get one YOU.

When you’re stressed out, your prefrontal cortex shuts down (responsible for analytical thinking and decision making). The fight / flight hormones cortisol and adrenaline gush through your body. Energy gets taken away from your immune system. It goes straight into your arms and legs.

Basically, your brain shuts down and you’re pumped like Hulk Hogan. Some scientists refer to this as a “DIY lobotomy”.

It’s a excellent mechanism. If a bear is chasing you, you’re not going to sit around and ponder that. NO, you’re gonna react! You’re going to run or you’re going to fight. That’s survival mode.

You’re going to feel like you just slammed 15 espressos. And just like us humans can get addicted to just about anything, survival mode is no exception.

We’re all adrenaline junkies to some degree.

The problem is we don’t need a bear to chase us to trigger that response. We go into survival mode on the freeway, at work, at home, when a real estate agent snubs you, when a client goes with another lender… whether it’s morning, noon or night.

Survival mode is the theme of your movie. It’s the source of your suffering.

It’s on you to end the cycle of misery.

The fastest way to break a habit is a method called “trigger, response, reward”. Here’s what it might look like now:

Trigger: You wake up and first thing you do is check the news. That’s the trigger.

Response: You think to yourself, “Oh, that idiot again. Who does that guy think he is?”

Reward: Stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, courses through the body making you feel alert and alive.

That’s the cycle. It’s a habit. Want to break the habit? Start with your response.

Ok, why not start with the trigger? Well, you can’t always control the trigger. If a client goes with another lender, you can’t control that. If someone cuts you off in traffic, you can’t control that person. Start with your response because you can control that.

Control your response.

Try this next time a client bails or a RE agent snubs you:

Refuse the temptation to give in and become enraged. That’s it. Don’t let it get to you. You’re not going to change your situation by being pissed. You already know that doesn’t get you very far. You’re just wasting your energy.

You have a choice to make: let the vampires suck down your life blood? Or focus your energy on growing your customer base, closing deals, making fat commissions…

…because if you don’t, you’re signing away your commission checks to each and every blood sucking vampire.

Reward yourself immediately.

Every time you control your response, reward yourself immediately.

That might be the most important step here. If you don’t reward yourself, you won’t stick with it. I promise you that.

It’s a little psychological trick that helps train the body to crave a new stimulant (instead of the adrenaline / cortisol rush).

Your reward could be anything: getting up and taking a break. Drink some coffee or tea. Eat some dried fruit… Whatever it is, doesn’t matter. Try to keep it healthy. Probably don’t wolf down a burger or a liter coke. Think of a simple way to reward yourself and do it every time you control your response.

That’s it.

I’ll admit, it’s not going to be easy at first. Practice it every day and keep at it. Eventually it will become natural. You’ll find yourself happier, healthier and more proficient in every aspect of life.

You’ll have way more energy throughout the day. People will notice that and compliment you because you look younger and healthier.

You become a new person with a new set of behaviors. New partnerships and opportunities will open up to you. Some of them, you can’t even imagine right now.

Write a new life story. It starts with your habits.

P.S. If you haven’t yet, check out my new report: Why Bringing Gifts For Realtors Works 100% Against You…

Learn how to “turn the tables” and have realtors chasing YOU. Grab your free report here.

About the author
Stephanie Vigil
Customer Acquisition Specialist

I'm the Co-Founder & Customer Acquisition Specialist at The Lead Reel. I build custom blueprints for loan officers with one purpose: To turn the "average Joe" into a top performer. Before starting The Lead Reel, I worked in tech in San Francisco, CA.