The Heath Barnes Show

Mortgages Reimagined

with your host, Heath Barnes

Staying Relevant In This Changing Industry By Being A Client Advocate With Brendan Donelson

HBS 18 | Staying Relevant


Today on the Heath Barnes Show, I’m speaking with Brendan Donelson from Atlantic Union Bank located in Nashville. He has been helping clients realize their dream of homeownership since 1994. His self-developed “Smart Start” system specifically aids first-time homebuyers and move-up buyers. Understanding that purchasing a home is about more than the interest rate, Brendan advises and counsels clients on five key areas in order to find the right home loan solution for them.

In this episode, see how Brendan adapts to a changing industry and demographic and the tactics he uses to stay relevant to clients and referral partners.

Listen to the podcast here


Staying Relevant In This Changing Industry By Being A Client Advocate With Brendan Donelson

I’m excited to have my friend, my first coach, author, and one of the smartest guys I know in the mortgage industry. Thanks for coming on, Brendan.

You are welcome. Thank you.

I don’t know if you know this but maybe you remember you were my first real coach back in 2009. I won’t go into the long drawn-out story but I got fired from the company I was working for. It was our second call and I’m like, “I got some issues to work through.” You were like, “Take all the time you need.”

You were a mess.

I was a mess. I came home and told my wife we needed to borrow $50,000 from her 401(k) but everything was going to be all right. I lost my job but it’s all going to be all right. Little did she know I had probably $200,000 or $300,000 worth of credit card debt as well backing that up. Later that year, I had my best year in the mortgage business. I made $350,000 that year. A lot of it has to do with you and the guidance I got from you. What I want to talk to you about is how our industry is changing and how we become more relevant in the mortgage industry moving forward. What do you think?

Relevant to who? Let’s start with that. Who are we trying to be relevant to?

Relevant to our clients. How do we show up as loan officers and make an impression on our clients? How do we show up to the referral partners we are doing business with?

Let’s do this. If our time together is to address those two points, the elephant in the room is that if you want to be more influential with your clients, it starts the minute the text says, “I got your name from Fred.” If the Ritz-Carlton says, “Everything matters all the way down to the little stones and the pebbles out on the entryway a quarter of a mile down the road at the entrance,” it starts to matter right there. When the valet opens your door and says, “Welcome to the Ritz,” or when the lady at the front desk says, “Mr. Barnes, welcome back,” it all matters.

Here’s our problem. If you are a loan officer going, “How can I help you, Mrs. Smith?” You dive right into what you do and you become a loan waiter or a loan waitress because what you do is serve interest rates, “Here’s my link. Click on it. I will get you a ring.” “Hey, realtor, John Doe called. He’s got a 780 credit score. I got the pre-qual link. Here’s his pre-qual approval. Go show him the property. We are good to go.” You are going to be extinct and/or not because you call on many realtors, that’s what you think your value is.

I don’t want to diss it. There are a lot of successful loan officers and that’s what they do. I don’t care. I want to do it my way to be valuable to the client. What matters to me is that they are making big decisions in their life. Most people I know through my experience don’t have a financial planner. They don’t have a CPA. They don’t have anybody helping them with their money decisions. They don’t do a budget. They don’t think about stuff very often, other than through their glass screen and through maybe something they read. When they call me and say, “What’s your interest rate?” I go, “Here’s how you were referred to me. What did the person who referred you say about how I help their clients?” “I don’t know.”

“Here’s how I help their clients. I’m going to shoot you a quick email outlining my Smart Start meeting, whether you’re a first-timer, a move-up, and a repeat. It’s a second home. It’s an investment property. It’s going to give you a quick outline of what I’ve done with previous clients they’ve referred me that made their experience a successful one. Why don’t we do that?”

What’s in that first email?

It’s exactly what I do in my Smart Start. We are going to review credit income assets. We are going to go through a mortgage scale. We are going to look at a timeline for ownership, and then we are going to talk about getting pre-approved upfront and what that benefit is to you.

Do you always have that first conversation all the time?

Yes. They were referred to me. Just so we can be clear, my ideal business is 30 to 40 highly referred clients a month that would generate 15 great meetings that would close 10 to 12 loans a month at $500,000 alone on average. It is ready in a high-margin, high-payout business. It’s a seven-digit income. I don’t need a big team. Everybody, there are all sorts of systems here, LP 1, LP 2. That system. “This person does this search and that,” and then you call and kiss the baby. I’m a little old school.

People need the doctor, and the nurse can prep things but the doctor should answer that first. Put it this way. If you are generating 40 referrals a month, that’s 2 referrals per business day. You can’t tell me as a professional that if you get a referral, you can’t talk to that person for 5 to 10 minutes as the person who got referred and have a very similar conversation over and over, setting the stage for a meeting with you. The meetings should be physical or could be via Zoom for a relocation client. That’s ready. That’s 20 minutes out of your day for 40 referrals a month. Go to 60. That’s three referrals a day. That’s an hour of your day. Go to 80. That’s an hour and a half.

What I love about what you are saying is it’s not, “Give me more, so I can make more.” It’s, “Give me less, and I’m going to deliver a higher quality experience.”

I had a teacher once whose motto was, “Less is more.” He forgot that.

People want to meet people. 30 to 45 minutes of your undivided attention would cover a ton of stuff. Nobody leaves the meeting and goes, “I didn't learn anything.” Share on X

That said, “More leads solve all problems.” I think that more leads generate a lot of problems.

I don’t know if it was the same teacher that had both those sayings. It could be or couldn’t be. That teacher, I took that to heart because that resonated with me, so less on the first phone call is more. To me, here’s how I work. I’m going to send it over to you via email.

Let’s do that phone call for our audience. I will be the client, and you will be Brendan. “Hey, Brendan. My name is John, and I was referred to you by Sally. I’m looking to get pre-approval of a loan.”

“Awesome. How do you know Sally?”

“She’s my agent. She was referred to me by my best friend, Jim.”

“Great. Jim, who?”

“Jim Thompson.”

“Is he your best friend?”

“Yeah, we grew up together. He dealt with Sally. She was awesome. She introduced me to you.”

“Great. I didn’t help Jim but I’ve known Sally for seven years. She and I met at a Houston realtor lender function. She was a funny lady. I got bonded with her, and then about a year later, she started referring me to her clients. Real quick. What did she say when she referred me to you about how we help clients that she sent us in the past?”

“She said you did an awesome job, and you are the guy that can help me get a loan. I’ve had some problems in the past but my buddy, Jim, paid cash. I’m not paying cash.”

“What were your problems?”

“We had some income issues that you can resolve.”

“What I would like to do, if you can give me your email, I would like to send you a brief outline of what we’ve done in what we call a Smart Start meeting that we have with clients that she’s referred. That meeting takes about 30 to 45 minutes. I will send you a brief outline of what we go through. Do you own right now?”

“No. I’m renting.”

“Have you owned in the past or this will be your first purchase?”

“I’ve owned in the past.”

HBS 18 | Staying Relevant
Staying Relevant: It’s not about having more referrals or clients so you can make more. It’s about having less and delivering a higher-quality experience.


“This meeting can apply to anyone, a first-timer or you’ve owned in the past and haven’t done this. When did you sell that house?”

“It was 2010.”

“You haven’t looked at a mortgage in the last eleven years?”

“I haven’t.”

“This meeting will be very informative. In the bullet points that I sent you, we will go through some basic stuff. I’ve got the A to Z of the process. What’s your timeline on wanting to get all this information?”

“It’s 60 to 90 days that I like to begin with something.”

“My office is in West Houston. Where are you physically?”

“I’m downtown.”

“You are about twenty minutes away. What’s a good day for you next week? I know it’s Friday. Do you have a day off? Monday, why don’t I look at my calendar? I’m going to send you this Smart Start meeting overview in the email. There is going to be information about our meeting. There will also be a link where you can set up an initial file depending on your timeline. I would suggest maybe putting in some basic information. If we have times Monday at 1:00 or 2:00, my assistant, Hannah, will coordinate that with you. If possible, I have a form that I like my clients to fill out in my lobby but I can also have you fill it out virtually. Which would you prefer?”


“She’s going to send you what we call an All About You form. It’s got some questions on what you would want to go through in our meeting at the top of the form. Check any of those questions that would apply to you. There’s some other brief information that might take you 5 to 10 minutes to fill out. If you want to fill out the link, great. You don’t have to because we are going to go through all of this in the meeting.”

“Do we have to do it in person or could we do a Zoom meeting?”

“Are you 90 days out from wanting to buy?”


“What do you do?”

“I’m in the construction business. I own a construction company.”

“Do you have a day off Monday?

When you listen to what people are saying, you can find your point of leverage. Share on X


“Here’s my thought. I have an office where I’ve got all my tools. I’ve got some glass boards in the conference room. I’ve got a big screen TV with all the PDFs of different things that we could go through. I could certainly do it on Zoom. In the past, I feel like people get so much more from meeting in person. You are in the construction business. If it’s a Zoom meeting, you might get phone calls and all this stuff. It’s 30 to 45 minutes of your undivided attention and we would cover a ton of stuff. You wouldn’t leave the meeting going, ‘I didn’t learn anything.’ I’ve never had someone leave the meeting going, ‘This could have been done over the phone a lot easier.’ Does that answer your question?”

“It does. It sounds like I’m going to be there.”

Sidebar, people can logistically not be able to meet with you but I would say if you are selling and someone is within 45 minutes and have a day off, people want to meet people. I don’t care who it is. If you are already intrigued by the bullet points and you are the caller who hasn’t done anything in ten years, and I’m telling you, “Betty referred you. I help her clients. I have a very specific system to do that. I’m going to email it to you so you can read it,” you are intrigued.

I would say 7 out of 10 good referrals, nobody is asking questions. They are going, “Okay, cool.” Let’s talk about shoppers. Let’s talk about people who don’t want to do it. The reality is that script could go in 90 different directions. One could be, “It sounds like or it feels like you’ve got your mind made up, and you are going to shop through a bunch of lenders to get the best deal for you.”

Yes. That’s it. Sidebar, I had a conversation with a guy. It’s a jumbo loan. He was like, “Your rates seem a little bit higher. I want to go with you but I want to feel like I’m getting a good deal.”

Do you want me to be you?

Yeah. What are you saying in that situation?

Say exactly what you just said.

“We have been working together for 2 or 3 months. I feel comfortable with you but the rates you gave me yesterday were different from three weeks ago. I’ve reached out to a couple of other people that I first spoke with, and it looks like they’ve got a little bit better deal than you right now.”

“A better deal?”

“Yeah. Meaning a better interest rate and closing costs.”

“A better interest rate and closing costs?”

“Yes, better than what you showed me.”

“I showed you what?”

I love that because what you are doing is you are letting them continue to talk. It was that pause there. You are not saying anything. I had that same conversation.

Do you know the Never Split The Difference book? It’s mirroring, “Better interest rate? Better closing costs?”

HBS 18 | Staying Relevant
Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

Here is what I uncovered by doing the same thing, which is the reason I brought this up. It is what he said at the end of the conversation. It was a Zoom meeting. I like to do a Zoom, especially if we are right about to start the loan and/or if I’m going over numbers because you can look and see what they are thinking or saying. The guy called me back and was like, “We have been working together for a couple of months, and I would hate to start this process over with someone else. I want to feel like I’m getting a good deal.” I’m like, “What’s a good deal or good interest rate and closing costs? How about closing on time? You are closing in 30 days.”

“How about getting your jumbo loan?” One of the things that I’m going to send over and pull up because you said some magic stuff there, “I had been working with him for three weeks.” What I find interesting about that is that’s very vague. I don’t know what that means like how committed he was to you.

He came to me because he originally got turned down by Chase like, “We got a problem with your income.” Now, three months later, we went into contract. Whenever somebody goes into contract, here’s what I’m thinking, “How do I eliminate the chance that he goes anywhere else?” The first is time. I’m thinking, “I’m going to close it as quickly as I can and jumbo loan 30 days because I’m already way ahead of the competition.”

That’s bullet 0.1 to win it.

Number two is being able to listen to what they are saying so you can find your point of leverage. For him, it’s, “I would hate to start this over with somebody else but I want to feel like I get a good deal.” A good deal for someone is you got to ask them, “What’s a good deal for you?” Bring up what they are not talking about.

I created this document. I’m sharing it now. Let’s rewind real quick. We were role-playing that call. I schedule those meetings. In the end, if someone wants wham-bam thank-you-ma’am, 7 out of 10 will say yes. Let’s say even 6 out of 10.

Let’s go through this document for the audience.

I’m setting up the stage for this document. The key is this, the other four, you could play ping pong. You could quote them an interest rate. You could say, “I don’t think we are a good fit” or “Let’s set this up now and go through your scenario,” if you feel like that’s what you need to do. Know this, as an originator, you are immediately catering to a client that’s not committed, and they don’t want to do it your way. You are already under the barrel.

Any meeting, I have virtual, physical, whatever, if in the end, like with your guy that was turned down months ago and you met with him months ago, and you knew you could do his deal. I use Blend, which then goes into Encompass and uploads documents and sends them reminders. I’m sending a Blend invite to say, “Do these things.” I sent this thing called Your Next Steps, which is your upfront loan approval. We came up with this because you can’t charge for approval and you can’t get a deposit.

I was like, “What’s the benefit to this jumbo guy if he starts to really commit to you?” “Increase your negotiation advantage, Mr. Smith because when you are making an offer and I have all the things in, I can help write a better letter or make a phone call. I’ll be able to close more quickly, get better interest rates, and avoid stress.'” It benefits him. “Mr. Smith, the jumbo guy with the weird jumbo loan, when you make an offer, you receive the following from us, our advocacy, accessibility, and confidentiality.”

I thought of these words specifically, and this was almost back to Renee, my branding guy. It’s like, “What makes you different?” This one guy literally said, “Brendan, you are like a client advocate. You are an advocate for your client. No one at Quicken does this. There’s not one loan officer at Bank of America that’s an advocate for their clients. They are loan officers at a bank.” These were words that meant something to me. I go, “This is what you get when you hire me. By the way, stuff you need to do, the stuff we do.”

Here’s why I put these on there. It’s because, “You have a list, Mr. Borrower, that you need to complete, and then we actually do stuff that costs money.” Verify your employment, retrieve credit updates, perform IRS verifications, and provide a sample mortgage. This is the stuff we do. This is a time commitment. Look at your loan approval commitment, “I/we pledge to work with Brendan.” It wants your signature. I want your ink.

How many of your clients are in this bat?

Those who come in for the Smart Start meeting?


Almost all, 80%. Guess what else we do?


The quality of your life is dictated by the quality of your clients on a daily basis. Share on X

We get this signed. Guess what we send as well with this?

The approval letter.

No. Credit card commitment for your appraisal order.

Can you get that signed up front?

Guess what happens when they get both of these and are on the fence?

They are off. You know where they are.

You are the jumbo guy. This is the role play. You’ll be him. You’ve got the credit card commitment in this letter and then say, “Why do you need all this?”

“Why do you need all this?”

“This is our process. I know you were turned down by the other lender. I know you got referred by Betty Buttercup, the realtor at RE/MAX. I know we’ve gone through the Smart Start. You said you wanted to move forward. This is what we do.”

“What if I get a better rate somewhere else?”

“A better rate somewhere else. I will be honest. You have a tough jumbo loan. You have the right to shop. When you were in my office last Monday and went through all this, the next steps are this. If you want me to do all these things and work with me, this is what you get. I respect you for doing nothing. If you want to call me whenever you go under contract, you are not going to get all of this. Here’s the thing. This is not a hard close but if you want me to do the upfront work, which takes my resources, I need a commitment from you.”

“With the credit card, with the appraisal, we found this. Do you see that part that says, ‘Be able to close more quickly and increase your negotiation advantage?’ When I make that call to the listing agent on your behalf on September 10th and they say, ‘We really want to close on September 30th,’ I have no time to wait for you to get me your credit card authorization to order your appraisal. It has to happen instantly. Here’s the deal. You are going to sign that if you want to move forward. We are not going to charge the card but I can’t do it without it.”

What I love about this is number 1) You are figuring out where they are on the fence. Number 2) In the environment that we are probably soon going in, which is a more competitive environment as interest rates go up. As FinTech comes into being, you are going to have to separate yourself from the competition.

Here’s the thing. What values do you provide in the process besides, “Here is your payment and your closing costs?” We all know that navigating the process of getting their approval, every loan has an issue. We all know that requires skill. We all know that they are going to forget us, so how do we stay relevant? The relevancy is about the process that you take them through and the impact that you have on them along the way. Where do you resonate? Where do you care? Where is the opportunity? Anybody reading this, I can’t tell you the opportunity until you show me the situation.

It’s like saying, “Tiger Woods, how do you play golf?” “What course? What hole? What shot? What club? What ball? Is there wind?” To me, it’s down to this. If you are not really dissecting your front-end process like putting a period at the end of the sentence, understand that every part of that first fifteen-minute interaction is critical. Every part of that first meeting is critical to setting the stage. You are working by accident. Literally, it’s Joe Stumpf 101, “The quality of your life is dictated by the quality of your clients on a daily basis.” I heard that from him in 1995.

The quality of your business life but then that could be mixed into your regular life. The interesting part is you have the right to fire a client. We are not government workers. If you don’t have a process, then you work with everybody. If you have no standard, every lead, you are thinking, “I need to get this lead and do whatever they want.” As soon as you define what you want and how you want to deliver it so that it’s a unique experience that you are proud of, then you are just going to be a loan waiter or waitress doing deals and burning out.

By the way, just because I have my process doesn’t mean I don’t have the same stressors. There’s always that wiggle room where you want to try to work with a client because they were referred by your best realtor. You don’t want them going somewhere else. Are you willing to cut a little? You then realize what you are sacrificing, which we are always doing in any area of our life. It’s like, “You could be great with your diet, then Friday is cheat day. Eat pizza and cheesecake.” You can’t stay disciplined all the time. However, that person that does have six days a week of a good diet and one cheat day is probably in pretty good shape.

HBS 18 | Staying Relevant
Staying Relevant: The relevancy is about the process you take clients through and the impact you have on them along the way.


If you go, “Six clients, I want to do this. The last one, I’m ready to break the rules,” be ready that when the rules are broken, you are going to be the caterer and apologize along the way. Do I do that? Sure. Do I like doing that? No. Would I prefer that every client does it the way I want to do it so that I can control the situation? That’s when you question, “Where is mortgage lending headed?”

For me, I am perfecting my value so that the clients that work with me go, “I’m not calling anybody else. I don’t care what the rates are. I have an advocate and an advisor, and my mortgage person and his team take care of me. I don’t care who your guy is.” Our job is awesome because if we can do that to the tune of whatever your goal is, $2 million, $3 million, $4 million or $5 million, if it’s $10 million, fantastic, as long as you can keep that unit of what you are delivering on the front end.

When most originators in our industry, at least our competitors, talk to the client, they listen and give the client whatever the client asks for. As originators, we are in a unique position. Unlike any other financial industry, we get to look at all their debts. We get to look at all of their credit. We get to look at how much money they have in the bank, and how much they are not saving or saving.

We get to decide, “Am I going to make a stand for this client and educate them a little bit on money?” To be relevant moving forward, we all have a history of money that has been taught to us by our parents. Most of our parents taught us, “Put as much money down, shorten the term, and pay off as quickly as possible.” How has that changed for you?

The key is this. When most clients come to me, part of that process that we talked about earlier is when they are filling out the form, I have a section about their money. It says, “Do you have a financial planner? Do you have a CPA?” In the next line, “Do you have anyone else assisting you with your money decisions? Do you do a budget? How much do you save per month? How much do you put in your 401(k) per month?” Those are all the questions that I have in the money section.

How often does your client say, “Can you help me with that?”

When they go to no as the answers. We have a quick conversation. I simply try to say this every time, we are using your role-play, “You are in the construction business, so you are thinking about building houses and commercial buildings all day long. It looks like you don’t have anybody helping you with your money.”

“I don’t.”

“I’m so glad you came in. The biggest thing I could do for the next 30 to 45 minutes in this meeting goes through what we talked about in the outline. I’m going to try to open up my mind to look at your situation. I have a financial planner. I have multiple. I have a CPA and other people helping me with my money decisions. They are more like mentors. If you are open to it, I might refer you to one of those people because you are making good money. If you don’t have any of these advisors, nobody goes and builds their own house by themselves without a contractor’s license.”

“I will try to give you the best advice I can, knowing what I know and having worked with all these professionals for many years. Don’t take anything that I advise you on in this meeting as I am a financial planner or a CPA but I know a lot by working with them. I’m going to do my best to answer all your questions. In the end, I take notes on this piece of paper. This would be my meeting from yesterday. I’m going to write little homework assignments for you and me. One of them might be able to connect you to a financial planner.”

I love that sheet. Will you send me both of those sheets?

That was Smart Start. Look at their answers on the money part.

Most people you find are the same way. They don’t have anyone helping them with money because we are a society that likes to figure it out on our own.

When you said, “Where is this industry going?” It’s all going to depend on the loan officer and their belief system around, “Can they advise and help people?” Before you and I got on this call, I was with a guy that has influence over about 10,000 financial advisors in the US. He’s got a well-received podcast and business. I’m going to do some stuff with him.

Honestly, even financial advisors don’t know that much about real estate, mortgages, credit scoring, and all the stuff that we do. Anybody that’s reading this, knows this. If you have been in this business for a year or ten years, you know a ton about the economics of credit income and assets and how they affect people. The issue would be, “What are you going to do besides their mortgage to help them?” A Band-Aid would be, “I’m going to plug in into Homebot, and check your home value.” A Band-Aid would be, “I’m going to send you an amortization schedule.”

Do you do anything after the sale or after they closed? What are some of the things that you do with clients?

I delete them all. I don’t even follow up with anybody. We are mandated to use top of mind, so they get little reminders. Homebot is another one but then I’m old school. My marketing calendar is a postcard once a month on how we helped someone the previous month. I do a quarterly newsletter. It’s just an update on me quarterly. We are doing what we call house-aversary cards. We pull up all the closings for the last five years every month. We send a post on their equity position, which comes in an envelope. It’s got a nice stamp on it with my business card inside.

You have the right to fire a client. You can define what you want and how you want to deliver it. Share on X

You are an author. Tell me about your book, Never Sell Your First Home. Do you give that to your client? Is it published yet?

No, I’m in the final stages of edits with my editor and typeset. It’s about 130 pages.

What’s the plan for the book? Would you give it out to your clients?


Anything else?

It’s essentially a guide for if you own your current home and you want to get into the investment property business, maybe your current home is your next best investment. You don’t have to sell it. You can prep it to take the equity from it and buy the next one. That can be complicated or very easy, depending on the situation. Not everybody has to keep their first home. I sold my first home when I moved from Virginia to Tennessee and years later regretted it. That’s one of the reasons I write the book. I kept hearing from people, “I should have never sold that property.” I was like, “I should have never sold my place in Alexandria.”

I started writing the book in 2017 and then, over time, kept putting stuff into it with field studies from clients. Overall, I own a lot of rental property. I’ve learned a lot through that. It’s sharing this step-by-step guide to show people how to do it. In the end, I believe that some of the greatest investments we can make are in real estate. You are very well-versed in cryptocurrency, great investment, mutual funds, stocks, and bonds. It’s all great investments. Real estate to me has been something that I’ve seen a lot of wealth built through it. This book is like the child hearing that phrase over and over and going, “People need to know about this.” It’s a step-by-step guide to doing it and getting it out into the marketplace.

In this environment, which is an inflationary environment that we are in, it will separate you from the competition. Most people don’t realize that in an inflationary environment, real estate is where your money needs to be. People are confused about how much money they need to down and how to keep the house. Maybe we can do another episode on that.

It’s funny. Talking to loan officers about how you can better yourself with your clients and the relationship, clearly, we can talk to them about their money. We can become their friend. We can try to have parties and invite them to things. It could be a combination of all of that or go back to, “We know a lot about this one thing, and this is what we think we can help you with over and over.” There’s this roadmap that I will send you. This was 2013. I was in the shower, and there were these boxes, and there were 25 of them. As a loan officer, there are basic building blocks. There’s the next level, and there are layers. I was like, “What are the boxes?”

We created it. I’ll send it to you. You can send it out to people that ask you about it. The key is this. We are all working on those boxes all the time. Maybe not all 25, heck a really good business may focus on 3 or 4 of the boxes and it’s a great business. It’s not as if you need them. When we look at producing and building a great business, there are all these things we can do. The question is time, energy, team, and what your intent is.

You, putting this out there for people to learn more are receptive to a new way. What tools do you use to better yourself other than being around people that do it or reading a book or starting to try something new like a new golf swing? It’s going to be uncomfortable until you get that result. That’s the fun part. My motivation in all of this is always to plan it a little bit better.

That’s why I want to have you on here. You are one of the smartest guys that I know in the industry. Every time we talk, you’ve created something new. You created the agent pyramid for those people from the core. I bet there are a lot of coaches that have been passed down too, but you are the one that came up with that and produced it. For years, we got coached on it. I think they still coach on it.

Yeah, the Accounts Pyramid.

Brendan coached in the core from ’04. I appreciate you being on here. I appreciate you sharing what I think are going to be some valuable tools that an originator can use to separate himself in the future.

Let’s do it again. You and I can have our cryptocurrency update offline. Maybe we will share that next time.

If they want to get in touch with you, what’s the best way for our audience to get in touch with you?

You put my name out there. They are getting in touch with you. They don’t need me. They need you.

HBS 18 | Staying Relevant
Staying Relevant: Your current home is your next best investment. You don’t have to sell it. You can prep it to take the equity from it and buy the next one.


I will put your email, cell phone, and home address.

If you google, Brendan Donelson, some meme will pop up. At some point, we will have a Never Sell Your First Home Instagram page. I want to feature that because many originators could learn from grabbing this book, giving it to their clients, and hearing about it. That’s such a niche. A client can’t call Quicken and go, “Show me how to do this.” I’ve heard more people tell me that they were told they had to put down 25% if they own their current home. I’m like, “Whoa.”

We digress. It’s a fun call. I can’t wait to do it again. You and I need to cook more and share good ideas. Likewise, you are always thinking super smart from that moment when you were at the very bottom of the depths, getting fired, and borrowing money to where you are now. It’s always fun connecting with you because you’ve got great energy and always want to try stuff that works. In our 50s now, we are a little smarter.

I appreciate it. As your logo comes up on your shirt, “Champion,” you have always been a champion of mine. Thank you for getting on, Brendan.

Big hug.

Virtual hug.

There you have another great episode. Don’t forget to check out, and you can find out more about all the ways we can help you. That’s it for this episode. Have a great week. We will talk next time.


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About Brendan Donelson

Brendan is a mortgage lender, guide, and advisor. With 28 years of experience, he likes helping clients who were referred to him with their home purchase, refinance, or construction loan. Having lived in Nashville since 1999, he has a deep understanding of the real estate market and trends.

If you need an education about the best option for you, his self-developed Smart Start meeting is where you should begin. This in-depth 30 to 60-minute meeting helps clarify what is important to his clients and connects them with the resources needed to build for their future. His clients often leave this meeting saying “Wow, I learned so much and didn’t realize what I didn’t know”. His mission is to help you make the best next step!

In his free time, Brendan enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, and exercising outdoors.

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