Today on the Heath Barnes Show, I’m talking with Scott Evans, the number 1 producing loan officer at Cross Country’s ‘Core Training’ program and number 1 VA Lender in the country.
Scott gives us some insight on not only how he got into the industry to be one of the top producing Loan Officers in the country but how he is constantly changing his strategy to keep that top spot.
One of the techniques he dives into is his home seminar program and how marketing and social media gets him in front of the right people.
There’s a lot of great information in this show.
Listen to the podcast here
Generating Leads Through Marketing And Seminars With Scott Evans
I’m especially excited to have our guest, Mr. Scott Evans, from San Diego, California. Welcome, Scott.
Sunny San Diego is a beautiful place to live. It’s easy to do a lot of business in San Diego because the weather is always good. You never have a bad season.
No. It’s beautiful and sunny.
For those of you that have not heard of Scott Evans, he’s a mega producer right now. He’s the number one loan officer at a coaching program called Core Training where I used to coach. I’m super proud of you, Scott. You have come a long way in a short period of time. Congratulations. You probably also feel the stress of being number one because now you got to stay number one.
I keep reinventing myself every year.
You do a good job of doing it. Scott is with Cross Country Mortgage. He’s been with Cross Country for several years.
It has been a good experience.
Ever since four men went over there, everyone has migrated to Cross Country with top producing loan officers.
There are a lot of talents here.
I was talking to Scott before. He is doing a lot of interesting things. I thought I would have him on the show to share some of the techniques he’s using right now to stay on top in his field. I would love to get the backstory from you, Scott. You grew up in Georgia, is that right?
I grew up in South Florida. I went to college at Georgia Tech. I was a Computer Science Major at Georgia Tech.
Did you ever think you’d be a loan officer? Were you looking to be a programmer? What were you thinking about Computer Science?
I was looking to be a programmer and go in that direction. When I graduated, it was 2003. There was an economic crisis like the dot-com crash. I bartended throughout college. I threw everything in my car. I had a best friend of mine that was living in Monterey, California, which was fairly close to San Jose. I thought he would come live with me. I threw everything in my car. I drove up across the country to live with him. We lived in a one-bedroom place. I lived on a couch and then I got a job bartending at some places in Monterey. I bartended at Pebble Beach, which is pretty cool. I was looking for a programming job in San Jose, but I started making $100,000 a year bartending, working four days a week. It was a great time.
Bartending is the best. I bartended in college as well. Once you learn that skill, you can take it anywhere.
That’s where it led me to my path in the mortgage industry. That’s because a lot of the clientele from ‘03 to ’05, specifically 2004 and 2005, were all real estate agents and mortgage brokers. They were making a ton of money. There was one guy in particular that was making $500,000 a month that started a mortgage company with 1,800 employees and never graduated college. I was like, “If this guy can do it, I can do it.” That’s what got me excited about getting into the industry. My friend that I was living with was moving into the military. He was in the military. He was moving down to San Diego. I was like, “He’s my roommate. I’m going to go down there and start in mortgages.” That’s how I got into the business.
I know you do a lot of VA loans. That’s your path now. Did you instantly start doing VA? How did you get into VA?
The VA business was simply because the realtors that I was working with several years back were all former Marines and Navy. They hired a whole bunch of real estate agents that were all active or former military. They had a huge sphere that I started doing a lot of business with these two different top realtor teams that happened to be the number one and number two real estate agent teams in San Diego, and they were all military. They had military clients. The only reason why I started doing my VA business was simply from the people I was working with.
Sometimes when that happens, you think, “I’m so lucky.” What comes with luck is a lot of hard work. You’ve probably had a tough time making the transition from being a bartender. We talked on our pre-call about some difficult times you were having and how you had your back against the wall. Can you share with everyone what that looked like at the time? I’m sure there are a lot of people who are in this situation you probably were in at that time.
I was a young kid, so I was a little wild sometimes. When I go to a late party when I was up North before I moved to San Diego, everyone was buying me drinks. I drank way too much. I got a DUI, a 0.23 or something crazy. Unfortunately, I had drugs in my back pocket, so I got busted. My whole world collapsed and I had to do all kinds of stuff to get my record clean. It’s eighteen months of probation, drug tests, and all this stuff to get through that. I had my back against the wall. I didn’t have family or parents to fall back on. I worked two bartending jobs at night. I found a place that would hire me.
I had licensing issues initially, but they believed me and gave me an opportunity. I focused at work seven days a week because I had nothing else to do but go up. I got into the business on January 1st, 2006 as the market was crashing or about to. I didn’t have any business to lose. I didn’t develop all the bad habits that a lot of my competitors developed over that period of time. I prospected realtors. What I got taught is how to call realtors, prospect them, follow a script, and practice. That’s how I built my business back then.
It’s funny how we remember those initial scripts. I remember the first script I learned was, “This is Heath Barnes from Republic State Mortgage. I’m looking to align myself with some of the top agents here in Houston. I understand you’re one of the best. I would love to spend fifteen minutes with you to see whether or not you and I are a good fit.” What was your script?
I still remember it too. People should not be afraid of using scripts. Everything that people do is scripted. Usually, they have it memorized where they’ve said it so many times and then it becomes an internal script, but it’s always good to have a script to follow. Professional speakers, people at night shows or things like that are always reading off some type of teleprompter scripts.
If you notice Tony Robbins’s scripts, he uses the same stories. I tell my loan officers that I say the same thing to everyone all the time. You do the same thing.
The script I use is, “Heath, this is Scott Evans with Cross Country Mortgage. I like to align myself with top and active agents like yourself. I want to sit down with you for about 10 to 15 minutes to share with you how I can help you add even more transactions to your year in 2021. Heath, are you available Monday at 2:00, or does Tuesday at 3:00 work better for you?”
“I have a loan officer that I like.”
“I can totally appreciate the great relationship you already have but I’m curious, could you have more tools in your tool belt? I’m curious how many transactions that loan officer refer to you this past year?”
You can also say, “Do you need a reserve loan officer,” or something like that. The biggest issue most people have is the fear of rejection. If you call ten people, one of them is going to say yes. They never say no.
It’s all about the follow-up with people. Dealing with realtors is like dating. If you’re not calling that person, wooing them, asking them essentially on a date, and keep staying on top of them, you’re never going to get the date. It’s like going after a woman you want on a date. You got to continue to go after it. Eventually, the follow-up and tenacity will allow you to win them over.
A buddy of mine said, “Loan officers, it’s like you walk into a bar and there are supermodel models, and there are only a couple of guys there.” Your chances of connecting with someone are exponential. We’re about to enter a time where you go into a bar and there’s one supermodel, and there are 50 guys. That’s what it’s about to be in the mortgage business in good times. Besides the scripting, are there other techniques that you used early in your career that you found useful that our audience might be able to use?
It was always about trying to create value for the realtors. I would have a canned presentation that we would follow. My pitch on the phone is how long I am going to help you add additional transactions to your year. It’s like how I am going to help them create a business. I’m meeting with them. There are some markets that don’t hold open houses at the moment with COVID, but this is just an example. Let’s say someone does actively hold open houses. That’s their business model. That’s another thing too. You have to dive in like, what is their go-to? How are they generating business? Every day when they wake up, what is the number one way that business was coming to them? They’re talking to people and they’re used to saying some loan officer’s name. They’re creatures of habit. The whole goal is to create value to break them off of the lender that they’re currently working with and start using you. Heath, let’s pretend you’re the realtor, “Heath, you mentioned you hold open houses.”
“Yes, I do. Usually every weekend.”
“That’s almost 50 to 52 open houses a year.”
“At least if you’re calling Saturday and Sunday.”
“Around 100. How many prospective buyers would you say come walking through each one of those open houses?”
“It depends on the time of year, but I would say minimum 5, and max 12.”Follow-up and tenacity will eventually allow you to win prospective buyers over. Click To Tweet
“It could be anywhere from 500 to 1,200 prospective buyers in a given year. If you had a professional loan officer such as myself follow up with every single one of those open house attendees within 24 hours on their motivation and financial ability to buy a home in the next 60 to 90 days, what would that be?”
“That would blow up.” Tell me how that would work. Would you call as you and want to pre-approve them?
Yeah. I’ll go over the script in a second. I have the script right here. I’ll give you an example. “This is Scott Evans with Cross Country Mortgage. You stopped by the Heath Barnes listing on 123 Main Street. The seller would be happy to get your unbiased opinion of what you thought of the home. Do you have a few minutes for me?” I’m stroking someone’s ego and opinion. People like to give their opinion on things. That’s an easy way to get in.
You’re opening up by saying, “Would you be willing to give us some piece of advice?”
“When do you plan on moving?”
“The next couple of months.”
“On a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being poor and 10 being excellent, how would you rate the home on the following, condition, floor plan, price? Whatever type of information you want to gather. If you were to move, where would you go next?”
“Close to the area where that house was. I didn’t care for it. My wife didn’t like it that much.”
“When do you want to be there?”
“As soon as possible.”
“Are you interested in making an offer on that property?”
“Not that one, but I’m going to find the right one.”
“What price range did your bank or loan officer qualify you for?”
“We haven’t been qualified yet.”
“In today’s market, it’s more important than ever to know that you will unconditionally be able to get home financing. You will hear this call being pre-approved. Starting a pre-approval process only takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Let’s start the process now and end our conversation. By the end of our conversation, you’ll have the comfort of knowing exactly what you can buy and how much money you’ll need, fair enough?”
I’ve had this thing for ten years, but this is just an example. Back with the open house with the attendees, the whole goal though is you have to try to get them to quantify how many additional transactions. Even if they say 1 or 2 transactions, that’s still 1 or 2 transactions that you help them create. I would dive in and ask, “What is your average commission check?” A couple of thousands let’s say, just to keep the numbers simple. That’s an additional $10,000 to $20,000 just by aligning yourself with me today.
When you’re talking to the agent, most agents like us want to be in control. Brainstorming with that agent and asking the agent, “What questions would you like me to ask? How would you like me to go about this?” Even go as far as there’s a great app called Otter. Otter will not only record the phone conversation but also give you the text. You could record a few of the conversations to playback with the agent to ask her for feedback. What you’re doing is you’re showing her that you’re making those calls. When you do something like that, the simple task of following up with her clients is going to help strengthen that relationship. That’s how you started your business. You’re doing open houses and grinding it out, working seven days a week.
It’s 24/7. When you ask a lot of agents what they’re looking for in a lender, it’s communication, do what you say you’re going to do, close the transaction and speed. You’d be surprised at how many lenders are not even available after hours or on weekends. When they’re putting deals together after hours or at weekends, they need someone to be able to jump on top of that. That’s how I built my business, by just being available.
The drive that it takes in order to reach your level of success, I don’t see it in a lot of loan officers these days. Maybe I’m not around it. I’m curious, where did your drive come from to make yourself better? I see you all the time at Tony Robbins. You signed up for the platinum as I did. You have that same drive like me. I’m always at an event about every quarter doing something to move forward or re-energize myself. Where do you think that came from for you?
Where it came from was growing up. My dad was blind growing up as a kid. My mom worked all the time. She was the person that drove us around everywhere. She did everything. My dad wasn’t bringing income in. I connected to it like if you’re not making money and bringing in income, then you’re not a man. Looking back, that’s one of the things that probably shaped me, and not having a lot of money. It was the drive to go and do good at school and keep pushing forward. I had to have a lot of drive. That’s one of the things from growing up of maybe how I was created.
Was he blind from birth or did he develop it?
It’s a rare eye disease that deteriorated his eyes as he got older. Eventually, he lost his eyesight. He didn’t work the entire time. He was a stay-at-home dad.
What did your mom do?
She was a bookkeeper.
It sounds like you have a similar story to me. For me, it was seeing people who were connecting with other people who had money. Also, my dad lost his job when I was eighteen. It was one of the first times I saw him crying. His wife left a couple of weeks later. From that point on, it was like, “I’m going to make money.” You’ve taken that fuel and then you have reached the highest points in the mortgage business. Right now, you’re doing a lot of seminars. How did you get into the seminar business? For those that don’t know, Scott is known for doing these VA seminars. When he does them, he gets 100 or 200 people there. Tell me about that. How did you get into that?
I had these large accounts. I was the number one lender for them. I had them on lockdown. There was always a number two or number three other lenders, but the majority of business was always coming to us, 80%, 90% of the business. This guy figure it out and he started doing these home buying seminars. I tried to do a few home-buying seminars with the agents. In my first five seminars, not a single person showed up to the event. I gave up on it. I’m like, “This is screwed. This is a waste of time.” I would get all dressed up for the event and no one showed up.
This guy figured it out. He started doing these seminars with these accounts. All of a sudden, I realized the business that I was getting was from him not being able to handle all the amount of business that he was getting. Now it became the second position on these big accounts. That was the majority of a lot of my business. That gave me plenty of motivation and pain to figure this thing out. It took a year to truly figure out how to pack a room and fill the room and the marketing. I hired consultants from across the United States. Across the world, I was diving in and reading. Some of my Computer Science backgrounds helped out in figuring this stuff out.
I had enough pain to figure this out. I saw this guy is either going to create a team that’s going to be able to handle the business and then I’m now going to be screwed or I’m going to figure it out. I did not give up and I kept going after it. It has been three years since we’ve been doing it. It’s a value proposition. I have been able to go into different markets now. I do seminars in San Antonio, Texas. When COVID happened, I staffed up in November and December the year before COVID. No one steps up in November and December, but I knew how to create a business that I could rely on.
I was staffed up perfectly. We were doing it in January, February and March. In California, everything happened. Everything was closed down, and all the stuff that happened with rates. I transitioned my team to handle the refi business with all the VA business that I did. I was just cleaning up. Once everything opened up again across the US, California was still on lockdown, so I went and took the seminar to different markets. I went to San Antonio, Texas because that’s a big VA population.
I do VA seminars and traditional home buying seminars because there are some markets where you can’t do a VA seminar because there’s no VA business there. I do them in Phoenix, Arizona. I have done them in Vegas and Orlando. I tested it in Minnesota that winter. That’s why I enjoy doing the seminars. Now I have seminar speakers that literally do the speaking and the events. They travel because I was doing all the events myself, which my wife was going to kill me working for hours.
You started off doing the seminars yourself and then you hired speakers, and now you’re going to different markets. That’s a lot of business. How do you support all that business?
I’ve been able to put staff on them. I have eleven team members on the front end that handle loan apps. I got eight processors that help once they go into a contract to close. I got my seminar speakers. I have two seminar speakers now that will go and travel to different markets. Those people I also have as marketing reps. They might do the seminar, which they’re now in the power position at these events with the realtors that we’re working with. I’ll use that to go after big realtor accounts that have good buyer’s agents.
I’ll go whale hunting using the seminar as my value prop, but then I have those people calling the realtors during the week. That way, it gives them something to do because they’re speaking at night, and they’re still there during the day. I have them working four days a week. My team captain is handling the loan officers on the front end. I have a processing manager and an operations manager. It has been pretty cool what the Core has helped me create where I have a business that I can turn the dial on. That’s what I’m doing.
For the audience, the key here is he has created a lean system for real estate agents. No more real estate agents to get leads. You’re creating all these leads for real estate agents. It’s a leverage play for the agent. It’s incredible.
The main objective when we do a seminar is for them to fill out a loan application, which we have a paper app to set an appointment with the realtor. The reason we want to set an appointment with realtors is because people buy on emotion. We’re getting these people at the beginning stages. Once we have the applications and the paper apps, my team then processes the apps quickly. At the same time, the realtor is meeting with the client. We’re giving the realtor someone that’s actively filling out an application.When it comes to generating leads using the seminar model, marketing is a critical piece of the equation. Click To Tweet
The great thing is a realtor can get a glimpse of the quality of lead, income, assets and different things on the app. The whole goal for the realtors is to stay on top of that client and get them excited about buying a house. That gives the motivation for the client to continue to do the process of getting pre-approved. Our main objective is to get these people pre-approved quickly.
How many people are at the seminar?
50 to 100.
That’s incredible. You’ve cracked the code or the social media aspect of it. That’s the secret sauce. I’ve done seminars before.
That’s the secret sauce. People that are interested, I am for the right people. There are many markets where we could do this. I look at it as a technology that we’ve created. I don’t want it to go to waste. For people that are interested in partnering up, this would be something that is a value proposition for other people to utilize. Specifically, the market is shifting from the refi to purchase. This is a great way to gas-lit your business.
You could take it nationwide. What I hear you saying is you’re like, “I’m looking for loan officers who want to come to work.”
I’m looking for bigger teams that could be able to handle it because, for a one-off loan officer, there’s too much. You have 20, 30, and 40 applications in a given night. There are too many people. There are CCRs or Current Client Referrals that we get. We ask them, “Who do you know that would also benefit from the seminar?” You’ve got to remember that 50 to 100 people from the event are following up too. There are the follow-ups. This works well for people that are on bigger teams that have a little more support.
What advice would you give to those people who say, “That’s a good idea. I want to start doing seminars.” What are the 1 or 2 things that you think would be valuable for our audience to take with them besides the secret code that you’ve cracked?
Marketing is a critical piece of the equation.
Before you hired the speakers, you started doing the seminars first, so you can see how they were done and what to say. What’s the content that you’re giving them?
This is what I would do. When I’m doing a seminar, I go and be a fly in the wall and watch the whole thing in action and see it unfold. It was a scripted presentation that we wrote. I have people that never been in the mortgage business ever that I hired and trained them to then speak and teach people loans, which have never been in the business. Within four months, they’re now teaching and presenting to people as if they’re the expert, which is wild. They know enough to be dangerous because they had no idea how to do a loan, but they know enough about the guidelines, and what to teach and motivate people. It is like going to a Tony Robbins event for the seminars.
How was that?
People come to the event and they have no idea what they’re expecting. They get dragged there by their wife. A lot of times, it’s the women that have the initiative of finding the seminar. There are a lot of couples that come. We entertain them. They don’t anticipate having that much fun at the event with jokes. There are packets for people to follow along and fill in the blanks as they’re going to keep people engaged.
Have you thought about taking it online or do you want to keep it in person?
We did online when COVID happened. We created all the material and put it all online. There’s something different when people are taking the time to go after hours. We do the seminars on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday after work from 6:00 to 8:00. When people are taking the time to go to an event, they’re so much more motivated than plopping on a Zoom call or a webinar. The lead quality was totally different for whatever reason. The conversion wasn’t working. I tried different things. We liked the live events so much better.
I totally agree. When you can get someone to a live event, you’re going to enroll them. They’re going to sign up.
They took the time to come there. That’s hard for someone. If you think about it, people a lot of times are introverts. They’re taking the time to go after work to go to some event. You’ve got a motivated person right there.
What are some other markets that you’re looking at getting into that maybe some of our audience might want to engage your services?
For me, it’s bigger markets like Houston and Dallas, and bigger markets across the US. I was doing this because it’ll be more people to be able to present it. Ideally, there are those places that have both VA and traditional business too. It helps out because then you could do a back-to-back seminar. Your home buying seminar and then do a VA seminar.
What’s your vision for the seminars and what you’re doing?
My goal is I want to be having 100 seminars going on a month.
Crypto, how about that? I’m going to put you in that, then we’re going to show you how to put the extra money that you’re going to save in crypto and pay for your home in five years. I appreciate you being on and sharing a little bit of your story. I know you’re pressed for time and your time is valuable. We appreciate anytime we get to spend with you. I want to acknowledge you for your drive to succeed and your race to be number one. Also, your ability to give back to people. Every time I call you, you’re like, “You should check out this book. You should go to this next seminar.” You’re always giving great information to people. Being number one, people are a little standoffish. If they want to contact you, Scott, what’s the best way to get ahold of you?
Call me at 619–723-7289.
Best of luck. We only got two more months left in the year. It’s time to hammer it down and grind it out. Good luck, Scott. Congratulations. We’ll see you soon.
There you have another great episode. That’s it for this episode. Have a great week. We’ll talk next time.