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Dreaming about living in a beach house is awesome, but making it happen is even better. 

Toni Taylor grew up in a small town in Michigan. She wanted a beach house. So, with her lower-middle class upbringing, all she had were her values and work ethic when she moved to Florida.

Taking her first job at age 19, Toni got into the mortgage industry. It was not easy for her. She learned from the “School of Hard Knocks.”

Today, she is a multi-million dollar mortgage loan officer. She has built several businesses and continues to grow. Today, she runs her business from the beach house she always dreamed of.

In this episode, Toni reveals how to build systems and grow your loan business, so you achieve your dreams just like she did.

Show highlights include:

  • How creating detailed systems for your loan business keeps your clients happy (4:05)
  • Why knowing “boring” underwriting knowledge puts smiles on your clients faces (6:23)
  • The “National Association of Mortgage Processing Bootcamp” method that teaches your team members to ask confident questions that gives your clients a better loan experience (7:04)
  • Why hiring people to run your systems (and keep building them) in place multiplies the number of loans you write (16:42)

Want to get your questions answered live? Head to MLOlive.com and discover how you could become a Millionaire Loan Officer!

Read Full Transcript

Welcome to The Millionaire Loan Officer podcast with your host, Scott Hudspeth sharing tools, tips and strategies so that you can go from a mortgage loan officer to a millionaire loan officer. It's your host, Scott Hudspeth.

Scotty: All right. Hello everybody, this is Scott Hudspeth with Millionaire Loan Officer, where we take mortgage loan officers and turn them into millionaire loan officers. And I'm super excited to have my dear friend one and only can't believe I'm going to say this, Toni Taylor, my dear friend, who I've known for so long, we've become great friends. And now we've even done some business together and she's joining us on the one-offs for breakfast club. I'm excited to share her story with you because it's an epic one. Toni, how you doing? [0:55.6]

Toni: I'm good, man. I'm so happy to be here with you, Scotty. I've been looking forward to this since we got it on the calendar. I'm like, I get the hang out with Hudspeth, let’s do this.

Scotty: I just took out my whole calendar, I just blocked off my whole calendar today. I'm like, dude, Toni's on the calendar. So, like I need to rest up cause I'm gonna need some energy. And so, Toni, you've had an epic run from the day I met you to today. I mean, I want to share what we just talked about and some of the best stuff happens before I hit record. You know? So, I want to, if you're okay with it.

Toni: Yeah.

Scotty: Share with everybody what you just talked about before cause that's uber exciting.

Toni: Yeah, I was saying you know, I wanted to get on the water for a while. And so, I bought another property on the west coast of Florida and was able to get on an inter-coastal. I have no bridges, I could put a sailboat behind my house on 30 minutes by boat to stay Annabel and, and pine island and, and Captiva and all that good stuff. So super excited to have added that to the portfolio if you will. [1:50.5]

Scotty: And she says it….so, I just added a lake house to my portfolio. It's pretty cool. I'm excited. It's pretty cool. So, Toni share with the world who Toni Taylor is. Like, tell us when you got in, where you're from, like where are you located at and. For starters.

Toni: Yeah, so, you know, 50 shades of messed up over here.

Scotty: You just went dark. We're going to have the most views of ever on this. I'm calling it 50 shades of what you just said. That’s what I’m saying.

Toni: I have another name for it, but I'm trying to keep it kinky.

Scotty: Okay, okay. I love it.

Toni: Yeah. You know what? I grew up in Michigan really, really small town and people say small town, less than a thousand people in my hometown. So now I think that the last time I checked it was like nine something and they included some cows in that that head count. So super small, came to Florida when I was 19 years old, but a really had a typical, lower middle-class working really hard-working parents. But I grew up in the school of hard knocks. There was college, who's not part of the conversation. So, it was a start working when I was 13 years old. And you know, really just have been on my own since I was very young. And you know, certainly when I left home at 17, never went back, got into mortgages when I was 19 years old, kind of almost accidentally and did wholesale until the meltdown in 2008. And then in 2008 transitioned into retail, which God, I wish I would have been retail for the 2000 to 2008. [3:15.9]

Scotty: Oh my God, right? You missed it

Toni: Yeah.

Scotty: You know what, maybe it was a blessing that you weren't, who knows.

Toni: It's okay. You know, it worked out like the knowledge that I got running the hotel operations and being in that sector of the business was really valuable. It definitely has made an impact and helps me do what I do today from a team standpoint and organizational and just all the way around. So, it's got its upside, but coming from that kind of a background, oh, well conservative financially, so I was a saver. I probably would have done all right. I have been doing retail back in that time.

Scotty: Yeah. So, you are from what I know of you, you're very detail oriented. You kind of don't fit the, I mean, you're amazing at sales and I think you don't give yourself enough credit, but you're uber detailed as well. So, your systems are dialed in. Everything you do is just perfecto almost to the point where it's, I think my theory is shoot fire aim. You're kind of like, I'm going to get it dialed in and then shoot, right? [4:06.1]

Toni: Yeah. It costs me, that costs me sometimes because I am a little bit slower to do things. But you know, the funny part is what people, if you spend a lot of time with me, day in and day out, you'll find out that I'm actually not a detail person. And people draw that conclusion, but what I am is I'm a people pleaser and I don't like people to be upset with me.

Scotty: Hmm.

Toni: So, by dialing in the systems that helps me stay in a proactive position, which keeps me in the good graces and in the space where people love on me instead of being upset with me. So, it really is a compensating behavior. It's not a natural behavior at all.

Scotty: I love it.

Toni: So, I really have to make a big effort to make sure those T's are crossed and those I's are dotted because it does not come naturally for me.

Scotty: Excellent. So, your saving grace is systems which have been put in place is what I'm hearing is you say is my systems allow me to create a referrable experience and amazing experience for my client, which is protection for me so that it doesn't get have chaos. [5:02.0]

Toni: Yeah. You know, I had a conversation this morning with a group of people and they're constantly doing damage control. I don't have that with my team. Very, very rarely do we have a situation and when it does happen, it's almost always something that could, was just completely outside of the scope of our control. So, we do a really good job at asking the right questions and I drill into these guys. I'm like, there is a reason and a method to my madness for every single step we take here. And it is to keep all of us in the space for people love on us and not think that we didn't do our job. That proactive position sets everything up for smoothness all the way across. Now you spend a lot of time, you know, this is a fine, it's a balancing act, cause I do recognize that this cost me some time in some spaces, but my reputation as a result of this is really impeccable in the business.

Scotty: Yeah.

Toni: And that's, what's helping me, you know, as I get longer and longer into the business, and because of the freedom club, all the systems from a marketing to the past database and staying on top of people helps that flourish even better because people will have remembered us in a positive light and not, I'm not having to overcome adversity or bad experiences. [6:07.3]

Scotty: I love it. Is it more communication-based or is it more like, what is it like knowing what you know now and what you've put in place, which is so masterful? What is it that you would share with somebody that okay, if you do this, you'll just have better experience with your clients and your realtor partners?

Toni: Yes.

Scotty: How would you go about that.

Toni: So, it's really underwriting knowledge. It's huge because the more underwriting knowledge you have, you know, the questions to ask, and this is the big one, right? Is that you actually hear the things that were never said.

Scotty: Hmm.

Toni: And you know, so when you're talking to somebody, if you have enough underwriting knowledge and they say something, it raises a flag for you. So, all of a sudden, you're like, Ooh, I gotta dig into that. I can't just gloss over, ignore that because there could be a can of worms in there that if I don't uncover now is going to be a problem for me later. So, it really helps us get into that proactive stance on the front end, by having that underwriting knowledge and understanding. And I invest a lot of money and training into my team. They don't rely on me for the underwriting training at this point, they've been through the courses, I send them, I utilize everything that I can internally and externally to get them richer and richer. And, and here's the great, by-product, the more confident they are, which comes from that knowledge and that certainty the better the experiences for the client and the clients sense their competence.

Scotty: Hmm.

Toni: Which extends the sales experience. [7:27.3]

Scotty: Wow. So, my next question would be, does one of your team members take the application to here for those cues? Or are you still taking applications to hear for those cues?

Toni: I don't take any applications at this time.

Scotty: Oh Okay.

Toni: Yeah.

Scotty: Zero, zup, zatta. I love it.

Toni: My team is.

Scotty: So proud of you.

Toni: Listen, it's been a road, you know, you've been alongside of me. It's been a road and it took a lot for me to let go of those things.

Scotty: Yeah.

Toni: And it took a lot for me to get over my own ego and to step into the trust that these guys have my back, they've got me, they would take a bullet for me and they understand the importance. And you know, the truth is their personalities are very much like mine. They'd rather spend their time in the spaces where people are loving on them versus having to unravel problems because they did a shoddy job on something.

Scotty: You know, I hate to say this, but this might be the first time that I've ever heard this. When it comes to educating the people that are actually taking your applications or processing your files or loan offers assistant that is talking to clients. But I mean, where do you send them to for training on something like that? [8:28.1]

Toni: Yeah, so I love the national association of mortgage processing.

Scotty: Okay.

Toni: They have both a boot camp for underwriting and processing.

Scotty: Wow.

Toni: And those are two great sources. I'm a broker, so I have access through some of my investors to take advantage of some of those relationships and they get some training there. I utilize Irene and Ken. Their Wow Training and success training. And those aren't guidelines, those are more customer service type things.

Scotty: Yeah.

Toni: But they just enhance, right? And so, they've heard it from me. We talk about it, tremendous volume when we're and onboarding somebody. And then I send them to these outside sources and it just starts to anchor it in. It's the repetition, it's hearing it from different places. It's giving them the exposure and then when we do have anything that's unique, we share that collectively. I coach my team every single week. My coach, my salespeople separate from my internal staff. Sometimes we do collective meetings and I do that because that's an opportunity for everybody to hear it at the same time, in the same way. [9:21.1]

Scotty: Interesting.

Toni: And we can share those stories and you know, something that always frustrated me is it's, if something happens in our organization and you don't share the learning opportunity with the rest of your organization, shame on you. Because why should everybody have to trip over it, to learn from it? Let's learn off of the other mistakes that somebody made. They're not, you know, look, people make mistakes. I love the example. And I don't remember exactly who the story is, but I think it was a Microsoft situation where somebody costs one of these big fortune 500 companies, a massive amount of money. And they're like, are you going to fire me? And he's like, are you kidding me? I just invested a fortune in you.

Scotty: Yeah.

Toni: It's kind of that same concept, right? Like if I have somebody that's repeating the problem, we're having a different conversation. But when somebody is making a mistake, you know, my goal is to turn that lemon into lemonade and okay, you're never going to make it again.

Scotty: Yeah.

Toni: Because you saw the pain associated with it. And how can we make sure that everybody else in the team can understand the magnitude of this, understand how to avoid it and to operate in the future, to prevent it from happening to somebody else in the, in the organization.

Scotty: I love it. This is amazing. So do you role play cause you're more sales, they're more operations. Do you role play with them or any way, shape or form to bring that together when it comes to? [10:31.1]

Toni: Not enough, not enough.

Scotty: Okay. Okay.

Toni: I should do more role playing with them. I struggle with that. If somebody else is leading, it it's awkward for me. If I'm leading it, it's awkward for me, but I should do more of it. It would definitely help my people. We do talk about the scripts a lot. You know, the scripts are very intentional, right? And they help keep focus. And we talked about this this morning on the call. It was either today or yesterday. And I think that your choice of words are really important when we're asking for referrals. Being direct is really critical. People think that when they passively say will you send me somebody, if they're not direct enough, the message may not land the way you think it landed.

Scotty: Yeah.

Toni: And so, take the guesswork out. Don't have it be cloudy or vague at all. Be very direct and very specific about what your question is.

Scotty: Beautiful. And I know you've had a ton of employees knowing what you know now who would be your first hire? Like if everybody left, start over from scratch, which I know you've done, who's your first hire?

Toni: Loan partner.

Scotty: Loan partner.

Toni: Yeah. Loan partner. [11:23.6]

Scotty: And you brought it up and so I'll just let you know the ego part. I think ego, what is it? Leaders Eat Last, it's a great book.

Toni: Yeah.

Scotty: If you haven't read it, from Simon Sinek. Tell me a little bit about like, what does that mean? Because I think a lot of people can learn from this when you let go check it at the door, right? And you let other people have the, I mean, cause obviously they're taking applications. You don't even know about it. You probably have closings that take place where you've never talked to the client. And I think correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that's where some of us get our significance from. Do you agree?

Toni: Yeah. A 100%.

Scotty: Yeah.

Toni: And that's exactly it, tight. And I, that when we don't let go, it's because we're getting some type of internal validation. We think.

Scotty: Right.

Toni: It's a perceived validation. You know, at the end of the day, you've got to fill those things up internally. They don't come from your external.

Scotty: Yeah.

Toni: So, if you're finding that you need those things to feel like you were a value to yourself, then you got to check yourself. When you start to get that value internally, those things are just external issues that need to be dealt with. And they don't have to be you that deal with them. [12:21.3]

Scotty: So is it, cause a lot of people I talked to, a lot of people say, man, I just haven't had the right person. Is it that? Or is that their ego talking? Not wanting to let go of that? Or what was it for you that was allowed you to let go to the right person? Was it the right person or was it the training of the right person? Or like what was it for you, you think? [12:37.9]

Toni: It was a cocktail effect. I think it was fear made me hold on. And then I think part of it was that I just grew at a pace where I had no choice. I had to run the company. And so, it almost became like one way or another. You're going to sink here, so you better figure out which lane you belong in.

Scotty: Hmm.

Toni: And what's really going to help these people on a bigger scope than you jumping into a transaction. And I watch it now, and it's funny because my pipeline's a little softer right now than I care for it to be we're working on that. But my habit has been habitually that right now I would dive in and start calling some people. And the problem with that is if I start calling people then 30, 60, 90 days from now, I'm not doing the things that I need to do to grow us, because now I'm servicing or fulfilling or massaging or whatever it is to keep those people that I started that initiation with happy, because I think I need to be right?

Scotty: Yeah, right.

Toni: Not because it's true. Cause, I dialed in and believed I was the only one that could make it happen.

Scotty: Yeah.

Toni: So now instead I'm like, okay, it's time to go recruit. I need some more salespeople. I need to do some more marketing efforts. And I need to stay in this lane. And I need to make sure that my people have the tools and resources to be efficient and to pull the results out and hold them accountable for their job to sell.

Scotty: Absolutely.

Toni: You know, they're fulfilling these transactions, but it's their job to extract more business out of these relationships that we currently have engaged. [13:53.9]

Scotty: Well, I think a broken leg has a little bit to do with it. I'm just throwing it out there. Maybe. I don't know.

Toni: Pulling me down a little bit.

Scotty: Take your mind off the game a little bit. I don't know, like maybe. So, Toni doesn't take applications. She doesn't babysit her loans, which you have no idea, I'm so proud of you. It's just unbelievable to hear that. What does Toni do?

Toni: Yeah. Toni runs the company. You know, look, I broke the leg, it's been a little over two weeks ago now. And I came back to work the day at, well, I broke it on a Friday. Monday. I was at the office, I shouldn't say at the office cause I can't drive I'm on lockdown, but I did show up that week and I was actually supposed to go on vacation the following Friday.

Scotty: Hmm.

Toni: And my significant other said, look, you've had vacation slated. I think you should just take it.

Scotty: Oh.

Toni: And I said, you know what? I'm going to. So, I had literally just come back into town, being gone for eight days was going to be in the office for four and then gone again for six days. And I said, I'm going to take the vacation. And I needed it. Like my head was not really great. I was dealing with a leg. I am dealing with a broken, I was a little cranky. [14:53.5]

Scotty: Yeah, to say the least.

Toni: But I could never have done that five years ago. There's no way I could have done it. So, my team is doing it. You know, I didn't just shut down. I worked on the backend on some marketing things. I launched some strategies that I've been working with. I knocked out my continuing ed, cause I'm just not the girl that can lay on the couch and watch some television endlessly, that's just not who I am.

Scotty: Yeah.

Toni: But it was good to know that the team handled it. And frankly, they were pretty grateful cause I'm sure they didn't want me being cranky, being like, you know, you should take a day off. You seem a little on edge.

Scotty: So you hear that once in a while, right? We all do.

Toni: Yeah, we all do. Yeah, so that's what I did.

Scotty: So.

Toni: So, I run the company. I look for new ways to build business and to help these guys do things better and to make the systems even better than they already are.

Scotty: Awesome. So, you don't take the applications like you have your whole team in place. What's next for Toni? Like what's next? [15:42.0]

Toni: Yeah. I'm going to try to double production. And my goal is I'm going to double production, you know, between now and the end of the year is what I'm aiming for. So, we've been pushing between 25 and 30 deals a month. And I want to get us up to two between 50 and 60.

Scotty: Wow.

Toni: And that's going to require me to hire some more people out on the street. It's going to be demanding a little bit more out of the people that are inside. And so, I'm just going to continue to do that and, and you know, no matter how good we get with our systems and I can tell you like our systems are pretty good, but I could do a lot of work on them that just never ends. And I think in this business, especially, they don't take anything away from us in terms of responsibilities or requirements. They just seem to add more to us. So, finding ways to help my team be more efficient and making sure that my people are spending time commeasured with their salaries as well. So that if I have them doing really low level, I hate to use that word. Cause everything, we do is so important.

Scotty: Yeah.

Toni: But if I have them doing things, they're more clerical in nature and they're really a more high-level person, I need to find another person to take care of those low-level functions at the right commeasured salary for this position. [16:44.0]

Scotty: Love it. Unbelievable Toni, what you've done. 25- 30 a month, I think it wasn't three years ago, you weren't even half of that. I don't believe.

Toni: Hmm…hmm.

Scotty: You were probably trying to hit double digits, if I'm not mistaken.

Toni: I was trying to hit 10.

Scotty: Gonna hit 10.

Toni: You know, I was consistently, you know, three years ago I came off a partnership dissolution and I had to start over again. So, I went from a pretty sizable team and I walked out with two people and built it again.

Scotty: Yeah.

Toni: And now we have 12 people and three contract processors.

Scotty: Wow.

Toni: So, it's, it's going.

Scotty: Three for three. So next year will be like four years four like three, it's been three years to do triple everything, so. Literally you tripled everything. So, congratulations.

Toni: Thanks.

Scotty: What do you think it was like for somebody that's stuck at that, man, I can't that double digit, can't that double. Like what is it? Oh, it's killing me. And I hear it all the time, right? Is it not setting my goals high enough? What is it that you think allowed you to go just literally blow through 10? Cause you were forever trying to hit that now you're like trying to go out and aim for 50. What was it? [17:40.6]

Toni: Yeah, it has nothing to do with anything other than I had to believe I was worth it. I didn't believe it.

Scotty: That gave me chills. Whoa.

Toni: I didn't believe it.

Scotty: You didn’t believe you're worthy?

Toni: Yeah so.

Scotty: Tell me about that. Like tell me more about that. What does that mean? I know it's deep, I know.

Toni: Well look, I mean, it's you and I have shared some things and it's at the end of the day, everything that we're dealing with, the biggest thing you got to work on is this stuff between your ears. And when you start to work on those things and you get healthier in those spaces that spills into every part of your life. And something that's really common that I see happen all the time is people are bumping up a plateau up against the plateau because there's some piece of them that just doesn't believe. And they they're not even consciously level, you know, aware of it. It's an unconscious awareness. They don't know. Right, it's a blind spot. So, you just start getting healthier. And, and I've been immersed in a lot of work and a lot of personal development for a long time. And it's just been a cumulative cocktail effect of that work, paying off and showing up. [18:35.4]

Scotty: Hmm…I couldn't have said it better myself. That's it's one thing to admit it, right. That, Hey, you know, I don't feel like I'm worthy. It's second thing to go, Yeah, I am. Yeah. I'm so worthy of this and I'm still worthy of whatever life gives me and you've just taken it to a whole another level, and you're lighting candles. You're inspiring people. I can't thank you enough for the friendship that we have. It's just, it's been amazing. So, thank you so much. Are you gonna be okay?

Toni: Yeah, man I love you.

Scotty: Is that like. I love you too my friend. Oh you do.

Toni: No, it’s great. Yeah, no. I love you man. It's the people that have been surrounding me, but have been a huge part of that. I mean, when you're in a room of 250-300 people and everybody's just trying to be better. And you know, the truth is, you know, let's be honest. There's a lot of people in that room that are aware, they've got some challenges and there's some people that are just fighting through the technicality of their life. It's not in the technicality. It really is internal and when you start to get those things, right, things to start and it's never, it never ends.

Scotty: Yeah.

Toni: It doesn't matter where you're at. You're right where you belong, just go to work on it and be aware and just, you're just tightening those awareness’s constantly. So, you can uncover more and more and be intentional instead of letting things run underneath the current. [19:37.1]

Scotty: Maybe I'll call this 50 shades of mindset.

Toni: I love it.

Scotty: Yeah right. All right, Toni, thank you so much for your time.

Toni: I love you.

Scotty: I'm so glad, you're okay.

Toni: Thank you.

Scotty: I love you too. Appreciate you. Can’t wait to see you at the next event. Toni, if somebody wanted to reach out and I don't want to flood your phone, I don't wanna give you a phone number, but if somebody wanted, I guess, join us on the breakfast club, man.

Toni: Yeah.

Scotty: You been hanging out there with us, right? So loanofficerbreakfastclub.com

Toni: Yeah, I am. It's a good group of people. Why would I not?

Scotty: Amen. Amen. So, if you're not hanging out, we had 140 on Monday. Believe it or not. So just an amazing group. Everybody's givers, they're sharing, what's working. People like Toni are there. It's just unbelievable. So Toni, thank you so much for your time.

Toni: Thank you.

Scotty: I'm so glad you're okay. I'm sure your leg will be back to better than it was. You know, we can with 25- 30 loans a month, you can buy a bionic one, right? I mean like I'm sure that was a conversation.

Toni: That expression, I'm the one-legged man in ass kicking contest is now officially true.

Scotty: There you go, there you go. I love it. All right guys, thanks for listening to another episode of Millionaire Loan Officer powered by Mortgage Marketing Animals. Super excited to be a part of your life, honored to be part of your life. And if you have any questions, find me on the web or join us at loanofficerbreakfastclub.com. Appreciate you guys. We'll see you on the next episode. Take care everybody. [20:46.9]

I'm a Millionaire Loan Officer.

Thank you for tuning into the Millionaire Loan Officer podcast with your host Scott Hudspeth, don't forget to visit MLOlive.com to have your questions answered. See you next time. [21:06.7]

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