IT IS ALWAYS EXCITING TO SPEAK WITH FORMER STUDENTS ABOUT THEIR experiences in the mortgage industry. Stuart Crawford was no exception. Thirteen years ago, Crawford launched his mortgage industry career after graduating in the top of his class from the XINNIX ORIGINATOR[TM] program.
Today he remains a leader as a top-producing branch manager with V.I.P. Mortgage Inc. in Scottsdale, Arizona. He has received recognition as Top Mortgage Professional in October 2015 by Phoenix magazine, winner of the Five Star Mortgage Professional award and member of V.I.P. Mortgage's President's Club. At the outset of my discussion with Crawford, it became clear that he has a true passion for his business and the industry.
Crawford's entry into the mortgage business began as a part-time job in college making calls for loan officers. After graduation, he transitioned to a different mortgage company that reached out to him. However, he quickly grew disenchanted with the industry at the time. "I quit that job because I didn't like the feel of the mortgage business--because that was a time when a lot of people were doing it, and they really weren't qualified to be giving people a lot of advice on such a big financial transaction," he says. "So I swore off the mortgage industry forever, which is ironic."
Not long after Crawford's exit, one of his contacts asked him to interview for a different opportunity in the industry, and over the course of six interviews with a single organization, he was back in. "To go through six different interviews ... I mean, that was unheard of in that time, and that was just [the sign of] a different kind of company. I started there, and that's where I really started my mortgage career," he says.
Being a different kind of company perfectly sums up Crawford's approach to business, which is 100 percent referral-based. About 50 percent of his business comes from past clients and others who have touched his organization, and the other half is Realtor[R]-based.
One of the lessons we teach at XINNIX is to build strategic relationships with a key group of referral partners. Although Crawford works with more than 50 agent teams, he works closely with a group of 15 core agents or agent teams.
I was curious to learn more about how he and his team differentiate themselves from competitors, so I asked Crawford if he leveraged any unique marketing ideas to generate leads. "I would say [our marketing efforts] are very...