A career in sales doesn’t get any grittier than hustling Electrolux vacuum cleaners door-to-door. If you can succeed there, you can succeed anywhere. Hammer Helmer is a perfect example. He parlayed his vacuum experience to mortgage origination success and then to life as a mortgage executive before creating a company which helps originators succeed. That path—20 years in the making—is the culmination of his many successes and setbacks in the industry.
From selling in-home to selling homes
Back in 2000, when Helmer was selling the fabled Electrolux machines, he was also looking for a loan originator to help him with the purchase of his condo. His relationship with the first LO he began working with didn’t work out well, but luckily another one stepped in to help him, eventually working on a second home purchase. It was during this second transaction when Helmer’s life would change.
“He was looking at my paystubs and he said, ‘man, you’re making less money.’ And I said, ‘oh, they put me on a new comp plan. I have to work twice as hard and I make half as much,’” Helmer recalls.
After closing the loan, the LO, Mike Spinetta, offered Helmer a job originating mortgages. He accepted the job and did for the next 10 years, he changed companies five times, staying with Spinetta for most of that period.
In 2010, he took a position as director of business development for a mortgage company, First Priority Financial, that also owned ratealert.com. In addition to managing 300 LOs, the owner also wanted Helmer to help him grow his new digital business.
“This is where I cut my teeth on digital marketing with the idea that I would help him take ratealert.com and launch it,” he says.
Working for ratealert.com made him realize the potential of the Internet for the mortgage industry in general and originators in particular. Having a website was no longer just a thing that was cool, it was also becoming a way to generate business for anyone willing to learn and get their hands dirty.
“I watched this evolution in the early part of 2010 going into the rest of that decade where as originators, we were starting to get business from people finding us online,” Hemler says.
The evolution of OriginatorSuccess
With his mortgage sales experience and the knowledge he gained from launching ratealert.com, Helmer jumped ship and created a new venture called OriginatorSuccess. The company started as a training company with Helmer teaching originators how to market online. His first five clients paid him $5,000 each, for eight webinars, but by the third week, none of them had done any of the work. He knew this wasn’t a good business model because if his clients weren’t getting results, his company wouldn’t last.
Enter the first evolution: lead funnel automation.
This meant Helmer set up landing pages for his customers and provided them with pre-prepared Facebook ads to run. It was also during the online ad heyday when ads didn’t need to be great, but you could still produce 40% lead conversion rates, says Helmer.
But, soon he realized there were other problems.
A large percentage of Helmer’s clients wouldn’t run the ads he provided for them. He couldn’t make them do things, he could offer more services—things he could control—to help make them successful. Again, Helmer evolved.
“What we noticed was that most mortgage companies had not pivoted to mobile optimized websites. They didn’t have websites that looked good on the phone,” he says.
Because mobile phone usage was exploding, Helmer started offering free websites as part of his package of services. Soon, the websites started converting better than the funnels.
It was then that another piece of his current business formula entered his sphere—in the form of mortgage marketing coach Doren Aldana. Aldana wanted him to be an affiliate partner for a customer review system. Helmer was sold on getting his clients reviews but not necessarily on the idea of working with Aldana.
The 3-step formula
Fast forward to today’s OrginatorSuccess, which is a culmination of all the trials and successes of the previous years boiled down to a simple formula—one that comprises just three steps. Helmer calls this system getting “passive results.” He says your best resource connection as an originator is the Internet even if you aren’t particularly active on it.
“If you’re an originator out there, you have to have a Google My Business presence,” Helmer says, referring to the company’s business profile tool and part of the first step. “That is the foundation of being found on Google.”
Getting found online also means using the magnitude of Facebook and LinkedIn for the best SEO push to your site, which involves optimizing for search. These “breadcrumbs”, as Helmer calls them, bring everyone to your website, the second part of the formula. Once people land on your site, it’s your chance to put your sales hat on to convert them into contacts even without talking to them.
“What really works for organic traffic is having a lot of reviews and having a lot of that positive story on your website,” Helmer says. “The best thing to do is let your consumers do the talking.”
Acquiring lots of reviews isn’t easy so that’s where Helmer and his team come into the picture. They help their clients not only collect the reviews from clients and partners, but they also share them on sites like Zillow, Google, and Facebook.
The third step is to have a system in place—like Whiteboard CRM—for staying in touch with customers, partners, and contacts automatically. This means building new relationships and maintaining existing ones using channels such as text, email, and social. And it’s a lesson learned from the early days when Helmer struggled to get his originator clients to put some skin in the game (i.e. do some work).
“What I love about what we do is even when a client says to me, ‘Hammer, I don’t log in, I’m not using it.’ I say ‘well what aren’t you using? We’re doing all the work for you,’” Helmer says with a smile.
If you’re interested in getting in touch with Helmer, he’s always looking for new people to work with and you can reach him by going to the OriginatorSuccess website and scheduling a demo..
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