Success means knowing you don’t know it all

Top originator Mark Fisher says the secret to success is hard work – and a willingness to constantly learn from other originators

Success means knowing you don’t know it all
Mark Fisher is not yet out of his 20s, but he’s already a force to be reckoned with in the mortgage industry. A loan originator with United Northern Mortgage Bankers, Fisher has consistently grown his business by 70% year-over-year since entering the industry in 2011. In a wide-ranging conversation, MPA chatted with Fisher about how he got into the business, where he sees the industry heading – and the secret of his success.

MPA: How did you end up in the mortgage industry?
MARK FISHER: I had just recently graduated from the Fordham University College of Business, and I was in the job market trying to figure things out. I had a friend of a friend who was in the mortgage business, and he put a post on Facebook. My friend basically referred the message that they were hiring, and that’s how I got introduced to the mortgage business. From there I shadowed him for a few months and realized it was the type of business I wanted to be involved in, so I worked on getting my license. I got my license approved in September or October of 2011.

MPA: What appealed to you about the business? How did you decide this was the career for you?
FISHER: I personally like the entrepreneurial nature of the business. I like not having a firm corporate structure where someone tells you what to do, and in order to reach a certain goal you have to have tenure or something like that. I like being able to run it as a business, and I also like the ability to make a difference in people’s lives – especially those people who can’t just walk into a bank and get approved right away.

MPA: You’ve been very successful at building your business since you got into the industry. Is now a good time for the mortgage space?
FISHER: I think it’s a strong market right now. From the originator’s perspective, it’s a good time to be in the business. I think that people underestimate, though, what it takes to be successful. I was mentoring someone for a bit, and they just expected stuff to happen too quickly. I think that it’s something that is very attainable – it’s very easy to make a six-figure income in this business. But you have to be willing to put in the time and build relationships.

MPA: That brings up a good point. What advice would you give to young originators just starting out in the business?
FISHER: There’s no magic formula. I used to try to find a magic formula when I first started in the business, but there is none. I think it’s relationships – that’s what it comes down to. All of my business comes from my relationships with realtor partners, attorneys, past clients. Maintaining your reputation and being someone that people can rely on – to tell the truth and to do what you say you’re going to do – is very important. It’s the key to success in this business.
I think that it’s very important to be good at being an originator – to know all the guidelines and laws and things like that – but it’s even more important to know how to market yourself, how to get yourself out there and grow your business. You could be the best originator as far as knowledge, but you could also be the most broke. So I think it’s very important to do your job well, but also to focus on marketing. In my eyes, I do marketing. I’m a marketing person; that’s how I get more business. Even though I’m very good at doing mortgages, my main responsibility is marketing.

MPA: Where would you say most of your business comes from?
FISHER: If you were to break down my business, I’d say my biggest segment is first-time homebuyers. They need you to walk them through it. If I get a question at 10 o’clock at night by email, I try my best to respond. That just gives them peace of mind, so they can go to sleep knowing that everything’s okay. Whatever the issue is, they know that I’m there to walk them through to the end – and even afterward, because it’s a relationship.

MPA: If you had to boil it down, what would you say is the secret of your success?
FISHER: What I’ve done to become successful in this business is shadow mentors and read about top originators. If you want to really be at the best level you can be at, you want to follow the people that are already there. That’s something that I’ve always believed in, from early on. Even to this day – I’ve closed over 100 transactions so far this year, and I’m probably going to end up around 140 – I still want to follow those people who are doing much more than I am. I think it’s very important to not think you know it all, to be open to new ideas. You really have to put in the time. You may not see all the results right away, but if you put in the time to build your business and you do all the right things, success will come.