Kelly Yale from Intent Marketing sat down with mortgage coach Jenny Stoner for a lighthearted, insightful conversation on the mortgage business/industry. We share the transcripts below. Want to watch the video? Scroll on down!
0:00:07.8 Kelly: Hey, everybody, this is Kelly from Intent. And I’m so delighted today to introduce you to Jenny Stoner who has not only been a dear friend of mine for almost a decade now but is truly an inspirational, just an inspirational human and inspirational coach for mortgage originators. And she has such a fascinating story about how she became a coach. And I’m just so delighted to welcome her. Jenny, thank you so much for joining us today.
0:00:36.4 Jenny Stoner: Thanks, friend. Thanks for having me.
0:00:38.4 Kelly: Can you tell me and tell us all a little bit about the journey of your career to this day?[chuckle]
0:00:46.2 JS: Yeah. So I started in the mortgage business in 1997, one day after I graduated from college, so like, as soon as I was an adult, I started doing mortgages. And I started in ops, started processing, led a processing team, and have been in mortgages ever since, with the exception of a few years where I went to go handle the finances for my church. When I came back to the business after that small stint, I decided to originate. So I’ve been originating loans since about 2000. And I did it wrong for a long time. [chuckle] I let the stress of the business get to me. That’s just the truth. It became my life, it began to run my life. And it wore me out. And over the course of that time, I developed rheumatoid arthritis, which kind of just took me down and I realized at that point something had to change. And so I had probably worked at five or six companies over in my mortgage career, all which taught me great things, and I’m very grateful for. But it wasn’t until about four years ago that I started seeking out professional help, that things really started to change for me. So I went from stressed out and chaotic to calm, cool, and collected. And it changed everything for me. So, yeah.
0:02:16.7 Kelly: I think it was an interesting thing to watch too. Because obviously, I knew you at the time, we worked together, and to see that transition even happen in you was so beautiful to watch that experience. You had always had such a heart for people and for helping people and for making… For your realtors, you were really the first person who said, “I am going to make these realtors a family, okay?” These are gonna be…
0:02:41.8 JS: Oh, they were. Yeah, I loved my agents. Brunches at my house, it was a great opportunity for me. I’m a lover of people, it’s just who I am. And so it was a great opportunity for me to take my business into my personal life and become a lover of my agents. So yeah.
0:03:00.0 Kelly: So for most… I think for most mortgage originators when they hear, all of my realtors are friends with one another. And we’re a tribe and we hang out on Facebook groups, and they come to my house for brunch, they’re like, “That seems crazy strange.” Right?
0:03:13.4 JS: Yeah. But it was natural for me because we set up an environment where they could be colleagues. They were from different brokerages, they were from different areas of town, and it was a safe place for them to come together and just talk about challenges and things that were working for them. And we would kind of present it as, “Tell us a challenge you’re going through and let the group help you.” It became a family. It really did.
0:03:47.5 Kelly: I was lucky enough to attend some of those brunches and I think what was always really meaningful to me was that this was a… I think when you’re… Most of the time it was females. And I feel like so often we all feel alone in our struggles. So like, I’m the only realtor who’s going through this. I’m the only loan officer going through this. And then you sit in a room full of very capable, intelligent humans, who say, “Gosh, I’m having that same problem.” And if it just… It’s so nice to have that camaraderie.
0:04:18.9 JS: Yeah, people wanna go there. They just need somebody to facilitate an environment to do that and invite them into that. And it was a beautiful thing for several years.
0:04:29.7 Kelly: Well, you currently are a coach, tell me about two things I’m interested in. One, the impact that coaching had on your career, and then what made you take a look at it and go, “I’m bringing this to other people?”
0:04:43.7 JS: Yeah. Oh, gosh, those are great questions. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it changed my life. I mean, you watched it right? So you saw it firsthand. I literally went from allowing the stress to put me in the emergency room, like legit in the emergency room, and they ran scans, and they ran tests, and I was in there for hours, and the doctor came to me and said, “Well, we got all the results back and Miss Stoner, you have a stress problem.” And I went like, “That’s all this is?” That was my response. I’m like, “Well, I’m in the mortgage business. Of course, I have a stress problem.” I thought it was an occupational hazard. That’s the truth. I thought the stress and the way of life that I was living was an occupational hazard. But when it started to affect my health that way, and I saw the possibility of it affecting my family. I’m like, “I gotta change something.” And so I just started looking around at different coaching companies, and they’re a lot out there. A lot of them get great results for tons of clients. I had to find the one that fit who I was. And that’s when I found DC Coaching, Sheira MacKenzie was a friend of mine, through you, actually. And she had been at Fairway, which is where I was right before I finished originating and they fit who I was.
0:06:05.0 JS: They were relationship-based coaches, they used a lot of social media and video, and I love that, and I’m like, “I can learn from these people.” And I’ll be honest, I went in thinking that they were gonna teach me about my business, and they did, but they taught me a lot more about life. They taught me a lot more about how to… I did not have the tools to handle the stress, I didn’t know they existed, and they taught me that. And slowly, not overnight, but slowly, I began to see changes in the way I was allowing things to affect me. I had a history of I could get business in the door, I never really had a big challenge with that before, but I could not handle the business that was coming in with excellence the way I wanted it to be handled without letting it stress me out. And so they taught me how to do that. And I could not seem to keep team members on my team, like we would hire somebody and we’d train them and I’d pour my heart and soul into them, we would call that mortgages with a little personal touch. We loved to love on our clients and our agents. And then the people that I’d hired which were great people would be like, “Jenny, I don’t wanna do this.” So it was starting all over again. And so they helped me figure out how to identify the right team members, how to become a leader that they wanted to follow. I had a lot to learn, [chuckle] and they helped me learn that.
0:07:29.9 JS: So I was a client of theirs for a little over three years. It changed my life and my business, it really did. And I began, about a year before I made the decision, I began to be like, “If I could help other people not do what I did, I would feel really fulfilled.” And the opportunity came about, they were hiring another coach, and they were like, “Jenny, we’re hiring somebody, we would love for you to consider it,” and at first I’m like, “Are you kidding me? I finally got my business like a well-oiled machine just like I wanted, I’m not walking away from it now.” But because Fairway is awesome and my team is awesome, they are still actually thriving, which is so fun for me to see, they’re still serving people with excellence, and then I’m able to spend a lot of my time helping other people. What I’m so passionate about is helping people build a business that provides margin for them to do the things they love with the people they love, whether that’s financial margin or time margin. People get in this business to have the freedom and flexibility, and then they don’t have it ’cause they don’t create it. And so I feel like I can help them create it. So, that was a lot. [laughter]
0:08:45.5 Kelly: No, it’s awesome. But it’s… Probably, I would say in my database alone, I have 14,000 loan officers across the country. In my social media platforms, I have probably another 10,000 to 15,000, and there’s obviously gonna be crossover there, but it is all I’ve heard, all I’ve seen, all I’ve read for the entire year of 2020. Do you even see your family? Is your spouse getting upset because of how much you’re working? Does anyone else feel like they’re under water? And it’s like you feel it. I stopped making videos for our customers at Intent, ’cause we used to make one every Monday, but nobody was opening those emails, nobody was watching them because everyone was just… Has just been so slammed. And it’s hard when the business comes at you, you know that, it’s hard when the business is there to not take another loan, to not do another thing, but it pushes into your life.
0:09:45.2 JS: It does, and one of the things we are telling our clients now is there is a capacity that you can… I mean, you’ve got a capacity. You gotta figure out what that is with the life that you wanna build. It is possible to systematize your business and fine-tune your processes and get efficient with those things. I love that part, like that’s my jam, I love to help people do that, but even with those, there is a capacity. And it’s like a restaurant, right? If you go to a really nice restaurant, they only have so many tables, and when they’re full, you either get on the waitlist or you go somewhere else. And there’s no hard feelings, it’s not a personal thing, and so few originators look at their business that way. They’re like, “I just gotta take it.” There’s this disease that you have to make hay while the sun shines.
0:10:34.0 Kelly: Yeah.
0:10:35.2 JS: Well, the sun’s probably gonna be shining for a while, so let’s make sure you don’t die [chuckle] while the sun’s shining. And so just helping people navigate through, “What is my capacity? Can I hire to handle the capacity that’s coming in? And how do I become a leader to these people? How do I systematize my business?” That’s huge right now. Most people aren’t having trouble getting business in the door, they’re having trouble handling the business that’s coming in the door, so it’s really fun for me to help people do that. Yeah, brings me a lot of joy.
0:11:07.0 Kelly: And you’ve been working with realtor groups too. Is that kind of a new thing you’re doing?
0:11:11.4 JS: Yeah, so when I started coaching, being a coaching client, I kept saying, “My agents need this. My agents… ” And I would start teaching my agents what I was learning in coaching. Our industries are so similar, the things we struggle with are really similar to what they struggle with. And so when I came onboard as a coach, we started a realtor division. And so we have two groups of realtors now that meet with us, and it has been… It’s been so fun to see the results they’re seeing. So often agents are just taught when somebody calls them and wants to go see a house, they’re like, “Awesome, what time works for you?” Well, that client’s gonna pick 8:00 PM on a Friday night, that what’s good for them, right? And just being able to show agents that you can show up and be like, “Awesome, I can’t wait to talk to you. Here’s a link to my calendar, pick a time that works for you guys, and we’ll go out and see those houses,” that transforms lives for agents, and it’s been really fun to see our agents kinda grow underneath our coaching umbrella. And I’ve always loved agents, so that made me really happy to be able to offer that to them.
0:12:25.3 Kelly: Well, it’s interesting ’cause you bring up something that you and I have obviously talked about with agents and with everyone for years, is that there is… There does seem to be something about these two industries, and boundaries, that it’s like, if my real estate agent calls me at 11:00 PM, I have to answer that ’cause it’s the real estate agent. And really being able to stop and say, you do have to have boundaries with your customers, with your referral partners, you have to have boundaries with everybody, and you have to save some space for yourself.
0:13:00.2 JS: Yeah, or you burn out. And it’s one of the things that we teach, that I call serving versus pleasing. As an originator, we are taught to do whatever we can do no matter what it takes to make the agent and the client happy, and that actually is not serving them, because what that means is, somebody texts me on a Saturday when I’m at the ball field trying to watch some sports happening, and, “Can you talk to this client? We’re out in the car right now, we need to make an offer.” They’re in a panic. I get in a panic, I go take the application on the sticky note in my car, I don’t get good information, I can’t give a good valuable pre-approval to them that I know is gonna be rock solid, and then I’m bitter, ’cause they took me away from my family and what I wanted to do, that’s pleasing, and that’s how 99% of realtors live. Serving would be, “Awesome, I can’t wait to talk to you. Here’s a link to my calendar, set up a time to chat with me Monday when I can give you my full attention.” And then I’ll take a full pre-approval on the phone, I’ll look at their documents, I’d give them a rock solid pre-approval that that agent can take to the bank, that’s serving them. And here’s the truth that I discovered, agents really appreciated that I live my life that way, because deep down they wanted to live that way too.
0:14:27.5 Kelly: Yeah. Oh, for sure.
0:14:28.6 JS: They also had kids on the soccer field that they felt like they were being pulled away from. And when I could show them that you could have a great life and a great business, and set up great boundaries and still give great service, they were like, “Ah, maybe I can do that too.”
0:14:43.2 Kelly: Then if you find somebody who says like, “Your boundaries don’t work for me,” then you know that that’s not a relationship that matches.
0:14:50.6 JS: Yeah, and you’re totally fine, that’s part of living in abundance, where I’m like, “That is totally okay.” For me, my Sundays were like, we had church, we had life group, I went back and served with the youth on Sunday night, it was hard to get me on a Sunday, and I would have agents that if they absolutely had to get a pre-approval on Sunday and they had not connected me with them before, they would call another lender; and I was totally fine with that, because I couldn’t serve them well anyway, I couldn’t take an application in between life group and youth group, that just, it doesn’t serve them. It’s learning how you really serve somebody with excellence, and being okay if they need to go somewhere else to get that service.
0:15:29.8 Kelly: We had, when we were working together in the Charlotte offices, we obviously had a very big competitor right down the street from us, and their business model was, “We’re gonna pay to be in offices of real estate agents,” and we as a collective group had decided, “You know what, we’re not doing this, we’re not buying leads and we’re not doing this, we are just gonna give the best possible customer service that exists.” And as a branch we did that, and we’re highly successful doing it. As a team you guys were the superstars, a shining example to the rest of everybody to say, like, “This is how you really can treat your realtors. This is really what we offer that’s very, very different, not only are we gonna close this loan, not only are we gonna make them so glad that they referred somebody over to us, but they’re our family.”
0:16:25.4 JS: Yeah. Oh yeah, they totally were. And we lived in a way where… And I got this from coaching, being a coach and client. We lived in a way where we actually attract the clients and we could give them to our agents, and that breeds so much more loyalty, in my opinion, than writing a check.
0:16:45.5 Kelly: I cannot say it enough every single day, and I truly think it’s such an interesting thing ’cause here we were eight years ago doing this, doing this process of just like, “We’re gonna wow these people, period, and we’re not gonna throw cash out the window,” and yet everyone got into that Zillow and Lead buying game, and yet now all I see are people who are like, “Oh wait, hold on a second, I have these leads I can give people,” and you’re like, “Yeah, you do, you guys have been building databases for years. You’ve set the bar for customers so high that it’s not a question of whether they’re gonna go to their bank to get a loan, they’re gonna call you,” and then you would handle the call.
0:17:24.0 JS: Yeah, yeah. Especially in environments like this. This is when rates are low. I hear from clients everyday, and I’m like, “The Stoner Venable Team is still closing loans.” Kim loves me and hates me all at the same time. [laughter] But yeah, that kind of relationship breeds loyalty. And that’s how I live my life, I just wanna do right by people, and it comes back around. It comes back around.
0:17:48.7 Kelly: I think that living karmically like that and really just investing in other people is the only way to do it. So if you had… Give me your top three little nuggets we can leave people with today, because as we’re… They’re gonna stay busy. Like you said, there’s not gonna be a lack of business here any time soon, it’s gonna stay busy, we’re about to face the holidays. What are three things that you can tell people as they’re rounding out Q4, and little nuggets you can give them?
0:18:22.0 JS: Gosh, three. You are in control of the way that you feel. Nobody and no thing can control that unless you give it permission, and unless you allow it to. If you remind yourself of that everyday, you’ll make it through this. No loan that doesn’t close, no appraisal that comes in low, no denial that you get when you’re expecting an approval can affect how you feel unless you allow it. That’s something I wish I would have learned really early on. So that’s my first nugget. Protect your peace. If you wake up and the first thing you do is pick up your cellphone from your night stand, you lose, you lose. Do whatever fills your soul in the morning, and that’s gonna be different for everybody, but some sort of devotion, some meditation. We have our clients write out the vision of who they wanna be and the life and business they wanna build, and we have them listen to it every morning, because the brain chases what you tell it to chase. And we call that protecting your peace. That way you can go in to work and you can respond, not react. Because, I’m not kidding, Kelly, and you saw me live it, I reacted for over a decade. And eventually y’all, that gets to you.
0:19:46.3 JS: This industry will eat you alive if you allow it, but you don’t have to allow it. It’s not an occupational hazard. There is a better way to do that. And then the third thing I think would be, surround yourself with community, whether our patron community or another community, find your people. Find people who are striving to be more, to do things better, to stay on the cutting edge, and surround yourself with them, because you cannot do this alone and if you do, you’ll go down faster. [chuckle] Surrounding yourself with community that can support you and encourage you is… It’s huge. Yeah, those are my three things. It’s hard to pick three.
0:20:30.3 Kelly: Those are awesome. I was so excited about it. And I have to do this, I’m kind of sorry, but I’m also kind of not sorry, because you are very intentional. The whole time I’ve known you and we are good friends. But the whole time I’ve known you, you’re like, “Look, my goal is I’m gonna have a beach house, okay? I’m gonna have a beach house and this is gonna be my thing.” You don’t have one beach house, you have two, but where are you right now?
0:21:00.8 JS: I’m at the second one. [chuckle]
0:21:01.5 Kelly: You’re at the second beach house. And how long have you been working from your beach house?
0:21:07.3 JS: Almost ever since school started back and Nathan’s virtual, so it has been really fun to… It’s part of creating a life and business you love, right?
0:21:16.0 Kelly: Right.
0:21:17.3 JS: Intentionally build what you want, and then live the life you want. And so, I’m here for three weeks right now, but I’ve been here for a month and a half so far, and it’s like really fun.
0:21:28.0 Kelly: So many people, instead of living so intentionally, it’s kind of like, “Oh, someday I’m gonna get to it or someday I’m gonna do it, or someday when I retire from originating loans or… ” I’m not really ever sure what the end game for people is, ’cause we know people who make a considerable amount of money, and it’s like there’s no new car, there’s no new something that’s gonna give you back the dream that you had and the intentions that you had. And you were like, “This is what I’m gonna do,” and then you did it.
0:22:00.8 JS: Yeah. A lot of it came…
0:22:01.3 Kelly: And now you do it with joy.
0:22:02.3 JS: I do, and a lot of it came from what I learned in coaching. A lot of it… I’m just tenacious and I just kinda decide what I wanna do and I go after it. But it’s also identifying that so often people are like, “If I have this next thing, I’ll be happy.” Right? I say be happy now. Be happy now, find out what it is that you want to build, go after it and live that now, because if you live like I did in my first 10 years of origination, you’re worn out and you don’t have any energy to enjoy whatever it is you’re waiting on. So yeah, build it now and go live it. It’s so fun to help encourage other people to do that now too.
0:22:49.3 Kelly: Well, I love that you are living your best life, and I love that…
0:22:54.0 JS: Thank you girl.
0:22:55.3 Kelly: That karmically, just always pouring blessings on other people, have brought blessings your way, and I just think it’s extraordinary. And I’m so proud of everything that you do.
0:23:06.8 JS: Thank you, friend.
0:23:07.5 Kelly: Just thank you so much for talking to our people today and…
0:23:10.0 JS: Thanks, thanks for having me.
0:23:11.8 Kelly: I’m gonna put your little… I’m gonna put your contact information here at the end.
0:23:15.0 JS: Awesome.
0:23:15.7 Kelly: Tell us one more time, how can people get a hold of you?
0:23:18.3 JS: Yeah, so you can find me on Facebook, Jenny Lewis Stoner, Instagram, @jennylstoner. Reach out to me if you’re interested in just chatting, whether cooking would be beneficial to you, I’ll just pop a link to my calendar in the chat when you reach out and we can connect just to explore whether what we teach and how we serve and support might help you. So I’d love that opportunity.
0:23:41.0 Kelly: Awesome, but thank you so much, friend, and we’ll talk to you very soon.
0:23:43.8 JS: Okay, honey, talk to you later.
0:23:45.0 Kelly: Bye.
0:23:45.1 JS: Bye.[music]
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February 3 – Clubhouse for LOs
February 5 – Best Mortgage Tech Tools
February 8 – Personalized Mortgage Marketing
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February 12 – Managing Leads and Loans
February 15 – Mortgage Websites & Content
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February 19 – Instagram for Mortgage Marketing
February 22 – Facebook Ads 101
February 24 – How to Sell Pre-Approval
February 26 – Video Marketing 101