Grandview Lending is a family-owned and operated residential mortgage broker. Michael Farrell started working in mortgage lending in 1998 after coming home from a 4-year mission experience in Ecuador, South America with the Salesians of Don Bosco. He worked for 2 years with a national mortgage lender as a loan officer and then was promoted into management for a 5-year tenure. In 2006, he founded Grandview Home Loans, which was rebranded to Grandview Lending in 2009. Grandview Lending has helped over a thousand clients obtain new homes or lower the monthly costs of their current homes.
In this episode, we talked about their success, growth, marketing strategies, and their lessons.
This is the second podcast in a series of different interviews coming soon with Market Leaders from the Mortgage Business. Make sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss any episode.
Transcription of Podcast with Mike Farell
You're listening to the mortgage success podcast, a show created to inspire mortgage brokers to achieve optimal success in their mortgage businesses.
I'm the host Brian Frantz, the author of the book, internet marketing for mortgage brokers, tripling your online sales by getting your internet marketing done the right way. I'm also the founder of mortgage broker marketing, the digital marketing agency for the mortgage industry, I'll be sitting down with industry leaders on each episode to talk about their processes, the lessons they've learned, and how to find success in your mortgage business. Alright, so Hello, and welcome to another episode of the mortgage success podcast. With me today is Mike Farrell Grandview lending, and I'll just let Mike introduce himself and a little bit about his company.
Thanks, Brian, I appreciate you having me on. So, um, I got into the mortgage industry back in 2006. Before that, I did missionary work, I was studying to be a priest. So I did some missionary work. And through that missionary work, I ended up learning a lot of Spanish ended up meeting who was my wife, and Ecuador, South America. So when I came back from Ecuador, South America, I ended up coming back to Indiana where I grew up and was trying to figure out what I wanted to do and found a really good mentor who was in mortgages. So I got into mortgages with him and worked in that company for about seven years went into management then after that, that company shut down nationwide. And I felt like I knew enough about what I knew enough about the mortgage business where I could open up my shop. So I opened up my shop with a couple of the people who are with me and the previous company I worked with, and we started in 2006. And from there we just kind of little by little been growing would never have imagined where we are today compared to where we started.
Wow. So in 2006, that's when Grandview started. That's when you got in
Yeah, so 2006 is when Grandview started 1999 is when I got into mortgages.
Oh, wow. So yeah, you're in there for about seven years and then your company shut down. Do you like to think I know enough? I might as well open up my shop. Yeah, exactly. A couple of people came with you from that other company.
Yep. Yeah, we had a Tracy, who's still with me today. She came with me and has been, uh, you know, has, you know, we're, even though I'm the owner, she, she participates just as much in, in success, and has had been a major part early intro. A major part of our success is of kind of our vision and how we've grown up to this day.
Got it? Wow. Yeah, no, I see her. I see her on the website. You know, I've spoken with her once or twice. Yeah, that's amazing. You guys are so awesome. And what primarily, are you guys just licensed in Indiana?
Yeah, we are. We're, um, we’ve only licensed in Indiana. We're opened up licenses and others in other states. But, you know, in the sense of, you know, we have quite a bit of business just here in Indiana. Yeah, to do so, you know, once we, that would be our next step would be to look at licensing in other states, but we need to get kind of a compliance team together to make sure we're doing it correctly. When we do that.
Got it. Okay, great. Okay, and you? So that's your target market, your ideal customer? What is that? Do you have any thoughts there? What's your What does that look like?
You know, when we first opened up, so I came from really a refinance environment at my previous company. So when we first came aboard, we kind of followed their model, which was buying leads, we bought a lot of leads on the internet. And that's kind of how we started. And we just went through the refinance. As we learned, we learned the purchase business as we went along. And as our customer base grew, we started weaning off those leads, but kind of what, that's kind of where you've come in. I'm not sure how long we've been working together. But we were probably in that mix of we're still buying leads, we're trying to figure out what to do with, with our marketing, how to kind of present how to get our name out there. That's kind of really what we struggled with. We're reaching out to people with buying their information and reaching out to those clients, but How to make that more organic, where some people start reaching out to us. And I think that's kind of where we were, we phased out of buying the leads, and then went on to self-originating, we have a really big book of business now. So that's, that helps also.
Awesome. So started out buying leads, and it was looking for a way to have leads come to you and get your name out there. Right, that branding and people recognize you. Right. And we,
yeah, we have, we have an awesome staff, we have an awesome group. And I think when we can get in front of the client, and they see the process and walk through the process with us, you know, our, our reviews kind of speak for themselves that they have a great experience. And, and so I guess what we always struggled with? How do we get that? How do we place that as a small broker shop? How do we have that marketing capability that, you know, the bigger people do the ones that are on the radio all the time? And how do we get that market share, and have them seeing you know, once they come in once they work with us, you know, those relationships grow in and we start working with their kids, or we work with their grandparents with their friends, so and a lot of those new leads that came in, or, you know, we're starting to see a ton of business from the organic searches people have been making on, right. On the websites and stuff. Yeah. Which we didn't have before.
I was okay. Right. What, uh, what is what you guys do differently than, you know, Joe's mortgage down the shop? Or down the street?
Yeah. What I think I think people I mean, people care. I mean, you know, starting with Tracy with myself, you know, we have a, we have tenured loan officers here. And they care about what they're doing, they care about looking out for the client, I care about putting them in the, in the best situation, you know, the best mortgage, and not trying to oversell, you know, not trying to get people in the highest, you know, loan available, but at least explain to them, okay, here's the, here's the ranges, which you're able to qualify for, let me show you what you could do with your payment if you maybe went a little bit lower, and then just applied that extra that you were planning on paying and how fast you can pay that off. I had the greatest compliment. Probably about a year ago now, it was from a gentleman who came to us and stated that you know, the best decision I made is when you came when you approached us with a 15-year mortgage. We had been looking at 30-year mortgages the whole time, but you showed us what a 15-year mortgage would look like. Yeah. And now he's six years into his 15 years, he's getting a purchase of a new house, but he has tons of equity in this property. And to use that to purchase his new one. So you know, that's just one little story of hundreds and hundreds of stories that each loan officer kind of has. And I think that that that genuineness, I think carries over. And I think people see that and see that that it is real,
right? Yeah, you guys are focused on getting what's right. For the client. Right and not what paying you the most or what's giving you the biggest return.
No, exactly. Exactly.
That's amazing. What uh, tell me a little bit about your marketing mix right now. What do you guys be you guys doing like direct mail? Are you doing any direct mail?
No, I'm not to not cold mail or cold cold mail. And I'm not sure you know, the direct marketing pieces with, with clients, we don't know we'll, we'll follow up our client base, you know, usually with four, four postcards, five postcards a year. Then we have an email drip campaigns with those same client base then we also have like, marketing emails in the sense of just, you know, it's your anniversary from your last mortgage from you know, your anniversary date from when you close on it, whether it's one year out two years out three years out, right. So I'd say it's a mixture of what I do. I'm not not saying what you do but on our team, but on what we do on this side of it is just making sure we're staying in front of our current clients. And then the second one would be what your, what you've done and getting us to get our presence out there on the internet. So probably are what we started doing kind of what kind of where we started with the internet presence as we start working on our Google reviews. And you know, just starting to send out those request requests yet to be able to get the Google reviews and we started getting some neat Google reviews that came back from previous clients. And we've kind of kept up with doing that. So kind of way I believe it's been happening is they're able to see us through the marketing efforts that you've done, and you're able to at least have us kind of come up on that first page to say, Okay, here are some of the list of mortgage brokers in your area. Yeah. And they start looking at who are those mortgage brokers? And when they start seeing the reviews, reading the reviews, they're very consistent. Yeah. And so I think it's kind of that two-prong approach in the sense of on the internet site is to, you know, at least, you know, have our client base, who have reviewed us make sure those are, are being obtained those reviews having them placed on the internet. So when people are shopping at nine o'clock, 10 o'clock, 11 p.m., right, can read those and kind of see so
well. Yeah, you guys have done so well. You what you guys have implemented that portion of it. So well, we can get you to the to that first page gets in front of everyone, the way the calls are gonna start coming in, right? Are those reviews, those absolutely, like 1000s of people a month.
Absolutely. And, and you know, that's even kind of created just even a more of just a sense of precision that we need to have with our clients that were if they saw us on the first page, and they could review us on the first page. Yeah, then they could be just as quick putting a negative review on that first page. If if they had that. So that's kind of being put out front and center has even really ratcheted up are our attentiveness to making sure we're giving the clients the best experience that we can.
So those of us keep coming to a phone call if you stopped answering the phone or something like that. There. They won't waste two seconds before they let everyone know about it on Google. Right.
So yeah, I mean, you guys have been implemented beautifully. And the results, you know, come from that, like, it's, I can't stress it enough, those reviews get like they get seen by 1000s of people. So there, they're so important. I'm so happy about that, you know that you guys put focus on that and it was kind of twofold, right? It helped also your team to pay attention to that and say, Oh, well I want any like something negative to come in, and then nothing will see that. So um, yeah, it's, it's been
I mean, I think it's nice just you know, the human portion of it, you know, being complemented by a client that you know, you work your tooth and nail to make sure it's a great process and then the to see that unwritten word how what they perceived the process and sometimes it's perceived much better than then what we think it is his glove always kind of acquainted with the mortgage business like what we do is kind of like an Italian kitchen you know, we're out there serving the clients, you know, on a candlelight dinner table they're having a nice you know, the nice night the husband and wife or the boyfriend girlfriend, but if you go behind the scenes, you know, blades are dropping, there are things you know, there's all kinds of people yelling and everything but if we can present that that look to the client that everything's smooth, everything's fine Just relax. We got this we got to taking care of sois
yeah. Awesome. What do you guys do any like home shows anything like that?
You know, we have a couple of our we haven't done the home shows. We do have different things that we've done with our realtor partners and our base of the business book so one of our loan officers is putting out a family portrait and so all the with her realtor partner. So there's, they have a book of business, they've done a lot of loans for with their book of business. So they're inviting them just like the thank you the spring to come out and do a family portrait. So we had a local photographer They're going to do that they're going to present that, you know, photograph for them and get them that family portrait. If they wanted to buy more, from the individual photographer, they're more than welcome to but just kind of as a way as Thank you were, you know, able to provide them, you know, a family portrait. Yeah, we've had we've done that we've had things where we set up, you know, do drop-offs at the end of the year for our, for our clients, you know, something cheesy, like, give him a gift wrapping paper, and just putting a little note on there saying thanks for helping us wrap up a great year, and you'll have that on their doorstep, you know, around Christmas time, so they can use that to the direct damper. So a lot of us go out individually and kind of follow up with our existing client base and in our realtor partners with that type of
turkey pies, or you know, maybe, you know, doing pies for around Thanksgiving. Yeah, you know, thanksgiving pies to give out. So probably, I would say the efforts that we've done have been more concentrated in conjunction with maybe a realtor partner, and be able to team up like that rather than more of the global
home shows or garden. Yeah. Yeah, tell me a little bit like how what, like, what's the what's, how do you guys work with realtors? Like, tell me a little bit about that, like your relationship with realtors? How do you develop them? How do you? How do they? Where do they begin?
Yeah, probably most of us, they probably our first realtor was probably there through just a nice transaction that we had them on the seller side, as I mentioned, we came through the refinance market. So you know, my history is was in refinancing didn't know much about purchases at all, let alone be able to market to the realtors, but probably eight years ago, there was a dip in, in the or the rates went up. And there was a little bit of tightening of underwriting guidelines. And it was probably at that time, we're kind of made a concentrated effort to reach out to those realtors that that reach out to the realtor market. So you know, that was we did, you know, we dropped by open houses we dropped by, you know, kind of do some cold calling. But most of it's probably been through what our relationships we might have with them on you know because they have their son Johnny's on the baseball team that my son's on, or they're going to the same church or they go, we walk in the same circles. So it's usually kind of volunteering, you know, and, and things that we enjoy. And through those, you know, you develop relationships with people that just happened to be a realtor that you find out later on. So
Wow. Yeah. Okay. Got it. And you mentioned buying leads earlier, are you still? Or do you do still buy leads at all? Or what's that look like?
So I mentioned tracing, you know, she was with us at the very beginning. So she bought we, you know, we're buying leads for her by the first four years, maybe five years, we're in business she weaned off, but kind of the new loan officers we brought in, they would call them and even some of our more seasoned people, they would still kind of like to call them. But the amount of phone calls that we're getting in that we've been getting in over the last, you know, 16 to 18 months, has eliminated any need for lead by a matter of fact, we're looking for, you know, additional loan officers to be able to handle some of the leads that are coming in to make sure we're servicing them correctly.
Awesome. Yeah, I know. You guys tend we've started working together. You guys have grown out of a lot of loan officers even assistance for some of those loan officers. Yeah, yeah. And a couple of other processors do. Yeah. So
yeah, absolutely. So yeah, our team's you know, has expanded quite a bit.
Wow. And we've done that. What? All were your processes are in-house, right. You guys don't contract? Those? Those correct? off-site or something? Correct. Yeah. Awesome. Yep. What? So I think you've kind of already answered this, but which marketing effort is bringing in the most leads? Is it’s that foundation? Right, that Seo? And in the review, right, I
would say the SEO, you know, for the things that are coming in, you know, is that SEO stuff and that's seen by all the out-of-state ones that we get, I mean, out of state ones we know are strictly generated by that. The SEO and what's nice about that and how that's helped our realtor relationships is now It used to be that At the food chain was realtor loan officer insurance person. But now that you know with a strong SEO presence that we have now that that food chain is almost inverted somewhat, you know, or at least it's on the same level, you know, I'm, I'm giving deals to my realtors the realtors are given deals to us Yep, words, we just don't feel like we're coming in asking for loans who are coming in, say, Hey, I see we're getting a lot of, you know, we're getting different people coming in, in this area of the state. You know, currently, you know, I don't have any realtors that are serving that area, I'd love to partner with you. So I have a good person to work with and give you you know, you know, loans that I have that, um, that my clients that are looking for a great realtor. And in turn, you know, hopefully, they'll feel the same way about us as about me as getting a good loan officer.
Wow. Awesome. And the southern Yeah, that's, that's amazing, right? Being able to make that shift, right? Instead of you always going up to a realtor, you know, with your handout. Now you can give them a lead, right that what does that do that makes that realtor feel like, man, I gotta, as he came at me with like, I need to, you know, reciprocate, and do that. That develops that relationship even further? Absolutely. Absolutely. I know. And I know how powerful that is just to return the favor to them. Right? They're like, what is every other mortgage cut every other loan officer in town is, you know, going to them with doughnuts or, you know, a stack of business cards,
correct? Correct. Right? Yeah. No, absolutely. I think the other way we've been able to kind of foster those relationships is, you know, making sure you know, things close on time close early, but also be in communication with that listing realtor, you know, the ones that are listening, the one that we don't have a direct relationship, but communicating with them about the process of the loan, and then showing up at the closing, you know, and being able to introduce ourselves and hopefully asking for maybe a second meeting with them, to be able to kind of continue to, to foster those relationships. And after a while, when you start showing up to those realtor meetings, you're starting to see different realtors kind of consistently, or at least the ones that are producing and in those relationships start to start to grow.
Amazing. Yeah, that's awesome. What would you say? Like what? So you've done it, you've bought leads? You've dated, I'm sure you've done other marketing chants, like other marketing adventures? What was the one that you would never do? Again? Like, what would you? Yeah, what's the one marketing channel that you would never do? Again?
You know, it's, I would say, I mean, you know, the, for us anyway, for what, you know, what we had is, you know, I don't want to go back to buying leads anymore. You know, I don't the, especially the high price lead, I think that's probably the marketing, you know, those higher-priced leads, because they're, they run the gamut. I haven't looked at prices lately, but they run the gamut of your $3 lien to your, you know, $50 lead, yeah, to be able to, you know, be buying those and trying to establish that rapport with them, where they don't know you from Adam when you're calling them after they've already been on our website through the finding us through the SEO, you know, they've already, there's already a trust that's been kind of initially kindled a little bit, and then then it's our job, to be able to kind of, you know, break that out and kind of tilling the soil and allow them to see what we can do and how we can help them. Yeah, I would say, you know, you mentioned home shows, we did something like that he was probably 1011 years ago. That was a real bust. You know, there wasn't, wasn't anything. What I have enjoyed is, you know, work doing first-time homebuyer seminars with the realtor partner. It's been good, you know, and finding, you know, just helping people to find their first house is exciting, to begin with, you know, being a part of that and, you know, my, my missionary background was in teaching so part of that is, you know, I enjoy the teaching aspect of it. Yeah. You know, and just then the transactions begin with the teaching aspect of helping the clients understand what they what they've done.
I think probably I think it just to answer your question fully would, the one I wouldn't want to go back to is the Home Show and you know, the Home Show experience that we had just get a lot of people kicking the tires, and you spend a lot of money on credit reports, and they're not wanting to do anything, you know?
Wow. Yeah. Got it. So the home shows not doing that. Did you guys ever were any of your loan officers like a networking group like being?
Yeah, yeah, we still do. So we still they do that they, they've got they've done well with it, you know, they've done well with BMI groups. And, you know, if you're in the right one, and again, you need to connect with that. Just two or three partners in those BMI groups are your main sources, you know, that realtor and maybe the insurance agent? But yeah, we've had, we've had a couple of our people do that regularly for sure. Yeah. And that fits their style because they're more extroverted. And, you know, they enjoy going out there and, and doing that.
Good. Yeah. Yeah, make sense? So tell me, tell me what I mean, you guys have over 200? You know, five-star reviews? What is that? What is the process look like? After? Like, when are you sending out the reviews? How are you guys calling them? Like? How are you introducing yourself? Like that? You know, can you review us on Google link?
Well, you know, obviously, well, you know, not every loan is perfect. Not every loan goes as smoothly as so. So will tend to, you know, you know, especially when they reach out when they're, you know, when we're sitting at the closing table. Yeah. And, you know, and we know, we've hit it out of the park in the way of the loan itself, you know, everything went smoothly, or they're just, you know, they're very appreciative, you know, it's those that will reach out to and ask them, Hey, would you, you know, when you feel comfortable, you know, putting out a review. For us, you know, those Google reviews, have to have a Gmail address. So sometimes with the older clients, they might not have Gmail, they might still be on aol.com or something like that. So that might be a little bit more difficult to get them but yeah, most definitely, it's, it's probably just the ones, you know, the ones that we know, we've, we've, we've done well, with, and we, and, and like I said, you know, you know, every loan, everyone's different, every loan has its obstacles, and but I think it's just setting up those expectations with clients and being upfront, you know when there are problems, you know, addressing them upfront, directly, just let me know, when they This is where we're at. This is what I expect, you know, this is the timetable that I expect on that I think if you're direct and honest and, you know, fight tooth and nail for them that I think they can see that regardless, it might not be the actual result that they wanted or the answer they wanted to hear. I think people appreciate the forthrightness of explaining, you know where they're at in the process of if it's not what the answer they want to hear.
Right. And you guys are proactive with that. Right? You're not waiting for them to call?
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. That's,
that's exactly what I think, you know, your clients have to chase down, figure out where the where things are at.
Yeah, I think a lot of our job is just managing the expectations. Yeah. Any next expectations of our clients and our realtors. A lot of times it's those realtors, that we have to make sure we're managing those expectations. upfront clearly and concisely.
Yeah. Amazing. Yeah. Okay. It's good. Good insights. What? Email Marketing Do you guys how do you were mentioning earlier about like, like keeping them informed sending emails and mentioned like sending postcards, things like that. How are you? What are you doing? Do you have like, what was another question I was going to ask you it's like what CRM Are you guys using? Like does are these things automated like these?
A lot of them have been integrated with our loan origination software system. So currently where we use “calex” which then integrates it with another company that pushes out all the emails that go out to our clients. Yeah. That's been in every evolving industry just recently with the changes in the, in the new 1003, or some of those players in the as and the loan origination software system have kind of rose to the top and been able to do quite well, others have fallen behind. So we're always evaluating the kind of which lol system would be the best and whether we need to, you know, to change that or keep it, but a lot of those lol systems are integrated, at least with the electronic marketing piece of it. And then the other ones are, you know, keeping spreadsheets and, and sending those out to our, to our printers with different, you know, logos and I believe you've helped us you know, as I'm thinking about I think you've helped us design a few of our postcards there. Yeah, over the last year that they've been sharp and stuff.
I know you work with Lindsey a lot. So sometimes I forget what you're doing behind the scenes. Yeah, I think you're gonna help us with putting a video together. Coming up. So So yeah, I'll just forget that.
You do have a marketing person, right, Lindsay? Who? I know, she manages your social media. So you guys are uploading pictures there with your clients and things like that? Correct? Correct. Yes. And that's primarily like really? No Facebook ads, right? You're not running ads on Facebook, it's keeping that channel fresh with updated content in front of the people who have liked it, you know, to stay in front of people that have liked the page. The past clients and being so you're staying at the top of your mind? Absolutely. Yeah.
Yes, not. For sure.
What? So, just a few more questions, Mike. And Sure. Thanks for your time. What, uh, what I was gonna ask what mentors Do you use most?
You know, we're, we're set up probably with 43 to 45 different lenders. Each loan officer has kind of their own favorite four or five. Lenders, use some of those overlaps with other ones’ favorites. Yeah. So it's, you know, we lose use some local banks here, we use some, then we also use the gem, your, your, your big banks, your big mortgage brokers that everybody hears about, you know, united, wholesale, you know, calibers out there. out of a union home, as a good one, we have our local bank, Huntington here Plaza, there's, there's a lot of good ones out there. And a lot of it probably depends, I'm sure everybody that may be listening to this kind of depends on who their loan or they’re, their lender rep is. And that lender rep has, uh, you know, plays a big part of, of, you know, who, who each person sends into who they mesh with. Right mesh with? Well,
awesome. Got it. And I think that's, that's it. We've, we've talked a lot, there's just one more question, what would you say is the greatest insight or the, you know, your biggest learning, you know, from taking your cut, like, from where it is, like, in from 2006, to where it is today? What would you say is like, the greatest insight in taking your company to the next level? Yeah, I
think, you know, I think it's was a having the right people in place, you know, though, yeah, you know, through the loan officers, our processing team through our, our partners, such as yourself, through our title companies that we work with are realtors. I mean, I think, you know, a lot of it's all that human element, just having the people you'd like to work with and be around and that is focused on, on, on the vision on our vision, keep that vision out there in front of people. Yeah, so yeah, I think having good people on on on the team, you know, and is, has been, you know, I mean, that's the, you know, I think it's, it stops as easy as right there. You know, if you have the right people, then everything else flows through and, and, and your team has been a big part of that has been a big part of getting us to that, that next level, and then some
pleasure, you know, please. It's been a pleasure working with you since 2017. We
the greatest insight is just having the right people in place. Simple as that.
Yeah, I think yeah, I think it's having the right people in place, you know, to kind of help you know, guide you and, you know, use their, their expertise and you know, for Focus on what we do best and help our finding people that can help you grow and find the people that do that best. Right? So, absolutely
amazing insight. Amazing share. Thank you so much, Mike.
Anything else you want to add? Anything? Anything else you want to share?
Um, you know, I've already kind of, yeah, plugged it, uh, you know, plugged it a little bit for you, you know, just, um, you know, I would say, you know, when he first told me what kind of what the investment would be, you know, it was kind of sticker shock, you know, a little bit, but it's made itself in spades. And so yeah.
Thank you. Thank you so much, Mike. Again, amazing insights, amazing shares from Mike Farrell of Grandview lending. It's been another episode of the mortgage success podcast and talk to you soon. All right, thank you.
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