Ep 57 Business Development with Steve Currington
Brad Post, Create the Movement, host
Steve Currrington, Total Lending Concepts, guest
Brad Post, Create the Movement, host: Welcome back to Create the Movement Podcast. This is Brad Post and I’m excited to be sitting with a long-time friend of mine. I’d say long-time.
Steve Currrington, Total Lending Concepts, guest: Yeah.
BP: We dated in high school. Right, Steve?
SC: That’s right.
BP: This is Steve Currington. Welcome to the Podcast, Steve.
SC: Thanks for having me.
Steve Currington – Total Lending Concepts (TLC)
BP: Steve is an entrepreneur here in Tulsa. Why I said that is he met my daughter at a restaurant a couple of weeks ago. Didn’t say what his name was, but he said, “Yeah, I dated your dad in high school.” And my daughter was like, “I don’t think so!”
SC: That’s awesome. Sally said, “I think that’s Brad Post’s daughter.” I said, “Are you Post’s kid? Ask your dad – we dated in high school.”
BP: Right. That’s awesome!
SC: She’s a good kid. She did good.
BP: Awesome. You’ve got a lot of stuff going on for you. Recently did a mortgage for us. Thank you for doing that.
SC: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for giving us the opportunity. How’d we do?
BP: Did great. Gave you a five-star Google review. It was good, man. I worked with Tyler most of the time and he was great.
SC: All I do is sit back and scream at Tyler and crack the whip and he just performs. It’s great. About every four days I have to throw him down in the hole for 2 hours with no light or water or sunlight – anything. And it just keeps him in line.
BP: Exactly. Awesome.
SC: We have a good team.
BP: Tell me a little bit about your existing company or companies. How’d you get started? Share that story.
SC: Right now, currently I work for a company called Total Lending Concepts. I came in about a year and a half ago to an already existing company and I got offered an ownership piece to help grow and develop it. We’re a smaller company, but we’re making some strides. We’re under 50 employees. We’re actually probably right at 48 employees now. We’re in Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico.
We do residential home loans. That’s what we do. I’m a marketing guy so I came in – what I brought to the table was production because I still produce. I close a lot of loans. And the marketing piece of it. When I started with TLC we virtually had no marketing. In fact, everything’s changed. From the logo to our tag line, we’re Total Lending Concepts which is ‘TLC.’ Our slogan was: ‘When you need a little TLC.’
But it was a little confusing for people because they don’t know what you lend on. Do you do car loans? It just said ‘When you need a TLC.’ So, we had to go in and change about everything. That’s really what I’ve spent the last year and a half working on from building new websites to building our call scripts and our lead systems.
The Importance of Establishing Systems
You name it, we didn’t have it. Now, we still don’t have it all, but we’re just working on growing that. You had Dr. Steve Greene on. I just heard his podcast a little bit ago. Dr. Greene was my coach forever. Still is a great friend. And it’s one of the first things I learned from. In fact, for about three years, the answer was always ‘systems.’ It didn’t matter what he said. We’d be in a group, we’d be one-on-one and he’d be like, “What do you think the answer is?” Systems. He really ingrained that into my head that we need to have systems and processes.
With TLC on the underwriting-side and how we get loans closed – we had lots of really good systems on the operation-side. Because if we don’t we would close loans that were unsellable or that didn’t meet guidelines and we’d be out of business really fast.
But on the marketing piece of it, we lacked in that area. So, I spent a lot of time with Clay’s help up here at Thrive and just building those processes and systems. So, that’s it.
I’ve done various other things. I’ve owned a car repair company that Dr. Greene’s son helped me run for a long time. Sally and I had a little dance studio. I called it our country club because we just wrote checks. It was one of those, you know? Hey, we’ve got a dance on Tuesday and Thursday and we write check every month. Wait a minute. I think the dance studio owned us.
Recently, we started along the theme of the ‘get koalified/total lending’ concept we started Koalaty Roofing. So, we’re doing some roofing. We’ve figured out some proven paths on the marketing side to being successful and then we’re just repeating.
A lot of the stuff that we did on the mortgage side, one of the things I left out, you mentioned your Google review. One of the things we’ve really focused on. We have a 177 of them as of this morning and we get more every day, every time we close a loan. Even when we don’t close a loan we get Google reviews. It’s a metric that we look at as a company. And that, coupled with the podcast that I record religiously every single week with Tyler. Find it on iTunes: ‘The Steven and Tyler Show.’ Steven Tyler – the rock star- we played on that. Coupled with that and the content that we put on our website from that, and our Google reviews, we took our company website, an unknown and in about four months we were page one of Google. We’re now ranking for about every search term we want – number one in the Tulsa market. And we’ve rinse-and-repeated that. Other businesses that we an opportunity to get into, we’re just doing it again, we’re just selling a different widget. We’re doing roofing versus mortgage. But there’s a lot of similarities in the way that we market, and the way that we get customers, and the processes.
BP: Yeah, we talked about podcasting a couple of years ago?
SC: A long time. Yeah I remember asking Dr. Greene. I remember saying, “Dr. Greene, do you think I should do a podcast?” And he was like, “Yes. But you won’t.”
SC: And you know because you do one. It’s a lot of discipline to be able to do it and it’s actually part of Clay and their system. When they coach businesses, it’s one of the things that every client should do, but very few do. And we were one of the ones. It took me a few months. We started working with Clay in about December of ‘15 and it probably wasn’t until May of 2016 that I really was like, “All right, tell me about this podcast thing.”
And we really started doing that. Being diligent about doing it every single week. There’s no other time to record it for two guys that are doing mortgage loans during the day. We cant stop at noon and record a podcast. It just doesn’t work. Even right now, the time of day it is now, is difficult for me to do stuff because it’s right in the heat of the day when things go on. So, we had to do the podcast at 6 AM. That was not easy.
You’ve done a podcast so you know. Not every guest that you have is as dynamic as Steve Currington. Tyler and I recorded the podcast, neither of us had ever done one before, so we were just learning and muddling through it. We’ve been at each other’s throats at six in the morning. I’m like, “Dude, can you maybe wake up a little bit before we get here? If you yawn one more time I’m going to smack you.” It’s the stuff that doesn’t make the podcast but we just had to do it every week. We just did it every week and we just kept doing it every week.
I made it fun. I had Marshall record some soundbites. One of them is “Wake up Tyler. Tyler, wake up.” I said, “Every time you yawn I’m playing the soundbite.” I would hit that button right in the middle of the podcast.
We figure that me and Tyler and my mom listen to it.
BP: Okay, right!
SC: But we use a lot of the content that’s on that podcast for our search engine optimization. We transcribe every word of it and we use it for that. That podcast is, you know because you’re doing it, it’s a definite time commitment. And not to mention the preparation that it takes to get there. Because you don’t just – you can and I’m decent at that – you can just walk in and start yapping. Clay and everybody’s helped me do it. Because it just becomes this rambled, muddled, no-direction thing. I’ve been frustrated with myself that we’ve actually had to re-record several of our podcasts and blogs because I went back and watched them and was like, “That was terrible.”
So, on that note, this might be the second recording of this podcast.
BP: Right, exactly!
SC: Brad might be like, “Steve, it was terrible. We need to redo it.”
The Most Exciting Thing in Steve’s Business
BP: No, this is good. I knew we would just flow into conversation – every time we meet. It’s easy. What would you say is the one thing that’s probably the most exciting to you in your business right now?
SC: There’s a quote on the wall. Here at Thrive Clay has quotes everywhere. So in the men’s restroom on the wall by the urinal, it says ‘Deposit all your hopes and dreams here unless you’re willing to work 60 to 80 per week without breaks for five years.’ And I see that every day. So, the thing that I’m excited about is because we’ve been diligent in doing a lot of stuff like our podcast and working on our scripts and setting up our call center for the leads that we have that come in. And recording our calls and coaching our salespeople to get better on the phone and having weekly meetings and doing all those things for as long as we’ve been doing it.
So, the thing that’s really exciting about it is I was joking with Tyler yesterday because if anybody’s been involved with an MLM they use this thing where “We’re about to hit critical mass. You got to get in now at the bottom. It’s not a pyramid, it’s an upside -down pyramid. We’re about to hit critical mass.” I said that to them yesterday because we have all of our systems in place and we’re constantly improving them, but it’s we’re poised to be able to take on a lot more business and a lot more stuff that the only reason we’re able to is because of those processes and systems that we put in.
For example, had lunch today with the real estate team. That’s our thing. We get the internet, that’s how we get people. They find us on Google – they come in. A lot of real estate agents and a lot of different markets all over the country, and we do this with a lot of agents, that’s how they get clients. And so, they have these lead systems that are designed when someone’s looking for a house in Bixby, Oklahoma, that you get on to our site, you don’t even know it’s us. You register, you start looking at homes, and we’re watching everything you do. We can see every house you look at. We can see anything and everything and then we call. We have a script and then we have an appointment that we set. It’s just a system that we do.
So, this team that we met with today has basically done the same thing we’re doing without us. They’ve got it set up. And they need a lender that can come in that has the staff and the systems in place to be able to work these leads with them.
Well, we already have them set up. We’re already doing the exact same thing with five other teams. And so, that’s what I’m excited about. Because when I bring on another business owner that thinks like us, that acts like us, walks like us, they get it. Right? They get the business piece of it. It’s really easy to integrate them into our system because we’re so alike. We can write a script for you. This script’s working. We just put your name here. And here’s the online form that we fill out. We call it a ‘Buyer Interview Sheet.’ We’ll just customize one for you. I’ve actually, believe it or not, I’m not a web guy but I’ve learned WordPress websites because I’m impatient. So, I’ll put things on the agenda. I know it’s going to happen in 48 hours with Thrive, but I’m like, “I need that today.” So, I’m like, “Devin, how do I do conditional formatting where if they say ‘yes’ it pops up these questions?” He’s like, “Click that.” Then I go do it.
I’ve learned some stuff. So, I’m really excited to be able to take that meeting that we had today and turn that into a whole another revenue stream for us with a real estate team that we previously didn’t know who they were. But we got there, Brad, because we follow the Thrive way of life and it’s a three-minute marketing tool. One of those is our Dream 100.
So, these agents who are on our Dream 100 list. And we want to do business with them because they do a lot of business. We have a script and we have inside sales person that calls and uses the script to book the appointment for me to meet with them.
BP: So, you were basically saying the Dream 100.
SC: Yes, we work the Dream 100 list. It’s not like rocket science. There’s a book called ‘The Ultimate Sales Machine’ by Chet Holmes. You’ve read it. It’s a great book. But Dream 100 comes from that book. For mortgage, we got a list of the top agents in our market. We do that in every market. And we just call until they cry, buy, or die. We drop off stuff. Literally, I’ve have meetings with realtors that would meet with me because they knew that we weren’t going to go away. “Okay, you’re not going to stop calling, are you?” “No, you’re on Steve’s Dream 100 list so it’d be his dream to work with you and he said I had to call you forever.” And they’re like, “Okay, I’ll meet with him.”
And then I get the opportunity then to sit down with them and see if maybe we can do business together. So, what I’m excited about is to do more of that and to get like-minded business people that we can do business with that we can grow our businesses together. So, that’s really, really exciting.
And if we hadn’t spent the last 18 months really focusing on our website, our web presence, and our ability to provide value. Because if I didn’t have that this meeting couldn’t have gone as well as it did. I would have been like, “It would be really cool if we had a script. It would be really cool if we had somebody that could call those. What is that system again?” Well, I already know what the system is because I’ve used it. We were poised and ready to be able to say, “Well, if you’re interested we’d love to have a further conversation about helping you with that because we have all of this setup.”
So, Monday we’re meeting here and we’re going to go through. And by the time they get here, I’ll already have the script written. I’ll already have the landing page done. I’ll have all of that stuff done that we just wouldn’t have if we weren’t being diligent about getting all of those systems in place.
So, that’s what’s exciting. As I said, about the critical mass, it’s kind of getting to that point where we’ve been fighting for a couple of years now to just build something. I really feel blessed and fortunate that we’ve got a really good team of people. Because there’s a lot of companies that work really, really, really hard for five times as long as we’ve had to, and then maybe start seeing results.
I’d like to be that 18-month guy and not the 18-year guy. Because there’s guys that do that. I’m listening to the biography of Steve Jobs right now. It’s a 25-hour book on Audible, if you want you can get on my Audible and listen to it. It’s really, really cool. I don’t read any fiction books, at all, ever. And I have not really in my life listened to, or read, a biography or autobiography of anybody. But, it’s really, really pretty interesting. It talks about that. A lot of failure.
Steve Jobs is just weird. He’s just a different dude, and I’m like that. I’m not Steve Jobs. I definitely wouldn’t compare myself to that. They said he was really, really, really a jerk. And I’m like, “That’s me.” With designers, engineers would bring him stuff and he’d be like, “This is crap.” Before he even looked at it.
Dr. Greene used to tell us a story about David Ogelbee who was a newspaper copyright. The reporter comes and has a story and he takes it and crumples it up and throws it in the trash. Doesn’t even read it. This happens three or four times. Finally, the reporter says, “You’re not even reading that you’re just throwing it away! That’s the best work I’ve ever done! You’re an idiot if you don’t print that.” And he goes, “Okay, print it. I just wanted you to believe in your own work.” That’s what Jobs did. He pushed and pushed and pushed people until probably in their eyes he was nitpicking about things. But the MacBook wouldn’t be what it is today. The iPhone wouldn’t be what it is today without his influence and everybody’s admitted that now that he’s gone.
There was a guy that started out at Apple that literally was one of the guys when they were in the garage? And when they went public he got now stock options. He said, “I just thought Steve would take care of me.” And when he asked him about it he goes, “Well, we cut it off at engineers and you weren’t an engineer. You’ve done a lot good and thank you. But you just weren’t.” Steve Wozniak felt bad for him and a couple of other guys that didn’t, and ended up giving them some stock. And Steve was just apologetic about it, “You didn’t qualify for it, bro.” “But I’ve worked here. I’ve put in the time. I was in the garage.”
Some people say he was a jerk, but sorry, you knew what the rules were. Everybody that was an engineer and above got whatever. I don’t remember how many it says, it made 300 something millionaires when they went public. And this dude’s like, “Where’s my stock?”
Probably with all entrepreneurs a lot of similarities in what you see on how other people act. I’m anal about some stuff, about very specific things. How our leads print out. Well, we had a certain lead that was coming from a certain place and it was printing from the web version of Outlook. It looked different and it was hard to read and the numbers and the name and everything wasn’t right. And it didn’t look like the other one. Tyler’s looking at me like, “What is wrong with you?” It’s right there. I’m like, “That’s not the point! It needs to be systematized. I need this lead to look like this lead.” We figured it out. It’s little stuff like that I think in the big scheme of things I’m not Apple and I’m not Steve Jobs. How we print our leads probably isn’t going to revolutionize anything, but it’s just stuff like that. Other people, it’s not important too.
BP: Attention to detail.
SC: It’s one of our values. Even though Marshall says, “Communication and attention to detail aren’t core values.” But I call them my core values.
BP: Well awesome Steve. Thanks for being on the show.
SC: Thanks for listening to me yap.
BP: We’ll have to get together again soon.