Launching careers through the stratosphere

When shopping for a home loan, it’s important to look beyond just the interest rate.

The slick, smooth-talking salesman sporting the Rolex and sleek Armani suit is about as outdated as the traditional, paper-based mortgage. In the 21st century mortgage marketplace, influencing potential customers takes knowledge, nuance and a superior product, not a bunch of bling and a nice ride.

Guaranteed Rate’s online sales training program, Liftoff, teaches talented leaders how to become elite producers by really connecting with people. Using proven techniques that require relatability, realism and a light touch, Liftoff loan officers guide homebuyers through the mortgage process in a way that’s both educational and stress free. The result? A perfect new home for the customer, and an exciting, rewarding career for a loan officer who loves helping people.

Some graduates of Liftoff may aspire to one day operate in the field, developing relationships where the right clothes and car could make a big impression. Others, however, like loan officer and Liftoff graduate Joey Shoemaker, appreciate the structure, camaraderie and excellent work/life balance that Guaranteed Rate’s online division offers. And the best part? Loan officers who complete Liftoff can become as successful as they want, without having to oversee their own retail operation.

“The beautiful part of the online division—the way we’ve built it—is that you don’t have to leave to have big success,” says Shoemaker, a driven, insightful sales pro who moved to Chicago from Des Moines, Iowa three years ago. “People here don’t see the online division as the minor leagues or a stepping stone or whatever; you can produce retail numbers for sure.”

Shoemaker’s experience in Liftoff was so positive and enriching that he wants to stay close to the program to cultivate more up-and-coming originators. “I want to help build it out, be a team leader,” he explains. “Developing seasoned LOs from all walks of life, showing them how to become the best versions of themselves; that would be incredibly rewarding. That’s what people here did for me, so I want to make it happen for others with stories similar to mine: not sure about their career, going through periods of professional trial and error, uncertain about what they want to do. Liftoff offers amazing training, teamwork and balance, no question.”

It is the teamwork concept that may be most surprising to many Liftoff newbies. Though competition is healthy among salespeople, Shoemaker thinks it’s the mutual support that makes Guaranteed Rate’s sales training especially unique. “No two people are the same, and everyone is an asset,” he explains. “The person next to you, the person training you, the team leader, whoever. Different people provide different perspectives and have different strengths or skills they can apply to any given situation. We reinforce and support each other; we’re not always trying to get ahead of the other guy, so to speak. That’s one aspect of Liftoff I think is really important for people to understand: it’s a perfect mix of independence and teamwork.”

Formerly in auto sales and then internet start-ups, Shoemaker is not unfamiliar with the various methods of getting customers’ attention. At Liftoff, however, his training took him to another level. “Liftoff teaches you how to build your core customer base, and it shows you how to be optimally persuasive over the phone,” he says. “After the first few days, I was amazed by how much I didn’t know about sales. I thought I knew every angle and how to overcome any objection. Nope. Not only is Liftoff a great place to learn about the industry, it’s a great place to learn about sales in general, how to treat clients and be the best asset you can be.”

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