Cultivating Connections and Building Expertise (with Craig Messman) – Episode 124

Posted July 12, 2022

This week, join in with JP Hussey and Molitor Financial’s Craig Messman as they discuss the importance of creating structure and approaching the industry with methodical intent. Craig is one of Chicago’s top producers, and with almost 20 years of experience, he knows a thing or two about long-term success. In this episode, he shares his tips for structuring and scaling your operation, cultivating in-house experts, and much more. 

Craig entered the industry in 2001, learning the ropes at a large bank. In 2005, he and partner Troy Molitor started their shop together, and the rest is history. Although their shop takes a boutique model, they oversee 50+ employees and continue to post runaway numbers. 

One of Craig’s keys to success is focusing on purchases. He recommends using these transactions as networking opportunities, carefully fostering relationships with those involved in the purchase. Craig says that communication – even over-communication – is essential at this stage. He maintains that honesty and transparency should be prioritized, and that leaving clients in the dark for any length of time is a huge mistake. “I never want my clients to experience what it’s like to buy a car,” he says. Craig mentions that he even discloses to clients what percentage of the sale will go to him, emphasizing that nothing should be withheld from the client. 

Craig also delves into the nitty-gritty of his tech stack and his processes and procedures. He uses tools like Floify, Lending Pad, and SureFire to streamline workflow, but he credits a lot of his success to another strategy; namely putting his most experienced processors up front. “It’s easier to catch mistakes earlier than try to fix them later,” he says. This is also central to another one of his business tenets – a pod system that enables newer employees to safely learn on the job and develop their skillset. “If you want to scale, you have to establish your front end,” says Craig. 

Cohesion is central to Craig’s model – everyone from underwriters to real estate agents are running the same playbook. He believes in building from the ground up, drawing on cultivated relationships and genuine connections. “When you build it your way,” he says, “the organic way, the stress-free way, the endorsement way, that’s gonna be a very sustainable business model for you. Otherwise, these lead systems just go back to the transaction.” 


(2:00) – Background

(5:30) – The importance of Purchase-focused business

(8:05) – Teaching people to communicate

(10:19) – Technical stack and workflow 

(11:20) – Transparency in the buying process

(13:00) – The Pod system

(18:00) – Creating connections with all layers of the process

(23:00) – Building in-house expertise 

(35:00) – Triangle approach 

(42:00) – Drawing on existing relationships

This Episode Is Sponsored By AmeriSave Wholesale

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