Becoming Undeniable: Learn How To Say Yes To Opportunities With Laura Brandao

MLM 295 Laura Brandao | Say Yes


If someone asked you to do something that you’re afraid to do. Would you do it? You know that by saying yes, your full potential will be reached and you will be able to go after what you want. So don’t be afraid to say yes, as long as it benefits you. Learn how to be undeniable with your host Jen Du Plessis and her guest Laura Brandao. Laura is the President of American Financial Resources and is the chair of Women With Vision. She is also the author of her latest book, Say Yes Everyday! Learn how to go after what you truly want. Learn how to champion your value. And just learn more about her book. Listen to today’s episode to know when to say yes.

Looking for some help? Jen is seeking individuals who would like to be featured as a panelist on the show for her Mortgage Lending Mastery Mastermind Series.Email to get scheduled!

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Becoming Undeniable: Learn How To Say Yes To Opportunities With Laura Brando

I have again with me a two-timer, Laura Brandao. Welcome back to the show.

I am so excited to be here, Jen. Thanks for having me.

I’m so excited to have you as well. Here’s why I have you back on the show. We have been part of a collaborative book. We released Win Or Learn. You were in the book. I was in the book. I thought, “I want to take this opportunity to interview all these beautiful women that are in the mortgage business because we are resilient.” There is no question about it. I’m in the middle of putting my new TV show together called Tell Me I Can’t.

What seems to be the thread through this entire thing Win or Learn is so often, we were all told that we couldn’t. What we were going to be exploring on the TV show is a variety of people but I wanted to bring you on and talk about everything about you is yes. Say yes today, tomorrow, yesterday, next year, which is so funny because it’s so counterintuitive to one of my montages. Every year, I have a theme. In 2021, it happens to be simplicity. Make everything simple. Years ago, my montage for the entire year, my brand or whatever you want to call it, my big thing for the whole year was to stop being a yes woman because I was killing myself to be it. Why don’t we start off with what you truly mean by saying yes? I know there is a cap. We don’t have infinite energy.

The thing is, saying yes every day is not about saying yes to things. Saying yes every day is maximizing every single day to its fullest and being open to opportunities that maybe you were scared to be open to before. Saying yes every day is not at all about saying yes to everything but my mantra is no one will take a day from me. I believe that all of us only have a certain number of days in our life. We don’t know how many of those days there are but I promise you, Jen, I will never waste or give someone one of my days. I will maximize it and fulfill the biggest amount of yes to living the most out of that day I possibly can.

I appreciate you telling us about that too. I knew that the clarity is needed to be there because when someone says, “Say yes every day, then I’m going to go around and say yes,” it financially could destroy you, physically, as well as emotionally. Clarity is important to people. One of the things that you had said in this chapter of Win or Learn is not being afraid to ask for what you want. I want to explore that a little bit more because reading, you did go in and ask for what you wanted. You asked to be a cold calling marketer, which is funny but you did ask for what you want.

MLM 295 Laura Brandao | Say Yes

Say Yes: Saying yes every day is not about saying yes to things. It’s about maximizing every single day to its fullest and being open to opportunities that you were scared of before.


Loan officers, real estate agents, title companies and insurance companies are reading this and certainly, entrepreneurs as well. Not being afraid to ask what you want. Help us walk through what you specifically mean by that because I could run around and say, “I want this and that.” I’m sure that there is a methodology to this. I don’t even know how to ask you the question. I know that there is something under there other than just ask what you want.

It starts with truly knowing yourself. The reason why people do not necessarily meet the plateau of their highest self is because they don’t know what they want. I had the privilege and joy that from a very early age, my parents told me, “You have no limits but the limits you put on yourself. Anything that you ever want to do, want to be or want to have is within your control.” Understand that I grew up in a middle-class family. My father worked for the post office as a janitor. My mom was a secretary.

I didn’t come from privilege or high level but what I did come from was an impeccable work ethic and the confidence in knowing who I was. Forget about business. Let’s take it before career. I was a senior in high school. I met a young man that made a joke about something with his sister and showed such vulnerability that I instantly saw who turned out to be my husband in a light of genuine kindness and sincerity.

He was a very shy gentleman. At seventeen years old, I have that instant connection of a soulmate. I didn’t wait for my husband to get around the gumption and nerve to ask me out. I asked him out and I’m married for years. Right from that moment, I learned that if I had this connection with this person, why am I going to play this game of song and dance, of back and forth of someone getting up the nerve when I can ask for what I want? It probably started there.

As I went through my career, I was never afraid of asking for what I wanted because I was confident that anything I wanted was the right thing for me to do at that moment and that I was the best person to do it. A lot of roles that I achieved, I created them. I honestly probably only applied to two jobs in my entire career because most of the time, it was creating my role, making my positions and coming up with ideas on, “Let’s try this.”

The next thing you know, I was promoted to another position. I was passed off to someone else. What I mean by go after what you want is it starts with you. I’m not even going to use the word confidence because you know what confidence is? It’s trusting yourself. I knew my capabilities and I was the best person for that. I wasn’t afraid to ask and tell someone that I was the best person.

Let no one take a day from you. Click To Tweet

What you say in the chapter is you give a couple. I’ll remind you. I don’t know about you. I’ve been in so many collaborative books. I’m like, “What did I write?” I can’t even remember what I wrote. I was in an interview. We’re releasing another collaborative book called Step into the Spotlight. We were doing a Facebook Live for it. I was like, “What did I write in this one?” Right underneath, you said, “Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.” You have a list of a couple of things. Let’s go through those.

The first one is, “Be undeniable. Go above and beyond to the point you cannot be ignored because your results and actions are superior.” This one hits home with me personally because as a woman in this industry, I’m years of marriage to my high school sweetheart. The #MeToo Movement, I know I’m going to be saying some unpopular things but I have the utmost empathy and compassion for anyone who’s been through anything bad.

A lot of young women use it as an excuse, whereas what you and I had to do was prove. We had to be undeniably the best at what we did to gave us the reason to be able to say, “I deserve it. I’m asking for it because I worked for it.” Expand on that a little bit for someone who comes in this industry, man, woman, it doesn’t matter, tenured or not. Let’s say a real estate agent or a referral partner for some business where they’re asking for a promotion, more responsibility or whatever the case may be. What are some of the strategies, some of the work they need to do to become undeniable?

It’s funny when it comes to income. I’ll never forget. I was about 27 years old. I tell the story about this guy who wanted to purchase the broker shop that I was working at. He was a very successful billionaire at the time. Here I am, this young girl. This billionaire was like, “Laura, tell me about yourself.” We’re having this conversation. At that time, I was running a sales team for this company. He’s like, “Laura, I’m going to tell you something of how I think about all of my team members.” I’m like, “Give me the secret. What do you think about your team members?” He said, “Laura, very simply, whatever I pay you, you should always be worth to the company five times that amount.” If you’re generating five times that amount in production for the company or value, if your role is in operations, if you’re saving money for the company or anything, whatever value, any role you are, think about your value to that company should be five times whatever that salary is.

I always kept that in my head. All the years later, I always thought to myself, “If I can always make it so whatever role I have, no matter what the position is, my value is five times and beyond that, then I know I’m going to be in a very good position.” You asked about the realtor. I was on a call with one of my clients and we were speaking about how she gets realtors. What she does is she built an entire studio in her office and brings realtors in to do videos. They produce them and give them the content for their social. That’s undeniable.

She is creating such value, giving such quality and value to them. She’s deniable. All of us have to think, whether it’s that memorable going above and beyond or generating such production, that you are undeniable. Whether it’s picking up that efficiency within your organization that people know that you are that foundation. All of those things, depending on your role, you have to know. If we didn’t set ourselves apart, we could easily blend into the wall years ago. We had to do something and that was what we all did at that time.

MLM 295 Laura Brandao | Say Yes

Say Yes: The reason why people don’t necessarily meet the plateau of their highest self is that they don’t really know what they want. It starts with truly knowing yourself.


That was why we put this book together too, to help people, obviously women but men as well, to learn from the things that we had to do to create, the positions that we’re all in, varying positions, varying stages of our lives and stuff. You said in the book, “Never let someone devalue you. Know and champion your value.” Let’s talk about how do you champion your value without someone feeling that you’re a narcissist.

That especially is tough for women and tough for me. It’s funny. We know Christine put this book together for us. When I first met her, I had a huge struggle speaking anything about myself. I could not at all speak about myself. It was always my team and it’s still about my team. I’m not saying that’s changed but I couldn’t even mention anything about myself because, especially as a woman, that’s something that years ago you didn’t do. It was frowned upon. It looked like you were coming across in a negative way. We didn’t do it.

When I say championing yourself, it’s not bragging. It’s not boasting about yourself. It’s making everyone aware of what you’re doing as your role within the organization. That’s how you’re championing. It’s not necessarily boasting about you doing things. I always built companies and teams. Most of the time, what my team could say about me was championing. They would say, “I went through a brick wall for Laura. She takes such good care of us. Look at what she’s built. She’s given us the tools. She gave us the best training. I love working for her.” That’s championing.

That’s you giving five times as much right there. I still do something called Gettin’ Real with Realtors and we set up a studio in our office. This was years ago. I brought them in and had a conversation with them. I’d already been podcasting. I thought, “Why don’t I do some Facebook Lives with a handful of them and get others to say, ‘How do I get that opportunity to have my business championed and value is given?’” I still do it. I still love doing it. I don’t do it as frequently. I don’t need to but I still love doing Gettin’ Real with Realtors.

That provides value.

No question at all. I’m not going to go through each one of these but when you said, “Don’t be afraid to talk to others. I’ve never been afraid to cold call or network with strangers. This skill has created a large amount of my success.” I find as a coach and a mentor, this is one of the things that most people have trouble with. You’ll hear a lot of mid-level producers saying, “If only they knew how good I am at guidelines and getting loans right through our system, if only they knew that they have such a hard time sticking their arm out and being that champion for themselves, what advice do you have for them?”

You have no limits but the limits you put on yourself. Click To Tweet

You are correct. You’ve nailed something that I think holds a lot of people back that they are afraid to reach out. One of the things is common ground. You, number one, have to show up. That’s the first thing. For many years, I was afraid to show up. One of the reasons why I was afraid to show up is that it was uncomfortable. Most of the events that I would have possibly gone to were very male-dominated. There were not a lot of women there but it’s better. We’re making progress but it was bad years ago. I was uncomfortable. I didn’t know how to have a conversation. I felt I had nothing in common. I couldn’t talk sports and golf. It was uncomfortable.

I’m on a mission that I will teach other women how to do this networking. I’m part of so many women’s groups where I show women how to have that common thread and how to put themselves out there. It starts with finding a way to have a common thread. Join different women’s groups, some Facebook groups, somewhere that you can have a common thread. Once you have that common thread, then it’s not uncomfortable anymore.

Even within your own organization, I’m sure that there’s some type of company event. Even if it’s a virtual event, show up. A lot of times, we don’t show up because we were afraid of what’s going to happen. The first recommendation is to show up, arrive. Once you arrive, find at least one person that you have something in common. Once you have a buddy, it gets a lot easier to expand that buddy into a bigger group but find a common thread once you show up and it gets easier.

I will also give you one recommendation that I live by if you go to an actual face-to-face event. Here’s the easiest thing to do. Anytime you go to a networking event, regardless of what industry you’re in, anywhere that you go, look for the one person on their phone. Do you know why? That’s someone that’s having trouble networking. Go up to that person. If you’re afraid, go up to the person you see on their phone and speak about something with the event.

Ask them, “When does this start? Where is this?” Have an introductory and I promise you, that person will be thrilled that they have someone to speak to. You can start a conversation and grow it from there. I have a rule that any networking event I go to, I seek those people out and then I bring those people into my group. By the end of the night, more people will want to be part of this group than the other groups.

If you’re feeling that way, find somebody. It’s not commiserating with them and not go, “I’m not afraid.” It’s being able to pull them up and the tides that lift each other. Darren Hardy is one of my coaches. He said to me, “Jen, if you could have twenty seconds of courage, you could avoid years of fear.” With that particular networking situation, all it requires is twenty seconds of courage and then you can get over all the years and years of fear. That’s so powerful in anything that you’re doing. Getting back to having those relationships is important. How do you become memorable in every situation that you’re in aside from being the class clown, being loud, doing something funny? What’s your take on this?

MLM 295 Laura Brandao | Say Yes

Say Yes: If you can always make it so that your value to the company is five times the amount you’re being paid. Then you know you’re going to be in a very good position.


Number one, you have to be yourself. I’m going to share a story about this. I was at an event and it was breakfast. I’m by myself at that moment. I’m looking for somewhere to sit at a table to have breakfast. I walk in and I noticed a girl that I’ve seen on social media for years but I’ve never met her. Immediately when I saw her, I knew who she was from social media. I sat down and I introduced myself. I said, “I love that you always post whatever.” It was nature things and sunsets. This girl’s entire demeanor immediately changed because I recognized connected with her. I pretty much showed her that I knew who she was and I acknowledged what she was doing.

Months later, she reached out to me about something. I said, “You’re reaching out to me.” We never had more than that conversation at breakfast. She said, “Laura, never in my entire career has someone ever taken the time to acknowledge the detail that you did. I will never forget that moment because you took the time to acknowledge, connect and have a personal relationship with me.”

The thing you have to do to be memorable, number one, is you have to get over yourself. You have to put the other person before you. Stop trying to pretend and overanalyze in your brain what you should be doing to be memorable. Listen to those people you’re speaking to. Take notice of what those people are doing and take a moment to connect with others. I promise, you will be memorable.

Somebody in a mastermind of mine said, “It’s one thing to listen but when you truly listen, you truly learn.” What made me think is that when you truly are listening, you’ll learn. Not just walk away going, “I think I listened. I don’t remember if I listened.” I call it having a committee meeting with your head. All the members of the committee are up in your head talking about everything. “What if? What happens?”

That’s why people aren’t memorable. They’re having a conversation and analyzing, “She’s looking at me this way. Did she smile? Did she react?” All of this is happening. Stop. Have all the committee members be quiet.

You’ve been around long enough to know we used to have committee loan decisions. You bring up a good point. I don’t have a long story but I remember when social media had come out and everything, the big thing was to send. Even on my birthday, my husband goes, “I got 1,000 a people telling me happy birthday. What do you do?” I had one person call me. She was my Stella & Dot person. She called me and said, “I want to call and wish you happy birthday.” I still remember that. It’s years later. Going above and beyond is what it’s happening.

Never let someone devalue you. Champion your value. Click To Tweet

I want to shift gears from the book. Thank you so much for sharing. I wanted to get a little deeper into the author of this chapter so that people can learn a little bit more about you. We were talking that we think we’re post pandemic kind of. I don’t know if we’re going back into it but certainly, there’s been an air that has changed. The markets softened a little bit. I’ve heard people say that they’re in a funk and others say, “No, this is fun.” Both are experiencing something. There are various reasons why, which we won’t get into for here but there is a sense of renew, reset, rejuvenate, renovate.

All of those “re” words that I’m seeing in my travels and speaking in different places of the industry. What do you see is happening? You have a wholesale company. You’ve got a large company that you’re running. What are you all seeing in your so-called crystal ball? We’ll go with predictions. It’s much easier to say that than to say, “Go look at your crystal ball.”

Is it changing again? Is there a new cycle coming? Yes, there is. The thing is, with the crystal ball, we don’t know what that new cycle truly looks like. From my perspective, I was always very purchase-heavy. I didn’t get the advantage of this refi boom as much as some others. We did but not as much as some others. My business was always very purchase-heavy. You certainly are seeing that it still is very purchase-heavy. You are starting to see construction. I am a top one time close to construction to perm lender. It’s unbelievably busy. That is a product that is very needed. There are lots of people that there’s not the availability of existing homes and they are building, but there are limitations with that. There are delays on permits. There’s all of this supply chain, the lumber prices that’s shut the roof. Look at what’s coming.

We saw a guy on the way down to our boathouse in a lake and stuff. He had seven pieces of 2×4 sticking out of his truck.

It has started to come a little bit but there are supply chain issues as a whole. It’s not just the lumber places.

I was in Target and there’s barely any headbands to buy. It’s crazy.

MLM 295 Laura Brandao | Say Yes

Say Yes: Championing yourself is not bragging. It’s not boasting about yourself. It’s making everyone aware of what you’re doing as your role within the organization.


It’s weird. The electronics, the appliances for the kitchens. There’s a lot of limitations.

Even at restaurants, they don’t have certain things.

You are seeing this shift, but renovation is starting to come back. During the height of the pandemic, nobody was renovating.

They had the equity.

They were taking the cash.

They go to another house down the street that’s twice as big but the same price.

If you could just have 20 seconds of courage, you could avoid years of fear. Click To Tweet

You’re starting to see a little bit more of the renovation coming back. You are seeing this shift. What do we think? This Fannie and Freddie with the caps on the second home in the investment was a big shift. That certainly was disruptive to our industry. You are seeing some people have to come up with plan B for all of that. Everyone is still very hopeful and still very positive about where we are going. I don’t think anyone is in this, “Bad time is coming.” They know a new cycle is coming.

What I mean by the funk is so funny because people I’ve touched on said, “What do you mean you’re in a funk?” It’s body and emotion stay in motion. We’re so busy doing pre-approvals and all this business. That’s what I’m talking about there. It’s not necessarily the negativity. All I can do is encourage people to stay in motion and protect emotion because this too shall pass. I’ve been through nine of these cycles in my entire career.

I came up with an acronym, which is so silly because my book that came out is already a number one bestseller in two different categories. It’s an acronym book. I go, “FUNK stands for First Understand the Nature of why you feel this way and Know how you’re going to get out.” That’s what it is. First is to understand the nature. You were busy on your computer doing pre-approvals. Let’s get busy doing something else to keep that momentum going for you. That’s interesting. You have another book coming out.

Say Yes Everyday!: Discovering Your Superpower was my first book and the second book, it’s interesting. Going back to the pandemic, I started this interview series called Thrive Thursday. It started as Survive and Thrive. It was such an interesting topic or way I did it. What it was is that we had three people on every Thursday on Facebook Live. They would speak about what changed in their life due to the pandemic and how they pivoted to thrive during this time.

The reason why it was interesting is that every week, I would meet strangers because those people would nominate the next week. They started out in the mortgage industry, then it pivoted. For six months, I was meeting people of all different industries, all different ages, all different everything. These people would come on and speak about this. I got an idea. I thought to myself, “Every person has a story. Every one of us. Not just about business. It could be anything.”

MLM 295 Laura Brandao | Say Yes

Say Yes Everyday!: Discovering Your Superpower By Laura Brandao

I decided that in 2020, I was going to create a book called Say Yes Everyday! Everyone has a story and it’s going to be fifteen stories of people that were on that show. They were able to speak about whatever they want. I said, “I’m giving you the gift of being an author.” I got the publisher. I had them as a collaborative effort. That book will come out soon. The reason why I wanted to do that is I wanted something that hopefully this pandemic will be behind us soon enough. I wanted a collaborative book where people have that period of time recorded. Years from now, this was recorded in a book. It’s completely outside of the mortgage industry but I feel good about it.

Your show is called Positively Charged Biz. I’ve been on that show. I don’t remember when. It was probably during the pandemic. That was probably during that period of time. It’s pretty interesting. I kept saying, “Short-term gain for long-term pain right from day one.” To make sure that you had the foundation planted so that when the pandemic ended and this life of activities stop, you had the next thing to do.

What we focused on the most was keeping people going and keep the engine going. Putting some oil on it, adding water to it, whatever we needed to do, getting people to push it to keep that engine going so that people would come out of this much higher than they came into it and not dive back down. It was so typical for our industry. Keep soaring higher. I kept calling in and still do the soaring twenties. It’s not the roaring but the soaring. This is the decade to grow your practice. Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

I truly appreciate you inviting me on. I agree with you. It is the soaring twenties. During that time of the pandemic, I got deeply involved in so many different women’s groups. I have truly witnessed such an amazing transformation of so many, especially women within our industry. I look forward to watching them fly high.

I think so too. We both have been part of the Women of Vision Award for a couple of years. I didn’t make it down to receive mine but I got it in the mail because I had something else going on. We are the type of people, including the rest of the authors that are in this beautiful book, that are saying, “We’re very powerful. We’re excited for the future.” Those that are following behind us, the new generation, should feel the same way. We hope that they do by reading this book. Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I can’t wait to share the stage with you again. I’m sure as we were talking, you’re busy, I’m busy. I bet we’re going to be speaking somewhere at the same place. We’ll discover it when we get there because we don’t know where we’re going at any moment.

Thank you so much, Jen.

Thank you so much, Laura. I sure appreciate it.

Take care.

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About Laura Brandao

MLM 295 Laura Brandao | Say YesLaura Brandao is a partner of American Financial Resources, Inc. where she serves as the President. Laura joined the company in 2007, as the Director of Operations with the opportunity to start up the Wholesale division, building what has now become a nationally recognized specialty wholesale lender. Laura has developed a mindset within the company to make it a personal responsibility of each employee to bring the families of AFR’s lending partners home.

Laura is the Chair of Women with Vision, A NAMMBA Board Member and the Chair of NAMMBA’s Visionary program, she is also a NJ Mortgage bankers association board member and Chair of the NJ MBA Women’s committee as well as serving on the Board of Directors for Mortflix.

Her recent honors include: “2021 10 Most Influential Businesswomen to Follow”, 2021 Most empowering women by Business Fame magazine and “20 Most Successful Businesswomen to Watch” by Insights Success, a 2020 and 2019“Women with Vision,” a “Top 100 People in Finance,” and an NJBIZ “Best 50 Women in Business.” and one of the most powerful women in mortgage in 2018 and 2019.

In 2021 Laura released her first book Say Yes Everyday and is currently working on her follow-up book that will be released in October 2021.

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