“Mid-January Activities”

By all accounts from the field, it appears we are off to a really strong start to 2018! New inquiries, pre-approvals, and contracts are coming in at a really strong rate all across the board. Very happy to see that all the effort and activities made in October, November, and December are really paying off for those that remained committed.

It’s the middle of January and we have a few strategies and follow-up procedures to take care of.

  • Mid-month numbers check
  • Last chance to speak to accountants
  • Tax refund strategy
  • New tax law benefits
  • February event planning

The middle of every month is the time to track all the numbers. Month to date and year to date numbers are essential in tracking and comparing to your business plan projections. Staying on top of your numbers keeps you on top of your business!

You have two weeks or so to connect with your accountants about WHY people need to buy homes or sell and move to their “Forever Home®”. How many first time buyers can use their tax refund, first and last month rent, security deposit, and the new tax code to help them go from renter to owner? If your video isn’t done on this strategy, what are you waiting for?

The “Tax Refund Strategy” is the real deal! A large lump sum of money is a great start to owning a home. However, understanding that a tax refund isn’t extra money, just an interest free loan you gave the government! Reducing withholding can make the monthly cash flow really improve! You why don’t we have our accountants do a video with us explaining that? When coupled with the new tax code, cash flow for most people will improve significantly!

The new tax law will improve monthly cash flows on about 90% of the country! Improved cash flow can make people more comfortable looking into owning. Yes, in some parts of the country the limit on tax deductions and interest deductions are very real and can certainly represent a challenge, but how many people have more than $10,000 is taxes to deduct? How many have mortgages over $750,000? How many that do, won’t see improvement in other areas that might offset some or all of these changes. And of those that are still paying a higher tax bill after everything is considered, it is a vastly smaller group than those that benefit from it.

February event planning time is NOW! If you are planning for an event in February, you need to get moving. If you have thoughts on doing a Valentine’s Day event or some kind of gift, you really need to move NOW!

We plan for a reason. We track for a reason. We make adjustments based on data we are tracking! This is called working on your business! If you need help, please let us know.

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Check out Mike’s Special On-Site, One Day Training for your entire team!  visit http://www.imtcoaching.com/how-many-loans-do-you-want-to-close-in-2018.html

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“Communicate & Connect”

There has been a huge amount of talk in the industry lately about communicating with our clients. Much of the focus has been directed at email and automated services. While I believe there is a place for automation in our industry, my belief is that automation can become abdication! Automation shouldn’t replace personal contact; it should be in addition to your personal contact.

In many cases, we are relying far too much on email as our preferred method of communication with our clients without ever asking them what their preferred method of communication is! The reliance on the email relationship has grown to become a real problem for mortgage originators without them even knowing it! I personally have clients that work for companies that have a very powerful automated communication system. This system is programed to email the client and referral partners throughout the process with all kinds of information. In some cases, clients and referral partners have complained about the number of messages they are being sent, as well as the types of information in those messages.

My point is the transactional lifecycle of our clients is rather small. Most LOS systems now have a portal for the client to go in and actually see their file status, but most clients never use this feature. The reason is often that they don’t want or need to know their day-to-day status. In fact, a real mortgage professional would have set forward a specific timeline of milestones so the customer knew exactly when certain things were completed and that everything was on track, just by the regular client connection phone calls.

What are regular client connection phone calls? Those are the brief one to three minute personal phone calls or text messages, not emails, which we make every week to the client to keep us connected to them and them to our process. Think about it, the time from first contact to pre-approval is less than ten days for most of my clients. Sometimes that process is less than 24 hours! Once that client is fully pre-approved, it is likely less than 12 weeks for them to find a home and enter into contract. Regardless of how long the process takes, making a weekly status phone call or text to your customer is a great way to keep connected and support the relationship! Too many deals are lost after pre-approval because originators fail to keep connected! Email isn’t connecting. Besides, 12 text messages or phone calls during that part of the process by you or your team amounts to less than an hour of work. Less than an hour to secure your transaction and build a long lasting relationship with that client! How many deals do you do in a year, Fifty, One Hundred, Three Hundred? Using your personal communication to stay connected and building a relationship while providing exceptional service to the client is a very small investment in your future business!

Email, video, and other forms of electronic communication are NOT a substitute for a personal connection. Even texting is working away from personal communication the client really desires. And yes, there are some clients that are really disconnected from the process and have no desire at all to be communicated with. Those people however, are never calling you because they already completed an application online and have chosen an automated experience, not a personal experience. While you need to provide both avenues for your clients, you had better not EVER think an algorithm would ever replace a person for most people in the process of buying, selling, or refinancing their home. At least not most people!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Visit us online at http://imtcoaching.com

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“Welcome to the New Year, same as the old year?”

It’s a whole New Year will the results be any different? Not if you haven’t made some changes. If you are happy with your current results, no need to change anything. But if you want the results to be different, you need to do some things differently!

Some of the things we need to look at are:

  • Schedule
  • Actions
  • People
  • Results

Does my current work schedule allow for time to handle the three base components of my work, Prospecting, Processing, and managing Communications?

Do my current Actions and activities generate the contacts and opportunities I need to complete my targeted agenda?

Are the People I am working with the people I need and are they the ones I need to diversify the number and type of opportunities I want to reach the targets I have set for myself and for THEM?

Are the Results I am getting congruent with the opportunities needed and the types of referral partners and clients I want to be working with?

Four very simple and basic questions that likely have complicated answers. However, without addressing each one of these, it isn’t likely that the coming year will be much different from the past year!

If things need to be different, then your schedule, your actions, your people may need some adjusting if you expect a different result!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Visit us online at http://imtcoaching.com and make this year your most productive year in business ever!

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“File Awareness”

So here we are; the last blog post of 2017; another year in the books and another set of numbers to compare and target against for future businesses. Far too many people don’t do a really good job tracking their numbers and comparing year over year, and then month against month. If you stay on top of your numbers, it will help you stay in front of your business!

The last message I have for all of you this year is to sharpen your “file awareness”. We all look at our files as the work product of a transaction. While I would agree, that is only part of what the file truly is. You need to see each file as a collection of opportunities, a series of new and repeated connections. The very fertile soil from which future transactions and relationships can be grown!

We have talked about file replacement over the years and “Prospecting from the Process”, one of the “plays” in the “Coaches Playbook”, along with a few of the other published works I have on the website, shares with you the power of connecting with those involved in your current transactions through a series of warm verification calls and the sharing of information.

As your business evolves over time, your strategies need to evolve with it or you just end up repeating the same year over and over again. Now if what you are doing is working for you, then no reason to make any changes. But if you are looking for your business to grow, or to do more business in less time, then you are going to have to evolve! File awareness is one of those “next level activities” you need to work on in order to actually make change occur!

The example I like to use is, when you first start out, you are in front of anyone and everyone in order to share your message and see if it resonates. There is a very simple four step process for all new originators:

  • Awareness – people have to know you exist
  • Opportunity – your message must lead to the presentation of an opportunity
  • Action – you act on the opportunity and provide options
  • Outcome – the opportunity is either converted or lost

If you are working off outside generated leads then you really only have steps three and four and there is really no difference to evolution other than getting off the dependency of that outside service and replacing it with your own referral network.

In either case, if you don’t work on your file awareness and connect with those involved in your transactions, you can’t ever evolve! The evolutionary process gets you past the “awareness” stage, and puts you in direct contact with those who are in a position to want and need to refer you opportunities!

Each file may contain (purchase transactions):

  • Listing agent
  • Seller
  • Buyer’s agent
  • Title company representative
  • Insurance professional
  • Accountant on tax returns
  • Attorney on contract, divorce papers, etc.
  • Financial professionals
  • Banking relationships
  • Social media connections of all of the above!

If you haven’t prepared a strategy to take advantage of all of these opportunities to make warm calls and connect through value, then you are missing potentially dozens and dozens of transactions and referral partners that would be happy to work with you in the future!

File awareness; the first step in the process to evolve your business and take it to any level you desire!

Question or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

The website: www.IMTcoaching.com having “ACCESS” will change your “OUTCOME!”

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“Four BIG Days Ahead!”

“Merry Christmas” everyone! From me and my family, to you and your family, please enjoy this holiday season!

This week and next week’s blog post will be the last viewed of the year. It holds true every year that so many people take off this time of year that fewer people are reading and sharing my post. I am good with that, I really am. You see, for those few people that will actually read these posts, they are the people who will benefit from being the people who kept working while others went away. Now, nothing wrong with going away or taking off during the holidays, but for those who are still at it, congratulations! You will benefit from being in front of those people who are serious about buying and selling property.

There are four really big days ahead you need to be active and alert for; December 27, 28, 29, and January 2nd. How you handle these four days could really impact your entire 2018! People will be working and looking for homes!

Reason number one is that the agents who are out working these days are the very people who need to make something happen. These are the people you want to be in front of because so many others are gone! So visibility in the market is a top priority!

Reason number two is that sharing strategies for specific action can help you build, secure, and bring your referral partner relationships to that next level of commitment. Use the website and the strategies to create joint opportunities!

Reason number three often eludes people in a tight market. Expired listings! Even with tight inventories listings expire. The end of the year is prime time for expired listings. Do you have conversations with your agents about an expired listing strategy?

Being visible and offering strategies can payoff big with instant transactions and long term relationships. If you are going to be around, why not get out and share? Why not use a strategy or two next Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday? Are you going to help your agents capture expired listings on the second? If you don’t engage and share these strategies this week and next, you miss another chance to differentiate yourself from the competition!

So enjoy the Christmas weekend. Recover on the 26th and plan out how you are going to turn the 27th, 28th, 29th, and the 2nd into new opportunities for you and your referral partners in 2018!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Visit us online at http://imtcoaching.com

 

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“Finish it out, start strong!”

Just a little over two weeks left in 2017 and everything you were going to add to your pipeline to close this year should be on its way. There are a few things you really need to get done before you put the year to bed, you need to be sure you are finished with everything you had intended to do, and have you business plan and your schedule completed with a quick “run-through” scheduled for next week just to be sure you didn’t miss anything.

If last weekend is any indication of future events, there still will be plenty of activity to deal with from this weekend, so be prepared and communicate with your people to let them know you are still ready to help put together those all-important January closings. Nothing starts a year off better than a full pipeline and a number of pre-approvals.

Things to be sure you have completed in the next two weeks:

  • Fully documented business plan
  • Complete work schedule
  • Marketing calendar for 2018
  • Video business card
  • Video FAQs and tutorials
  • First two video coupons for 2018

Being visible these last couple of weeks can also be a huge boost to your business!

  • People who are working now need the work
  • Those out looking right now need to buy or sell
  • Connect and prepare with accountants & financial planners
  • Final number review and setting expectations for next year

The last thing we want to do is share information about changes in 2018

  • Loan limit changes
  • Local and state grant program changes
  • Potential changes to the “one time exclusion” and “mortgage interest deduction
  • What will the New Year mean to your market?

There are plenty of things to do and information to share. While many may have already put 2017 in their review mirror, these are days you will want to take advantage of for a great start to 2018. For those of you who need help, look to the blog posts and the business planning tools that are free on the website! Both plans for originators and Realtors® are there for you to use. www.IMTcoaching.com

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

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“It never really goes back to ZERO!”

First, let me take a moment and remember those who gave their lives 76 years ago at Pearl Harbor. Having just visited Pearl Harbor this past year, it is a powerful reminder of our history.

With just a few weeks to go in the year it is my job to keep people focused and working toward their objectives. It can be a struggle during the holidays to remain focused, but one of the reasons may be a surprise to you. The one big factor becomes the feeling that the work doesn’t matter because everything “goes back to zero” on January first!

While this may be true, it isn’t as true as you would think! MOST of what our businesses are DON’T go to zero at the end of the year. In fact, the biggest factor in production really isn’t what closed the past year at all. There are a number of factors that determine the overall production and productivity of a year like:

  • Difference in total referral partners
  • Growth of database
  • Number of pre-approvals and contracts carrying over into the new year
  • Growth of referral relationships
  • Time and money invested in your business

If you don’t measure these areas, you don’t have an accurate picture of the true productivity for the year. Example, loan officer closes 60 units for $12,000,000 in 2016. This year she will close 75 units for $17,000,000. Based on these numbers, did her business improve 25% or 41%? Not only did units improve, but the average dollar value of the transaction went up as well! So we had improvement in both areas. However, the story doesn’t end with these numbers. If you don’t investigate the “carry over” production from year to year, you don’t know if the numbers are valid!

What I mean by this is what was her pipeline going into 2016 compared to 2017? Did she have the same number of preapprovals? Did she have the same number of transactions moving from year to year? You see, after your first day in the business, you really never go back to zero! You bring your entire business forward. Your database, your relationships, your experience, your pipeline, and your momentum into the New Year!

  • Did you scramble to reach some targets and “PULL” loans forward into December?
  • Did loans fail to close in December and “PUSH” into January?
  • Did your pipeline grow bigger or smaller year over year?
  • What was your “carry over” business from year to year?

Originators can often get side-tracked into following the wrong information. I fully understand that you had objectives for production and maybe bonuses or awards associated with certain milestones. While this is great to follow, you need to have context by which you measure. While December 31st will conclude the year, and many will measure 2017 strictly by the number of units closed or dollar volume of closed business, a more complete measure of your year should include:

  • Value of my preapprovals
  • Value of pipeline
  • Sources of business
  • Value and growth of database
  • Time and money invested
  • Hours committed to the effort

While the calendar will start fresh in 2018 and while your units and dollars closed will indeed reset to zero for purposes of accounting; the change of years, just like the change each month is just an arbitrary deadline for accounting purposes. Your total productivity for the year is measured in far more than units and dollars. It’s also important to know your business flows from month to month, and year to year. Much of what is true progress is NOT contained in those units or dollars, but in the growth and value of many other areas that never really goes back to ZERO!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

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