We have all heard the phrase “time is money”. We have also heard people explain to us how “busy” they are. But rarely do we see people make the connection between the two. Being “busy” isn’t always being productive. In fact, many of the “busiest” people I come across don’t make a lot of money. They are constantly in motion, but they are not focused or consistent with almost no system, schedule, or accountability.
If we all concede for a moment that we all use a forty hour work week as a standard, and there are 4.3 weeks in the average month, that works out to about 172 hours each month to do what we do and earn what we earn.
Mortgage loans are a result of generating an opportunity and converting it into a closing. How do we measure up? How many combined hours do we work to close one loan? How many hours does it take for our “team” to close a loan? I have found, if we back the numbers out, it changes the vision of what we do and how long it takes. More importantly, when we start looking at a random group of loan originators, we can see huge differences in the time the process takes.
Example, if a loan originator is closing an average of five loans per month, they are consuming 34+ hours of their monthly time for each closed loan. Imagine that? I would venture to say that if you asked a dozen originators, how much time it took to generate a loan opportunity and get that opportunity through their system, none of them would say it took more than 34 hours to do. In fact, depending on most of my observations, the average time it takes to move a client from first contact to closing is about five hours. So if it takes five hours to do that part of the business, could it be that it takes the average loan originator twelve hours to generate a loan opportunity? Well, that can’t possibly be true because the average originator barely spends ten hours a week prospecting. That translates to about nine hours per closed transaction. Really; nine hours to generate the opportunity and five hours to close the loan still only comes down to a total of 14 hours. What happens to the other 102 hours per month? Ah, that must be where the “busy” comes in!
You see, when I track my best people. The ones that close ten to fifteen loans per month, by themselves, month after month, some very interesting patterns begin to appear. First, all of them take and submit outstanding loan packages. The less trailing documents, the less time spent on the file. Second, they double check everything before submission and include a specific cover letter explaining the transaction and attach it to the file. Third, all communication is documented in the file. Every call, email, or message is in the file for everyone to see. Fourth, they schedule their work time free of interruptions. They turn off the phone, ignore their email, and close their doors. They start and finish then schedule the next follow-up task. Last but not least, they do a real good job setting expectations up front. They get everyone on the same page and structure set communication times, establish due dates, and hold people accountable to that schedule. When things are set to a schedule, it is easy to keep on track.
Those “busy” loan originators, the ones scurrying around the office flailing papers, and whining about things, are the one’s losing time working on things that should have been done at the beginning. Taking a few extra minutes up front on a file will save you HOURS on the end of a deal!
Working smarter not harder is something many people talk about, but few people actually do. By looking at your time and activities as they relate to the number of loans you close will provide you with a valuable perspective. So here is the question: How many loans can you close in your 172 hours each month? If you don’t track that number, it will never improve! The best of the best close a loan about every nine hours. What if you are only half as good as the best of the best? Then you would be closing almost ten loans per month.
We all get the same 172 hours in a standard work month. What you do with that time and what the results are can vary widely. You need to seriously look at what you do and how long it takes before you can even attempt to improve. Once you do, productivity can grow exponentially!
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