Today is the last day of February and that leaves us just 31 days until the end of the first quarter of 2013. Seems like just yesterday we were talking about our plans for the coming year, and here we are, quickly approaching the end of the first quarter.
If we keep ourselves looking forward, we have the entire month of March to get out in front of our goals. We already know what we have closed in January and February, and we likely have a solid idea by now what we will close in March. So how does it look? Are we tracking as planned? The very reason we spend time writing a business plan is to use it as a guide for the entire year.
So based on our projections for 2013, how are we doing? Remember, we need to be tracking our business against our plan and the known percentages of our production, not just as a part of a static quarter. What I mean by that is, if we wanted to close 100 units for the year, a static quarter would be 25 units, one fourth of 100. However, our business isn’t static, it is cyclical. So by comparing the average percentages of our closed production month by month, we have a more complete picture of how our production really flows. I have one originator that closes 18% of his total business in the first quarter. So by that estimate, he should close 18 units in the first quarter if he was to be on target for 100 total closed units.
By using historical data to help you determine more accurate tracking methods, you will get more reliable information from which to make your choices. This also holds true with your referral partners. Some sources are much more consistent than others. Accountants tend to send you the most referrals in the first and third quarters of the year. Why; because that is when they are engaged the most with their clients. Realtors® tend to refer more business in the spring than they do the winter, insurance professionals and attorneys tend to be less seasonal. The key thing to remember is to track the numbers against your expectations so you can manage the relationship proactively instead of reactively.
So where do we need to be by March 31st to be on track or ahead of our goals? What do we have to do in March to be sure we are there? I know it sounds silly to be worrying about it now, but the time to make adjustments is when you have an opportunity to improve, not after it’s too late to do anything about it!
The next key thought about setting up the season is to share important information with those who are in a position to help you! Right now accountants and financial planners are meeting with clients discussing taxes and investments as they relate to the current year and new tax policy. If you aren’t reminding them to have their clients contact you to review their housing options and how to minimize the cost of where they live, you are doing a dis-service to your referral partners and their clients. As we have said before, many people would benefit from refinancing, trading up or down, or buying investment properties. How do they know all of their options if they haven’t talked to you about them?
Last but certainly not least are your Realtor® partners. We need to get engaged with them to help them take advantage of this buying season. Almost every mortgage professional on the street has heard more than one Realtor® acknowledge the lack of housing inventory. The National Association of Realtors® has said listing inventories are down about 30% year over year. While I feel the pain, I don’t see anyone proposing a solution? How about we get out into the neighborhoods with our Realtor® partners and go knock on some doors and talk to some people? Just because there is a lack of listed homes doesn’t mean there is a lack of inventory. Unless you live in Detroit where they are bulldozing down homes, the number of listing opportunities remains the same. In fact, I can make a case for the fact that there is even greater opportunity to list homes for sale than any time in the past few years because the market is better and interest rates are still quite low!
If you don’t ask for the business you won’t get it! Hundreds of people in your market would love to refinance or sell their current homes and buy a better one if someone would just tell them that they were supposed to do that NOW!
Home prices aren’t going lower. Interest rates are already off the bottom. Almost everyone agrees that both prices and rates will be higher sooner rather than later. What are you waiting for? Get out and get knocking! They aren’t going to call you!
How many transactions won’t happen this year that should have because you didn’t tell someone that they would benefit by doing something NOW???