“The week after Christmas”

Twas the week after Christmas
And right before New Year’s,
When many a prospective buyer,
Encountered new fears.

Rising interest rates and prices,
Make it more expensive to own.
Maybe it’s better to rent,
Than to buy my own home?

Now tapering the new talk,
Behind the new rising rates.
I need to see the facts,
To avoid making mistakes.

And what is this talk,
Of “QM” taxing my brain?
Why ratios above 43%,
Now causing all of this pain?

With all of this worry and doubt,
How do I know where to start?
I am told to find a professional,
But how do I tell them apart?

So many fancy websites,
And all the talk of great rates!
How do I tell the bad ones,
From the good and the great?

So I sought out wise counsel,
From those that I trust.
The message was clear,
Getting an expert was a must!
“It’s not about low rates,
As one might suppose.
That rate ain’t so great,
If your loan doesn’t close!”

I needed good information,
From which to make choices.
Someone to listen to my needs,
Not just the sound of their own voices!

I wanted it all written down,
So each choice was clear to see.
There would need to be a balance,
Between my payments and fees.

Once I had a plan,
On what would work best for me.
I called upon my Realtor®,
To show me a house, then two, and then three.

When I found a home that I loved,
I made an offer without hesitation.
Confident in knowing my choice,
Was made with proper expectations!

Then my offer was accepted,
All the inspections were done.
Whoever would have thought,
Buying a home could be so much fun!

So with holiday cheer,
Go out and select your great team.
They can prevent a real estate nightmare,
By making you part of the American Dream!

Mike@IMTcoaching.com
or visit our website at http://improvemytomorrowcoaching.com

The Four Most Important Days of 2014

The four most important days of 2014 may just be December 26th & 27th, and January 2nd & 3rd. For many, these four days represent part of the “Holiday Season” and will be enjoyed with friends, family, and peaceful enjoyment of a well-deserved vacation. For many others, these four days are part of the work schedule.

My long held belief has always been; if you are going to work, then work! If you are going to take time off, then take the time off. Going through the motions of pretending to be working is a waste of both work time and vacation time. So if you are working, have a plan to engage the market on these important days. Why are they so important? Because the people you will find working are working because they have to work. They need that next deal. They need to close an existing transaction. They are not just occupying space; they need to get things done!

The same holds true for the customer. If a customer is out looking at homes or calling to get financing information, you can bet your bottom dollar they are focused and in need of making something happen. Not many “tire kickers” or “window shoppers” on the housing circuit, just people than NEED to get something done.

Now is the time to make a commitment one way or the other. You are working or you are going on vacation. If you are working, you need to set clear objectives and specific tasks to engage the public and get in front of opportunities. You don’t have to commit to a full schedule, but you do need to commit to PROSPECTING to every person you got a deal from in 2013 and everyone you expect to get a deal from in 2014.

Once you have this list, prepare a card or a letter of some kind for each of these people. Then prepare a “route” by which you can visit the office of each person on that list. Use both Thursday & Friday to visit half the people each day. Get to the office and deliver the message. If they are there, talk to them briefly about activity levels and make them aware that you are available to help them with customers. If they are not in the office, leave the message for them and before you leave the parking lot, call them and leave them a message that you are available.  Be sure to change your voice mail each day during these couple of weeks to share with people that you ARE working and when you will be returning phone calls. Again, you don’t have to answer the phone each time it rings; you just need to record your greeting to make the caller aware of when you will be calling back.

The important part of this is visibility. Just your physical presence can help you get a referral opportunity from someone who might not have ever called you, but because you were working when they were working, your availability can win that transaction!

So the winning strategy for the next two weeks goes something like this:

1) Determine if you are working or not.
2) If you are working, create the contact list.
3) Create equal routes, one for Thursday and one for Friday.
4) Prepare handouts, one for the first week and one for the following week.
5) Set your schedule and time for your visits.
6) Thursday – change voice mail make visits.
7) If they are there, talk about activity levels.
8) If they are not there, leave the handout and call from parking lot.
9) Friday – same as Thursday with the other half of the group.

You can do it exactly the same each week or you can change the days around. The important thing is that you deliver a physical message, supported by a conversation about your availability to help.

Many people have already closed out the year and won’t be back until January the 6th! This gives you a huge head start on the New Year! It’s like getting a two-week lead on your competition! Visibility is critical. Even if your referral partners are not working, they will know you ARE! You can’t take a loan now and likely get it closed before the end of the year. But you can take new applications and help structure a few transactions for next year, while building significant credibility for being there if and when they need you, a full two weeks before the other guys get back to work!

Merry Christmas to everyone! Please enjoy this wonderful season by sharing time with those you love. If you are taking a well-deserved vacation, relax and recharge yourself and be ready to hit the ground running when you get back. If you are working, or even if you are just available, make a commitment to be in front of those who may need your help!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com or you can visit our website at http://improvemytomorrowcoaching.com

“Salesperson or Authority?”

Mortgage originations have often been looked at as a “sales” position. Many of the training programs and concepts we use to teach originations are based in fundamental “sales” training. I myself have established a very successful training program based in fundamental “sales” techniques that is being used by many originators to grow their production well beyond the traditional averages. While more than 90% of the industry’s more than 110,000 licensed loan originators do benefit from working and improving on these fundamentals, today I want to speak to the approximately 9% of the loan originators that close more than ten purchase units per month, and to those that would like to see their business generate the same. Remember, we never abandon the fundamentals, we shift and pivot into improved areas of activity. You can’t start at the top, it is a process.

Tradition “salespeople” have to go out into the world and make many contacts, sharing a story of differentiation trying to get an opportunity to perform. They use the law of large numbers to talk and sell whatever product, program, rate, or service position they want to get across. I want to go beyond this point and discuss what life can look like when you transform from being a salesperson and become and expert and an authority. The main differences are, the expert shares knowledge and the authority provide solutions. Neither of them is selling anything, they are simply sharing! By sharing information and solutions you create a high level of trust long before the price is discussed. This trust is measured by the value of the information and solutions. This value now changes the entire experience. When a customer trusts you and can see the value in the relationship, the rest becomes pretty straightforward. As these “valued experiences” add up, referral partners on both sides of your transactions start to take notice and even begin to call YOU and ask for a meeting. I have a number of originators who receive these calls on a fairly regular basis. Salespeople sell. Experts and authorities share. Salespeople go out into the world and look for opportunity. Experts and authorities see opportunities come to them!

You just don’t become and expert or authority. You have to work and earn it. In many cases the art of mastering anything is considered 10,000 hours of practice. Practice in the fundamentals for sure, but also the systems used to generate exceptional value as a solutions provider. The fieldwork of selecting those to approach, the hours of refining your message and learning the needed technology must be invested in order for the opportunity to apply these things to the general population to experience. As people experience working with you, you will develop a reputation for your excellence. As more and more people experience this excellence, the number of people wanting to take part in the extraordinary will, and does grow. It grows almost exponentially.

There isn’t too much difference between a three loan a month originator and one that does ten or more. Certainly the ten plus originator isn’t three times “better” than the other guy, he certainly doesn’t have more time. The answers lie in the systems and the excellence you bring to the table. If you are only doing one loan a month, do it with excellence. Set the proper expectations. Keep connected to all the parties. Get the file perfect and close as agreed and on schedule. Work the connections and the contacts from the file. Seller, selling agent, seller’s neighborhood, buyer’s agent, and the buyer’s sphere of influence are all targets and future opportunities. Think about replacing the file from the file. Think about connecting all the dots with all the people involved and show them that you are excellent. Do it each time. Do it EVERY TIME!

You may not succeed in 100% file replacement. You might not impress everyone involved; but you may find someone. That someone is one more someone than you had before the deal started. Build your 10,000 hours of mastery by becoming exceptional at follow-up and follow-through. Each hour gets you closer to becoming the expert and authority that rises above the transaction and creates a practice. As more and more people note the excellence you share, they will be open to talk, engage, and provide you with opportunities so they can be part of the ongoing success.

A couple of weeks ago one of my clients shared a story with me on a top producing Realtor® in the area called and asked for a meeting. This Realtor® had been on the other side on quite a few of my client’s transactions. He had had many a conversation and sent many and update, but could never get that one on one meeting much less a referral. After more than two years he gets this call. They meet, and at this meeting the Realtor® shared that the current originator has done a great job for years. No complaints; never a single challenge or issue that would lead to being replaced. So when asked why the call now? The answer was that the Realtor® thought my client could help them get to that next level of production. That over time, the excellence had shown through. Even though nobody did anything wrong, my client did it with excellence and that excellence made for a better experience for everyone. That excellence was the missing piece of the puzzle. It was just a matter of trading in good or great for excellent!

Become the expert. Become an authority by putting in your hours to master what you do and provide excellence. People like good. People appreciate great. But people seek out and find excellence!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com or visit us at http://improvemytomorrowcoaching.com

Working When Others Won’t!

Once again the holiday season begins and people seem to be in a hurry to end the year. Many have already started talking about their plans on how to make 2014 a great year. I agree with business planning and the fact that we need to look forward and execute a plan. However, I don’t think that those that are doing the talking are also doing the work needed to finish 2013 strong enough to set up a great first quarter of 2014. Let’s be serious, 2014 has already begun. Many of the people you have been working with will translate into 2014 closings. The issue is, and has always been, the lack of effort many in our industry put forward into completing 2013.

December isn’t all holiday parties. December is a month to find and work with those who want and need to be working. By working when others won’t work you sift through a large number of people who are not fully committed in making things happen and find those that are. For many of my clients, they are still in a position to put together a deal and get it closed BEFORE the end of the year. In fact, while others are now talking about 2014, some are still improving their numbers for 2013!

Take for example my client John O’Hara in Needham Massachusetts, John was committed to working his “Black Friday Strategy” this past week while others chose to take off and put together three transactions. Two where purchase deals he was able to refer to Realtor® referral partners who he knew were working, and one was a refinance that he acquired because the original lender said the loan couldn’t close until late January. Because John was committed to working his plan, three transactions came to him just because he was there and willing to help! If that wasn’t good enough, John also knew which of his referral partners were available to work, and he was able to refer them pre-approved clients who wanted to make a deal happen! John will see benefits in 2013 for his actions as well as 2014 because he chose to work when others wouldn’t.

December is also a time to be prepared. Have you looked at the calendar and realized that many will leave work on Friday, December the 20th, and not come back to work until Monday, January 6th! While some may not admit to it, the reality is that many people will make excuses not to put forward their best efforts. Can you afford to be one of those people? Now I do have a few clients that will be taking well deserved vacations in December, and I have no issues with those that do; but if you are not going to work, then be sure you enjoy and call this time a vacation, and not pass it off as “being available” if someone happens to call or need me. That is just ridiculous. If you are going to work, WORK! If you are not going to work, then take a vacation and call it a vacation!

For those of you working, focus on visibility. Get out and get in front of people. Get into offices, drop off cards, letters, flyers, and tell people you are working and maybe they will too? Physical reminders followed by a phone call at every location. I know that most offices are empty. Don’t worry about it. Just have something to deliver, personalized for the specific person you wanted to see and leave it for them. Then before you pull out of the parking lot, call them on the phone and tell them you dropped off something for them, and that you are available to serve their clients should they be putting a deal together of locating new opportunities.

Working when others won’t work thins the competition. Working when others won’t work helps you filter all potential referral partners down to those select few who are working just like you are. They need to work and put together deals, and so do you. Even if you don’t manage to find a deal, you will have differentiated yourself from every other loan professional whose only interest this time of the year is where the next party is!

Yes, time is running out. No, 2013 is over just yet. There is still time to find new opportunities. There is still time to put together transactions. There is still time to build new relationships that will produce for you in the days, weeks, and months to come. Work when others won’t and you will get the deals that others don’t!

Questions or comments please email: Mike@IMTcoaching.com or visit our website at http://improvemytomorrowcoaching.com