“Bonus Week Strategy”

This year we had a very early Memorial Day. In fact, it almost feels like we had an extra or “bonus” week added to our calendar because June 1st is not until Sunday. In most cases, we roll right out of the Memorial Day weekend and into June, this year we have found ourselves with almost an entire week between Memorial Day and June 1st.

So what are we going to do with this “bonus week”? How do we take the calendar and use it to our advantage? Well, how about simple awareness? How about we just share the news that people have an entire extra week to shop and buy a home this year and move in before Fourth of July weekend? Yes, we can still go out and shop for a home and get it under contract and closed in time to have that Fourth of July barbeque at your NEW HOME! But you do need to act quickly!

So look at the calendar. You have to be clear on your local turn-around times and your own companies limitations for speed, but it can still be done by many of you; some can go further into June and still make it happen. So what is your current timing from contract to closing? At what rate of speed can you and your team get it done so people can close by July 3rd? Is it May 30th? June 5th? Is it possible to take a deal and close it as late as June 12th and still close in time for the Fourth of July barbeque at the new home? Think about it and get really clear before making any commitments. Just know that many in your market may not be able to do it at this point! But be certain of your abilities BEFORE making any commitments!

The housing market is growing stronger each day. Not breaking loose by any means, but slowly growing in volume, activity, and now we are seeing more and more closings. New construction is picking up in many markets and new listings are being met with strong demand. Interest rates are trying to cooperate and preapprovals looking are reaching record highs within my client’s pipelines across the country. So this could be a late, but powerful buying season if we just keep working.

So this week in your weekly phone calls with your preapprovals make sure you talk about the possibility of getting a house and being moved in by the Fourth of July holiday. Talk about the time table of events and when they could still reasonably expect to get under contract and still close in time to host that “house warming holiday barbeque!

Be sure when you are calling your referral partners in the days to come that you share the strategy and have the conversation about the possibilities and the timelines so people know that with you, it is still possible! Maybe this year we try a “staycation” instead of a vacation and use that money to get into our new home? The “Forever Home Strategy®” is working great all across the country. Mortgage professionals and their Realtor® referral partners are engaging the public every week and find new people who are making the choice to list and sell their homes to find that “Forever Home” for their families.

Use the tools on the website. Use your ability to share information and options with people so they may make an informed choice about where they live and what they own. Options are great, but if people don’t know they have choices, they really don’t have options do they?

Get up, get out, go talk to people!

Questions or comments: mike@IMTcoaching.com or visit our website at http://improvemytomorrowcoaching.com

Memorial Day Strategy

The end of May brings us to a very special time, the time we recognize those men and women who have dedicated and sacrificed themselves in service to our country. Taking a moment to remember and honor them is a just thing we do and not to be lost in the midst of a barbeque or a day at the beach. So be sure you take the time to honor those that have served and to thank those you can for their service. Attend a parade, visit a monument, say a prayer, and give thanks to those who have made our freedom possible.

The next part of this post is to determine if you are or aren’t working or available this weekend. If you are not; then you need to let everyone know you won’t be available and direct those to someone who may assist them. You have every right to take time off; you just need to make sure your inbound referrals are covered.

If you are planning to be available, then let people know. Start now. Call or visit as many people as possible and make them aware that you will be available to help them put together a deal or two if needed. The long weekend is full of opportunities if you know where to look for them. Here are few simple thoughts:

1) Talk to every referral partner and let them know you are going to be available.
2) Ask them if they have plans to work as well.
3) See if they are planning to show property this weekend.
4) Be certain you have talked with everyone they are planning to work with before the weekend begins.
5) Determine you availability and how best to reach you.
6) Schedule at least one hour each day to get out and be visible.
7) Change your voice mail message to reflect when you are going to return calls so people know when they can talk to you.

Holiday weekends are a great time to relax and take off. They are also an excellent time to work and build relationships. Sometimes just walking into an office on a holiday weekend can help you build a new relationship you may never have an opportunity to forge just because you walked through the door. The agents you find working this weekend are working because they have too! Simply being out there can make all the difference. So schedule you time. Just one or two hours each day to get out and about and attend and open house, visit a few offices, be available to those who need to work this weekend and you may find yourself involved in a transaction just because you were there.

If you do attend a parade or memorial celebration, be sure to take pictures or video. Get those pictures and video on your Facebook page and let people know that you were connected and involved.

Holiday weekends present a variety of opportunities. We all make choices. If your choice is to take off, then enjoy the time and energize yourself to get back to work on Tuesday ready to go. If you choice is to be available, then be certain people know of your availability and share with them the best way to connect with your should they need you.

Success story of the week: A new loan originator in Charlotte NC that attended a training I did a couple of weeks back used one of the strategies I shared to approach a Realtor® he wanted to do business with. He talked about the challenging listing situation and shared the “Forever Home Strategy®” with this agent and the agent thought it may be worth a try. They agreed on a neighborhood and followed the plan. In just three hours of knocking on doors and sharing information, they found people mostly happy to see them and grateful for the information. They also located a homeowner who thought now would be a great time to list their home and buy a new one so they did!

This Realtor® had seven listings in the entire prior year. In three hours working with this originator following the strategy they generated a listing and a buy side opportunity. Three hours. It doesn’t always work this way. But it can’t ever work if you don’t try!

Questions or comments please contact us at: mike@IMTcoaching.com or visit us online at http://improvemytomorrowcoaching.com

To all of those who have served, I thank you!

“The Wave”

It is the middle of May and we are well into home buying season. While we got off to a slow and late start in many parts of the country, buyers and sellers are engaging the market and taking advantage of the spring to buy their first house or to find their “Forever Home”.

This week I want to talk about “riding the wave”. I have looked at the business flow of purchase transactions over many years with thousands of originators and have tried to explain this time of year like the waves coming on to the beach. As the tide moves in, each wave runs further and further up the beach setting higher and higher levels or reach. Loan preapprovals are much like the waves of an incoming tide. In January and February we start to see a steady stream of people inquiring about home ownership and asking for information and getting preapproved for a loan to buy a new home.

As we transition from winter into spring and the weather gets warmer, these numbers continue to grow, just like the waves of the incoming tide, higher and higher up the sand. As originators, we see more and more preapprovals each week and the numbers build. In each market the numbers may vary, but the preapprovals will continue to out-pace closings until about the end of April, beginning of May in most cases. Then we hit a peak number of preapprovals and a time comes when the number of closing starts to outpace the number of new preapprovals coming in. This is the peak or “high water mark” if you will. Gradually the pace of business begins to slow and by the middle of August we are closing far more loans than issuing preapprovals.

The key to “riding the wave” is that the longer you can keep preapprovals coming in at a faster pace than loans closing (closings are growing each month) the longer your cycle will be and the more total transactions will close. Prolonging that high water mark can dramatically increase your total number of transactions for the year.

So here are a few things you can do to “ride the wave”.
1) Don’t stop prospecting!
2) Keep asking your current clients for referrals!
3) Keep in touch with your preapprovals each week to be sure they are still looking at property.
4) Connect with every seller on your buy side transactions.
5) Connect with each of your agents listings and apply for the job of being their next loan officer.
6) Talk to the neighbors around listings and gauging interest and asking for referrals.
7) Get out and talk to the neighbors AFTER the property sells and tell them that there is still plenty of interest in this neighborhood and would they think about selling?
8) Keep connected to your database with value and share your success stories on your social media outlets.

These are just eight things you can be sure to do to keep yourself riding the wave of business just as far as possible. Remember, the further you ride the wave, the more loans you will close!

Questions or comments: mike@IMTcoaching.com or visit us online at http://www.improvemytomorrowcoaching.com

“Work is Work”

It may sound ironic but I really feel that many people will do almost anything they can to avoid work. As mortgage professionals we are in an interesting position to live this almost every day of our lives. We have clients, referral partners, support personnel, and many others around us who spend more time and energy trying to avoid working than they would have consumed actually just doing the job correct and completely from the very start.

For those who can’t seem to finish anything, I call these people the “90%’ers”. People who when they get around to starting a task, get it about 90% complete and then for some reason they just stop and hope that somehow it gets done without any further effort on their part. Why not just complete it? Why not be sure it is done correctly? Why have to deal with having to go back and “fix” something you likely knew was incorrect in the first place?

Compliance issues and regulations are not going away. Loan applications are not going to get approved that are incomplete or are clearly not qualified. Yet every day I see originators submit files into their processing or underwriting teams that they KNOW are NOT complete and certainly not approvable. Why? What is there to gain? Do we really need practice putting together our transactions? Do we not know the requirements for a proper loan submission? Do we think that someone else will step up and clean our mess? Has it come to that? Are we that lazy or are we just so sure that somehow we can get away with substandard efforts and get full compensation? As a professional, your minimum standard of work should be excellent.

I was working with a sales manager who was having issues with a particular originator. Nancy was under producing and had a long list of reasons why she wasn’t generating opportunities and getting deals closed. Excuse after excuse as to why there was no new business. When challenged, she complained about lack of appointments with referral partners and the lack of houses for sale in her market. When asked further about the lack of appointments, she said she was scheduling appointments but people were canceling. When asked what she did to prospect during the time she had set aside for those appointments, Sally had no answer. The only thing Nancy did with her time when the “appointments” canceled was to complain about the lost meeting, she did nothing to generate a new opportunity.

This is the point. What is your plan? What are your “Plan B” and even “Plan C” when the original prospecting activity gets scuttled? Other than to complain to all around her that is? If you have no contingency plan in place when things go away from you other than to go negative, you aren’t a true professional; you are just like Negative Nancy!

Work is work. There is a right way to do your job perfectly and everything else is not the way a professional does things. Work is work! You need to know what perfect is and master the work so it is done perfectly each and every time, not just some of the time. You also need to know what to do when your plan is interrupted by other people or their failure to complete their work with or for you. Work is work. It takes work to do it right. It takes more work to do it WRONG!

Our profession requires that loan originators work to originate and submit files that are ready to be processed, underwritten, closed, and funded. That is what you get paid to make happen. This requires a plan. This requires knowing what is perfect. This requires having alternate plans to prospect when the original plan breaks down. This requires being 100% committed to an exceptional outcome for everything you do. Why? Because being exceptional is easier in the long run than being anything else.

Work is work! Don’t be a “Negative Nancy”. Be the expert and authority that others look up too. Be the professional that does it right each and every time. Know and do the work; the rewards are worth it!

Questions or comments: mike@IMTcoaching.com or visit us online http://improvemytomorrowcoaching.com

Actions Overcome Frustration

Spring is here and by all accounts the home buying activity level is increasing nicely. Many of my loan originators are seeing a large number of pre-approvals finding properties and going into contract. As the numbers of homes that are selling increases, so does the awareness that now might just be the best time in the next few years to get out and purchase that new home, or find your Forever Home!

With increased activity we can also see a big increase in the level of frustration on all sides. People get frustrated when they are not in control of a situation or they don’t understand why what is happening is happening. This holds true for all of us. So how do we avoid many of these situations and how can we prevent ourselves, our customers, and our referral partners from becoming frustrated with the process? The answers are ours to provide and to control. The answers lie in the actions we take to overcome frustration.

The first thing we can all do is become better at communicating and setting proper expectations. As professionals, it is not our job to agree with people, it is our job to set forth a path that results in the smooth closing of a real estate transaction. Let’s be clear, if we don’t know how the transaction proceeds step by step perfectly, how do we ever make it happen, and how do we get everyone else to participate? You must know each and every step from first contact through post-closing. As I travel the country speaking and training, I can’t begin to tell you how many people do not have this written down, much less put themselves in a position to share the process.

Rule #1: Set the proper expectations up front, and a time line by which the work is completed so that you meet your target closing dates!

Second in our list of things we need to do to avoid frustration is to be sure we have a “big picture view” of our market. How many transactions are taking place? What price ranges are in demand? What kind of borrowers am I seeing? What is the time frame or gestation period for a client in my market from first contact to closed loan? If we are not dealing with the real numbers, how do we know how well we are doing?

Rule #2: Do your homework and know the math. If you aren’t clear about the reality of your specific market, how can you keep score?

Third on my list is to get past those people who are not committed to what you are doing and work with those who are. You can’t please everyone. Clients, referral partners, and even your co-workers may have a different idea of what is a successful outcome. You need to be clear what you are trying to accomplish and be sure those you are working with people that are on the same page.

Rule #3: You don’t need everyone to work with you, work with those people who connect with your system and process and see the value in your plan! As my good friend Darryl Davis says, “You don’t water weeds.” Truer words have never been spoken!

Last on my list is to be proactive. You can’t sit around and wait for a situation to solve itself. If there is an issue, find a solution and get it done. If you can’t find the solution, get help. If there is no solution, move on to the next deal. Wasting time trying to revive a dead deal prevents you from getting involved in two or three new opportunities that will close!

Rule #4: Sometimes deals are not meant to be. Sometimes deals die. It happens. Go on to what is NEXT!

Success stories from last week: A Realtor®, frustrated with the lack of inventory in their market got out of the office and hit the streets knocking on doors. As a result of a weeks worth of effort doing what other agents won’t do, our agent generated THREE LISTINGS!

A mortgage professional who was tired of losing deals to a builder’s “Preferred Lender” decided to come up with a strategy to discuss with that builder to improve opportunities for the two of them. When looking at the builder’s development and his own list of pre-approvals out looking for homes, my mortgage professional made the determination that he had 23 families pre-approved that were likely candidate to purchase that builders homes. He schedule an appointment with the builder, shared the information, and offered to have a “Wine & Cheese Night” at his office so the builder could make a case for these people to buy one of his homes. The builder was impressed with the idea and not only agreed to the event, but included my professional on his approved lender list!

Actions can and will overcome frustration!
Questions or comments: mike@IMTcoaching.com or visit us online at http://www.improvemytomorrowcoaching.com