“Strategies for the Holidays”

For those of you who are still engaged in the work of being a mortgage professional, here are a few strategies you can use over the last few days of the year that could provide an additional deal or two for the coming year and maybe find you a few new referral partners along the way.

Holiday parties: You are certainly welcome to partake in the festivities, just be careful not to overdo it. A drunken originator is not a professional. Be sure to consume all in moderation. If you are going to an office party, be certain to acknowledge the host with a gift for all to share. Food is always a good thought because adding more alcohol may only add fuel to the fire!

Be social and network but be careful not to “sell”. As a professional you are always sharing and never selling, especially at a social function like a holiday party. You can always make appointments to follow up with business related conversations at a later date. Always be sure to follow up with a “Thank You” note the following day to the person that invited you and the host of the event.

Expired Listings: December 31st and January 1st see a large number of expired listings hitting the market. Talk to all of your agents about their plan for these opportunities and be certain to share your thoughts on how you can help engage and support an expired listing.

Mailing HUD-1 statements: Now is a great time to print out a copy of every HUD-1 from every closing you had this past year. Then get them in the mail with a note telling them that their accountant will likely want this document to help prepare their tax return. It never hurts to remind them that you are available to help or answer any questions.

Volunteering: Always great to help a group, organization, or charity during the holidays. Being someone people learn to count on to get things done is never a bad thing for your business. It also makes you feel good to help those in need of your assistance during the holidays.

Accountants & Financial Planners: As they get ready for tax season and rebalancing portfolios, it is always a good idea to remind them about the “Annual Mortgage Fitness Check-up and Identity Theft Screening®”. You never know who is thinking of moving, needs to move, or would benefit from a refinance.

Queue up that database: Who is over 4.5% on a fixed rate loan and who may have an ARM recasting in the coming year? How about we refinance out the old with a new loan that saves them some money and helps them pay off some holiday debt by missing one mortgage payment when they refinance?

December 26th – 30th and January 2nd – 4th: What are your plans? If you are working, be sure you know who else is working as well, and locate who is covering for those that aren’t. There will be buyers looking and sellers selling on these days. Don’t miss out a chance to make connections and put together some transactions but have a clear contact plan for these days. If you are thinking about working, have a clear plan to get out and get engaged! Visibility rules!

I wanted to thank all of you for keeping connected through this post and I look forward to a great 2015! Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Healthy, wealthy, and safe entry into the New Year!

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

Quality will lead to Quantity

As this year comes to an end and as people are planning for 2015, it is time I shared the one thought I wish all of you would take and run with; the knowledge that Quality will lead to Quantity.

In the loan business we are faced with three tasks, prospecting for new business, processing the opportunities generated from that prospecting; and managing the communications created and needed from the first two things. We all have seven days a week and twenty-four hours each day. So how is it that some people get more done than others? Before you say they have assistants, or work for a better company, or have better referral partners; try and look at yourself and the time you spend doing your job and ask yourself, “If I did a better job doing this, would I have more time to do more of that?”

You see, time is the investment we commit to take action and generate an outcome. How we use that time makes all the difference in the total time spent getting the job done. The old carpenter’s saying, “Measure twice and cut once” comes to mind. How often do we go back and revisit areas of a loan that could have been dealt with sooner and with fewer consequences than what we encountered? How frequently do we fail to finish something or double check something we have to go back and deal with later?

Higher producing originators develop great systems and build in redundant accountability to be sure they work every time, and if they don’t, someone catches the issue before it causes a major meltdown! How many times do you hear the phrase, “putting out fires”? What are these fires? How did the fire occur? Is there anything we could have done to prevent this fire or detect it before it got out of control?

Taking the time to get things right upfront is an investment in your own future. When you get things right at the beginning, you spend less time “fixing” things down the road. In fact, many of the so called “fires” we deal with on a regular basis were detectable had someone bothered to look. The time it takes to review a contract, pay stub, bank statement, tax returns, or other documentation BEFORE you move the file along can save you hours or even days down the road. It isn’t good enough to put the paystub in the file, you have to review it and check the numbers! It isn’t good enough to upload the contract of sale into the system; you have to read it to be sure everything matches what you have. I just had an originator tell me today that a deal blew up at the closing table because the name on the contract of sale didn’t match the name exactly as it appeared on their driver’s license and the loan application. Everyone missed it. Everyone! It is the originator’s job to check the documentation and do the math and check the spelling. As long as the originator makes the most money from closing a loan, I will maintain it is their job to double check the documentation in that file to be sure it matches what they wrote on the application and that the math works!

Taking a quality application and setting a proper expectation makes for a better client experience. It also makes for less time spent in total getting the file closed and makes the referral partner happy to have referred you which leads to more referrals! Doing a better job by focusing on the quality of your work will lead to more opportunities and a higher quantity of loan opportunities and closed loans! It’s not an “either/or” situation; one will lead to the other!

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

“Four More Weeks”

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday and spent some quality time with family and friends. I also added my 58th birthday to the festivities so it was a grand four-day weekend for sure.

Early results from the “Black Friday Housing Sale®” are pretty interesting; some were highly successful while others didn’t seem to make an impression. For those that followed the plan and generated real value to the consumer the results were pretty significant. For those who just marketed a small discount off closing costs, the effort was less than satisfactory. Like everything else I suggest you need to follow the plan. If you try and “wing it” with less than 100% effort, the consumer ignores you and may even move away from you because you were clearly using a “Sales Approach” not a “Value Approach”. You can’t differentiate without clear value no matter how much you hype something, if it isn’t a significant value, people don’t show up. Nobody gets up at 3am on Black Friday to save ten percent on a $50 item. You needed to present significant value.

We have four more weeks until the end of the year and we need to focus on more than just where the next holiday party is tonight. Attend all the parties you want, but you have to keep working while the others ease up and coast. Besides, there aren’t many parties going on between 8am and 3pm so you have no excuses to get up, get out, and do the WORK! Share the message of WHY it is important to be working now. Talk about the needs of the people who can get into contract today, close in January, and make their first house payment in MARCH!

People looking for a house in the next four weeks have a real need to make a deal happen. They also are likely to find less competition from other buyers who have decided to put off the search until after the first of the year! Think about it; is it better to shop for a home when more or less people are looking? After the beginning of the year, you will have many more people out looking at the same houses YOU are interested in. Would you rather be the only offer or part of a multiple bid situation?

The same thing also holds true for sellers. Many listings expire December 31st or January 1st. In fact, it is the single largest number of expired listing of the year! What happened when those expired listing relists or change to an agent with a more aggressive marketing plan? What about all the new inventory that will hit the market after the first of the year once the holidays are over? Would you rather show off your home fully decorated for the holidays with little competition, or when all the new inventory hits the streets? Wouldn’t you like to just get the deal done and move on? Sometimes less is more. Less buyers = less competition but by more serious buyers. Less inventory means your house can stand out as the best of the small group instead of one of the many.

So keep your buyers moving. Keep your sellers open to showing their properties. Keep your eye on the agents who want to work and NEED to work to get those final deals put together for January so they can start the year off with some closings and some commission checks! Also, work with your better referral partners to identify all the pending expired listings and get to work coming up with a plan to get in front of them as soon as the agent is allowed. Have the plan in place before the listing expires will lead to a greater number of listing appointments. You can help your agents by working up the numbers for them. What does five or ten thousand dollars really mean to them? In most cases, it’s only a few dollars a month on their next mortgage payment.

Four more weeks left this year to work. Four more weeks to keep active and in front of your referral partners, working the strategies that lead to closings. 2015 will soon be here and all the numbers will reset to ZERO! If you haven’t done the work, January and February closings won’t look so good! You can’t just coast to the finish line, you run right through it!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com