“Simple reminders save stress”

You can’t remember everything. The good news is you don’t have too! One of the key coaching points I share is to have your process well defined, and then laid over a timeline specific to that transaction. Every market is different; sometimes loan programs have different requirements that can cause a different timeline from other transactions. As the lending expert, it is your job to be in control of the process and the timeline. Setting up simple timeline reminders can make your life and your business much more manageable.

When you set the expectations for each specific transaction, it is important that you set the transactional timeline for each step of the process. A step by step, day by day, deadline by deadline for you to manage and for you to share with everyone involved to be sure things flow as they should. And if they don’t, you are there to respond quickly to get things back on schedule.

TRID has been a hassle to many and a blessing to a few. Those that saw TRID as an opportunity to differentiate them from the rest of the market have now begun to see the rewards. More and more people are frustrated by the delays and extended timelines are seeking those professionals that are mastering the process and still closing in less than 30 days. This doesn’t happen by accident, it happens with planning and schedule discipline. That discipline can be simply accomplished by setting up timeline reminders so you are on top of your files. If something is delayed, your reminder lets you know and get you back on track. These reminders can be programmed into your electronic calendar, or simply written in your day planner. It doesn’t matter how you schedule your success, just that you do it!

Simple reminders to the client and referral partners can also save you stress. Reminding your Realtors® to have sales comps ready for the appraiser at the time of the appraisal to help justify the price, can help prevent short appraisals. Simple reminders also help keep your Title Company and Attorneys on track to have their final numbers to you at a predetermined time so your closer can have time to prepare the CD early for review and quick delivery to the client for approval.

Simple reminders to the client that keep them focused to not make any big purchases, not to apply for any new credit, don’t move any money around or make large cash deposits. These simple things can cause big problems or even the death of the deal in some cases, so why not be prepared with a series of simple reminders that help keep everyone on track, and focused on a successful transaction?

It won’t take long to look at your file flow process and set it up. Once you have them complete, it’s just a matter of scheduling them for delivery when you set the transactional timeline. The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” really resonates with me on this one. Take some time and get this done. The deals and stress you save will be your own!

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

“Priorities”

I wanted to spend the time to share some thoughts on setting and dealing with priorities. As the spring buying season heats up, it is all too easy to get engaged in being busy and lose focus on being productive. When working with my clients, I have had the opportunity to look at how different types of people react to different situations and work with them on building systems that support the intended goals and schedule time as efficiently as possible.

The one thing that I have shared that seems to have made the biggest difference in the shortest period of time is to help them establish a clear understanding of three things:

  • What are daily, weekly, and monthly priorities?
  • Do I have a clear plan on how everything works in my system?
  • What is the timeline for each action and activity?

When you are really clear on these three items, it makes it simple for you to set your daily task list of actions you need to take, while allowing for time to manage your communications and prospect. If you aren’t really clear on what you are trying to do and when it needs to be done, you end up spending time trying to figure out what is next, instead of just doing what is next!

Another simple tool you can use is to create your daily priority list of things you need to get done today. When you have that list, and considering that they all have to be done that day, you need to do something that most people already do, but then change something very important. Create the list first by order of importance, but then list the tasks from easiest and fastest to complete down to the ones that are more difficult or will take more time to do. Now I know this is contrary to what most “experts” will tell you to do, and in many other professions they might be right, but in the mortgage industry, getting as many smaller, more simple tasks off your plate as quickly as you can will sometimes make all the difference.

For example; you have ten tasks to complete during the coming workday. You have six relatively simple and quickly done tasks that may only take you an hour to complete. Then you have three tasks that are more complicated and time consuming, say about an hour each, and you have a major challenge that is going to require a great deal of attention.

Do the six simple tasks first, followed by the three more complicated. This way you have 90% of your tasks completed by lunch and can take a break and prepare for the big challenge with a clear mind knowing that everything else is taken care of. Far too many people work on the big ugly problem first and get worn down in the effort and have real issues knowing they still have a lot of tasks still on their plate to get done.

This is purely a psychological play. By doing the larger number of simple tasks first you clear the work quickly and develop a feeling of accomplishment. Getting 90% of your work done by noon, in this example, allows you to approach the big challenge without the worry of other issues remaining to be completed. I have found that doing things this way makes a great deal of sense for most originators. This way if the big challenge can’t be resolved or causes a delay, it is only one thing to deal with because the other items are already done!

So think about creating priorities and creating a schedule of activity that allows you to get the simple things off your plate quickly and set you up to approach your bigger challenges without pressure of the other things waiting to be done. This takes a little practice, but I promise you it can make all the difference on how you feel at the end of the day! Establish your priorities and act on them from simple to complex instead of the other way around. You might just find a way to get more out of your day!

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

“Open Houses Still Mean Opportunity”

Open Houses are still an excellent opportunity to work with your Realtors® and generate transactions. Far too many people take them too lightly or dismiss them as something that is somehow “beneath them”. To me, mastering the strategies of working an Open House is an essential part of any originator’s toolbox! I have originators using these strategies every weekend to serve their referral partners and generate awareness and opportunities. My Realtor® Coach, Terri Murphy and I, did a webinar for our monthly Lunch & Learn that brought about a huge response and a great amount of interest. Some of those on the call have already used a few of these tools to generate opportunities and build new relationships.

Open Houses aren’t about you buying some food and sitting around for a few hours hoping somebody shows up and needs your help. Open Houses require planning and a strategy. Taking the time to look at all the different options and creating a plan can mean big rewards, but first you have to think about what you need to do.

First thing we need to do is plan. Some important planning questions are:

  • When are we planning to hold the house open?
  • Where is the property located?
  • What are the details of this particular property?
  • What are the likely competitors on the market?
  • What are the trade-up or trade-down possibilities already on the market?
  • What is the marketing game plan?

There are likely more questions you can work into your plan, but without these six, you are leaving the door open to lackluster results! Let’s quickly look at each of these so we are clear. Without knowing the target date for the open house, it becomes impossible to do anything else. Failure to properly plan is certainly planning to fail!

The location of the property will dictate what type of plan you will be able to use. A gated community and certain HOAs may have rules regarding Open Houses that you may have to follow. The location will also dictate the ease or complexity of people to find this property.

Property details are very important. You must not only know the price and taxes, you need to know the story of the house, neighborhood, and community! People buy the story; know the story!

Taking the time to prepare a “competition work sheet” so you are clear what else is on the market and what other properties you are going to be compared too! You must know your numbers!

Trade-up and trade-down properties are essential in not missing an opportunity to connect with those people who are looking to buy, just not this particular home! If you can’t sell them this house, sell them the one they want!

The marketing plan is you game plan for success. How are you going to get the word out about this event? Are you going to go door to door and invite the neighbors? Are you going to advertise in the local paper or your local MLS? Will you have a social media plan to connect with those looking on the Internet? Will you have used “sticky technology” so when people are attracted to your message, you know that they looked and how they found you?

Open Houses can generate real big rewards with the proper planning and execution. Using all forms of communication to get the word out and to provide valuable information to prospective buyers is critical! Person to person, paper, electronic, phone, video, text messaging, email, and even snail mail can play an important role! Don’t underestimate the possibilities of a properly executed open house!

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

“What is your value?”

One of the most important questions we can ask ourselves is “What is our value?” If you sell price, then you have just one message, “Here is my low price.” You can market and share your low price, and then compete with others who are in the same market. It is easy and quick. Price is the sole factor and that is what you sell.

For many others, the reality is you can’t compete on price. The reasons you can’t compete on price are many, but a few of them are:

  • Someone will always work cheaper than you!
  • Someone can always lie better than you!
  • The markets change every minute of every day!

We have long had to understand that price is a lousy factor to base your entire business on. I am not saying it isn’t an important factor, and that you don’t have to be in the middle of your market, but the reality is, price is a losing battle. Building and maintaining long term relationships is that you must create exceptional value! If you are not creating exceptional value, you’re just another commodity.

So how do we create value? Look at the overall experience for both your clients and your referral partners. Here are a few questions you should be able to answer:

  • How does working with you provide for a better experience?
  • Do you have a clear process that is simple to understand?
  • Do you provide a specific timeline of events?
  • Do you communicate the way the customer or referral partner needs you to communicate with them?
  • Do you set and exceed expectations?

These are really simple questions that are not so easily answered the same way for everyone. Some of us do many of these things well, but not many succeed in all areas. It may just have been a matter of not knowing that these were the questions. It may just be that we do these things occasionally or most of the time; just not all the time or consistently. The good news is that awareness is the first step in creating your process to cover all the areas and develop a consistent approach that delivers value to both your clients and referral partners.

Look at these questions and look at your current systems and processes. Write it down! Get really clear on what you are trying to do and what your message needs to be. Focus on the points you know are the frequent cause of stress or delay and be sure your process removes those issues or detects them early enough for you to correct and adjust.

Clients and referral partners are looking for professionals. Your ability to take a contact smoothly through the loan process and according to a predetermined timeline is a huge value. Being the professional who is trusted by those in your community is critical. If you can’t be relied upon to provide accurate and specific information or stick to a timeline, your price means nothing! As I have always said, “The rate isn’t great if the closing is late!”

Value can mean different things to different people. We have to provide great value to our clients and referral partners by being specific and clear. We have to set proper expectations and deliver above them.

  • We need to offer our clients all of their options so they can make an informed choice!
  • We need to set a timeline and make sure we deliver on, or ahead of schedule!
  • We need to communicate the way our clients and referral partners prefer!
  • We need to make a very complicated process simple for our clients and referral partners!

You can sell price, but people who share value often have better outcomes!

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