“Do it right, do more business. The 8 Simple Steps of Success”

It never gets old when a client tells me that referral partners are finding them! The complete reverse of the paradigm, referral partners coming to YOU! Asking to meet with YOU! Taking you to breakfast, lunch, coffee, or a drink and THEY grab the check! This happens more frequently than you might think. It can happen to you on a regular basis if you just take the time to master the skills that matter!

Here are the 8 Simple Steps of Success that can make all the difference in your journey to success!

  • Show Up!
  • Set the proper Expectations
  • Provide a solution to the challenge at hand
  • Create the timeline to succeed
  • Communicate clearly and in the client’s chosen form!
  • Deliver on the promises set in your expectations
  • Stay connected providing ongoing value!
  • Work with those who “get it” and fire the ones that don’t!

I know you think this is too simple or that you already do these things, and maybe you do, but do you do all these things every time? As I have shared with you in the past, “Consistency is Currency!” If you don’t have a schedule plan of visitation, communication, and conversation, then you don’t have a plan, and if it isn’t scheduled on a regular basis, you are not going to be consistent. You have to show up in people’s lives in a meaningful way using all forms of communication. We have talked about this before; master all levels of communication, not just the ones you like.

Setting the proper expectations is the backbone of the process. I would rather you lose a deal in the beginning of the transaction because you were too specific and too complete, than to end a transaction, late, sloppy, or not at all. You are the expert and clients and referral partners need you to set the tone on how this will go from contact to closing!

The client isn’t always right! Often they will come to you with a plan that either will not work, or may not be the best possible option. Your job is to listen to the client’s story and then propose all possible solutions. Sometimes their plan is the best plan; and sometimes it isn’t. If a customer wants to make a bad choice, that is their right, but you are obligated to provide all the options so they know that they had a choice!

Don’t forget the timeline! If you don’t build in milestones along the way, nobody will know when the deal is off track until it’s too late! We have talked a great deal about the transaction timeline. Use it!

You must learn to ask the client how best to communicate with them. Never assume! Some people want to meet in person. Some prefer email, text, or phone calls. Some want to Skype® or use Facebook Messenger®, whatever form they choose, adapt and communicate!

All of the preceding means nothing, if you fail to deliver on your promise and meet or exceed the set expectations. The ability to master and control the transaction timeline is simple; it’s just not easy! Under promise and over deliver is a wise saying for a reason!

You can’t just walk away from a transaction and expect future referrals. You must continue to keep connected with everyone in the transaction long after the one deal is closed. You can’t keep sending them mortgage information. NOBODY wants or needs mortgage information from you every month! But they would appreciate you sending them something of value. Use video and electronic coupons like we have talked about in the past. Deliver exceptional value from exceptional product and service providers on a regular basis and people will keep you and your business flowing with referrals!

Your business, your systems, your tools, your very procedures and timelines are the very filters by which you will find the business and the referral partners you are looking for! There are people out there who would love an originator who followed this plan. Clients and referral partners need and are actively seeking quality mortgage professionals to do business with! Stay true to your system and those people will find you! If you run into people or “professionals” who didn’t think your system is what they want or need, PLEASE let them go! You can fire your way to success! Don’t work with those who don’t want to follow your system. There are plenty of clients and referral partners who will!

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

“Opportunity Awareness”

Before I get started, I just wanted to acknowledge those in Louisiana who have had their lives turned upside down because of severe rain and flooding. We have clients in Baton Rouge, as well as the surrounding areas, and they have all had much to deal with. Some have had flooding in their homes and businesses, but have already started the long road back to “normal”. Join me in keeping all of those in our thoughts and prayers. Remembering always that once the TV cameras go away, the people are still there trying to put their lives back together!

Today I wanted to focus on something that seems very simple and obvious, but often gets overlooked in our “normal” day to day activities. First I want you to make sure you are connecting early with the agents involved with your transactions. A quick phone call to introduce you and explain the appraisal process, and share the transaction timeline will help create an accurate set of expectations. Following up during the process and after closing will help cement the quality of the experience and possibly lead to new referrals!

The next part of this is looking at the transaction and locating all the possible new referral partners you have a chance to get in front of. Tax returns have an accountant. Accountants have dozens or hundreds of clients. A simple call of introduction can help pave the way for a new referral partner!

Insurance agents also have a large database of people. Those people either own or rent where they live. Connecting with an insurance agent can open the door to converting renters into owners, and owners into refinances or new purchases!

Some of the people we come across have unfortunately been part of a divorce. Since a majority of divorces contain a marital property that either needs to be transferred or sold; connecting with a divorce attorney that understands the value of your process can quickly become your top referral partner!

You may also come in contact with Human Resource people, business managers, financial planners, and a whole range of others might be found inside the documentation you are already collecting from your clients for their loan application. A simple phone call to confirm they provided the documents creates a quick and simple first impression that you can follow up with after the transaction closes with a request to connect. A simple coffee or breakfast meeting and provide you with a meeting that may change your entire business!

The same thing holds true for looking at your surroundings as you make your sales calls. What businesses, professionals, and product providers are in your local market that might be a spring board to unknown value and opportunity? Well, if you don’t look, you can’t identify an opportunity. If you don’t ask to connect, you won’t ever have the chance to make your case as to why they need to be connected to you, and the thousands of opportunities you can create together every year!

So look deep into your files. Make phone calls and send emails. Write a note after closing and ask for a meeting. Pay attention to your surroundings and see what opportunities are sitting right in front of you that you have been missing! It might just change your business completely!

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

“Story from the Street!”

Every once in a while I need to share a story from the street. I think it serves as a reminder to all of us as to the actions and activities we can and should be doing, but sometimes forget the value of. Today I wanted to share a story about one of my clients in Florida who shared the “Open House Strategy” from our recent “Lunch & Learn” with one of his agents. While they couldn’t execute all the items we spoke of, they did make a commitment to do some of the activities.

For this Saturday Open House, they elected to hit the streets with a flier sharing the house information and inviting the neighbors to a special preview prior to the public open house. They also elected to use more street signage than just planting one in front of the home.

So originator and agent go off on Friday afternoon and proceeded to knock on 54 doors and distribute the Open House flier and talk to those who would come to the door. All in all, the walk through the neighborhood took a little more than an hour. When I asked my client about the reception they had received, he sounded a little disappointed. He told me than there weren’t that many people home and only one person they spoke to wanted to schedule an appointment for that agent to come back and do a CMA for his house, because he thought now was a good time to sell his house and buy another one.

I was confused. I asked my client “how many CMA appointments do you think this agent gets in a year?” He said about twenty. So I said, “Your agent works all year to generate about twenty appointments, and in a little more than one hour working with you she generated an appointment, and you aren’t thrilled?” He paused to reflect on what I said. He had never thought about it in those terms. And that was my point. If we don’t think about things in that way, how do we ever know if the actions and activities we are doing, are actually generating the result we want?

We go further along into the story and find out that on Saturday, the day of the actual Open House, four of the neighbors who read the flier stopped by to tour the property. An additional two people saw the signs and came through as well. My client seemed a little disappointed that only six people came through the Open House. So I had to ask him; “How many people would have come through if you didn’t put the fliers out and used the signs?” That’s when he realized that NOBODY would have come to this Open House at all if they hadn’t walked the neighborhood and used additional signage! NONE!

Then I quizzed my client about the effort/outcome investment in this particular action and asked him; “A total of three hours of additional work doing the Open House the way you did it and the way she was going to do it resulted in six buyer opportunities and one CMA appointment, verses NOTHING! Was it worth the investment?”

Now we don’t know if that agent will actually list and sell the house she is doing the CMA for. We also don’t know if she will sell a home to any of the six people who attended. Further, we have no idea if my client will see any loans from having done this work, but we do know a few things.

  • 54 fliers out into the neighborhood
  • One CMA appointment
  • Six new contacts that had some interest in a home.

Will any of this result in a transaction? I don’t know. Is the number of opportunities generated by these actions significantly higher than if they weren’t done, ABSOLUTELY! In our business we can only close opportunities. Opportunity generation is the beginning of our sales funnel. No opportunities, no outcomes! We all have to maximize our opportunities. Looking at the tools and strategies we employ and by tracking the results of those actions is the only way to take control of your business and make winning adjustments!

And one last thing; that agent called my client and wanted to schedule another Open House for another property!

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

“Numbers tell the story”

Stock market near all-time high levels, yet nobody seems happy with the economy. Interest rates near the all-time low, and we have the lowest percentage of home ownership in decades. Pressure on both listings and rentals are causing multiple bid situations all across the country and yet builders are reluctant to engage in large scale development. These are just a few of the stories of our situation that might make you pause and try and figure out what is going on.

63% homeownership is the lowest percentage many of us have ever seen; falling almost 5% in less than ten years. The entire mortgage meltdown was caused when guidelines were relaxed or eliminated trying to move that number from 67% to 70%, and now we find ourselves not better off for the experience. Many lost their homes that they could have never qualified for in the first place. Those properties falling into trouble put pressure on the rest of the market and the slippery slope got really steep in a hurry!

Builders who bought huge tracks of land and started many projects were left without buyers and sustained significant losses. Even the biggest and best builders were not exempt from losses and they have become far more cautious and are not in a hurry to expand broadly, at least not at the moment.

The Federal Reserve Board who seemed to be in a hurry to raise rates seems almost to have regretted raising rates just that little .25%! Now the markets seem almost sure that another rate hike won’t happen this year! Looking at the ten year near all-time lows, and oil pushing back below $40 a barrel, is anyone comfortable and confident?

Then we add into the mix a presidential election that most people are unhappy with and two seriously flawed candidates that each would likely have lost to just about anyone else, yet here we are!

So let’s look at some numbers that can really matter. People will argue that credit standards and people with declining credit scores are the reason more people aren’t buying homes. That argument is just that, an argument. It isn’t based in any fact. The reality is more than 75% of the population has good enough credit to qualify for a mortgage loan. Some may argue that income qualification is too difficult to become qualified for a mortgage. Again, if you really earn the money you say you do, and you can really afford the money you would like to borrow, there are many products and programs that will help get the job done!

In my opinion, these numbers just don’t add up to a falling homeownership rate. And when the cost of owning where you live is less expensive than renting where you live in most of the markets we all service, the only conclusion I can come to is that as an industry, mortgage professionals and real estate professionals aren’t doing a very good job getting the word out about all the benefits of homeownership.

Each and every one of us needs to connect with our referral partners and look at our specific market and review the local numbers. What are the facts behind supply and demand? What are the real numbers rent verses owning and with the likelihood of home prices and mortgage rates both being higher in the next few years, doesn’t now represent a significant opportunity?

So do the math. Know your numbers. Talk to your referral partners and gather all the information. Only then can you go out into your specific market knowing the numbers and why now is likely the time to either become a home owner, or to find your “Forever Home” and buy it and finance it before the cost of both go higher.

We may not know what is going to happen in the stock market. We may not know who wins the elections. We may not know very much about what the future holds; but we will all need a place to live! So why not get into that place now and lock in the cost before it goes any higher?

Information and education are the two things you can provide in your market on a very local level. Since all markets are local, get out and know your numbers and share that information with those around you! Become the local expert! That is where today’s opportunities are located!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com