“Quick Check of the Numbers”

Last post of September and we are entering the fourth quarter of 2016. Now is the time to quickly check of all your numbers to see where you are, and where you are likely to be by year end. This means checking every referral; every pre-approval. You need to see exactly where you are and by now, have a really solid idea of what 2016 will look like when it’s done! Compare your current numbers and your year ending projections against your business plan to see if you are where you are supposed to be!

It is really important to look at each referral partner. Not just the total number, but the source of each one to get really clear on how valuable each referral source is to you. Without being clear as to where your business is coming from, you can’t do a good job building your plan for 2017! Now I know that this is some work, but it doesn’t, or shouldn’t, take much time to tally these numbers. This is something you should have been tracking every month all along! If you haven’t, no time like the present to get started on good habits!

The numbers may contain a few surprises! Some people aren’t referring you as much as you thought! Some people are sending more opportunity your way than you expected! All the data is important so you can make solid projections for 2017. Notice I said projections! Some people like to call them “goals”, but I have found that some people-setting goals are the same as making a wish! It would be nice if it came true, but really not making a commitment to a plan of action that will make the wish come true!

So take a quick look and see what the numbers tell you. You may have to revise some of your thinking about what is possible and what you may need to be working on in the year to come. For me, October is business planning month. I guide my clients through our annual business planning process in October so we can have a good idea of the things we need to do in order to prepare for the year to come. Contrary to popular belief, the fourth quarter isn’t the beginning of the end; it’s the beginning of the beginning of 2017!

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

“Resize the Net”

I have often had this conversation with my clients, but don’t believe I have shared this particular thought process before in writing. The concept of “Resizing the Net” is something I have shared with my younger or newer clients through the years and has proven to be a solid tool in growing the business. The concept is pretty simple; there comes a point in every originators business when they must either shift gears in their business approach, or be content with their level of performance. The saying; “If you do what you have always done; you will get what you have always gotten!” kind of rings true here, if you don’t change your efforts, it isn’t likely you will change your outcome!

So what do I mean by the words “resizing the net”? Well, it’s really pretty simple. When new originators head out into the world looking for opportunities, they pretty much talk to anyone and everyone in hope of finding an opportunity. This takes a great deal of time, but to the new originator with nothing else going on, this provides a way to keep them busy and refining their message and approach. Early on, any conversation is a good conversation. Any approach is a good approach. The feedback alone is worth the effort provided you are making adjustments and tracking results.

In the beginning you get the attention from less productive referral partners and less likely successful transaction opportunities. The less productive people have the time to talk with you, as well as a number of failed transactions they can give you to look at and work on. Some may have merit, but most are likely never coming together! The better referral partners, the ones we would all want to do business with either already have trusted people in place, or aren’t going to give you a chance to sell yourself because you just can’t prove that you can do what you say you can do! Let’s face it, nobody ever walked into a real estate office and said, “My Company stinks! We can’t close a loan on time! Our rates are lousy! And our closing costs will be higher than you can possibly imagine!” Everyone says these things, but how would anyone know if you can deliver? The simple answer is, they can’t! So, the better people spend their time working with those who have proven themselves.

So how do we prove ourselves? You do so by first going out and taking whatever opportunities you can find and quickly making the determination if you have a real deal, or just a fantasy. Sooner or later you will come across that real deal! When you do, execute quickly and follow-up strongly! It is likely that the other people involved might just be that professional referral partner you really want to get in front of! If you do a great job, people will take note! You may not get an opportunity to meet with the other people, but you will have planted the seeds for the second and third time! And believe me, since the better partners do more business, it won’t take you long to get opportunities two, three, and four!

Resizing the net comes when you have spent your time putting in the ground work to begin doing deals and making connections to the better referral partners. Just as you would do as a fisherman who wants to catch bigger fish, you use a net with bigger holes to allow the smaller fish to slip through and retain the larger ones. Your systems are your net! At first, you talk to everyone and spend a lot of time working on “deals” that will never go together. As time goes by, you get the opportunity to open up that net, spend less time chasing everything and working on the real things that will lead to real opportunities.

So ask yourself, “Do I spend more of my time being busy or being productive?” If the answer is busy, then you need to improve your systems and resize your net!

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

“Simple as One – Two – Three!”

As we roll through the middle of September, we begin what I like to call “training season”. This is the time of year companies and individuals start looking at how they are doing, and then try to figure out if they can do better. As a result, many opportunities for training present themselves. Some large extravaganzas, other much smaller and more intimate. The reality is, for those seeking information, it is an opportunity to see how others are doing things, and if what they do can become part of what you do. As a coach, my job is to help prepare my clients for the best possible outcome. The key word is prepared. Regardless of what kind or kinds of events you plan to attend, you need to prepare yourself so you can get the most out of the time you are spending. So here are some simple 1-2-3 ideas to help you do that.

#1) Selecting the event to attend.

You have many options in this area. You need to seek recommendations from those around you and understand the type of event you are investing in. Don’t buy into the hype of those promoting the event, talk to people who have been there or look at the people presenting or attending. It’s more about the people than the topics they are speaking to!

#2) Company or Independent Event?

Are you going to attend a company sponsored event, or are you going to one that is and independent event? Both have benefits and detractions. Company events are likely going to display the very people who are doing best inside your organization and have mastered the skills and tools needed to get peak performance from that environment. Independent events bring together a range of people and ideas that you may not be exposed too, but may not work well in your particular company or your market.

#3) Have a PLAN!

You need to have a plan prior to attending any event as to what you want to get out of it. Have questions you want answered and types of people you want to meet. You can’t just go and hope you learn something. Remember, “Hope is not a strategy for success!” And PLEASE attend all the sessions! So many people attend training events and then don’t go to the trainings! Everyone that is there is there for a reason! Somebody thought that this would help somebody! Is that somebody you? More than eighteen years ago I attended a training event and was almost convinced to sit by the pool and have a few drinks instead of going into the next session. I ended up going into the session to see the training. To this day I am not exactly sure who the speaker was or what the topic was; but what I took from that session was a person I was sitting next too. As it turned out, Steve Jacobson of a small company called Fairway Independent Mortgage was the man sitting next to me, and we began to talk. At the time I was still originating and Fairway was about a one or two billion dollar a year company. Based on that meeting and our friendship, my relationship with Fairway has been a cornerstone of my coaching business as “Jake” has grown Fairway to a top ten mortgage company!

I don’t know how my life would have been different if I hadn’t made that choice to go into that meeting, but you can bet I am glad I made that choice! At these events, it’s often the people you meet and the conversations about the presentations that are the most valuable!

The last three things I wanted to discuss are what you do as you return from an event. All the great training and ideas are useless if you don’t implement! Once you have the tools, you have to USE THEM! So here is a simple 1-2-3 for implementation:

  • Identify It! What did I learn and how am I going to use it?
  • Schedule It! If you don’t schedule when you are going to do the work, it won’t get done!
  • Own It! Success is on you! It’s never anyone else’s fault you didn’t succeed! Own your actions, Own your outcomes!

Get the most out of your training investment by having a plan. The success you create will change your life!

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

“Working toward the fourth quarter”

Glad to be back from vacation, but it’s time to reconnect with the work at hand. The beginning of September marks the beginning of the end for our business year. Chances are, you have less than 90 days to get deals into the system and get them closed to count for your 2016 numbers. It’s likely you even less time if you want to get paid on those deals in 2016.

So first let’s take a look at your numbers year to date and see where we stand.

  • What is your year to date earnings?
  • Home many closed transactions?
  • Now add to those numbers deals already in your pipeline that have not closed yet.
  • What is your current number of pre-approvals out looking?

Now you have a good idea of how 2016 is shaping up for you. Compare the final numbers to what your projections were and you have a good idea on the work you have left to accomplish in the next 90 or so days. Warning!!! You may not be happy with the numbers you see!

To those of you that have exceeded your projections or have already closed more transactions this year than you planned for, GREAT JOB! But don’t let off the gas! The coming fourth quarter will not only help push you further to the good; but it will be the work you put in place to start 2017!

So either way, let’s talk about the list of things we need to pay attention too in September:

  • Check in with all of your accountants and use those filing their taxes in October as a reason to connect with that accountant.
  • Share the strategy that shows us that filing in October, and then again in February for 2016 gives us two years’ worth of documented income in less than six months! So anyone thinking about buying a home in the next few years, this is a very important time!
  • Set appointments with your financial planners for breakfast, coffee, or lunch. The fourth quarter is a time when portfolios get rebalanced and is a perfect time for the “Annual Mortgage Fitness Check-up & Identity Theft Screening!
  • Prepare for your fall event or Halloween party!
  • Decide on what your plans are this winter for the holidays or if you are going to work the “Black Friday Sale Strategy®” this year.

September is a critical month for checking your numbers and making your fall and winter plans. Time will pass very quickly and before you know it, this year is over and you will have wondered how it all got past you. So take a few minutes and do the work. It only takes a little time and effort to figure out what you need to do and schedule the time to do it!

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

Vacations

Welcome to September! Two thirds of the year gone and likely only ninety days left to submit loans that will close this year!!! Yes, I said ninety days left to submit loans that will close this year! So check your numbers and see where you need to be and how much you have left to do to make your numbers for 2016.

What I wanted to share with you this week is the topic of vacations. Many in our industry really don’t take a proper approach to vacations, or don’t bother to take them at all! It amazes me to think about how much people are missing by not engaging a proper vacation schedule. I’m serious! If you don’t think long and hard about vacation time and plan for it, you are missing out on the better things our business can provide for us.

Working with my clients, I try to be sure they schedule some kind of time off a minimum of four times a year. In fact, you should always have one or two vacations on your schedule at all times! Vacations give you the opportunity to enjoy life and to unwind from what can be a very stressful occupation at times. It also provides you targets to work toward and to plan for. As most people know, much of the fun of a vacation is in the planning of it.

There are three types of vacations as far as I am concerned. The “working vacation”, these are when you go away but remain somewhat connected to the work by checking messages and returning calls a couple of times a day. This means you change your voice mail message to confirm your limited availability and the times you will return calls. This should never be more than three times a day, and never more than ten minutes or so at each session.

The second type is the short disconnected vacation. This is anywhere from a long weekend to a week where you unplug completely and trust those covering for you to handle the work. No cheating! Just go away and play and let those you trust follow the plan! These types of vacations should be two to three times a year, and when I say disconnected, I mean disconnected! You have to give your brain and your body time away from the work so it can relax and rejuvenate itself.

The third kind of vacation is the Major Vacation. This is when you are gone two weeks or longer, possibly leave the country, and unplug doing a “bucket list” adventure! Once again, you leave your team in charge to handle your business so you can disconnect and enjoy a milestone adventure! If you aren’t planning and scheduling a “Bucket List Vacation” at least every two to three years, you are denying yourself the time and opportunity to do something great!

Vacations not only provide time to enjoy the fruits of your labor; but they help keep you motivated. They also do a great job of forcing you to adopt quality systems and procedures so the people you are leaving your business too, can easily follow what is going on and what has to be done and when! It also creates focus. You have to “catch up” on loose ends before you leave. Often the most productive people are, are right before they go on vacation!

The other benefit is you always have something to look forward too! I myself know the value in always having my next vacation or two on my schedule. In fact, as you are reading this blog post my wife and I are on vacation! See, you didn’t even know! My blog post was done in advance and set to publish on Thursday September 1st! Planning, scheduling, and proper systems make it work. In fact, we have a “Bucket List Vacation” already scheduled for next May, a working vacation in November and February! Again, because if it isn’t scheduled, it likely won’t happen!

Nobody ever lies on their deathbed and wishes they had worked more or spent more time at the office! People grow older, as I am, and realize the time is very finite and if you wait too long, you may never do the things you had always intended on doing. And what happens if I do all the things I had on my bucket list and still have time? Well, I will go back and do the really fun things over and over and over again!

So take some time and get focused on planning and scheduling your time off. Put the systems in place and find the people to take care of things for you. If you have a team, they can step up and deliver on your system. If you are a lone originator (as opposed to a Loan Originator), you can work with others in your office and see about covering for each other when vacations come up.

Schedule, plan, and enjoy your vacation time! You have earned it!

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