“The Countdown Begins!”

Welcome to the end of 2016. Yes, we are much closer than you think! Now the calendar shows 65 days left in the year, it really doesn’t hit the point about how few of those days can be used to begin a transaction that will close in 2016! Think about it, how many days its taking for you to go from contract to closing? How many days does it take from pre-approval to closing? When you look at those numbers, it really brings into focus how little time actually remains to meet someone and get them through the process.

Each one of you should know these important transactional numbers. Without really knowing the average time it takes from first contact to closing, and then contract to closing, you really can’t frame your time and your objectives effectively. So take a few minutes and get really clear about your numbers.

  • How many days do I average to take my clients from first contact to closing?
  • How many days does it take for my team to get from contract to closing?

Once you know these numbers you have something to work on. The contact to closing number is really your gestation period. Some may be faster and others longer, but it is your average or your client, in your market! The next number is your conversion period. How many days does it take me and my team to go from contract to closing? There are many factors, some you control and others you don’t. But it is important for you to know because it will become a very valuable tool and marketing strategy as we roll into November!

First, once you know how long it takes you to go from contract to closing, look at the calendar and locate the very last day you will accept a new file into your system that will close before the end of the year. DO NOT DO THIS WITHOUT TALKING TO YOUR TEAM! You never know what days you will be open for the holidays. This year, Christmas and New Year’s fall on a Sunday. Will you be able to close on December 23rd and December 26th? How about December 30th? If you aren’t 100% certain, go ask!

Now that you know what days are available to you to close transactions, find out if your TEAM has and restrictions on their time? Vacations and time off happen frequently this time of year so you had better find out!

Once you are clear on those items, you can start backing out the days so you know the last possible day you can take in a loan to get it done by the end of the year. You also have to know your capacity! Just because you are open, doesn’t mean you will have the capacity to close all the loans. After all, you can only close so many each day.

Now you have a picture and it’s time to share the message! You need to get out there and let people know exactly how many days they have left to put together a deal and get it closed by the end of the year! This can be a huge marketing tool! This significant competitive advantage can be yours IF you do the work and know the facts. Share your date with all of your referral partners! Call all of your pre-approved borrowers and share than information with them. Have your referral partners contact their clients and let them know the timeline. You may find your competitors will stop taking applications to close this year long before you do!

Every day you can share information and create activity opens the door to possibility. Some people may not be able to put a deal together in time, but they will just become a great start to your 2017! And remember, nobody ever had a bad year with a great first quarter! So do the math. Check your numbers and with your people. Then get out there and share your countdown so people can make an informed choice!

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

“The Six Questions”

As we wind down October and complete our business plans, there are six fundamental questions you need to be sure are answered before you are done. I have found that when my clients clearly address all six of these questions, they have a real business plan that will serve them well as a map to their personal success. One at a time they are:

#1) Have I taken the time to accurately project the number of referrals, referral partners, and conversion percentage needed to reach the number of closed units needed for my income desired? 

#2) Do I have a complete list of all the opportunities I have, or will have, to be sure I am taking advantage of every situation to the fullest, and have a follow-up plan in place to be sure I convert as many of these opportunities into closings or new referral partners?

#3) Have I mastered and implemented all the systems and tools I plan to use in the following year that will be needed to provide the level of service and the quality of experience for my clients and my referral partners? 

#4) Have I taken the time to write out all the policies and procedures needed to be sure that the quality of the experience is the same for each opportunity and that we develop speed and timing that comes from repetition of the process?

#5) Have we documented a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual schedule of actions and activities so that we are always looking forward in our business and making adjustments so that everything we want to happen is scheduled and accounted for?

#6) Have we made sure that we have built in the “checks and balances” needed in our business to be sure that what we say will happen actually happens?

I am a firm believer in business planning and the value of putting forward the effort to construct the very framework of what we intend to do. Business planning is the map to our success. It is a living breathing document that we hold ourselves accountable too, and for others to measure us by.

Our business plan details exactly what we intend to do and how we intend to do it. It helps us stay focused and track the results we are getting from the actions and activities we are doing. It allows others to see what our intentions are and what result we are committed too!

Don’t take business planning lightly. It can make all the difference in the world. You have an opportunity to make a commitment toward your future and the very results you will demand of yourself! A business plan isn’t something you do to make me or your boss happy. A business plan is your “playbook”. It’s a document, much like the Constitution, it describes your intentions and the framework by which you will operate. Build your business plan and use it. It won’t help you if you complete it and it ends up in a drawer or in the bottom of a box!

We have all heard the quote “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail!” I believe that it is impossible to grow your business and achieve real balance in the things you do and the results you get without having a plan. So what’s it going to be? Are you going to HOPE things just turn out the way you want; or are you going to plan and schedule your success?

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

“Know what you know”

When working on your 2017 business plan, it is really important that you know what you know, not what you think you know! The best way to get clear on what you know is to do a simple experiment. First, write down on paper a list of all your referral partners. No looking! Just from memory at first!

Then create six columns: Referrals Apps Closed – Referrals Apps Closed

The first set you fill out based upon what you THINK the number of referrals, applications, and closed loans that came from each referral source. Again, the first set of numbers is based on what you think they sent you!

The second set of numbers is the number of Actual referrals, applications, and closed loans from that source. It is really important that you really gather the real numbers so you can compare them against what your thoughts were. Some of you will find the numbers incredibly close; and others will be painfully off! Just do the exercise and see what it looks like. The truth is an important thing to know when it comes down to your referral partners.

Once you have all of the numbers written down, you need to make a few more calculations. First, you need to estimate the percentage of your TIME you spent working with or on that referral partner’s business. You will not likely know for sure what percentage of your time you spent with each partner, but just estimate it and compare it from one person to the next until you are comfortable that you have established the proper relationship between your referral partners and the time you spend with them.

Next, you have to then take the total number of closed loans divided by your total closed units to determine the total percentage of business referred to you by each partner. Some people like to calculate the numbers for all three categories, referrals, applications, and closings, but you must at least do closed loans as a percentage for each partner.

Once you have done this, take a good look and see what stands out?

  • Did your estimates match your actual numbers?
  • Were the people you thought were referring you really sending you all the business you thought they did?
  • Were there any surprises?
  • Did the time spent match the number of actual closings?

All of this information will help you determine if you have a good handle on who are your better referral partners and who consumes more time than they are worth!

Now that you have all the numbers in front of you, there is one last set of calculations to do. Divide your referral partners according to the Referral Triangle. Then calculate the percentages from each side of the triangle for BOTH TRANSACTIONS & TIME! I bet the answers will really surprise some of you!

Business planning can really help you organize your thoughts, time, and activities. But you must track the numbers and do the math for best results. As we look toward 2017, it is important to understand that your business plan is your map, not just a wish upon a star! Wishing won’t make it so! But a plan, a schedule, and tracking results so you can make any needed adjustments are a sure fire way to get to the level of performance you are committed to!

Know your numbers; achieve the result!

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

“Effort vs. Outcome”

One of the key objects of business planning is to set targets and create a series of actions and activities that once executed will generate the results needed to meet or exceed expectations. Notice I didn’t use the word “goals”. To me, setting goals are much like making wishes, nice if it happens but no clear path on how it comes into reality.

Every year in October I work with my clients on preparing for and building their business plans for the following year. To me, a business plan is your map; it shows you the way and reminds you of what you expected from yourself! The very first task I assign my clients is to look at their last six months of closed loans and referrals. We look at the following questions:

  • Where did each loan and referral come from?
  • Using the “Referral Triangle” as a guide, what was each sections total of your business?
  • Were all of your referral partners represented in these numbers?
  • If not, why not?
  • If so, how many?

Now that we have some base numbers to work with, we need to go back to last year’s plan and see how things look ¾ of the way through the year. Are we ahead, at, or behind our expectations? It’s important to do this even if you didn’t set expectations last year. The reason being, most originators have severe distortion in their minds about how much they are actually closing from each referral partner. In fact, just a couple of days ago I was working with one of my clients and while his percentages of referrals was right on target, the people who were doing most of the referrals that closed was surprising to him. So take a good hard look to be sure you are really getting what you think you are getting from who you are getting referrals from!

The last part of this stage is to compare the time and effort you invest with each partner to be sure your efforts are matching your outcomes! This is a critical part of the equation. A couple of years ago I did this with a client and we discovered that 40% of his time was spent working on and dealing with one referral source. That might not be such a bad thing except that the source in question was only responsible for 11% of his closed loan volume! In any system you can devise, it’s never a good idea to invest 40% of you time on 11% of your business! That client made a choice to reevaluate that relationship and make a change. He ended up removing that relationship from his life and the following year his business more than doubled!

Your business is your business! You have to look at it and review what is happening and make adjustments along the way when needed. The key is to always be certain that your investment into your referral partners is matching the outcome you expect. It doesn’t always have to line up equally and some relationships consume more time than others, but you need to be aware of what the numbers are and make an informed choice about who you work with and the business you do as a result.

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