It’s the END of the First Quarter!

Wow! That was sure fast! The first quarter of 2017 has come and gone in a flash. As always, the end of the first quarter is the time to do some basic work and analyze some numbers. We need to get out our business plan and compare what actually happened, to what it was we projected to take place.

  • We need to look at our personal income for the first quarter and see if it was in-line with our forecast?
  • We need to look at our in process pipeline and check if we had any deals roll into the second quarter that might have been counted in the first?
  • We need to look at our preapproval que and see how many people we have 30 – 60 – 90 days into the home buying process and see if we are tracking properly?
  • We need to look at our referrals and where they came from. Are those people we thought would refer us business, referring the business we thought they would?
  • Are there any surprises in any of these areas?
  • What adjustments do we need to make based on the information we have just discovered?

It is really important to do this work. It confirms your thinking about this year, or it will allow you to rethink and refocus on areas or tasks that are now coming into view. You should also take the time to look at your first quarter closings and see how long it took for your people to go from being preapproved, to closing the loan. Knowing the gestation period of your preapprovals can help you manage expectations and understand your future numbers.

As we approach the spring buying season, it’s really important to take a moment and review your plan, track your results, see where you stand in relationship to your objectives, and then make whatever adjustments you need to make in order to make your projections come true. Wishing won’t ever make things come true; only WORK will make it happen!

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“There are THREE sides to a coin!”

Most of the time, people think of a coin as two sided. The story of flipping a coin and calling “Heads” or “Tails” to decide something goes back thousands of years. When it comes to making a one in two choice, a coin flip can certainly do the trick; but as any coin collector will tell you, there is a third side to every coin, and that is the edge! Look at your change. You can see different edge types on different coins. Some are smooth. Others have ridges. A smaller group of coins actually has images or engraving on the edge. That third side sometimes makes all the difference! And while flipping a coin generally ends up either heads or tails, it is possible for that coin to land on its edge!

I bring this up because I want you to think of all the possibilities, not just the obvious possibilities. In the mortgage and real estate industry we see situations that are as clear and as obvious as heads and tails; and for the most part, it is really the outcome. However, things are not always as they appear and that is where your deals can quickly go sideways in a big hurry! We always need to account for the edge! We always need to know what about our situation could happen, even if it isn’t likely to happen.

As a professional, you do these transactions every day. Your clients are involved a few times in a lifetime. Market conditions change; and as a professional you are aware of these changes and allow for them and educate those around you of them. But seem people aren’t aware of changes or are not working with people who have prepared them for all the possibilities. That is where you create your advantage. The very differentiation we should all be looking for; your competitive edge!

While most of the market works on the obvious, the real professionals account for, and master the edge! Some examples of the edge thinking:

  • Having your agents refer you all of their listings so you can save them up to 2% on their next purchase.
  • Having your agents refer you to potential listing opportunities so you as a lender can offer services, support, and an endorsement of that agent.
  • Originators working with their agents on The Forever Home Strategy® or the First Time Seller Strategy® to help generate listing and buy side opportunities.
  • Contacting every professional associated with the transaction to verify information and establish a new relationship after a successful closing.

These are just a few of the concepts I like to think of when we look at what the most professional people can, and are doing to explore every possible opportunity and outcome on each transaction!

While most of the country is struggling with a tight inventory market; some are out there setting records and serving their markets because they don’t just live with heads and tails; they live, work, and own the edge!

These concepts and more are all in the new Power Partnerships Program® that Terri Murphy and I have created to help loan originators and their Realtor® referral partners work together to generate and secure more opportunities. Take a look at to see how we might be able to help you!

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“The Power of Persistence”

I have often reminded my people that “consistency is currency”. Those that have a clear and well thought out plan, applied consistently over time, and evaluated and adjusted based on results, spend less time thinking about what makes them money, and actually doing what makes them money. It’s a very simple thought that appears obvious, but isn’t as obvious as you would think.

One of the key components of consistency is persistence. Often people stop making the effort, right before that effort would have achieved the desired outcome. Sometime, people aren’t really clear about what they are trying to accomplish and the message they are presenting over time, and they don’t make adjustments and fail to reach the target.

Persistence to me means, you think the plan out clearly, put forward a schedule of actions associated with the target; and then have an expectation of the results over time. After all, if we aren’t clear about what we are going to do, when we are going to do it, and what we expect from the effort, how do we know if we have succeeded?

Coaching people for as long as I have, you get to see it all. Some people do the work and see results right away. Other people do the work and are a little slower to gain traction, but find their footing and go on to be successful. But a vast majority of people either don’t do the work, or give up on the process too soon. Now, as a coach, you can’t actually make people do the work; but you can coax them along to keep trying and making the effort. Those people, the ones that struggle at the start but remain committed to their success and the belief in what they are doing; they are the success stories that are most meaningful to me.

Now clearly I don’t believe that working the wrong plan or a flawed system will work over the long haul. Clearly it won’t. But following the paths of those who have come before us and been successful, you are very likely to succeed, if your plan is well thought out, your schedule is reasonable, and you work that plan over time, you will very likely reach the desired destination!

Every week I have clients who want to give up on an idea or a potential referral partner. Each time I ask them what their plan is, what the time frame was, and what the expectations are? Often, it’s just being consistent and persistent that generates the desired result. In fact, very early on I had a friend that was working renters via direct mail. When he told me about his plan and what he was going to do, I thought it was a very practical plan. He met with a company that was going to handle the mailings for him and shared it was only 20% more to execute his mailings for a year than it was for six months. He agreed to the one year deal.

About five months into the mailings I saw him again and asked him how it was going? He told me that he thought it was the biggest waste of money and that he was so upset of being “sold” on spending the extra money for the year instead of the six months. I told him that he had already spent the money, just see how it goes. That sometimes you need more repetitions to make an impression. A few months after that he called me to let me know that he received his first few deals from the marketing he was doing and that he was likely going to make a tidy profit on the investment. Each month after, the deals kept coming in! In fact, to this day some twenty years later, he is still doing the mailings and still generating a steady flow of opportunities!

Had my friend stopped at the six month mark, his investment would have been a total loss! Because he was committed for a longer period of time than he thought he needed, he ended up making a profit and building a steady stream of business year after year! All because he was “sold” on and extra six months! That extra 20% investment was the difference. A HUGE difference!

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“Become self-reliant”

I just wanted to share some information that was presented by Karen Deis on her Facebook® page. Karen is an industry professional and a friend of mine that I have always appreciated for her insight and knowledge. Here was her post:


Karen Deis

March 6 at 11:45am ·

READ THIS if you buy leads…blurb in newsletter from Garrett, McAuley Co.

Do you buy leads? We have a bank client going through an exam, and the examiners are saying that anyone purchasing leads from Zillow is actually paying for referrals, which is a RESPA Section 8 violation. The reason is that Zillow takes information from a customer and then directs the “lead” to one mortgage company, i.e., it’s an endorsement, which means it’s a referral.

So it may be possible that some people may interpret buying leads as a violation of RESPA. While at the moment nobody has been charged with any wrong doing, it is important to be aware of these developments and know that if one person sees something one way, it might be possible for others to agree with those findings. If the CFPB sees something as non-compliant, you can bet things will happen quickly!

The real reason I bring this up is because I have never been a big fan of buying leads. While I know some have been very successful using these types of tools, many of the people I have talked too haven’t met with the type of results they had hoped for. Now I know that many people buy leads and do a terrible job interviewing and following up with those leads; causing them not to see a great result. However, I also think that when you are only acting as a conduit, you really aren’t bringing significant value to the table quickly enough to create the differentiation needed to stand out as more than a commodity. Another reason is, if it were just as simple as calling those leads, then the bigger banks would already own those companies and have rooms full of people making calls trying to convert them. Not a pleasant experience for anyone, and certainly not worth any real money to the bank paying for the leads.

In my vision of the professional loan originator, referrals come from a trusted source that has had experience in working with that professional. Those types of trusted referrals allow for the basic conversation so that the professional and the prospect can listen to each other and ascertain the situation and the value the professional brings to the table. Clearly, when you are recommended by a trusted party to a client, you have a huge advantage in being able to make your case and present yourself. Heck, at least you have a chance in actually talking to the prospect!

Generating these trusted referral partners are the building blocks of a full commission origination professional. When you can establish and maintain these high quality relationships, you not only keep yourself in opportunities, but you are not ever in a position to be outsourced! As you build that group of professionals, you will find other like-minded professionals will begin to call you and seek you out as a trusted referral partner. This is the pinnacle of our business; you start attracting the very people you most want to work with!

Investing the time and energy to build your business like this isn’t easy. It takes a great deal of effort applied over time. There is no magic pill, just do the work! As we have talked about before, you need to:

  • Have a clear and professional message.
  • Provide significant value to the referral partner and the customer.
  • Tell 100% of the truth, 100% of the time.
  • Set the proper expectations and have your process over a specific timeline.
  • Show up, follow up, and keep repeating the process.
  • NEVER get emotionally attached to the outcome!

When you become self-reliant you never run the risk of a price increase, wage decrease, being replaced by a technology, or having what you do devalued.

——- Thanks Karen! If you aren’t following Karen Deis on Facebook®, you should!

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The difference between “Will” and “WANT”

As a coach, I become engaged in many conversations with people about the differences between lower level or average producers, and those that far outperform the industry. While many believe that the top producers have better rates and programs, other think that it comes down to being lucky. In the mortgage industry their certainly is a bit of luck at times in certain circumstances, but for the most part, the better people do better because they “WILL” do the work needed to succeed and the others just “WANT” to be successful.

Simple as that, if you just “WANT” to succeed, you won’t. If you “WILL” do the things needed to succeed, you WILL! It’s all about doing the work the other guy won’t do! 70% of the mortgage originators in this country do less than four transactions a month. 21% close between 5 and 9 units a month. The top 9% of the industry close ten or more units every month!

So let’s look at some “WILL” and “WANT” comparisons. Most originators say that they “WANT” to close more business but are “UNWILLING” to do the work to get there. Lower level performers “WANT” to have a business plan and a schedule; but are unwilling to write out the plan, schedule the work, and hold themselves accountable to adjust the plan if the outcome doesn’t equal the projections!

So many originators complain that they don’t have enough time to do the things they need to do and then complain they need an assistant to help them. While they “WANT” help to get things done, they are not “WILLING” to do the work writing out the process and placing it over a timeline to see where their time actually goes! Having an assistant without having a system, just means you have two people busy getting little done and no hope of ever getting better! By constructing a schedule of activities over a timeline, you have a clear understanding of what can get done and how long it takes to do! People waste time because they aren’t “WILLING” to track how their time is spent!

Another big issue with lower producing originators is consistency. I have always maintained that consistency is currency. Without becoming consistent in your actions, you never develop the critical task skills and speed you need to operate at a high level. Example, how many of you reading this post, actually know how much time it takes you to get a client from first contact to closing? What are the steps along the way, who does them, and how long does it take to do each one? Chances are you don’t know! Do you “WANT” to know this information, or are you “WILLING” to do the work to really know?

Not everyone can be a top 9% loan originator. Not everyone can originate and close ten or more units a month. However, everyone who is “WILLING” to do the work can certainly close between five and nine units a month, which is about double the average! Just think about it; you could double your business any time you like, if you are just “WILLING” to do the work it takes to get want you say you “WANT”! Are you “WILLING”, or just “WANTING”?

People get better when they make the choice to make change. The first thing that has to change is your “MIND”! What will you do differently so you have a different result? If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten. If you are tired of getting what you are getting, then stop doing what you are doing!

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