“Urgency creates Opportunity”

Last week of April and we are rolling into the peak of the spring buying season. Now is the time to feel the urgency of the situation. The majority of the deals going to be consummated this season are coming together NOW! People are out shopping and the demand is strong for houses in most markets. You need a plan to take this urgency in the market and turn it into opportunities for you and your referral partners.

First thing we need to do is look back at all the people we spoke with during the last six months and see what they are thinking. Prices have gone up and interest rates are pretty volatile, leaning toward going higher, so waiting is costing them thousands! So grab the phone and have a talk. Waiting has already cost them, waiting longer will only make it worse! Oh yes, have your agents call their people as well!

The second thing on our list is to sit with our Realtors® and find out where the action is in their markets and work a plan to engage the consumer directly buy working the “First Time Home Seller Strategy®” in key areas. If you and the Realtor® don’t make the case as to why someone should list and sell their home, and move on to their next home; it isn’t likely they will list and sell. We all know most people “miss the market” and look back with regret. You have to make the case to list and sell, and take the case directly to the street!

Last but not least is to connect with schools, businesses, colleges, and universities in your area and make yourself available to help their transfers get settled before the season is over. Many people pick this time of the year to move because schools are closed and they need to be settled before the next school year. This has a huge impact on people and those that employ them! Being an expert on relocation and sharing important information about how properties can be financed, the challenges with changing jobs, and the guidelines behind trailing spouses, first paycheck, and specific contract language can make all the difference between a smooth move, and an excruciatingly bad situation!

The market will create a real sense of urgency in the days and weeks to come with people trying to make things happen. There are significant opportunities by being the one prepared and with a plan! Use the tools and strategies we have talked about and shared here and on the website so you can convert these opportunities into closings and new referral partners!

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

“Just pick up the phone!”

What makes us faster makes us slower! Technology in all its advances has made it possible to get less done in more time! Our so called labor saving devices are now actually the biggest time suck in our lives. No longer are there traditional ‘business hours”. My kids deal with work issues well before 9am and certainly past 5pm Monday through Friday. In many ways, we are failing at the now 24/7 society we thought was so efficient. In fact we are becoming “blended people”. No longer are we transitioning from our private lives into our work lives each day, our lives are now a combination of both. Truthfully, that is a shame!

People are slaves to their technology. Addicted to instant gratification so badly, the very thought of working toward an outcome over time is foreign to most of those under 35. It’s all about what I can have NOW! The challenges are many with this way of thinking. Instant gratification dilutes patience and persistence. Without these qualities, we are finding more shallow people with increasingly shallow lives.

I am not saying all technology is bad, and the 24/7 need for connecting isn’t the end of the world; but the ability to manage and control the information is critical to anyone in the service arena. Clearly because we want to serve our clients and referral partners, not become a slave to them. We need to use our technologies in conjunction with logic to serve our needs while serving the needs of others. One of the ways to do that is to integrate expectations with your technology so everyone understands how to communicate effectively with each other.

A prime example of this is trying to engage in a running conversation in either email or text message. How many times do we get a question via email or text that seems to run on, message after message; entire chains of five, six, seven, or more messages trying to get a single question answered? We have all seen it. In fact, I am sure we are all victims of this process. My solution is, after the first time your reply is met with a secondary question or incorrect interpretation of what your answer is, do NOT send another email or text, pick up the phone and have a conversation!!! In most cases, a single thirty second call can eliminate dozens of back and forth texts or emails.

Just try it for one week. Explain to everyone that in the future, anytime there is the slightest confusion about anything, you are going to pick up the phone and have a short conversation to resolve the issue. This fits in well with setting certain times of the day when you return calls and emails. How nice would it be to turn your phone off for 21 hours of the day to inbound calls and emails? How much calmer would you be? How much more work could you get done? What would the quality of your life be?

Now I know that many of you are already suffering anxiety from just thinking about disconnecting like that. And yes, I do expect that some people in your life might have challenges with this new philosophy. But I am telling you, if you have a simple conversation, set specific parameters by which you will connect back with them; most people will not only appreciate having a clear communication plan, but they will also be rewarded by not getting caught up in an endless trail of emails and text messages.

Just try it! You can do it! Set the expectations and execute the plan. You will find your life will get better if you just pick up the phone can call! Resolve the issues, and put the damn phone or email away!

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

“Shifting Gears”

The production life of a loan originator can be filled with great reward or total frustration. The “rollercoaster” of inconsistent production numbers can be very frustration to all involved, as well as provide an inconsistent level of service to the client and referral partners. While I have maintained for a long time that consistency is currency, and that the path to a great customer and referral partner experience is the very consistency we really require maintaining solid production numbers.

For many originators the very reason they can’t provide a consistent level of service is because they themselves are not clear on what their system is; or they have different systems for different people. All of which, prohibits the very thing everyone desires, consistent performance and experiences. The path to success is paved with a clear understanding of what you are trying to do, and how and when it gets done!

The best way for me to explain why my clients grow and mature in the business is that they have understood the premise, “what got you here won’t get you there!” It’s like driving a car; if you had only one gear, the car could only do so much and be only so efficient. As cars developed, the need to look at the possibility of changing the way work by the engine was utilized, the transmission was invented. By changing the gearing ratios, the work by the engine could be utilized in multiple ways to better serve the driver; a very low gear to get started more easily, then shifting to another gear to make the engine work less hard at a higher speed.

As time went on and power and economy became more connected, we saw two speed transmissions grow to four, five, six, even the eight speed transmission I have in my car today. Shifting gears makes the optimal use of power and economy.

Today originators face the same challenges. If you have only one gear, you are limited to what you are capable of doing. Most originators never produce more than five loans in a given month, and when they do, they are likely exhausted, unhappy, and the people they are serving are often less than happy with the level of service. Oh yes, the likelihood that the following month will be worse because that loan officer was too “busy” to keep prospecting for the next wave of business.

We all have to look at our process, especially when we are feeling stressed or at capacity. Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself or someone you manage, when in the middle of a “peak” production month.

  • Do I have a clear path and process to take a client from contact to closing?
  • Do I have a timeline for that process that I share with the client, referral partner, and my team to set the proper expectations?
  • Do I have a clear communication schedule to keep connected with the client and referral partner to keep them informed and find new business?
  • As you are finding yourself pressured for time, are you looking to see what tasks you can delegate, improve, or eliminate?
  • Am I mastering the tasks in front of me, or do I keep making the same mistakes and wasting more of my time?

What gets you to five loans a month won’t work at ten loans a month. What all worked well at ten loans a month may not function as well at fifteen or twenty loans a month? Being able to “shift gears” by improving your systems and mastering the work is the only path to a manageable process. It can’t all be delegation!!! Far too many originators and managers add “assistants” into the mix too early! Doing this actually prevents an originator from mastering a skill and fine tuning his or her process! I never suggest an assistant until production is eight to ten loans a month for six consecutive months. This allows that originator to develop needed skills, define a clear process, and create the tasks and timing needed to grow the volume well with a team that works the same plan the same way every time!

Learn how to shift gears and grow your business while providing a great experience for yourself, the customer, the referral partners, and your team!

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

“Sharing Best Practices”

As a coach, you do what you can to share the best practices with your clients. Most of the time, you can convey the concepts pretty clearly, sometimes it’s best to just share that concept in motion. Well, that was exactly the case this past week when I brought two clients together so they could each see how the other was doing a specific part of their business, and both benefit from the time together.

My client Joe has more than twenty years in the mortgage business and is a master of communication and follow-up. My client Christy is beginning her fifth year in the business and has mastered the art of the initial filtering process and setting expectations for the clients and referral partners. Each of them could benefit from the other’s strengths, as well as the visualization of actually seeing the work in motion. So last week, Joe and I left Florida and went to Louisiana to visit with Christy and her team.

In just one business day, both Joe and Christy got to see and share information that will forever change how they do business. Both people got to see how exactly what they were trying to accomplish, executed by someone that has mastered the very part of the business they want to improve upon. I will tell you, as a coach, watching the student become the teacher was a priceless experience. To have your clients learning from each other, to see how the message and the mechanics were transferred so simply was about as good as it gets. Just one day that will change the way two teams of people provide an exceptional experience for their clients and their referral partners forever!

We are all busy. We all have a great number of things going on in our lives both personal and professional that it can make it hard to stop and either ask for help, or be the one that helps another. In this case, the timing wasn’t ideal for either one of my two clients, and certainly didn’t fit well into my schedule, but it was important enough to make it happen, and everyone involved learned something valuable and benefitted from the time together.

So think about what you do and how well you do it. There are some things I am sure you would like to make better, and some things you do as well or better than most. When you struggle to find a solution on your own, ask for some help! Ask your coach or mentor to connect you with someone that has mastered the things you struggle with. Also be open to help someone who struggles and has asked you for some help. I promise you, it’s worth it!

Our business suffers from the lack of mentorship. As the profession ages, we do a very poor job in our industry hiring, mentoring, and building that next generation of mortgage professionals to be better and more consumer centric than we were! The fact is we really need to elevate our profession as a whole. We can do this by building better systems to support a better client experience, and share that knowledge with the next generation of professionals that will follow us forward.

So with a great deal of pride in my two clients for making this past week happen, the two teams of people who will now change a few things in their lives to make the experience better and more productive, I challenge all who read this to make a commitment to learn one better way this year to serve your clients and referral partners; then share one way with someone that could use your help. I guarantee it’s worth the time and energy to do!

Thanks Joe & Christy! Thanks Team Solar and Team Farro! Thanks for caring enough to share this experience with each other and allowing me to be a part of it.

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