I have been having a number of conversations lately about deadlines and how originators find themselves stressing over them. A specific case in point, I was just visiting one of my clients and their assistant, we were out to dinner. We were having a productive exchange about best practices when I began to notice the assistant looking at her phone every few minutes. When I inquired about the situation and why she kept focusing on her phone instead of the people she was with, she said she was waiting for disclosures to be acknowledged so a loan could close the following Monday. That if she didn’t get them back by midnight, the transaction would be delayed.
I asked her how she prepared the borrower to perform in this situation and she said she told him she had to have those disclosures back by midnight, or the loan couldn’t close on time. I asked her why she set the deadline at midnight. As expected, she said it was when the deadline was. I said “whose deadline, yours or the client’s? She said it was the same thing. That is when I explained to her that they weren’t the same at all. While legally she had an obligation to get those disclosures back by midnight to close the following Monday, I explained that if she had made the client’s deadline 4 p.m. that afternoon, she wouldn’t be checking her phone every five minutes looking to see if the client did indeed return the needed documents!
You see, deadlines are different for different people and circumstances. We often say things in general terms like “In order to close on Monday, I need your disclosures acknowledged by midnight.” The problem with that is, midnight is your deadline, and once it comes, you have no options. As a professional, your job is to set in place a timeline for the work to get done so that the closing happens as scheduled. Once midnight came and went, there were no options left. However, had she set the deadline at 4 p.m. that afternoon, she would have had time to reach out to the client and the referral partner and explain that the closing was now going to be delayed a few days because those disclosures weren’t executed by 4 p.m. as instructed.
Clearly this would have prompted a reaction from the customer and the referral partner asking if there was anything that could be done to keep the closing Monday as scheduled? This would have given you the opportunity to have that client execute those documents immediately, and she could have enjoyed her evening! Remember, we need to control the actions and the timeline or we are subject to other people setting it for us. Never set a deadline for anyone that doesn’t give you a chance to resolve the issue without harm!
Now most people are really good about understanding the timeline on the CD, but aren’t so connected to the LE. I have seen a number of occasions when the LE wasn’t executed properly and there were issues. You can’t allow that to happen. You need to set deadlines that work for you that give you a chance to save the customer from themselves! So set the deadlines at 4 p.m; this will give you time to engage in the process and resolve the issue, or at least connect with everyone and workout an extension.
Remember, it’s your job as a professional to set the rules and timeline for the transaction to insure a timely and smooth transaction. Giving a client a midnight deadline, only forces you to stay up all night waiting for something that might not happen. Setting a 4 p.m. deadline gets it done so you have time to save the client from themselves!