“Create or coast?”

As we approach October we get to make some pretty powerful choices. Do we look at our numbers and make a strong push for the last sixty days of effort and secure a solid finish to the year and a strong beginning to the next; or do we look at those numbers and see that they are better than last years and enjoy the ride and coast to the end of the year?

I face these very challenges each year with clients who have made significant progress the current year and have gone well past their numbers from years prior and even eclipsed their targets for this year, and are looking to “coast” a little bit through the end of the year and start strong for next year. The challenges I have with this are numerous, but it often takes the painful reality of living through these challenges at least once before some learn the lesson.

Yes, you have exceeded your own projections and have well past the numbers you had last year and we still have people in your pipeline with three months to go in the year! I understand that, but here is the flaw in that thinking. We are in a “flow” business. Just like an old fashioned handle well pump where you have to pump and pump the handle repeatedly before you see any result, so is our business cycle. You pump the handle really hard and see no results at first. Then maybe some air, dust, dirt, and then some wet sludge appear. All the time you pump and pump the handle. Finally some dirty water begins to make its way out the spout, followed by some cloudy water and finally at long last some clear, clean, and cold water flows freely from that same spout!

This is exactly the same as our business flow. You work hard to get in front of people and get yourself known. Most people refused to even acknowledge you at first and those that did sent you ever failed client and rejected files. As time goes by and you keep working and providing value and consistency of your efforts, a few deals appear that give you the chance to deliver on your promises. One by one they close and satisfied clients and referral partners begin to refer you in larger and larger numbers, with better and better quality opportunities.

Your perseverance pays off and you have established yourself as a reliable professional and you build a strong image and pipeline throughout the year. The numbers of closing improves and you see all of your targets come into view and you begin to exceed them. The fall comes and the industry begins to take a breath from the long and busy summer. Solid pipelines and back accounts of a job well done allow for the urgency of the basic work fundamentals to wane. Business is still “good enough” and the pipeline still has a good number of deals in process, and a few pre-approvals are showing up here and there. No real urgency to drive more traffic, make those visits, hit the streets and do the ground work.

But just like the water pump, once you stop pumping the water continues to flow for a while. Even if it stops briefly, you can quickly start pumping and get the water flowing again. But there is a fatal flaw. At some point the water doesn’t come back. The once cool, clear flow you worked so hard to generate now is gone! It took some time before you even noticed that it was going. It didn’t just stop completely all at once; but it faded and then failed! And now you must try and repeat the process from scratch again with no guarantee that the flow comes back!

Our business is a process. Our business has a flow and a rhythm to it that can be as painful as it is pleasurable. There is no set timeline for cause and effect. There is no guarantee that your message will be received and reacted too as you had wished. There is also nothing certain that once you are established that the business keeps coming! So don’t back off the pump! The fourth quarter is the time to create new opportunities and relationships. There are many fun things you can do to enjoy yourself while keeping the energy and momentum of your business flow flowing! If you need some thoughts and ideas, just visit “The Coaches Playbook” and look at the module on “Fourth Quarter Strategies” for some thoughts and ideas!

It’s not how you start but how you finish! A strong fourth quarter helps you keep the momentum going and will provide the opportunities and transactions to fill your pipeline going into 2018!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

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“Don’t fail in the fall”

Before I get started, a special “Happy Birthday” to my grandson Tyler who is two years old today! Grandchildren are the greatest gift EVER! I love you Tyler, see you for pizza, cake, and presents later on!

We begin the fall season dealing with a great number of issues on both a national and local scale. In many areas of the country, inventory issues are still creating challenges, and those using effective strategies to acquire those listings are ruling their markets! While in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and parts of Georgia are dealing with issues from hurricane damage and flooding. Put it all together and you can see some frustration starting to show up in the attitudes of the people trying to buy, sell, or serve those buying and selling.

Now more than ever it is important to have your plan prepared for your fourth quarter strategies and execute like a true professional! Be positive and visible in your market with helpful information and solutions to local challenges. Be patient and positive with those you come in contact with and provide support, leadership, and direction on how we get past whatever issues are in front of us, and help those who want or need to succeed to do so!

It is easy to fall victim to inaction. It is easy to just throw in the towel and call it a year and hope that you will just make up for it next spring when the market returns. It is easy not to try and overcome the challenges, and it is even easier not to care. It is easy to fail in the fourth quarter if you are not prepared to fight for a strong finish!

Be a leader. Know the market and its challenges. Prepare yourself with the answers to those issues and have strategies to engage with practical solutions! Remember what we have talked about over and over again; plan it, schedule it, do it, review it, and then adjust it before doing it again! It’s the “W-O-R-K of the J-O-B®” that has gotten you this far! Don’t back off now!

Get on the phone and call your accountants using the tax extension strategy to find new opportunities for you and your Realtor® referral partners. Make your plans for your Halloween event next month to reconnect with your clients and referral partners, along with their families! Prepare yourself and others to make the move from renting to owning, or from owning what they do, to owning what they really want! Use the strategies we have discussed and get out and succeed!

There is little more than 60 days to connect and move people into action and closing! How will you spend those 60 days? Will you do the work and succeed, or will you give in to the excuses and fail? Failing in the fall makes for a very long and cold winter! So get to work and get it done!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

We will also be doing a special webinar for loan originators in the storm affected areas that I will be posting on the public website once we have recorded it. We will discuss ways to help your community and your referral partners make it through these challenges with people who have overcome a natural disaster and provide service and leadership to their community. Stay tuned for more information.

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“Something is better than nothing!”

It has been a tough week for us here in Florida. Hurricane Irma slammed into the state and caused a great deal of damage and devastation. Thousands are still without power and many have nothing or little to return to. When nature reminds us who is really in control from time to time, it is important to pay attention and understand the message. My own life experience this past week serves as a reminder that we don’t control as much as we think we do, and sometimes trading down to the most basic needs can be the most satisfying.

We saw the storm coming and live in a large well-constructed home. We invited family and friends to come stay and ride out the storm here with us and were prepared as could be. Adults and children had options and opportunity before them to choose. As the storm drew closer, we were happily together and prepared with all the essentials. Checked and double checked. We lost power early into the event and soon discovered that the generator just tuned up and ready to go on Thursday wouldn’t start on Saturday. The thought of having at least power for the refrigerators and electronics was gone. But we had a series of battery back-up devises ready and ice a plenty.

As the storm raged outside and people were getting more and more concerned, I fired up the gas grill on my patio and managed to grill hot dogs, hamburgers, ribs, and even heat up some beans so we could all sit around the dining room table together and enjoy a hot meal. It wasn’t fancy, but we had hot food and we were together. It was a rough evening without power as the storm continued through the night. It was clearly hot and uncomfortable for everyone, but we were safe and together. As morning broke, the storm had largely moved on. We discovered that most of the people who came to our home to ride out the storm, had power back at their houses and they returned home.

My son in DC found a repair place that was nearby and my wife and I loaded the faulty machine into her car as she went to see if they could fix it as I started to make my coaching calls on my cell phone. It was rough, but it was a small “normal” thing that could be done. While I was making calls, my wife drove around and found a gas station open and she went inside. She got me the two largest cups of pretty awful coffee in the world and brought it home. The coffee was terrible, but it was the greatest gift she could find at the time. Hot awful coffee is better than no coffee! She also noticed an IHOP that was trying to open with a long line of people outside waiting for a meal. We chose to work around the house and open things up the best we could, and then wait until the afternoon and have one good meal at the IHOP no matter the wait.

By 3pm we drove to that IHOP and there were people sitting around and we got a table. The place looked like it had provided meals to everyone in the area. They had a very limited menu and the staff on hand looked exhausted but were kind and eager to help with what they could. We had chicken tenders, French fries, scrambled eggs, and pancakes. They managed some diet coke for my wife and some really good coffee for me. They apologized because they couldn’t process credit cards so we had to pay in cash. Since I always have cash it wasn’t an issue.

After a enjoying the A/C and a hot meal, we were given “to go” cups and headed home. We prepared for a warm, humid, and still evening and tried to get some sleep. The power came back on at 1:17am. We scrambled to close the windows and rejoiced as the temperature slowly came down from 86 to 82 then 79, and 76! At 4:15am my wife reached down and pulled the sheet over herself! Imagine that! At 5:15am I went and took a hot shower. Went downstairs and made a pot of my own hot coffee. I went to my office and cleared hundreds of emails and prepared for my coaching calls as my wife worked to clean and do laundry.

It is indeed the simple things that make the difference. I speak to my clients on a daily basis about really understanding that mastering the very basic functions of our profession makes all the difference! Don’t worry about being perfect at everything all the time. Be the best you can be in each situation and provide your 100% best effort and that will be enough. People aren’t looking for perfection, they really want the best you can do and know it’s your 100% best effort and they will  respect and appreciate those efforts. The hot awful coffee was better than no coffee. The limited menu at IHOP prepared by tired people doing the very best they could was better than peanut butter on crackers. Being able to shower and have the ability to reach out to my clients as if it were a “normal” day was better than almost anything I could think to do.

Do your best with what you have and the results will be respected and appreciated. Something is better than nothing and a truthful and honest effort is all anyone can ask. As professionals we sometimes forget that we don’t have to do everything perfectly to provide an exceptional experience for our clients and referral partners. Sometimes providing your honest and best efforts delivering the best effort you can is all it takes! You may not ever be perfect, but in most cases the best you can be is enough!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

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“Working Works”

Two success stories this week I wanted to share, one by a professional working with FSBOs and another using video. The client working FSBOs did so because he had a number of buyers that were having issues finding a home. While agents were “looking” for a house, nothing seemed to be working and the buyers were getting discouraged. The mortgage professional got active trying to have his agents go door knocking using the “Forever Home Strategy®” but none of the agents wanted to do the work helping find a property. So my professional got active looking for FSBOs in the right area trying to find something that might work. As he was looking for homes, he asked for help on Facebook® for any FSBOs that people might know of. The reaction from most of his people was positive, including a few of his referral partners. However one agent took exception to him looking at FSBOs, alluding that Realtors were his “meal ticket” and he shouldn’t be working with FSBOs. Another agent said that FSBOs wouldn’t engage with a lender to help market their property, going so far as to promise him “A million dollars if anyone contacted him”. Well, in less than 12 hours he had a FSBO who wanted his help, and a Realtor® who was embarrassed by her comments.

I shared on his Facebook post that a mortgage professional working with FSBOs was a series of opportunities. First is the opportunity to find a home for his buyer. The second was an opportunity to do a loan for the FSBO on the next purchase. The third was the opportunity to direct a listing to one of his agents if the FSBO got frustrated with the whole process. And since a large number of FSBOs end up listing, this represented an opportunity for the Realtor® that they wouldn’t have ordinarily had. Since Realtors® only account for about 35% of all purchase lead referrals, you can’t expect a mortgage professional to only sit around and hope a Realtor® refers them! In fact, in most cases a loan professional can actually work with their referral partners to generate more opportunities for the both of them than they can just allowing the process to flow just one way. You can’t focus 100% of your time on 35% of the business!

The other success comes from using video. We all have seen the flooding in Texas and Louisiana this past week and we are all watching as Irma bears down on Florida. I live in Florida and have a few clients here as well. Preparing for a category 4 or 5 hurricane is clearly stressful! People are looking for everything and are going crazy in pursuit of all the last minute items they should have already had on hand! But the point is, there is a whole other group of people who have listed their homes for sale, have homes under contract, or are in the process of making an offer. One of my Florida L/Os has been buried with phone calls of people asking all kinds of questions about what should they do? Instead of getting frustrated and repeatedly answering the same questions over and over, one simple four minute video, “What to do if you are selling or buying a house and a hurricane is coming” was the answer! One video, shared with all the clients, all the referral partners, on social media, and placed on YouTube® for all to see was a simple and powerful way to answer most of the questions, provide guidance and information, and made people feel calm during a very stressful situation!

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Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

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