“Preparing for a realtor office meeting”

I always enjoyed a great deal of success scheduling and executing speaking at real estate offices. Finding opportunities to speak at these events can be particularly beneficial establishing realtor referral partner relationships if handled properly. It can also be easier than you think to come across these opportunities. Here are a few helpful hints.

Always be asking! You get 100% of what you don’t ask for! As long as you are out making visits to offices and open houses, just ask the agents you are meeting to introduce you to their broker or reach out to the broker directly with your specific value proposition.

Why you? What about doing business with you makes their life better? How do you improve their customer experience?

Do your homework! Always do your homework before asking the question or seeking an invitation.

  • Do they have an in-house lender?
  • What kind of property do they sell?
  • Specific neighborhoods or possible programs?

When you get an opportunity, prepare! Be sure you ask the broker what issues they would like you to cover. Ask if there have been specific challenges in the market or with lenders. The old salesman’s creed “Ask the customer what they want and then give it to them!” comes to mind. Never think you know better than the broker!

Be short, be accurate, be generic, and be positive! Having been given what the broker wants you to address, share with them how working with you becomes the solution to the challenges put forward.

Share solutions in all forms of media! Sometimes their challenges are best served with a few passages from a book you have read. Have a copy of that book handy and highlight the specific sections that relate to the points you are making! But be careful, not everyone reads! Sometimes the use of an “audio book” or you recording a video explaining that particular section will be more helpful. Be sure you do all of these and leave them with the broker for their library!

Recording these videos is a great way to expand your YouTube® channel or your own website content! Being a resource and an expert is your job! It’s what will keep you burning those brain cells long after the meeting is over!

Leave time for questions! People will sometimes challenge you or ask questions that are too specific for the group to deal with. If you don’t have the ability to answer the question in 30 seconds or less, simply ask them to stay after the meeting or just schedule a specific time to meet with them to provide the detailed answer they want without consuming all of your time!

Follow up – follow up – follow up! Too many originators fail to follow up an office meeting with an offer to serve! Be sure you have collected cards from everyone attending and get a roster of all the agents so you can electronically share your message with those who couldn’t make the meeting. It may take a few months of weekly personal follow up to get a referral. So what? It’s only one phone call a week to try and build a relationship!

Hopefully this will help you master the realtor office meeting. I know I have always enjoyed doing them. For those of you who may be a little nervous about doing meetings; just relax and prepare yourself, you will do fine. If you aren’t convinced, then prepare for your meeting buy sharing the steps with a coworker or your manager so you get comfortable with the material.

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

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“Realize the Reality”

It’s time for everyone to catch their breath and examine the reality. The mortgage industry seems to thrive on drama, and there is no shortage of paper tigers out there for the drama lovers to be in fear of.

First we are having everyone throwing themselves around “margin compression”. Yes, the people who are grossing five points a deal, or originators who think they are worth two points a deal or more, are likely going to face challenges, but the rest of the industry will follow the lead of those already leaning out their teams to be more efficient and effective. Technology has made it very simple to do a great job and close eight to ten units a month without any help.

Next we are dealing with the nonsense that rising rates will hurt the housing market. The facts simply don’t bear that out. Now maybe those originators that have thrived in the refinance area will struggle, but those who always kept focus on the purchase market will continue to have plenty of opportunities. The truth is, the last six times interest rates went up 1% or more in a year, the housing market still rose from 3% to 13%. As Steve Harney at KCM has discussed, home affordability is actually better now than before if you do the math!

Last but not least is the whole issue with Gary Keller and his plans for Keller Mortgage. Gary is a smart businessman and is certainly welcome to his opinion. If he wants a mortgage company, it’s his money! But before you all panic, let’s go and look at some numbers.

According to NAR, there were 5.5 million home re-sales in 2017 with more than 600K new homes being sold. A portion of that, just over a million involved Keller Williams. But before you freak out, remember that each transaction contains “TWO real estate sides” or more than twelve million sides (Listing/buyer).

If we just keep it simple and say half the business is listing sides, then they were only involved in about 500K or so buy sides. Since even the best in the business fail to secure 40% of their buy side transactions, but even if they got everyone of those 40% it would come down to about 200,000 transactions. The issue becomes, what will they get? Will their top people toe the company line? Statistically speaking, they won’t. Top producing agents often shy away from in-house lenders. Many Keller offices already have in-house people; will they really secure all of those relationships? I think not, but if they did it would be about 4% of the total market! In perspective, FSBO transactions totaled almost 500,000 units! Anyone focused on the FSBO market?

But here are the two points I am trying to make:

  • Keller Mortgage will have to compete for the business and show it can provide an exceptional experience and on-time closings, while mastering the ability to the job with a low paid team. Maybe they will reduce commission splits or services to their agents? Maybe their agents will happily give up their current relationships and support because they drink the Keller Kool-aide? Maybe Keller customers won’t care about the experience or the rates or getting the right loan and closing on time?
  • 65% to 70% of all purchase leads DON’T come from realtors! In fact, managing your database through value and working with all the other referral sources is cheaper and takes less time! If you are doing your job properly, you will have more opportunities to refer to realtors than they refer to you!

I welcome Gary Keller and Keller Mortgage into the mix of mortgage professionals. Once they navigate all the compliance issues and train all their agents with RESPA and the MAP ACT; figure out the retention rates of their business and their current agents they will then get to see if they can attract the mortgage personnel needed to do the job and satisfy their people. It will be interesting to watch.

For those of you who are worried; pay attention to what you need to do to grow your database and supply it with ongoing value. Compete with a quality customer experience and the knowledge and speed that others can’t provide. Also, work the relationships of all the other agents who compete against those who want to be a one stop shop. There is much more opportunity than you think, just focus on what makes you better, not what you think you might be losing!

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Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

“Taxes may be taxing!”

Welcome to April and we all have an obligation to get our taxes filed this year by April 17th. This will be the last year of filing taxes under the old tax code. The new tax code took effect on January 1st 2018 and we will deal with that next year. Or should we?

You see, many of you who are reading or watching this are W-2 employees of companies and have a fairly significant number of unreimbursed business expenses you have deducted every year. Well, until now!

The new tax code takes away many deductions you used to have and replaces that deductibility with a higher standard deduction and lower rate tax brackets. For some, these will not be enough to offset what we once deducted.

You should really take some time and compare your 2017 tax return with what it would look like under the 2018 tax code. You might be very surprised! At the very least, spend a few minutes with your tax preparer if you haven’t already and learn what you might have to be doing differently, or if these changes may require you to make some changes.

Managers and employers, you really should sit with every commissioned sales person and talk about the new tax code and what you might be able to do in restructuring your compensation plans to assist your people. Remember, it isn’t how much you earn, but what you get to keep!

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Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

“Beware the April Fool!”

Okay everyone, time to really pay attention! April has the making for a very volatile month. It is very important that you be paying attention to all the different things that are going on and will make an impact on the rate markets.

This week we deal with the “Jobs Report” and all that goes along with it. In addition to jobless claims, we also find out the unemployment rate and hourly earnings. This will be a key factor on the inflation front. We all know that mortgage rates aren’t a fan of inflation!

Next week we have both the CPI and PPI data, along with the Michigan Consumer Sentiment and the FOMC minutes. Again; this is more data that the markets will look at and make choices about direction and volatility.

We are also facing the further reduction in bond purchases this month, and given past history, that reduction on the buyer’s side of the equation will pressure the rate market.

As a mortgage professional, it’s really important that you track these events and understand what they mean for the rate markets and your clients! You can’t afford not to know! Your clients will hear only pieces of information from the media, and sometimes confusion will cause drama and panic!

You can’t be caught off guard and not be prepared. Locate public sources of dependable information so you have the facts to share with your people. Remember, your referral partners need this information as well.

If your clients start to panic, it is important to walk them away from the edge! Do NOT be dismissive of your client’s fears. Resolve the issues with facts and actual impacts of a changing market. People panic with rising rates but fail to work all the way through the actual costs of rates rising. So do the math with them!

Use calming words like “I hear you”, and “I understand your concerns”. People want to be heard! NEVER us words like “Don’t worry about it” or “It’s no big deal”.

You will find that working through the issues with patience and professionalism will help you work your clients and referral partners off the edge and realize that we are still in a great home buying market and in most cases; we are still a long, long way from even the forty year average of 8.26% on 30 year loans.

  • Get the facts!
  • Listen to the challenges.
  • Offer reliable information.
  • Work through the math.
  • Put everything into context!
  • Share the cost of waiting in your market!

Nobody likes higher rates and volatility. But rates are likely to go higher still over time and so will the price of housing! So act like a professional and an expert. Only a fool would ignore the possibilities of a market reaction to all the information coming in April!

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Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com