“The lack of housing inventory; a simple phase, or a new reality?”

In coaching my clients across the country, the common theme for the past few years has been the lack of inventory. Inventory; or homes available on the market currently listed for sale, continues to shrink and total days on market gets smaller.

In many areas of the country, this has been an ongoing battle for quite some time. In certain markets, inventory pressure goes back almost a decade! As we continue to see this happen, I have to ask a few questions that might not have simple answers, or answers that are the same in all markets. I ask the questions so you will think about the questions and maybe have a discussion about them.

Since real estate is really a hyper local situation, your ability to engage in this discussion with your Realtor® referral partners is very important, maybe even critical to you and your relationships.

So here we go:

  • Are there fewer houses for sale this year compared to the same time last year?
  • If so, have total days on market fallen, if so, by how much?
  • Are you experiencing multiple offer situations, and are people offering significantly higher than list price on these homes?
  • If offers are higher than list, are you having issues with appraisals?
  • If you are, does the buyer pony up, the seller come down, or the deals falls apart?
  • What is this doing to home prices in your market compared to national averages?
  • Are higher interest rates slowing down the market?

These are all important questions, but I have one more to think about. What if this is now the new normal? What if the housing market is becoming more “real time supply chain” as other types of businesses? I ask this because despite the “lack of inventory” and higher rates, home sales are higher year over year. So people are still buying homes, even though there is less to see and it’s more expensive than it was just a few months ago.

What if we never go back to a three or six month supply of homes on the market? Could this be the new normal? If it is, how do we change in the way we do business to be in front of those opportunities in the future?

More and more I believe that the future of real estate and mortgage originations are dividing into two paths; the path of transaction sales; where you pay for and filter leads to try to convert them; or relational opportunities that present themselves to you because you have databased effectively and marketed your relationships with outstanding value month after month.

It’s an interesting conversation we need to engage in. I may be completely wrong, but all the math and logic says to me that the new normal isn’t completely out of the world of possibility! What do you think?

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

“Stop looking for leads, generate opportunities”

It seems like the entire real estate/mortgage industry is heading down a path that is obsessed with lead generation. With rising rates and tight inventories, people are flocking to seminars, webinars, websites, and social media to spend all kinds of time and money to find leads. The issues are numerous with this concept, too numerous to deal with in one blog post, but the pure focus on lead generation is absurd and expensive. One of my clients told me that one of his realtor referral partners urgently called him because there was a popular service zip code now available for just $4,800 a month. She was very excited about this deal. I expressed to my originator that if this was truly worth the money, why did the last person give it up?

Another client I have was generating almost 200 leads a month. He had a team of eight people and converted about 20 loans a month. He came to me frustrated that his days were consumed with chasing prospects and documents instead to spending time talking to those referral partners he really wanted to work with. In the past year he has worked to reduce his lead generation activities and worked on creating opportunities for him and his referral partners to locate and assist the very people they wanted to serve in the first place. In the one year he reduced his overhead by more than $40,000 just in useless credit reports! He was able to eliminate two full time positions and convert another two positions to opportunity generation and relationship management from processing leads that were never going close.

In addition to those cost and staff reductions, the number of total hours worked was reduced significantly at the same time they were able to more than triple the amount of time spent with personally connecting with clients and referral partners. The result has been a real change in his business and quality of life. The contact to closing ratio has gone from less than 9% to more than 30%. He anticipates that by the end of this year he will see that grow to 40%! At the same time they are closing the same or more units each month.

By understanding where your business comes from and the type of people you really want to work with, you can vastly improve your business and not sacrifice results. You don’t get paid to generate leads; you get paid to close transactions. You need to fully understand where your business comes from and the time and money it cost you to make that happen. As I have said before, your process acts like a filter. Share the proper process, you will find the client’s and referral partners that control those opportunities. You must understand that it’s the quality of the customer experience and the value you provide to your clients and referral partners in the execution of your process that generates the opportunities you are looking for.

So compare your business to the “Referral Triangle” to see where your business is coming from. See if the time and money invested into your prospecting is generating the return you are happy with. If the percentage of investment isn’t equal to the return; you may want to rebalance yourself and make the most out of your efforts.

There is real change in our industry. Everyone seems to be in discount mode and ready to give away their money for the sake of closing a transaction. Well, unless you have an endless supply of money, you can’t ever lose money on deals and make it up in volume; that never works! The power is in being an expert. The value is found in the quality of the experience. It’s not about leads; it’s about closed and satisfied customers!

You can get a free copy of “The Referral Triangle” on the website: www.IMTcoaching.com

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

“Gestation Period of your Deal”

Happy birthday to my son David who is 40 today!

Loan officers are notoriously bad at knowing their real time numbers. Ask any originator how many deals they have and they will likely give you a number that is more than twice the number of loans they are closing in that given month. The perception of what is likely to close is distorted by the total number of people that particular originator is working with in all stages of their pipeline, not just those likely to close in that given month. These inaccuracies are a challenge for the originator and their managers to get a real handle on real time business. It also leads to the dreaded “roller coaster syndrome” where production peaks and valleys from month to month.

One of the ways I teach my clients to deal with this is to have a way to accurately measure their productivity and given them advanced warning of a poor production month on the horizon. You can do anything about a weak closing month you are currently in. It’s also difficult to resolve poor numbers over the next thirty days coming. But what if there was a way to see weak numbers that were two and three months out, far enough into the distance that you had a reasonable chance to engage in some activities to fill that future void? The good news is, by creating a simple set of measurable that you can track, you can set yourself up for success!

It’s called “The Gestation Period of your Deal”. The reason for “YOUR” is that all originators and markets are different. Each needs to be calculated and monitored because it can also change due to outside factors like time of the year, weather, and other market conditions. However, over time, you will find this will accurately become your “canary in the coal mine” to warn you about a pending slump in you productivity.

Here is how it works. We use some very simple math and easy information to track. First, we look at the last 25 or so loans you have closed and measure the time from pre-approval to closing. How many days was it? This number will vary, but it will give you an indication of your market and what the timeline looks like from start to finish. Again, full pre-approval to closing are the numbers you want. There will be outliers in the mix, but they are always likely to exist so don’t worry about them for now, they tend to average out.

Once you know the number of days, you have your Gestation Period for you in your market. Why is this important? Let me show you!

If you want to close EIGHT loans a month and your Gestation Period is 60 days, you will need SIXTEEN pre-approvals out looking at all times! If the period is 90 days you will need 24! Just plug in your targeted number of closings and calculate your time frame and you have a real way to forecast your productivity in advance!

So if you are looking for balance in your business, trying to avoid productivity peaks and valleys, or you are a manager that really wants to tune your projections and be able to assist your people before it log jams or production falls off, working with your team can really help!

Understanding the gestation period of your deals and tracking your pre-approvals is something you can do today that will help improve your tomorrow!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Visit us online at http://imtcoaching.com

“Activities over time equal outcome”

Sometimes people fail because they don’t know what they should do.

Sometimes people fail because they won’t do what they know they should do.

Sometimes people fail because they stop doing what they are doing before they get the result.

In my professional career I know these three things to be true. I have seen it thousands of times all across the country. I have these listed in the order in which most originators will tell you they aren’t achieving the numbers they would like to be reaching. I am not convinced that they are correct.

People will accept poor performance rather than be fully committed to excellence. I know this because most originators don’t have a clear vision of what excellence is!

So this week I wanted to start an ongoing conversation about what an excellent experience is, how it’s delivered, and what that experience is worth to a customer. You see, if your business is fully automated, electronic, impersonal, and focused on lead to commission; you are going to have to prepare for increased competition and lower margins. In other words, many more deals for far less money. You will be replaced by technology and someone in a call center who will work cheaper than you will.

We are granted an opportunity now in our market to see a number of conditions all coming together that will become a significant turning point in our industry. The weaker originators who live on high commissions and low volume are soon to be a thing of the past. The internet and automation will make them extinct in a few short years. In my estimation, by 2020 the almost 70% of the loan originators in this country that close less than four units a month will either be gone, or working as an assistant for someone running a larger team of people, or in a call center.

Those originators who have built or are building relationships with all kinds of people and providing value to those people will be the ones that lead the teams and make the money. The cautionary tale here is that if you fail to manage the relationship, provide exceptional ongoing value to your people, and make the mortgage process as seamless and swift as possible, you may find yourself on the outside looking in!

I am not trying to put anyone in fear of loss. I am trying to share with you now an opportunity to gain. Look at our industry and see what is going on. Understand that the best will survive at the expense of the weak. Just like in nature, you adapt, evolve, or you die! I want to share with you how to adapt and evolve because those who wish to ignore the present will have no future. It’s your activities over time that generates your outcome! You have to know what to do, commit to doing what you should do and keep driving the process long enough to succeed, or know why you didn’t.

Prepare for the next generation of loan origination. Lead generation is not going to be enough. Building and maintaining relationships with exception value and a great consumer experience will be the benchmark for those that will be the next generation of loan professionals! Are you ready? Do you have your plan?

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Check out my site at http://imtcoaching.com for more information and helpful programs for your Loan Origination business.

“Power Preapprovals”

Everyone in our industry deals with preapprovals. We all know that all preapprovals are NOT the same! The range of tasks completed an information reviewed is vast, yet everybody uses the same words. So how do you create POWER in your preapproval? How does what you do make your borrower look better than any other borrower? What makes your borrower’s offer BETTER?

First, you must be able to articulate what you do and how you have done it. If you don’t, you haven’t created any differentiation. So explain your preapproval process clearly.

Second, once you are clear as to why your preapproval is better than your competition because of the work you have done, share with the BUYER’S Agent how by having your preapproval it makes this client’s offer stronger than other offers.

Third, create the tools to help the borrower and their agent share the POWER of that preapproval with the Listing Agent and their SELLER! If your message isn’t delivered, it doesn’t matter how good a job you have done!

So how do we do all of this and make sure the message is conveyed properly? USE VIDEO! Yes, a short video of 30 to 60 seconds explaining YOUR preapproval process and WHY this process is different from other preapprovals helps set you apart!

You know many online lenders don’t do what you do. Many out of state lenders don know the market like you do. Many call center lenders can’t close as quickly as you do. All of these are powerful tools that make your client a better buyer and their offer stronger than other buyers who haven’t gone through your process!

Also, think about doing an individual video for each pre-approval in support of that specific client! How much more committed can you get than that, personally standing up for your buyer and your process? This takes the standard preapproval and helps push it into a Power Preapproval”!

Sometimes it’s just one small thing that makes a big difference. Sometimes the details, the tiniest of details, can win the day for you, your referral partner, and most importantly, the client!

What makes you different?

What makes your process better?

What makes your client a stronger buyer?

When you give those answers in a different way, you create the space between you and everyone else. So why not make your preapproval more powerful by sharing all of these answers and using a format that will get you noticed!

“Power Preapprovals” something you can do today that will help improve your tomorrow!

For other strategies that will help grow your business, take advantage of our spring “Access” special that you can see on the website: www.IMTcoaching.com

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

imt coaching spring special