“Wacky Wednesdays”

It’s time to share something that I often do with my clients who have appeared to plateau or get “stuck” in the same activities over and over again. I call it “Wacky Wednesdays”.

We are at the midway point of the year and heading into the summer season. As always, now is a good time to compare our first half numbers to our business plan and see how we are progressing. For those who are on or ahead of projections and enjoying the rhythm of your business, keep doing what you are doing and enjoy the results of a good plan coming together.

For those of you who are short of your projections or not really happy with your business flow, now is the time for a little fun and a few changes. First, take a look at where and why your numbers aren’t matching up. Address each shortfall with logic and with an idea of what you can do to correct that situation if possible. Often it’s just a matter of having a conversation with the referral partner, or looking at the message or how you are following up with the plan.

Schedule time to address all of the issues! If you don’t schedule a task, it won’t get done!

After you have made all the system corrections and had all of the conversations, it’s time for “Wacky Wednesday”! This is a very simple process.

  • Go into imtcoaching.com website and scroll through the “Coaches Playbook” and “Power Partnership” video clips and find a strategy or two you would like to incorporate into your business.
  • Have a discussion with your referral partners or your team to share the strategy and gain support and interest.
  • Schedule an hour or two on Wednesday morning or afternoon to prepare, implement, and use the strategy to create new opportunities.

It’s really just that simple. Just use the tools and schedule your time. It becomes more fun when you have your team and your referral partners to work with and help make a minor change in your work week that could have a major impact on your results!

It has been my experience that it isn’t the big changes in your business that produce the most significant results; it’s the tiny little things that often create the biggest impact. So if you’re not where you want to be, or you aren’t feeling that the business is fun anymore, then you have nothing to lose and everything to gain but committing one or two hours on Wednesday to have some fun, work with your people, and create some new opportunities!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

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“Mid-year Check-up”

We began this conversation last week and I wanted to follow up with some of the comments and feedback I got from that post. Many of you had no issues with going back to the business plan and reviewing the numbers, but there were a few questions about “gestation period” and I wanted to address it quickly. When I talk about the gestation period of you loans, I am referring to the period of time from pre-approval to contract, or pre-approval to closing. Either one gives you an idea of the time consumed by the process, and gives you an idea of how many pre-approvals you need in your queue at any given time so you are going to close the number of loans you project to close. Example: If you want to close 8 loans a month, and your gestation period is 90 days, you will need to keep 24 active pre-approvals or more in your queue. If your gestation period is 120 days, you will need to keep 32. Keeping track is critical. You can read more about this in the May 17, 2018 blog post.

I was happy to see a significant number of you who are tracking at or ahead of your targets! Great job, and keep doing what you are doing because it is working! However, there were a few of you who wrote to say that you were behind the numbers and asked for some help getting caught up. So here are a few simple steps to getting back on the numbers.

  • Review your numbers every week! Visits, contact, credit pulls, pre-approvals, contracts, and additions to the database.
  • Drill down on your schedule. Are you prospecting a minimum of two hours every day following your business plan?
  • Who and what are not living up to your projections and find out why? Correct it, complete it, repeat it, or delete it!
  • Check the math. Your ratios from contact to closing may be off and need to be recalculated.
  • Why not Wednesday! Pick something out of the “Coaches Playbook” and do it on Wednesday. Take two hours and implement one new strategy you haven’t used and see what happens. Be committed to working the plan for at least eight to twelve weeks!
  • Review all your pre-approvals you have issued this year and see where they all are. You might have lost track of them, or they might have lost track of you. Some might just be sitting on the sidelines waiting for rates to go back to 3%! Share the cost of waiting with them. Buy now and refinance later if rates do go back, because they may not!
  • WORK the summer while others are on vacation! Opportunities are always available; the summer makes it simple because frustration factors and pressure to timelines go way up! Be the solution!

If you have a specific issue or challenge, please let me know and we are happy to work with you on a strategy or a solution for your specific challenge!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

You will not want to miss this upcoming event!  Don’t miss CROSSROADS….

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“Halfway Point”

It’s the middle of June and all of us should have a really solid view of our numbers for the halfway point of the year. It’s one of my biggest pressure points with my clients is to do, project, track, and follow the numbers in your business. Using our business plan from last October to project the work year 2018, we should be once again updating our information and really focusing on the adjustments we need to make to exceed our targets and projections.

The first point is to check our math. Has our basic formula held up? Are our ratios in line with projections?

  • Contacts per day to opportunities?
  • Opportunities to credit?
  • Credit to pre-approval?
  • Pre-approval to contract?
  • Contract to closing?
  • Weekly, monthly, and annual database growth?
  • New referral partner additions?
  • Actual referrals vs projected referrals per partner?

While we projected these numbers back in October, market conditions both nationally and locally may have put outside pressure on your projections and may require you to refocus your activities.

We discuss this now, because we all live in an industry that has a business flow to it and a gestation period attached to an outcome. We need to monitor that cycle because if that shifts, we could be doing everything we should be doing and all the other numbers align, yet your closed business isn’t what you thought. So the math is really important!

As we head full steam into the summer, our business shifts significantly as we deal with those in desperate need to move before school resumes; and those who may be absent from the market because of vacations! If you aren’t planning for is, you will certainly become a victim of it!

You also need to drill down on the fact that depending on your business cycle and your specific market, you may only have 120 days or less to meet the people who will become the client, who will close the transaction, who will get you paid, all by the end of the year! Yup, I said it; the middle of June begins the count down to the income you make by the end of the year!!!

So pick an evening and update your business plan and rerun your numbers. Get really clear and specific about where you are and what adjustments you may need to make. For some of you it will be a real eye opening event!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

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“Size Matters”

There has been a great deal of conversation about “price compression” and “shrinking margins” in the industry lately. Companies, managers, and originators are seeing increasing competition from all angles, and generally what happens is the weaker will do more for less in an effort to stay around. We are also facing outside pressures that are pushing competition:

  • Originators who were buying leads and pounding refinances are hitting the streets and competing for purchase business. Since they have no track record in successful purchase business, they focus on price.
  • We also see that many large financial institutions are reducing or eliminating retail sales, forcing even more people out into the street. Once again, no track record, price is all they have.
  • The large internet lenders who spend millions on marketing and TV commercials. Since many agents won’t accept their pre-approvals, they must push price.
  • Mortgage companies themselves are spending time and money growing wide instead of deep, putting pressure on their own people.

The next factor is that many originators have chosen not to do the work in their own business and have resorted to hiring assistants to do the very job they are hired to do. While assistants certainly have a place in loan originations, managers and originators need to focus on scale and value. There is only so much money in origination. The breakup of that money between the company, branch, and originator has to be addressed because you can’t lose money on every deal and make it up in volume! So you must get clear on what is the real value in a loan origination and what part of that goes to the originator?

The next important piece is what “work” is required by the originator or originations team to have earned that money? This varies widely from place to place and even originator to originator. In my book, the originator is responsible for all the tasks needed to take the loan from contact to file fully ready to process; then support any communication from the processing/underwriting/closing/post-closing team if needed. That is what “top commission” is worth in any format. Now, managers and companies may want to reduce that obligation to the originator, or the originator may want to hire help so they can go on and produce more opportunities. That is fine, as long as all of that support is being paid for out of the total commission set for the origination of that file. It can’t work any other way. There is only so much money to be paid out!

 

The other key area is when do we look to get help? To me, a fully commissioned originator needs to be able to close 8 to 10 loans a month for a minimum of six consecutive months before entertaining bringing on help. The reason for this is you need to develop your systems and skills over both time and volume. If you don’t, you have to keep hiring people to cover for a poor system. That is a waste of money and doesn’t provide for a great customer experience. So rule of thumb is 8 to 10 loans a month, then you will hire on one assistant for each additional 5 to 10 loans a month in volume depending on the types of loans you are doing and your market.

Many originations “teams” or overloaded with people. Instead of organizing themselves and perfecting their system and schedules, they just hire more people! In the past, you might have been able to get away with an excessive number of people, but as margins compress, companies are going to have to think about how they spend their money.

Size matters! Your system matters! Your income matters! If you want to hire people so you can generate more opportunities, that’s great! But you have to be real with what your expectations are. Growing your team should mean:

  • A better customer experience
  • A smoother loan process
  • Higher quality loan submissions
  • Increased volume!

So look at your process and the systems you are using. If you have a team working with you, do you meet the monthly volume requirements? If you have grown your team and your loan volume isn’t growing at a minimum of 5 additional closings a month for each team member after the first 8 to 10 for the team leader, then your systems need to be addressed as well as your compensation!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

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Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com