Work Still To Be Done!

Welcome to December! What a glorious time of the year! The year is coming to a close, holidays to prepare for and enjoy, and many friends and family to spend time with. That said there is still work to be done in December!

We all must remember that the mortgage industry is a momentum and flow business. Just because the months and years change, nothing really ends. We will all look into 2020 with relationships, pre-approvals, applications, databases, and active files that will cross over into 2020; nobody really goes to zero but the scoreboard!

Completing the year requires quickly completing and clearing all files left to be closed this year and be certain all the supporting players are on task and schedule with your timeline! Make sure everyone is working on your plan; one misunderstanding can cause huge issues! Every file should be CTC no later than 12/20 with a clear understanding of closing dates and times for all parties!

Preparing your list of other professionals to connect with who are engaging their customer base as the year ends is also important! Opportunities are significant with low rates, refinances, trade up or down, program and guideline changes, rent to own, first time seller and expired listings are just a few conversations we need to be having!

All the parties are a great distraction and certainly fun; but don’t forget the rules!

  • Be certain to attend the events you need to attend
  • Work each room and speak with everyone
  • One drink maximum
  • Keep it fun but behave properly
  • You can destroy a relationship or put yourself out of business by breaking any of these rules!

Big shout out to those who worked hard through Thanksgiving weekend and found themselves with significant opportunities to show for it! Black Friday Sales went great, contracts were written and loans came in. We also saw new referrals for loans to close this year from people who never referred us before, just because the loans could close by the end of the year!

Agents who made offers, offers that were accepted, all based on the fact that the deal could get done by the end of the year! In fact, some of you are still accepting transactions through this weekend and stand-alone in your markets! GREAT JOB!

There is still work to be done! Opportunities to generate and convert! Do the work and get the reward of being the one still standing!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

 

Winning The Race Against Time!

Every day the next few weeks we have lenders who can no longer accept loan applications that need to close this year. Each and every day another lender has to say no to a buyer, a seller, a listing agent, and a buyer’s agent. As we move into December, you need to seize the opportunity by getting yourself and your market prepared for what is possible as we all deal with the race against time to close transactions before this year is over!

I have talked before about looking at the calendar and understanding your clients and your market; your company and your support providers as to what is the real timeline to get deals done in your world, because the race against time is very real to those who need to buy, sell, close, and earn by the end of 2019!

The process is simple; here are a few questions you have to deal with:

  • What is your company timeline look like against the calendar and when are your people available?
  • Are your outside support people, title, closers, insurance, appraisers, inspectors, attorneys, HR people, and others going to be working the same days as you?
  • Once you have a clear understanding of the availability, what can you do? Are you closing loans on 12/31, and if so, how many?

Once you have these clear in your own mind, you need to connect with:

  • All of your current pre-approvals and share the possibilities.
  • All of your current referral partners
  • Message the managers of all the real estate offices, small banks, and credit unions about your ability to get loans closed and by when.
  • Connect with your database and share the story because you don’t know who they might know!
  • Social media and YouTube videos will help you count down the days to get these deals done!

Many of you have the ability to work through the end of the year and serve the people who may need your help the most if you just get out and look. I understand that for many, the focus is about the holiday parties and time off. I also have seen other coaches telling their clients that they have had a great year and they deserve to take some time off and enjoy the holidays! Well, I hope those clients listen to those coaches and take the time off. Coasting the last six weeks of the year will give my clients the opportunity to close more loans, serve more people, and open new doors to relationships they might not have had a chance to explore!

The last six weeks of the year is NOT the time to coast, it’s a time to serve and to build! There will be plenty of opportunities to have fun and party. Once you close out your pipeline for the year you can take a vacation in January or February, but now is the time to push hard right to the end of the year and take advantage of a market that needs your help!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

You Can’t Help Those Who Won’t Help Themselves!

It sounds like a very simple statement, but it’s true, you can’t help those who refuse to help themselves. As a coach and mentor, I know that all the direction and philosophy is wasted on those who won’t implement. In more than 20 years of managing, mentoring, and coaching mortgage professionals to the highest levels of success; I know all too often that many people will never invest their energy in improving their own outcomes. As my friend Steve Harney once said, “You can only pave the road in front of people; they have to drive the bus!”

You only need to look at the mortgage and real estate markets to see the proof. People are becoming more and more addicted to paying for opportunities than they are learning and mastering the skills required generating them on their own! This comes from the highest levels. Some coaches and trainers push the narrative. The very organizations who are supposed to grow and build these industries do nothing as the landscape shifts into a model the will push a vast majority of Realtors® and lenders into a low paying support role of a newly defined and automated industry!

Just like the companies who have reacted by putting in scanners in stores to take orders and check-out customers because of price pressure and the lack of people who feel that the quality of the customer experience is no longer required, those who no longer have those starting jobs now complain they have no opportunities to get a start! Well, this is being done to the mortgage and real estate communities. Loan originators and Realtors® don’t want to do the work and turn to automation to generate an opportunity, then don’t provide a great customer experience, the customer doesn’t see the value, then buys from an online company because it all became about the PRICE and not the total VALUE.

NAR and the MBA do nothing to warn, educate, support, or even bother to debate the issues at hand. When a CEO of a major lead seller, property marketer and buyer, and builder of the one stop shop to cover the entire transaction with the push of a button and not around qualified professionals; don’t be surprised when the consumer runs toward price and a lousy experience because that CEO know that Realtors and Lenders now need the lead provider MORE than the other way around!

So you get to choose; buy your leads and become dependent of the handouts, or learn the craft of being a quality professional that offers the consumer a choice of a quality experience. You can’t command top dollar for your efforts if you aren’t doing anything more than what an algorithm will do for far less money!

By 2025 more than 75% of those licensed in real estate and mortgage will be working in call centers, be in support of a lead person of a team, or out of the industry completely! Just watch! It’s becoming more about becoming a celebrity agent or originator, and NOT about being the local professional who provides a great customer experience. A handful of a few, supported by many, will become the new normal as nobody feels the need to do the WORK anymore!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Helping Them Level Up!

I spoke last week about paying attention to the calendar and how to set yourself up to create additional opportunities just by being aware of the timeline in front of us. One of those key points can become a significant strategy for those who work with Realtors® or would like to grow their group of Realtor® referral partners. That strategy begins with a simple understanding that many of your Realtor® referral partners work on a tiered commission schedule. This schedule determines the commission splits and often grows with the total volume of closed transactions in any given year.

While not all of the real estate professionals work under this arrangement, many do, and you should be aware that even just one or two more transaction sides can make a big difference in the commissions that are earned. In fact, one transaction at the end of the year can not only earn that professional more money on that particular deal; the jump in commission split tier is often the beginning base for the upcoming year! That said, one transaction more in 2019 could mean thousands of dollars in additional income for you referral partner in 2020!

So think about this. Did you know this information? If you were, have you ever discussed this with any of your referral partners? Have you asked them where they stand right now and what would it take for them to jump up to that next level? Wouldn’t that show your partner you had a real interest in their business? What would that partner think if you offered to spend the next few weeks helping them find the listing or that buyer that they needed, and then helped make sure the deal closed in time for them to level up? I think it would certainly help build a much more committed relationship!

The website has all the strategies you will ever need. Just pull up that section and become familiar with them again. Once that is done, it’s time to talk to your agents and see what you can do to help them make that next level happen by the end of the year! Just ask the questions and then log into the website and share the video clips with you agent! Once you choose the path, go execute the plan! Working together can make the process fun and even more rewarding!

So put together your list of Realtors® you need to speak with. Ask about where they stand on their commission levels and see if they are interested in making a run at another closed transaction or two by the end of the year! Even if they don’t work on a tiered system, an “extra” deal or two in the next six weeks wouldn’t be so bad would it?

Remember, pushing strong through the end of the year can help you start 2020 with momentum! There is plenty of time for special events and holiday parties, you can afford to spend a couple of hours a day helping put together deals that can close before this year is over!

Questions and comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Proactive Filters

Every loan originator that has closed more than one loan understands how quickly they can become trapped in a world of reactive activity! I believe the main reason most originators don’t close more business is because they often are too busy to do more business! Being busy isn’t a sign of success, it’s a sign your systems don’t work so well and you are spending too much time being reactive to others because your system isn’t proactive enough to filter out much of the drama and reactive nonsense we often see.

Learning from your own business experience will help you get most of the way; wanting to do better and close more units in less time will get you the rest of the way! First thing you need to look at is where your time goes? Again, being busy working on files isn’t an answer; it’s a vague statement of your self-imposed reality! The question is, “What has you so busy?”

So many originators have no idea how long it takes to take a client from first contact to closing. They never think about how their own system causes or eliminates issues. More importantly, they never create a perfect process for themselves, their clients, and their referral partners, that limit the drama and creates a great experience!

Just think about this the next time you feel overwhelmed, what am I doing, why am I doing this, and how could I have avoided this? Why are we chasing documents? Why are we answering the same questions over and over again for the same people? Why are we scrambling around the week before closing trying to put it all together when we KNEW what needed to be done when we first spoke to the client?

The reason is that your system to take that client from contact to closing didn’t contain a series of “Proactive Filters” to prevent much, if not all of the drama many originators spend their time trying to resolve! Many originators will state that they just need an assistant! I say, you need a better SYSTEM!

 

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

 

Part Two of the 6 Efficiencies

In the March 28thpost I set the stage for the things I see that help originators optimize performance and enhance the customer experience. This week we will touch on the key points of items 1 through 3 on that list. Keep in mind, that all of these are gone into in great detail on the website: www.IMTcoaching.com

The first item to conquer is the plan! The biggest failure amongst those who don’t achieve what they want is because they have failed to take the time to create the business plan they intend to follow that takes them to that specific destination. And let’s not ever call it “goal setting”. Goal setting is like a New Year’s resolution, everyone talks a good game and less than 1% really stick to the plan and get the job done!

The creation of a written plan is essential to map your way to your destination; and success is a journey to a specific destination! Your business plan should be done in OCTOBER so you can take the time to incorporate all the tools, technology, and training you need to implement the systems you plan on bringing to the table in the coming year. The business plan is also the accountability partner and the adjustment tool you refer to on a monthly basis to track your results and make needed adjustments.

Step two of the six requires that you commit to paper ALL the details involved in your business. What specific tasks is part of your prospecting plan to attract opportunities? What do you do? When do you do it? What is the cost in time, effort, and dollars?

Once you have your prospecting efforts all mapped out, you have to clearly lay out the loan process experience from the time the customer makes first contact, to the specific details of your post-closing strategy. Every call, card, email, text, communication, alert, follow-up, warning, and contact needs to be identified, scheduled, implemented, and checked against your time line to be sure the quality of the experience remains in place over the test of time. The quality of that customer experience is the life blood of your future business and becomes your force of attraction for repeat business and future referrals! It is the very VALUE of your relationship with that client that keeps them connected to you!

Step three is critical if you are ever going to consistently perform at a high level without running the risk of becoming consumed by your business and risking “melting down” or as some would call it, “burn out”. This key step is the very success structure most people envy, but few achieve. The reason is, it’s too easy to ditch the structure and not see an instant penalty for aborting the process.

More and more we live in a less defined world. Everything is becoming 24/7/365 and people just except it as a fact. That’s too bad! For people to think they must be a slave to their business is just flat out wrong! You are a loan originator, not a trauma surgeon! Although, even trauma surgeons have days off and go on vacation and disconnect from their business! There are no mortgage emergencies! Nobody dies in our business! While some people may think they do, it’s not true!

By focusing yourself to your time, tasks, and schedule, you can use the tools you have already learned to become a great success in the mortgage industry. Face it, if you managed your class schedule in high school, you can become a great originator. Once you see the magic of your life when you schedule your own success, you will never go back to being reactive. It’s about your system working all the time, not you! Frequent and scheduled vacations help relieve stress, provide an opportunity to enjoy the rewards of your efforts, and keep you connected to the real reason you go to work!

Next week, items four through six! As always, questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaoching.com

 

Are You Worth More Than $11.35 an Hour?

When you are involved with as many loan originators as I am, you hear all kinds of stories and concepts about how to generate loan opportunities. I think over the last few years, so many people have focused on lead generation that they haven’t spent too much time looking at conversion rates and profitability. A big issue was the issue of paying for leads. So I asked a number of originators to share some insights as to how they track their investment in buying leads and what the total return on that investment was, and how profitable it may or may not have been. The answers were pretty interesting.

  • The number one most interesting item was that mostof the originators don’t track their cost/hour investments in purchasing leads.
  • As a total percentage of their marketing budget in time and money, they don’t draw a comparison between purchasing leads and other opportunity generating investments.
  • Last but not least, they don’t work the math to show their effective income rate per hour of the work needed to generate each application that closes.

I believe that the mortgage business doesn’t do a very good job at working through the numbers. In one specific case, a loan originator with a significant investment in time, money, and effort; the math was very interesting to work through. It also opened the door to another whole area of discussion that we will follow-up in the future, what “power” do you give up when you are in pursuit of those leads?

After working through the math, this loan originator saw that the net income after expenses on all the other areas used to generate opportunities, her net hourly rate for just generating the lead that closes was almost four times the hourly rate that was found on the leads that were purchased. In fact, the net income per hour prospecting and working the purchased leads netted $11.35 per hour invested!

Now this is just one set of numbers, but I believe that they do share a story. The story is that the work needed to obtain the opportunity can vary widely across the board. The time it takes to work each lead and convert it into a transaction is something that becomes really important to measure.

As we all know, the math used to calculate how “well” someone is doing in our industry can vary widely. Units closed and dollar volumes can be just the tip of the real story if you don’t dig down to see the entire story. We all know people that have greatly inflated numbers or have huge teams of people funneling up that volume, or at what cost?

Purchasing leads isn’t a bad thing by itself. Large production teams are not a bad thing by itself. Marketing agreements, desk rentals, joint advertising, and other opportunity generating techniques are not bad things by themselves; it’s just vitally important that you know the true cost in time, effort, and assets and compare!

This loan originator discovered that making $11.35 an hour to work the leads to the point of a genuine loan opportunity wasn’t worth the effort. Others may feel differently, but you really need to drill down and know the math to be sure you are happy with the money you are netting for the work you are doing!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com