Here Is What Is Working

As we are wrapping up 2018 and looking at what is working for those committed to improving their business, here are the three things I am finding that are working best for those who have improved the most.

  • Use of video. For 7 years I have been pushing for mortgage professionals to incorporate video in their business to better connect and communicate. Video works for you 24/7/365. Putting together your video business cards, FAQs, short tutorials, and especially the use of video coupons.
  • Birthday calls. The simple act of calling your clients and referral partners on their birthday has been a huge boost in opportunities for those making the call. This one simple act that takes less than 10 minutes a day can help grow your business by more than 30%!
  • File replacement. Mining your files for potential new opportunities to do loans or find new referral partners has proven to do just that, create new opportunities while working on current ones.

There are many other tools and techniques out there you can use and many things that will work well or better than others. The important thing is to take a good look at your business and see the one or two things that take less than ten or fifteen minutes a day to do that will substantially change your business!

One other point I wanted to bring to your attention this week is the value of the note. A simple hand written note can really change the perception and the level of connection between a person and a product or service provider. A simple case in point is my recent trip to Ohio last week. I left Florida where it was 82 degrees and arrived in Columbus to find in to be 21! On the drive to my hotel, it was windy and then it began to snow. When I got to the hotel and got by bags out of the car, the cold, wind, and snow was really putting a damper on my mood for sure!

I checked in and got to my room just wanting to get my clothes put away and warm up when I spotted a note on the desk. It read:

“Mr. White,

Welcome to our hotel! Thank you so much for choosing us for your stay! We are so excited to host you, especially as a valued Gold Hilton Honors member! If there is anything we can do for you while you are here, please let us know!

-yours in hospitality,

Front Desk Team

Needless to say, this really helped change my mood and reset my focus for this trip. It also confirmed to me the power of the handwritten note! I have this note and will keep it as a reminder that personal attention to detail in the form of a simple note is still a very powerful tool in providing an exceptional customer experience!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Battle Plan Ending 2018

Thanksgiving was a week ago and yet we have still not reached December. It’s ironic how many people have already closed the books on 2018 while there is so much opportunity remaining in this year! That is why we are faced with a few choices;

  • Are we done for the year, or are we going to work?
  • Have we completed our business plan, or are we just going to wait around and see what happens?
  • Is everything working effectively, or do some changes need to be made?
  • Did everything I intended to accomplish in 2018 get done, or are there still things that need to get done?

Since my plan calls for your business plan to be complete and scheduled for a dry run the first week of December, you still have time to get on track. Go to the website, www.IMTcoaching.comand download the 2019 Business Planning Workbook and get going!

In addition to getting your business plan done this weekend, you need to keep talking for the next two weekends about still getting deals closed in 2018! The window is closing to box out your competition as they fall off the grid in their ability to still get a deal done. You have to reach the people and let them know that it is still possible!

In addition to this message, you have to look at your calendar and get in front of your small bankers and credit unions for a final push. Accountants and financial planners; attorneys and insurance professionals; they all need to hear your message about how you are closing out 2018 and preparing for 2019! If you fail to schedule and act on these things, they can’t possibly get done!

As we get closer to Christmas, it’s important to talk to a few Realtors® in your area about working the “Expired Listing Program”. In some markets there are more expired listings coming due the first of the year than others, but it only takes one listing for your Realtor® to be thrilled you offered to work with them!

The year isn’t over. In fact, there is still much to do! The fact that many of your competitors are already closing down only improves your visibility and ability to make those last few important deals and connections much more likely! So don’t waste any more time!

Get your plan done this weekend and start your dry run through your new work schedule next week! Get on the phone, get out on the street, go and talk to those you have worked with in the past as well as those you would like to work with in the future and make that connection!

You have time to make a big difference in your future if you take some time and act now!

Questions and comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s the time of year we all need to pause and give thanks for what we have and be grateful for our blessings. This has been a very professionally successful year and I am grateful to those who have made that success possible. It was also personally a very challenging year for me personally as it was twenty years ago that my mother and son, Paul passed just a week apart, and then my son Eric passed at the age of 42. These are all things people have to deal with and a reminder that life can change quickly for both better and worse, so take the time to be grateful for what you have been blessed with.

It is also 55 years ago I sat in my class at Fern Place Elementary School in Plainview NY and saw the school day end early because John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. It was the first time I remember seeing grown people, both men and women, crying uncontrollably in public. Just 5 days away from my seventh birthday, I had to try and understand as a child some very adult circumstances.

In the mortgage and real estate communities, Thanksgiving also represents a series of choices and opportunities. Some make the choice to back off the process and enjoy the long series of parties and social events that the next six weeks will offer. For some, that is no choice at all, rather just a way of life. For many others, this time of year represents significant opportunities. While part of your competition removes itself from the business of closing transactions and creating new opportunities; some will take the time and benefit from engaging with the very people who NEED to get a transaction done!

Many Realtors® are just one or two transactions away from “leveling up” their commission tier. These one or two more transactions can represent thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in additional commissions! For originators, getting those last few deals closed in 2018 can also hold benefits for personal, team, branch, region, and even national honors! This also can be very important to many people and their incomes going forward.

Black Friday weekend is a huge opportunity to get in front of serious buyers and sellers. Some of you will be following my “Black Friday Plan” this week and I am looking forward to seeing how you all do, so please keep me posted! For those of you who have not prepared a Black Friday Sale, you still can find significant opportunities by getting out and visiting your real estate offices, open houses, builder models and let people know you are available to help, and when the last day you can accept completed contracts for units closing in 2018!

We have discussed this before, every company and market is different! You need to get really clear and specific about what you can do and what the obligations of all the players are to be sure you can get it done! Not everyone can close on 12/24 or 12/31! You need to know before you commit to closing!

It’s also not just your buyers agents that you need to get in front of. You bring special value to:

  • Listing Agents
  • Sellers
  • Accountants
  • Financial Planners
  • Attorneys
  • Small bands & Credit Unions

Any or all of these could be in need of your ability to get it done before 2019 comes! For some, 2018 is over! For others, there is much left to do! Pick your path and schedule your activities!

Happy Thanksgiving to all; I am always grateful to you for reading and responding to the things we discuss on this post!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Counting Down & Counting On

We are just a few weeks away from closing the books on new loans to close in 2018. In some cases there are lenders already shying away from loans that have to close in 2018. One of the key strategies is to NOT be that lender that states you can get it done, only to leave everyone in pain when they can’t get it done. That means doing the right thing by doing your job correctly. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Never commit to closing if you aren’t 100% certain it can close.
  • Know when the last day is that you can accept completed applications that can close this year.
  • Be specific about your preapproval and all the surrounding players being on the same page and able to complete the tasks at hand by the date due.
  • Know the calendar! Christmas and New Year’s Day is a Tuesday this year. Are you open and available to close loans on 12/24 and 12/31? What about Title, Insurance, and others?

The key is to be very clear and specific about what you need and what is possible! Many Realtors® are pushing to get deals closed because it impacts their commission schedules. One deal not closing could cost them thousands in future commissions! The flip side to that is that many Realtors® may have a listing that has to sell by the end of the year, and they need to trust you at your word that you can get it done!

People are counting down the days to the end of the year. Those people need to know they can count on you to be the professional that can live up to your word and deliver the process that makes it possible. So as we count down the days, be very clear about your capabilities and that of your team. There are real people involved and success will reap rewards, but failure to deliver can be devastating to all involved. I have seen people make their reputations and destroy them in the last few weeks of the year!

So as your counting down the year, be certain that those who trust you can truly count on you to get done what you say will get done!

For questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

“The Last Seven Weeks”

The elections are almost over, not sure how we still can’t figure out how to conduct an election and get the numbers in a few hours after the polls close, but I guess it’s more complicated because the process requires many people working in different systems with different tools and levels of training? The good news is no more political ads to listen to or read and we can all begin to focus on the fact that there are just seven more weekends until 2019!

Taking a look, we have to deal with Thanksgiving just two weeks away, and then we run into the big rush through Christmas and the New Year. By now, those of you planning special events for Thanksgiving are well along that process.

  • The Black Friday Sale
  • Pie giveaway
  • Food drive
  • Food kitchen service
  • Movie day/night

All really solid activities you can be engaged in with your clients, referral partners, team, as well as your family and friends to help share thanks for what we have. For those of you not executing a Thanksgiving strategy this year, it might be something to get in your business plan for 2019!

The next few things you need to address are:

  • Completing your 2019 business plan and being on your new schedule by December 3rd.
  • Preparing your count down videos sharing the total number of days left to get an application into your system to close in 2018.
  • Sitting down with your team and looking hard at your market conditions and knowing when the last day will be to get your loans in and closed?
  • Get really clear on the holiday schedule! With Christmas and New Year’s on a Tuesday this year, what does that mean to your work schedule? You need to know and SHARE that information.

Last but not least you need to get clear on what you are doing for the holidays and if and when you are taking time off, having celebrations, scheduling events, and being sure that you pay close attention to the schedule so you don’t miss an important referral partner event!

The last seven weeks can really set the tone for completing 2018 strong, and hitting the ground running in 2019! Remember, the year-end doesn’t really wipe the slate clean in our business. Our business doesn’t start and stop each month or each year, it’s just how we measure it. We all have past and current clients; personal and professional relationships that transcend the end of a month or moving into a new calendar year. It is important that we take the time and plan out these seven weeks so we can maximize the time and the enjoyment of the season!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

 

Awareness of Expectations

As mortgage professionals one of the most critical parts of being the “person in the profession” is to use your knowledge to provide information and manage expectations. There are many ways to do this, but being aware of just a few small things can often make all the difference between a great experience and a total train wreck of a transaction. It is up to the mortgage professional to be aware of a client and the referral partner’s expectations as early as possible and to manage these expectations through the filter of communication.

Since all markets and clients, as well as their transactions are different, I will have to speak in general terms but you will quickly be able to adapt these to your situation. There are three basic rules I like to have people follow in order to help set the stage.

  • Always ask the client to explain to you what their specific goals are for this transaction. If there is more than one client, get all of them to tell you!
  • Get really clear as to the client’s priorities in case they can’t have 100% of what they want.
  • Keep everyone on the same page by keeping communication open with all the players on the same team.

A mortgage professional that adapts a proactive position of information and communication tends to avoid issues down the road. Dealing with a false reality in the very beginning may be an issue, but it will be a smaller issue than trying to deal with it once a transaction has begun and as you get close to closing! It is always better to risk losing a deal to someone who will promise the world and not be able to deliver on false promises than to be the one fighting at closing because things didn’t go as promised. There are enough issues that can complicate any transaction without dealing with the ones you can easily identify up front! NOBODYis going to get a 3.25% rate on a 30 year fixed with a $5K lender credit with a 580 credit score and 100% financing!

The facts of every transaction can vary, but the internet is full of generic information that usually won’t apply 100% of the time to all people. You will find that explaining things clearly as the “WHY”things are the way they are will be helpful. It is important to remain calm and explain clearly.

When you are clear about expectations it is always good to compare reality to the emotion of the situation. People get very emotional about interest rates and closing costs. If you take the time and “range base” payments, you will see that those painful moves in rates during the transaction are comfortable to deal with because the client has been prepared for the payments inside the range you set forward.

The same thing holds true for closing costs. It costs what it costs! Get really clear as to everything they can expect and be sure to be accurate in your numbers while explaining what control your client may have on the actual numbers.

Last but not least, keep everyone on the same page that is on the same team. If you have two borrowers and a buyer’s agent, be sure you set the stage for all of them by connecting them on notifications. If you have a phone call or text message with any one of the parties, be sure you confirm by email or video to all parties your answer or explanation. This can save a huge amount of time and trouble if someone misremembers a conversation along the way!

The market is changing and the industry as a whole is evolving. As mortgage professionals, we need to use our expertise to guide people to a successful conclusion. We must remember that we are ultimately responsible for setting the proper expectations and providing the path for a successful transaction while setting the foundation for a long term relationship!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

“The Balance of your Business”

October is Business Planning Month here at IMT Coaching and we continue that focus with looking deeply into where our business is coming from and comparing it to the reality of where purchase opportunities come from and how much time you spend prospecting and maintaining the relationships.

Like everything else, you should really know your numbers. I break it down for you in the “Business Planning Workbook 2019” which is on the home page of the website (www.IMTCoaching.com). Using the model of the “Referral Triangle”, you really need to understand the mechanics of all your purchase opportunities and how they get leveraged out to the other areas of your triangle. For the purposes of this post, we are going to leave everything in the major groups. Realtor®/Builder – Other Professional – Database, you will break it down further into the actual people and activities in your personal plan later.

So we look at the three sides and determine:

  • Who are the people or tasks involved?
  • What percentage of my time do I commit to this area?
  • What percentage of my budget does this consume?
  • What percentage of my closed business does it represent?
  • Do the efforts equal the outcomes?

The next questions have to deal with direction of focus. Where are we prospecting for opportunities and are they a realistic representation of the opportunities available? Generically speaking, each side of the “Referral Triangle” controls about an equal share of opportunity in the market. While newer people tend to rely heavily on the “Realtor/Builder” leg of the triangle to start, it’s less than a third of all purchase opportunities available. Many originators never allow their business models to mature and so they keep having repeat performances of their first years in the business.

This is a time of the year to look hard at what we are doing and understand that first we need to understand the triangle and then grow it! Building your business into a mature mortgage practice takes some time and some planning, but is really worth it in the long run, especially in light of all the new tools designed to replace the originator with an algorithm! You have to keep putting the person in the profession by constantly personally connecting with your people! You also need to be aware that your job is to grow your database and nurture it with value so you can benefit from the referrals and repeat opportunities it will generate.

Keeping your efforts and outcomes in balance is an important factor that even the best sometimes forget. While it is true that if you master any one area of the market you can achieve great results; you also open the door to losing your entire practice to someone or something that can work cheaper, faster, or just replace you! Remember, diversification and personal connection can’t be bought, it has to be earned!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com