“People don’t pay for passion”

I want to share a quote that I think is the single most important quote a service provider can hear. It comes from a guy I respect more than anything. A man who has written a number of books that help people advance better than any single author I know. I have read every word of every one of his books, and most more than once. The man is Larry Winget, and here is his quote:

“No customer ever wrote a check for someone’s passion.

                   Customers buy value and solutions to their problems.”

Nothing I have read has ever been more plain and on point than those words. It captures the very essence of what I have been trying to coach since the very beginning. It is the whole point of all of it. All the work, all the effort, everything I have tried to convey, all wrapped up for me in 17 powerful words. Thanks Larry!

We are in a service business. We are facing challenges from all sides to step in and invade our space. The invasion is working. People are not connecting with people or caring about relationships. People are focused on leads, assistants, and transactions; not the value that they can bring to the customer, not the solution they can share with their referral partner, just generate a lead and churn the system and see what comes out the other end!

There is still a core group of mortgage professionals and Realtors® around who are experts. There are a few that understand that our core business needs to be about value, solutions, and relationships! For those few, take note that there are an increasing number of people who understand that position and want to with you to make that happen! It has to be about the quality of the experience. It has to be about providing exceptional value to the customer and the referral partner. It has to be about being the solutions provider to those that have issues and challenges in our area of expertise. It just has to!

We have talked a great deal about all of these things here in the past. When I saw Larry’s quote I just had to make the point. If you haven’t read any of Larry’s books I suggest you go buy a few and then read them. Then go and share them. Then go back and buy the rest of them and do the same thing. Once you read the first one, you will clearly see why I am a huge Larry Winget fan!

Thanks again Larry for your insight, your wisdom, and your courage to say the things other people won’t say, but everyone needs to hear!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Here are seven great books from Larry Winget:

“What’s wrong with damn near everything”

“Grow a pair”

“Shut up, stop whining and get a life”

“You are broke because you want to be”

“It’s called work for a reason”

“People are idiots and I can prove it”

“Your kids are your fault”

You can get any or all of these on Amazon. If you do, please use Amazon Smile and use the “Forever 19 Foundation” as your smile recipient. It costs you nothing and .5% goes directly to the foundation that is building memorials to our fallen soldiers. Thank You!

Use this link for Amazon Smile https://smile.amazon.com/ch/47-1017031

“Grow Up”

The election is over and for some reason, a small part of our country has made a choice to whine and complain how things didn’t go their way. SERIOUSLY? Never before in the history of the Republic did universities have to take a time out, cancel classes and exams because their students needed emotional support animals! As I have said for years, giving children participation trophies would lead to an entire generation that was weak and undisciplined. Well, here you have it. We have people crying because they lost an election and showing their displeasure by blocking traffic, assaulting people, and causing millions of dollars in property damage. Yes, I know the pain of losing. I also know that you get up and go back to work. You congratulate the other side for their efforts and work harder to do better. Unfortunately, that isn’t happening for a small minority of people; the people who have a really distorted view of the world. The election is over and a new administration will take over in January. We ALL have a need for the new group to succeed, because we ALL live in this country and want it to do well. Anyone that ever wished for any new administration to do poorly; only wishes harm to themselves.

The mortgage point to all of this is that I have to caution all the idiots who are screaming about the collapse of the mortgage and real estate industry! Are you all insane? What, interest rates go about 4% and that’s it? Are you kidding me? The country has had artificially low rates for years and all that has happened is a sluggish economy where people can’t find growth. Higher rates are being triggered by OPTIMISUM in the stock market that the economy is going to get BETTER!!!

A thriving economy can certainly cause our artificially low rates to NORMALIZE! In fact, higher rates are actually a GOOD thing. Higher rates provide better returns for those bond investors, likely those on fixed incomes. In fact, for many years traditional savings accounts hung around the 5% mark. Higher returns on cash isn’t all bad!

Yes, higher rates cause higher payments. But have you taken the time to get past the emotional trigger of higher rates and just done the math? Yes the payments are now a little higher, but will that slightly higher payment really prevent people from buying a house? Come on, get real with it. If payments going up $20 to $100 a month really stop someone from buying a home, how are they going to deal with RENTS GOING UP EVERY YEAR?

Anyone that is that tight on payment shouldn’t be borrowing that much money in the first place. A vast majority of borrowers don’t borrow anywhere near the amount of money they would be approved for. And besides, you think home prices and rates are going BACK DOWN? Guess again!

My career began in a 15% rate market. For many years I wrote loans that were double digit terms and there was no shortage of business. Rates broke below 10% and kept going down. People were happy as they got deals at 8, 7, and 6%! We also know an entire refinance industry was born. Now I get that for some people, refinances are a significant part of their business. I also understand that I have been telling people to be certain they had a business model with no less than 70% purchase business because at some point, refinances were going to go away.

So for all the experts out there, who are forecasting the end of our industry, just grow up! Yes, higher rates are not as pleasant as lower rates are, I get it; but it doesn’t mean people aren’t going to buy homes. In fact, given all the complaints about limited inventory and too many buyers chasing too few homes, maybe higher rates help settle the markets and help us find a more “normal” environment?

Interest rates were going to go higher at some point. Isn’t it better that they go up because the markets are expecting a stronger economy with great growth, than because we have a stagnant economy with runaway inflation? So everybody take a deep breath. Yes, rates are higher. Yes things will cost a little more. But as professionals we have to get clear about the real costs and provide solutions to the challenges at hand.

So do the real math. Brush up on you adjustable loan products. Remain calm and understand that sometime you win and sometimes you lose. If you won, congratulations and I hope you are happy and your team does well. If you lost, congratulate the other side and hope they do well. If you are part of the half of the country that didn’t bother to vote, shut up! You didn’t participate; you have nothing to add to the situation! The sun always rises in the morning. Be happy about that and make the best of it.

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com or visit us online at http://imtcoaching.com

“Opportunity Awareness”

Before I get started, I just wanted to acknowledge those in Louisiana who have had their lives turned upside down because of severe rain and flooding. We have clients in Baton Rouge, as well as the surrounding areas, and they have all had much to deal with. Some have had flooding in their homes and businesses, but have already started the long road back to “normal”. Join me in keeping all of those in our thoughts and prayers. Remembering always that once the TV cameras go away, the people are still there trying to put their lives back together!

Today I wanted to focus on something that seems very simple and obvious, but often gets overlooked in our “normal” day to day activities. First I want you to make sure you are connecting early with the agents involved with your transactions. A quick phone call to introduce you and explain the appraisal process, and share the transaction timeline will help create an accurate set of expectations. Following up during the process and after closing will help cement the quality of the experience and possibly lead to new referrals!

The next part of this is looking at the transaction and locating all the possible new referral partners you have a chance to get in front of. Tax returns have an accountant. Accountants have dozens or hundreds of clients. A simple call of introduction can help pave the way for a new referral partner!

Insurance agents also have a large database of people. Those people either own or rent where they live. Connecting with an insurance agent can open the door to converting renters into owners, and owners into refinances or new purchases!

Some of the people we come across have unfortunately been part of a divorce. Since a majority of divorces contain a marital property that either needs to be transferred or sold; connecting with a divorce attorney that understands the value of your process can quickly become your top referral partner!

You may also come in contact with Human Resource people, business managers, financial planners, and a whole range of others might be found inside the documentation you are already collecting from your clients for their loan application. A simple phone call to confirm they provided the documents creates a quick and simple first impression that you can follow up with after the transaction closes with a request to connect. A simple coffee or breakfast meeting and provide you with a meeting that may change your entire business!

The same thing holds true for looking at your surroundings as you make your sales calls. What businesses, professionals, and product providers are in your local market that might be a spring board to unknown value and opportunity? Well, if you don’t look, you can’t identify an opportunity. If you don’t ask to connect, you won’t ever have the chance to make your case as to why they need to be connected to you, and the thousands of opportunities you can create together every year!

So look deep into your files. Make phone calls and send emails. Write a note after closing and ask for a meeting. Pay attention to your surroundings and see what opportunities are sitting right in front of you that you have been missing! It might just change your business completely!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com or visit us online at http://imtcoaching.com

Quick Observations

After another strong week of activity, I wanted to share a few observations with you. First and foremost, please keep connected to your pre-approvals. Your failure to keep connected is like giving them permission to go to someone else! If you aren’t showing an interest in their search, you are likely losing your grasp on their transaction. So please; give your people a call at least every two weeks to ask how the search is going. Be supportive and optimistic. In many parts of the country low inventory of listed homes are making multiple offers more common, and your client may become frustrated. Now is the time for empathy. Encourage them and share possible strategies to help them, and their agent, find that next home.

Next, please mind your pipeline! It’s not anyone else’s problem but yours to manage! I don’t care if you have an assistant or a processor. It’s YOUR responsibility to make sure things are on schedule and making this a great experience for your client and referral partners! After all, this is how you earn future referrals, by setting proper expectations, timelines, and executing your plan! This is what you have to own. You can certainly delegate, but you can’t abdicate! You are the face of the transaction. Nobody cares if your assistant, your processor, your underwriter, your whoever made a mistake or forgot to do something! It’s YOUR transaction and YOUR reputation! So keep connected to your pipeline and your file flow! It takes only a few minutes a day, and it’s well worth it!

I know the “dog days of summer” are upon us! I know everyone is on vacation. Yes, I agree that nobody buys houses in the summer. Of course, there isn’t any inventory to sell! NOT TRUE! There are plenty of transactions to get in front of. There are plenty of people who are working or looking for a new home to buy or one to sell! And there are plenty of people who would list their homes for sale if they knew what they could get if they just sold their current home!

Work with your Realtors® using “The Forever Home Strategy®”. Get out there and talk to the people in the market who already own the homes you would like to be available to your clients. Share with them the information on how much home they can get for the same or slightly higher payment! Remember, they likely have been out of the market for a while. They might have a current payment based on a smaller loan amount but a much higher interest rate! The next step up for them may very well be about the same monthly payment!

So please remember to keep connected, do the work, and use your tools! There is no reason to take your foot off the gas right now! In fact, I think now is an excellent time to stomp the pedal to the floor and air it all out! There are plenty of transactions to get in front of right now! Just use the tools and follow your plan!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com or visit us online at http://imtcoaching.com

“The Re-valuation Situation!”

What a ride! The mortgage backed securities market has seen a great deal of price improvement since the “Brexit” vote. We have spent the past couple of blog posts pointing out a winning strategy to help you ignite your business! One piece of the puzzle you can’t afford to miss out on is being sure you revalue all of your pre-approvals to reflect the new purchasing power of lower rates! Yes, as rates go down, that same monthly payment qualifies for a bunch more money! Depending on where you were pricing, and how much they qualified for, it could be just the thing to help you get your buyers off the fence and into a home!

So here is what we do. Go back to ALL the pre-approvals you have issued in the last six to nine months that haven’t closed a loan with you yet. Look at each pre-approval and recalculate their loan size given today’s new lower rates. Create a short thirty second, to one minute video explaining the new letter and why you have issued it, sort of something like this:

“I am sure you have heard a lot about the “Brexit” vote and the reaction in the financial markets. While your 401K might have taken a hit, these very same market conditions have caused interest rates to fall dramatically! This means your monthly housing payment now affords you a great deal more money! I have taken the liberty to rework your numbers and I will be sending you your new pre-approval letter by email. Please understand that rates may again rise quickly, but right now you have an opportunity to get more home for the same monthly payment!”

Post the video, email the video, and then get to work reworking your re-approvals and get them out! Don’t forget to send the video to your Realtors®! Also be sure you send the Realtor® a copy of the new pre-approval! This may be just the thing your agent needs to get their borrowers in contract! But don’t stop there! You need to call every Realtor® you work with right now and make sure that everyone they are showing property too, calls you for a revaluation!

Refinances are great! But lower rates provide so much more in the way of opportunities! Revalue all your pre-approvals! Call all of your agents and let them know NOT to show property to anyone who hasn’t had their pre-approval redone in the last ten days! These are two simple steps that will really help you provide value to your clients and your referral partners!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com or visit us online at http://imtcoaching.com

Recruiting

Regardless if you are an originator or a manager, you must always have a place and a plan for recruiting. For originators it is recruiting new referral partners; for managers it is recruiting new originators. Depending on each set of needs, the process would appear different, but is really pretty much the same. It’s all about setting the targets and then scheduling the activities needed to execute the plan.

Recruiting for me has always been less about “selling” the company or the brand as much as it has been about problem solving. Instead of telling the world how great you or your company is; it often works much better to identify with a common challenge and provide the solution to that challenge.

When originators are looking to expand the number of referral partners they have, it is important to be sure they know what exactly they are looking for. Are you looking to expand with just anyone who might refer business, or do you have a specific set of needs for the types of referrals? It is simple enough to look at what you are trying to accomplish and create a realistic number of targets. An example I like to use is if you are looking for a referral partner that can send you one new transaction per month, you need to find someone who can send you two or three opportunities a month. You will also need to target three or four people so you end up with the one person you are looking for. It is also important to do a little bit of research into your targets to be sure the people you are targeting are really the people you want!

When targeting originators, you can’t just look for top producers to leave and come over to your side. While it would be great just to target the best two or three originators in your market, reality dictates you need to also look for more average originators that you can help grow into those top producers you need. Again, sometimes it is easier and faster to grow three or four originators with your better system than to pick off a top producer. Helping a 2-3 loan per month originators go to 5-7 loans a month will not only help your business, it will also give you a larger number of potential targets.

Now that we have looked at targeting, we do need to look at the final two pieces of the puzzle which are solving challenges and consistency of contact. Solving challenges is a pretty simple, ask what challenges people are seeing and resolve those issues. In today’s market we have a few issues that come right to the front that cover both areas, one is dealing with TRID. By now it has become pretty obvious the people and the companies that have a handle on TRID and can get deals closed in thirty days or less consistently. You either can or you can’t. If you can, find those that can’t and bring them over. Realtor® and originators alike are  finding that the public doesn’t care what the process is as long as they close on time. Those who can still close in thirty days or less have a huge competitive advantage; use that advantage to secure new relationships or acquire new originators.

Last but not least is being committed to the recruiting process. You must have a plan and schedule the time to act on that plan. For both originators and managers, it is important to create a consistent long term strategy for connecting. It may take, days, weeks, months, or years to get the attention of your target. You must not give up until that target tells you to leave them alone. Even then, calling them back once a year to see if they are still happy is a good idea, just remain consistent and courteous. Schedule regular days of the week and month to make recruiting calls or visits.

I will have much more on recruiting in this month’s coaching call. For those of you who are clients, you will get your invitation to that call shortly or you can just replay it from the website after January 27th. For those of you who are not clients, now may be a good time to think about investing into “ACCESS!” With “ACCESS” you enter the world of the client’s site that contains all the information. Every webinar, training, all the podcasts, e-books, scripts, fliers and support materials are always available 24/7. One small monthly fee with no long term contracts gets you all the ACCESS you will need to take your business to the highest level.

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com or visit us online at http://imtcoaching.com

“The Last Thirty Days – Part 2”

By now we have accepted the final few loans into our pipelines that will close by the end of the year. I know from the responses I have been getting, many agents, managers, and brokers were shocked that you were still able to get loans in that will close this year because they had been told by a number of people that it was “impossible” to take a TRID loan after Thanksgiving and close it before the end of the year. Imagine the surprise on their faces when the loans close as promised before the end of the year?

Differentiation is the key. Everything we do is designed to differentiate ourselves from what people have come to expect from the mortgage industry. That difference is all that it takes to set you apart. In this case, that difference isn’t a small one, it is a huge gap between those companies and originators that prepared for TRID and were ready for it in July (remember, it was supposed to start in August) and have taken loans by the thousands and closed them in thirty days or less, not 45 or 60 as most in the country have been out talking about!

We have just two more weeks before Christmas to be working hard and sharing the message that we are working if they are working. Now I know many have “packed it in” for the year and have focused on the party scene, but there are those who are still engaged and still working hard to put together deals that will close in January. We need to remain visible and available for those people. Referral partners and those referred clients need our help. With so many people already out of the market until next year, this opens the door for you to find those very dedicated people who are working and need to work. The very people you want and need to be in front of!

Terri Murphy and I put forward our Lunch & Learn this month that goes into great detail about working with our real estate referral partners on their business plans. While many can’t be bothered or will never take the time to actually generate a plan, many you will see working now will be very interested in how to put one together and be grateful for the tools to get this done. Terri is a proven leader in the real estate community and someone who listed and sold one hundred homes a year for more than twenty years! How many times do you think your agents get a chance to learn a fundamental piece of the real estate business from such a highly respected and proven Realtor®?

The webinar is on the website for you to use and share. Some people are doing these one on one, while others are putting together small groups. Either way, you have the 35 minute webinar and the PowerPoint® presentation already on the website to help you. No excuses, you just have to share the information and if anyone has any questions, you can just email us and we will walk you through it.

Nobody ever had a bad year with a great first quarter! Working right through the end of the year and keeping your momentum growing through December will help you generate the transactions and referral partners you will need for that fast start!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com  or visit us online at http://imtcoaching.com

The Last Thirty Days – Part 1

This week our message on the street is making everyone aware of the last day and time you can accept complete loan applications that will close in 2015. It must be in writing and must be on paper and delivered in person!  That means getting up and out of your office and hitting the streets!

In December it is critical you are out and visible! You also must follow our visitation protocol, something in writing on paper hand delivered to the office! Then, if the person you are targeting is not there, and it is likely they won’t be, you MUST call them from the parking lot BEFORE you leave and let them know you left something for them at their office. DO NOT TRY TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT!!! Creating a visitation schedule on your terms allows you to cover many more people and visits on your schedule, not their schedule.

You have only a few days left to use your advantage. Most lenders stopped taking deals that needed to close in 2015 more than a week ago. Getting this point out is a key differentiation point and a HUGE competitive advantage! Don’t miss this key opportunity.

We also have posted the link to our last Lunch & Learn with Terri Murphy on the website. This webinar covers Business Planning for Real Estate Professionals and will be a great tool to share this month once you close the books on the year!

December is the most important month of the year to be seen and heard. Sure, many people have nothing on their minds but shopping and parties; but you need to be out in the streets talking with those people who are still working. They are the very people you can build your practice on!

All the support materials are on the website. If you don’t have ACCESS to the client’s portion of the website, you are missing out on taking your business to the next level. What a great stocking stuffer for any mortgage professional!

If you would like more information about our ACCESS Program, visit our website at IMTCoaching.com or email me Mike@IMTCoaching.com.

Tracking Time in the TRID Era

TRID has brought us so many things it’s kind of the gift that keeps on giving. Yes, I called TRID a gift! For all practical purposes, TRID may not work as the authors had intended, but as the laws of unintended consequences play out, for some, TRID will become a goldmine! How do I see that? Well, TRID makes some requirements that will either be dealt with in a professional and competent manner, or it will be handled poorly with delays and a great deal of drama. TRID will also not care who is the “bad guy” for not doing their job properly; mortgage professionals, Realtors®, title companies, attorneys, builders, insurance professionals, and just about everyone that comes into contact with a residential transaction, including the buyer and seller, are likely to become the target of blame when a transaction fails to come together. And trust me on this; it won’t be long before each local community will know who can, and who can’t close on time!

I have spent the past year or so getting my people ready for TRID and speaking around the country to anyone who cared to listen that TRID requires a plan and the ability to execute that plan to a timeline. When you begin with the end in mind and back out the timeline necessary to meet that closing date, it allows the originator to orchestrate the process and keep everyone on track and on time! This key function can only happen if you have mastered the art of setting expectations and holding everyone accountable to their timeline.

As the first TRID loans are closing, or not closing, across the country, people are starting to already take notice that some seem to be operating flawlessly and efficiently, and others are struggling to get their deals done. I am happy to say that many of my people have already been acknowledged by their local markets as experts and have had people they have never worked with before calling them to find out how they can work together to get deals done on time. Remember, you either know how to get deals done in thirty days or less, or you don’t. You either can get a deal done or you can’t. Either way, your market will sort it out and people will know!

My point is it might be very beneficial for you to start tracking your numbers. How long does it take you in the post TRID era to go from contract to clear to close? How long from contract to CD? What are your turn times at each step of the process so you can do a better job setting expectations and managing the timeline?

I already have people tracking these numbers and the average has been 22 days from contract to clear to close. The average turn time on issuing the CD from clear to close has been less than two business days. I expect that those turn times will continue to improve as everyone gets more repetitions in and gets more comfortable with the new process. One of the key areas that we have found is to be certain that the client acknowledges the CD the day it is sent. A few borrowers had to be reminded to open that email and acknowledge receipt!

My feelings are that tracking these numbers will be a great benefit to the originator and their team. Tracking the time frames of what is happening and when it happens can not only help the process and refine procedures, it can serve as a great tool to differentiate you and your process from others who may be having challenges navigating TRID through a thirty day or less timeline. And believe me; people still want to close in thirty days or less! Nobody wants to hear that TRID requirements are now demanding forty-five or sixty days to close. It just isn’t true. Many originators working for different companies in different markets all across this country have already successfully closed in less than thirty days. You should be one of those, and everyone around you should know it!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com or visit us online at http://imtcoaching.com

Watching the Markets

It looks like the markets are looking to make a run. We have two significant things to watch and both are close to letting the market go into rally mode. First, we have the FNMA 3.5% closing at 105.44. This is just four basis points off the 105.48 ceiling of resistance.  A break above and a close above that level could really support a significant rally. The second area to watch has already broken a significant milestone, the 10 year UST has closed below 1.78 at 1.72. A further drop in this key market could really help fuel lower mortgage rates. I share this with you because it is significant and you need to at least have awareness as to what is happening. With pressure on rates to go still lower, you need to keep alert because things can change rapidly.

While this news will continue to put pressure on loan originators to spend a great deal of time working refinances, I urge you to use caution and remain committed to your purchase loan referral partners and those who would benefit from buying not refinancing. You also need to work with your Realtor® referral partners to be sure that everyone they are working with has recertified their preapprovals for value if those preapprovals were issued prior to 1/15/15 because with rates falling, people are now likely to qualify for more money than they thought, in some cases, it may be significant if they were shopping with a FHA loan in mind using a higher rate and higher MIP costs.

Remember, refinances are largely built on price alone. Without a contractual obligation to close a loan, people refinancing can often shop a large number of places and receive a wide range of information, some of which may be quite suspect to say the least, and out and out lies to say the most. And if rates fall further and quickly, you may end up with a bunch of files that don’t close or rescind; or worse, pay off early at a still lower rate! You can’t afford either of those so keep focused on what the customer is saying and remember; sometimes the best refinance is a sale and purchase of a new home, a forever home!

Now is also a good time to look through your past preapprovals that didn’t find a home and engage in a conversation about what they might be able to buy using today’s lower rates. Sometimes that perfect house was just ten or twenty thousand dollars above where they we able to buy. Well, in today’s market, they have a great deal more purchasing power!

You also might want to ask your Realtors® to go through their records and see who they were working with that didn’t buy or sell and reengage that conversation! They can also look back to see who purchased a home using the old FHA MIP program or for people who might have bought four years ago or more, who now would have some equity in their current homes as well as also qualifying for a much larger loan, using the same monthly payment. What kind of home could they trade up for with approximately the same monthly payment?

You don’t know if these strategies will work with your agents or in your market if you don’t try. What could it hurt to make a small effort? It might find you some loans, it might find you a few listings and buyers for your Realtors®; and it might create a few new referrals and referral partners! You won’t know if you don’t make the effort.

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com