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

Deja Vu All Over Again

A couple of weeks ago we ran into a buzz saw in the MBS markets. We spoke about the five fake news stories that pushed the bond market lower and drove rates higher. This week we’re following through on solid gains the end of last week, and we hear that there is a possibility that a trade deal with China may happen “sooner than you think”, which sent the stock markets higher and bond prices lower! So pay attention to the markets the next few sessions to see if we keep falling lower, or we recover and start to retrace our steps. I still believe that the longer term trend is lower rates and continued volatility, but you do have to keep your eye on the stories and the trends and keep yourself and your people informed!

I was up in Indiana this week spending some time with a great group of mortgage professionals at Ruoff Mortgage. One of the things I really like about this group is there commitment to the customer experience, and to each other. It’s not often you see the operations team being committed to the sales team, understanding that the sales team is their customer. On the same token, the sales team and those managers watching over the sales team, working hard to do really solid preapprovals and submit really clean files into the operations team. This kind of mutual support helps everything work much more efficiently and helps provide a great experience for everyone involved. As the mortgage and real estate industries allow themselves to be taken over by the large internet and call center based companies. It will be those people, like the people at Ruoff, who work hard to be the true experts in their field and keep the person in the process!

The “Crossroads 2019” event on October 22nd is now posted on the website homepage. You can just go to www.IMTcoaching.com and register. It’s a free webinar that will be Tuesday, October 22nd at 1pm eastern. You should be sure not to miss it, and it may just be a good idea for you to invite some of your better Realtor® referral partners to sign in as well. Realtors and lenders are facing the same enemy! Together, we can continue to provide an exceptional experience for those who have real estate and real estate financing needs.

Special shout out to a couple of my newer clients who took the leap of faith and went live on Facebook Live®. For some people, it is really hard to get in front of a camera and speak. To make the choice to overcome those issues and make it happen makes me prouder than anything else I do as a coach! For another new client, his first video coupon resulted in four loan applications in the first 24 hours! As I have said all along, these strategies will work for you if you just try! So congratulations! You guys are the reason I continue to love doing what I do!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Was it REALLY a BAD Month?

When you have the opportunity to coach as many loan originators as I do that cover a big cross section of the country and all possible housing markets, you often get different views of the same type of information, but you also find some things that are absolutely the same. Today, I want to have a conversation about originators who have a “BAD” production month. In most cases, the word “BAD” is used to describe a month in which the total number of loan applications, closed loans, and/or closed dollar volume was below a predetermined threshold. Many companies and originators use these measurements when calculating production and often publish these numbers and have award programs based on these numbers. I agree that this is a good thing, but it often pushes people to think they might have had a “BAD” month when they really didn’t.

Let me explain. Selected units of measure and time frames in which they are measured are often a great indicator of performance and usually are reliable to show the quality of work and how well someone is performing. However, sometimes the items measured are NOT a great indicator of what is really happening, and originators and their managers need to look a little deeper!

In my business I use five units of measure to follow the business flow of my clients on an ongoing basis, not just use a set of numbers from any given month. I like to keep focus on the “ongoing business” not just the results in one month or another. I find looking at units or closed loans in any month as helpful, but not by themselves the best way to see what is going on. In fact, some originators may have had a “Bad Month” with closings or applications according to the system that only measures those things, and be left feeling disappointed or upset that they didn’t do well, when by a broader measure, they may have had a really good one.

Since nobody benefits from a depressed originator, and since we are in a business that flows month to month and year to year, I use five units of measure to track what my people are doing because I feel it provides the best overall picture. Those five areas that I track are:

  1. New contacts
  2. Credit pulls
  3. Preapprovals
  4. New Applications into processing
  5. Closed loans

When you track all five areas and the relationship between them, you get a better picture of an originators business. If an originator closed more loans or has put more loans into processing by depleting their numbers of total preapprovals out looking and with little or no new incoming business, it’s likely that the following months may not be so kind. On the same note, if an originator doesn’t close many loans or may not have put as many loans into processing as they would have liked, but their new contacts, credit pulls, and preapprovals are rising dramatically, they are looking at better closing months to follow.

So take a good look at more numbers. Sometimes certain numbers don’t really tell the whole story. I have found that tracking these five areas and the relationship between them helps provide a much clearer picture of the business flow and overall production.

Questions or 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

 

Build vs Depletion

For those that have followed this post for years, here is a reminder of something I have shared before. For those recent followers, here is an important concept that you need to be aware of and how to tie it into what is my ongoing reminder about tracking your numbers.

As we head forward into the spring buying season it becomes more and more important to track and follow your numbers. Just like we compared our first quarter numbers year over year, and how they measured up as a percentage of our total business, we also have the second quarter well under way!

If we are accurately measuring our contacts, credit pulls, pre-approvals, and gustation periods of our borrowers; we need to understand the “BUILD” in the number of pre-approvals in our pipeline. Spring is the time we are likely to see the biggest build in those numbers, and Easter weekend is generally the time that the real spring buying season begins in earnest!

As we are tracking our numbers we must pay strict attention to our pre-approved borrowers so we don’t “leak” any of those people away to other originators! Preventing leakage is just as important if not more important than generating the new contact in the first place! So keep those weekly tracking calls at the top of your Thursday priority list!

The other part of this model is to understand that the longer you continue to grow your pre-approval pipeline over the number of new contracts, the longer the wave of productivity in your buyer’s market will continue! Pushing that wave further and further into the summer will result in a longer buying season for you and your referral partners! Once the number of pre-approvals falls below the number of new contracts, you have begun your “DEPLETION CYCLE” which signals the end of your peak buying season.

Pushing that cycle as far as possible can result in a serious number of “extra” transactions for you to close! For example, if your average monthly number of loans is 3-5 units a month, and your “peak” number is 8-10 units, pushing that wave, even for just one more month is an extra 5 or more units! That is like getting an extra month of production  FREE!

Tracking your business and following your momentum is an important tool in improved production. Those extra few deals also bring a few extra sets of contacts and future referrals! It’s important that we look at our business like a business. Tracking your numbers and understanding your business flow and conversion rates are a part of making the most out of each and every opportunity!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Part Three of the Six Efficiencies

I want to start out this week’s post by thanking all of you for the kind words and comments about the last couple of posts. It has been real fun for me to have the interaction with you and get to share some time with a few of you who are not clients, but followers of the posts. It’s always good to connect and share thoughts and ideas. This week we are going to talk about items four through six of the six efficiencies.

Item number four is your plan execution and service delivery. This is likely the place where it all comes down to really specific personalities, markets, and business make-up. This is where you have to drill down and understand your value to the client. What do you do? How do you do it? Do you connect through paper or in person? Is it email or text? Do you just pick up the phone and call? Will there be a face to face encounter? Having a great plan won’t yield the desired results if you can’t effectively communicate with your people!

Each step in your process has to incorporate the bigger picture of your overall connection plan. Database systems are nice, but a series of “canned” emails will not keep you connected to your client or referral partner as well as using all forms of communication will. In fact, email is the WORST way to stay connected. People are programmed to ignore email. People dump and block dozens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of emails a day, why run the risk that your ability to connect and communicate with your client and referral partners gets lost in that mix? What if you got into the habit of only using email to confirm or document some other form of communication? Use email as a support tool and not an engagement tool.

Item number five is so simple and effective it’s hard to believe I have to bring it up, but most originators don’t ever track results other than to see how many units they closed or their past dollar volume. This is the type of “rear view mirror” habit that helps support the “roller coaster” production that most originators fall victim to! Tracking your business by closed units and dollar volume after the fact only tells you where you have been and nothing to help you plan and project the future!

When you did your business plan, you set projections for referrals from all the potential sources of business. You list people and areas you were focusing your efforts on to attract the opportunities you needed to reach the performance targets you set for yourself and your referral partners. To not set aside time every month in the middle of the month to not only look at the prior months closings, but to look at new credit pulls, new referrals, size of your pre-approval pipeline, gestation period of those pre-approvals into closed loans, and the tracking of inbound referrals from all sources to be sure you are tracking the course you set is like leaving your map on the kitchen table when you head out on a trip! You need to schedule the time to track your results.

Number six follows all the others because you can’t make adjustments if you don’t do the first five things, and doing the first five things without making adjustments is a huge potential loss of time and money! Let’s be honest, sometimes we get things wrong! Sometimes things we thought would work don’t go as planned. Sometimes referral partners don’t refer as we thought. The other side to that coin is that sometimes things work BETTER than we thought, or that we find more opportunities and referrals than we ever thought possible!

The key is to look at the results and see what adjustments may need to take place. Sometimes the plan you have is fine and its outside forces like weather that get in the way. Sometimes things happen slower or faster than anticipated. And sometimes it all comes together! Being prepared to review the information and to make, or not to make, adjustments can really impact your bottom line. And remember, it isn’t always about the number of referrals, closings, or dollars closed that matters, it is also the balance of investments in time and money to be sure it is all worth the effort!

I hope you found this mini-series helpful. I look forward to your questions and comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.co

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