The Power of Planning!

There is no better way to achieve what you want in life than to have a plan. It’s not surprising, that successful people have such a plan more times than not. The sheer power of putting your objectives in writing stands alone as the number one thing that successful people have in common. There is a real reason that businesses require them, and most managers are required to build them.

In the mortgage arena, many managers have their originators set goals, but rarely are these well thought out and certainly not built with many specifics, schedules, tasks, and most importantly, an accountability partner to help hold people accountable to what they have said they were going to do. In fact, shortly after these so called “business plans” or “planning sessions” are complete, nobody ever sees that document again. Maybe an occasional reminder by a manager as to what your “goals” were, but certainly not a real accountability to achievement.

One of the things I have really focused on was to start business planning in October, so there was time to learn what needed to be learned. Adopted whatever changes needed to be made in scheduling and processes so we knew they would work. Then really begin to live the life according to what we said we were committed to, and the tasks associated with the projections made. I also selected October because it was at least two full months of practice and integration before other people even thought about creating a plan.

After working with thousands of managers and originators; many of whom are now coaches themselves, it is nice to see a few also using October as a starting off point and the benefit of the business planning process! So think of your business plan as your map on how to go from where you are to where you say you want to be! Make success a destination. Your plan is the map to this journey of success.

You need to write your plan as if you were your own boss. For most originators they fail to see that their success is theirs alone to control. Not your manager or your company; but your own journey where you get most of the benefit of doing the work! And you need to do the work! Think for a moment; if you aren’t doing as well as you would like, it’s up to you to make a change! Think of it this way, when you look in the mirror, you are a bad boss blaming a bad employee for underachieving; or you are a bad employee. Blaming the boss for not giving you the tools and support you need to succeed!

The reality is, you get exactly the result you should get based on your plan, schedule, effort, and adjustments. A plan, even a poor one, can be successful if executed well and on an appropriate schedule! Efforts over time equals outcome!

Creating a business plan, the task list, and the schedule of implementation; coupled with a good accountability partner and well thought out adjustments will take you to the heights you may have never thought possible!

  • The plan
  • The tasks
  • The schedule
  • The accountability partner
  • The proper adjustments
  • Equal your destination of success!

Only you control your commitment. Successful people do what unsuccessful people won’t do. 100% of your outcome is earned by you efforts. If you are happy getting what you are getting, keep doing what you are doing! If you aren’t happy with your current results, what changes are you prepared to make?

Business planning events in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky for next week are already booked full. The webinar for Business Planning 2020 is October 29th.

The free Crossroads Event on October 22nd is available to you simply by going to www.imtcoaching.com and registering for the event. The Business Planning webinar is only available to those subscribers to “ACCESS” or those attending a live event. If your company is interested in a live business planning event, please email Mike@IMTcoaching.com for details, there are only two dates left available this year, November 15th and November 22nd.

The October Push

October is moving along and it’s time to be sure we are executing the plan we have talked about. By now, we should be wrapping up all of our accountant contacts using the “Tax Extension Strategy” and working on those refinances and purchase loans. This is also a good time to record a couple of joint videos!

We also need to continue working the “Refinance Strategies” with all of our closed clients, especially those in FHA loans and those who closed last November through February when rates were at recent high levels. Queue them up and make those calls, e-mail won’t do as well as the call! (Look for the new financial planner strategy inside the website this weekend)

Time has come to connect with our Realtor® referral partners and work on a joint connection with those they have closed in the past five years using the “Forever Home Strategy”. Be sure you also use this during your refinance conversations, nothing like finding a new listing/buyer for your agents!

With October being “Business Planning Month”, it’s time to start putting together your numbers year to date and projected totals for the year so when we do the business planning call, or you attend a live Business Planning 2020 event, you can get the most out of it and project your targets for next year with confidence!

We need to be finalizing all of the Halloween event plans in the next few days and get busy sharing the news with your clients and referral partners!

Last but not least, you need to be sure you have registered on the www.IMTcoaching.com website for you spot on the Crossroads Event Call on October 22nd 2019. This is a free event, open to everyone associated with real estate sales and finance!

As always, questions and comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Rate Rollercoaster, The Trend Is Your Friend

If you have been following these blog posts you have seen me urge caution and patience when working within the rate environment. I have spoken about getting information you can verify and share. I have urged you use caution and judgement when talking about rates, and I have wanted you to know the facts and share them with your clients and referral partners.

I wanted to put some things into perspective for you and get an idea why you need to be aware of what is going on. For the sake of this demonstration, I am using the closing numbers from the UMBS 3% 30yr as my example for pricing purposes. Remember, price goes up, rates go down. Prices go down, rates go up! Take a look at the following:

  • November 8th 2018 – 93.90
  • April 8th 2019 – 98.42
  • May 20th 2019 – 99.06
  • May 31st 2019 – 100.40
  • July 29th 2019 – 100.73
  • August 5th 2019 – 101.73
  • September 4th 2019 – 102.25
  • September 13th 2019 – 100.54
  • September 24th 2019 – 101.45
  • October 2nd 2019 – 101.70

While it being quite the wild ride, today we are near the same levels we were at on August 5th when everyone was euphoric about rates! Yes, we are still a little bit away from the September 4th high water mark of 102.25, but we are almost 800 bps better than the low of last November! 800 basis points!!!

As I have said before, I believe the trend is lower and that we can reach or go past all-time lows in the not too distant future. I also think this volatility is going to continue along with this trend. Barring a real trade deal with China, or some other major event, you have to follow the information and the sources of that information. I follow MBS Highway pretty closely and a few other independent channels, but you have to find your place you are comfortable trusting, and then position yourself as a resource.

It’s always a good idea to lock your client if they are nervous or a jump in rate could blow out their deal. It’s always good to lock near emotional numbers like rates near either a whole number or half number. 3.99% and 3.49% are much different to your consumer than 4% or 3.5%. It just is the way that goes!

Be sure to have the rate and volatility talk with your customers. Show your clients the difference in payments and pricing. Listen to them when they are talking about payments and rates! Share with them a rate/point relationship!

Experts have verified information, share and educate their clients, and provide the options so that the client is making an informed choice about financing their property!

Be sure to go to the website and register for Crossroads 2019! www.IMTcoaching.com

As always, 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

Be The Resource

Is anybody out there enjoying this rollercoaster ride? Since the middle of last week we have seen rates rise sharply as a whole, with huge fluctuations from open to close. We lost a bunch of ground, around ½% in rate or so, just in three days. The scary part of this is, there were five FAKE stories that did most of the damage!

  1. The false rumor about a trade deal between China and the US. It only took 30 minutes for the White House to dismiss the rumor as completely false, but the damage was done and the market began to see rate go higher.
  2. A politician said it was time to privatize FNMA & FHLMC. This spread quickly, but it isn’t even on the agenda for discussion yet! No matter, just more fuel to the fire!
  3. If FNMA & FHLMC go private, they will require more than a TRILLION DOLLARS in new cash reserves. Where is that coming from? Higher fees and rates maybe?
  4. Another part of this was the thought to reduce risk by reducing the DTI ratios down to 45%. Again, not a fact, just a story, but enough to keep the pressure on rates!
  5. Last but not least, was a THOUGHT that the government should refinance its debt by issuing 50 bonds! While it would take a huge amount of work and no guarantee that the credit markets would even have a desire for this paper; people went into a full panic and rates continued to rise!

So my question to you is, did you get out in front of the rise in rates? Did you have a reason or reasons to share with your clients and referral partners about what just took place? If you did, were you proactively walking them through the issue? If not; why not?

If you aren’t the expert; if you aren’t the trusted resource; if you aren’t out there keeping things calm and explaining what is going on, you might as well be an online lender who just cares about the transaction, not the people or the relationship!

The good news is we recovered nicely Monday and Tuesday. Yesterday we were really doing well before the FED announcement and press conference, and then it was a wild ride! We still closed better for the day, but far from the best levels of the day. So keep informed. Watch rates carefully today and Friday and keep calm and informed. Mostly, don’t panic your people! My belief is that rates will continue lower and could reach all-time lows. It just won’t be soon! It will also not be in a straight line! As you have seen, volatility is something we are going to have to deal with for a while!

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

 

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