Happy Valentine’s Day

Today is special day for many people, some more than others. For me, it is also my wedding anniversary. 13 years ago, today my wife MJ and I were married at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas at the same chapel that Elvis and Pricilla were married in. It was the last time anyone got married on Valentine’s Day in that chapel as the Aladdin was remodeled and became Planet Hollywood. Oddly enough, none of our children could make the wedding, some didn’t care, and some chose not to, others were caught up in a blizzard that buried the northeast. Of the people who did attend, neither MJ nor I speak to any of them any longer.

These were important people in our lives at the time. People we held very close and were important parts of our daily lives. As fate would have it, we became less important in their lives and so we became disposable. It is a fact of life, relationships change. Very rarely does the intensity of even the best relationships stand the test of time. Our lives revolve around that change. Seeking and exploring, collecting and rejecting, learning and growing, and taking with us all that we have learned from that interaction.

This holds true for our professional relationships as well. Some people will be with us our entire careers while other will come into and out of our lives. Sometimes those relationships are very intense, while others are far more casual. While some of our professional relationships will also generate a personal connection, not all will. While some personal relationships will lead to professional interaction, many won’t. The point is, you need to understand that things will most likely change, and it’s okay when it does.

Evolution is by very definition ongoing. While you may still have friendships and relationships from when you were a child, most of those people from the past are not as critical now as they were then. Some of those people you can’t remember and they don’t remember you! Others, you can still recall for any number of reasons as they you.

The point of this from a professional standpoint is that some of your best relationships today will be gone tomorrow. Some from the past will resurface and come back stronger, and others never will. The key is to understand the evolution. To always being open to finding those who share common values and you enjoy working with. Working with people you don’t like is not a great way to go through life. Also understand that nobody “owes” you a relationship and you have to nurture each relationship to keep showing value or that relationship will go away.

Life is full of personal and professional experiences. Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to reflect on those people in your life and share that you care. Also think back at how those from five, ten, twenty or more years ago that may or may not be in that group, and all of those who are now, were not back then!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

The Trend IS Your Friend

Time to really pay attention to a possible trend that could make for a big opportunity for you in the months to come; and that opportunity is REFINANCES!

Yes, I said refinances! If you follow the rate market, you will notice that interest rates are approaching significant levels compared to last year. In fact, if you look back at loans you closed between last March & December (2018), you will see that there might be some refinance opportunities to take advantage of? Clearly you have to be careful of EPOs and your company’s policy regarding any time restrictions you may have with your investors, but those opportunities might be out there for you to take advantage of. I’m not saying that it is time to abandon the purchase business, not by a long shot! The purchase arena is doing quite well for many of us right now and I expect a very solid first half of 2019, but part of your job is to manage these obligations over time and now might just be the time to take a good look!

The other trend we are seeing across the country is the power of explaining the rent vs. own analysis! In most markets across the country renting is not a great value! In fact, the effect cost rate on rent is 100%! No benefit financially, all the money is spent and is GONE! Owning has a number of advantages, the least of which is equity! Some of each payment is paying down principle and building wealth! The ongoing property appreciation is also a huge benefit and depending on your local rates of appreciation, it could be more significant than you ever thought!

February is a time for accumulation and execution of the strategies that push the beginning of the market. Use the tools! Take advantage of the strategies we are sharing. Get out in front of the market as a true mortgage professional and share many of the opportunity generating ideas with your referral partners! The possibility of some bonus refinance activity is great, but the strength of the purchase market building will depend on how you have positioned yourself!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Seven Simple Things

With a massive cold wave across the country and as some see record braking and life threatening temperatures, here are seven simple things you can do to stay connected with your business.

  1. Keep yourself safe and warm.
  2. Check on your friends and neighbors by phone.
  3. Call your referral partners and see how they are doing.
  4. Call all your clients with preapprovals to be sure they don’t lose the excitement of house hunting, use your tools!
  5. Check on your database to be sure you have all your annual reviews and birthday calls scheduled.
  6. Prepare for your Valentine’s Day or St Patrick’s Day event.
  7. Work on your renter to homeowner plan and connecting with some Realtors, Accountants, Financial Planners, and especially your Insurance Professionals to talk about the tax refund strategy.

Being safe and sound inside your home is a smart thing to do. Connecting with those you care about to be sure they are safe is also something you shouldn’t take for granted. However, just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can be working and connecting; planning and executing! Being safe and productive are not exclusive!

There are plenty of excuses not to work. There are also plenty of reasons to use some of this time to plan, organize, prepare, and to CARE! Care about your people, care about your clients, care about your referral partners, and care that you reel back in any production that may have been delayed because of the weather!

For those of you not living in areas not impacted by these cold temperatures, don’t get lost in the news! Just do the work, execute your plan, and stay connected to your process!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com


Team Size

Yes, size matters! So much of our industry has focused on volume that we fail to look into profitability. Posting larger numbers of units closed and sheer magnitude of loan dollar volume seems to consume the industry, at least those in the “Jumbo Tron and blasting music” arena, that we often forget to look and see what those numbers really mean.

Three originators are talking about their production, all doing the same type of business, and one states “I closed 120 units last year!” The next gets all puffed up and says “I closed 200 units last year!” Then the third speaks, almost ashamed and barely above a whisper, “I only closed 75 units last year.”

What wasn’t part of the equation were how many people where part of those closings? We all have processors, underwriters, and closers, so that is a company provided given, but how many total people were involved in acquiring the contact, talking to the client, structuring the loan, taking the application, submitting the application, and working the relationship through closing? When we drill down a little bit, something becomes obvious, numbers may not always be a good way of telling what kind of achiever someone is, and certainly isn’t an indicator of how much NET INCOME they had.

In this case, loan originator #1 has her and two assistants to handle the load. Well, that breaks down to 40 units per team member and a little more than 3 units a month per person.

Originator #2 has him listed as the “Team Leader” and a team of six people that are part of his process. That breaks out to less than 29 units per person annually and less than 2.5 units per person per month!

Originator #3 has a part time assistant that she shares with two other originators. That works out to an average of 56 units per team member or almost 5 units per person per month!

So to me, you have to be very careful about the size of your team and the average closings per person per team member. While there is no set rule on when to hire an additional team member, or if you start by sharing someone, I have always maintained that you should be able to close 8 to 10 loans per month for six consecutive months before thinking about hiring help. You should also plan that wherever you are in the production profile, you should clearly see how that new person was going to improve your production by five units a month.

While each situation is different and we all have different needs and uses for our time, the failure to clearly understand what you do and the experience you provide for your clients and your referral partners is a must! Bigger isn’t always better. Sometimes bigger is just bigger!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Share That You Care

I have talked about the changes in the industry a great deal the past year and it becomes clearer to me every day; there are two paths to take in our industry, Transactional or Relational. Transactional business is pretty straightforward, buy leads and chase them until you convert them or give up trying using large teams and algorithms sifting through data chasing each transaction until it closes or falls off the radar. Relational business is largely build upon personal and professional relationships secured through providing value and an exceptional experience.

Since the transactional model has been largely perfected and an controlled by large companies who look to sell leads and make the industry reliant of paying for that information, or by groups that require huge teams of people funneling the credit for the business to one entity; let’s just let that be settled by those in that arena and move on to the discussion of owning the “Relational Market” where people value people and the quality of the experience and the value of the relationship is a priority.

I had a discussion this week with a long time client who has a great deal of experience and is an excellent provider. He has wanted to really enhance his connection with his huge database by adding some personal connection to his people and to provide them with more value. This year he is adding “Birthday Calls” to his list of connecting points along with his “Annual Review”. I was excited to see what his client’s reactions would be to the birthday calls over time given his long standing relationship with them. Since he already had a good steady stream of repeat business and database referrals, could adding the calls really help? We will have to see how it goes, but he said he really enjoys making the calls and so far his clients enjoyed them so we will see.

The second thing was that his branch sends every closed client from the prior year a copy of the closing CD via email. I like the idea, but I wanted my client to follow-up with a phone call as to “WHY”it’s important to them to secure that email and have it available for their accountant. That follow-up call just takes a minute, but it shows the client a higher degree of caring! That personal call, just like the birthday call, is stronger than an email, more connecting than a text, and shows the client that you really care about them and their situation.

When you spend your time sharing important information and connecting personally with a phone call as to why that information is important and of value to them, the client really understands why having you as an exceptional professional in their lives is important! Sharing that you care is a very important part of being that exceptional professional. Reaching out personally by phone is one of those simple little touch points in a relationship that no email or text can deliver.

So share that you care! When you personally follow up by phone just a few times a year, your clients and referral partners will always be ready to share you as a truly exceptional professional that provides a quality mortgage experience.

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com


Off to the Races

Before I get started, let me take a moment to acknowledge my wife MJ’s birthday today. None of what we do here at IMT Coaching would be possible without her and we all know it! So HAPPY BIRTHDAY MJ!

We are just completing the first full week of 2019 and by all accounts, you guys are really off to the races! I anticipated a strong start to the year, but I really wasn’t prepared for the sheer size and scope of the loan volume we are seeing across all markets. If this first week is any indication of what is to come, the first quarter of 2019 is going to be something to talk about!

Some of the volume is certainly due to the fact that people kept working through the end of the year and found a solid audience for their message. I know that the recent drop in rates also helped push some people off the fence and maybe they brought along some friends. All I know is it is a very exciting time and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.

For those of you spending a good deal of time working with Realtors®, now is a good time to help them navigate some strategies to help them jump start their spring seasons. We have a whole section on the website called “Power Partnerships” that will help you share the possibilities of things you can do together to improve the number and quality of opportunities.

So if your people are looking for buyers, there are simple strategies to help with those opportunities. If your agents want to focus on generating listings, there are number of strategies to help make that possible. All it takes is for you to share the information and let the video tutorials bring each concept into focus! Terri Murphy and I explain everything in detail and all the support materials are attached to each module so you can easily download what you need. All you need to do is watch the introductory video to see if the strategy is something you want to try, if so, just watch the supporting webinar. If not, move on to another strategy on the list until you find one that fits your needs. It only takes a two hour commitment once a week to make things happen!

As always, if you have any questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

The Work, Worked

Welcome to 2019! It’s so gratifying to close out 2018 with such great results in December and huge momentum going into this year. Despite all the calls for people to just go away and come back when the market picks up again, a solid group of mortgage professionals ignored those calls and went out and had their best month’s ever! Not just the best December; but the best month ever!

I get all the nonsense you can hear from the “experts” all over social media explaining that the housing market and real estate is dead, but a group of professionals have ignored the self-serving hype and remained committed to connecting with people, building relationships, creating joint opportunities, and providing a great customer experience; which continues to prove to the customer that it matters who you choose to do your loan.

It was amazing to see the number of lenders that wouldn’t or couldn’t schedule closings on 12/31. Some sent their staff out and said that you close by Friday, or wait until next year. Others complained that their title companies wouldn’t or couldn’t schedule a closing so that was that! Seriously, you can’t work at all on Monday the 31st? So to all those professionals who made it possible for all the builders, sellers, and buyers out there who needed to close on the 31st, thank you for showing that we ALL work for our customers and being a professional that values  the quality of a customer’s experience with us is the number one reason to be in the business.

Also special recognition goes out to all of those mortgage professionals who made themselves available this past weekend to serve those who needed help. The count is still ongoing but there were already people letting me know they had wrote contracts and pre-approved borrowers over the weekend that made offers that turned into contracts! Bravo for working the plan!

Another item that keeps popping up is the consistent conversation about a declining housing market. I am not exactly sure why people believe that a reduction in total price appreciation represents a declining housing market? 2 to 3% growth is still growth! Just because property is selling for less than asking price, doesn’t mean housing prices are declining. My suggestion is for you to get the specific area information for your MSA and keep on top of your rent vs ownership costs. Since each market is different, you need to be on top of your information. While national news is fine, it’s local expertise that makes you the expert!

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