Knowing The Numbers

What a great start to 2020! Everyone seems to be firing on all cylinders and both the purchase applications (highest number in 10 years) refinances (up 100% over last year and 60% of loan volume) have made this an exceptional beginning!

With loan rates just below 1% lower than this time last year, the opportunity for buyers to buy that home or make the cost of where they live more affordable is very real! The strategies for FHA and Jumbo loan conversions to conforming loans are really seeing favor with customers. Accountants and financial planners are also jumping into the mix to help their clients benefit from this market!

Another piece of information that came out was some data from Wakefield Research that showed that 60% of consumers felt their real estate agent went “above and beyond” the scope of their duties during their transaction; it also showed that 34% of people would not rehire that same agent!

This is disturbing to me because in the past few years, NAR has published that 78% of people would be happy to refer the agent they used to someone else. Now for those who want to split hairs, there is a difference in a real estate agent and a “Realtor®”. Not all real estate agents are Realtors®, I get it, but the numbers are at least important enough to take a good look at. It would be important to know and share this, at least from a conversational point of view.

With all the online competition for lenders, listings, and buyers, we need to be aware of how much quality of the experience matters in our world!

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Helping Them Level Up!

I spoke last week about paying attention to the calendar and how to set yourself up to create additional opportunities just by being aware of the timeline in front of us. One of those key points can become a significant strategy for those who work with Realtors® or would like to grow their group of Realtor® referral partners. That strategy begins with a simple understanding that many of your Realtor® referral partners work on a tiered commission schedule. This schedule determines the commission splits and often grows with the total volume of closed transactions in any given year.

While not all of the real estate professionals work under this arrangement, many do, and you should be aware that even just one or two more transaction sides can make a big difference in the commissions that are earned. In fact, one transaction at the end of the year can not only earn that professional more money on that particular deal; the jump in commission split tier is often the beginning base for the upcoming year! That said, one transaction more in 2019 could mean thousands of dollars in additional income for you referral partner in 2020!

So think about this. Did you know this information? If you were, have you ever discussed this with any of your referral partners? Have you asked them where they stand right now and what would it take for them to jump up to that next level? Wouldn’t that show your partner you had a real interest in their business? What would that partner think if you offered to spend the next few weeks helping them find the listing or that buyer that they needed, and then helped make sure the deal closed in time for them to level up? I think it would certainly help build a much more committed relationship!

The website has all the strategies you will ever need. Just pull up that section and become familiar with them again. Once that is done, it’s time to talk to your agents and see what you can do to help them make that next level happen by the end of the year! Just ask the questions and then log into the website and share the video clips with you agent! Once you choose the path, go execute the plan! Working together can make the process fun and even more rewarding!

So put together your list of Realtors® you need to speak with. Ask about where they stand on their commission levels and see if they are interested in making a run at another closed transaction or two by the end of the year! Even if they don’t work on a tiered system, an “extra” deal or two in the next six weeks wouldn’t be so bad would it?

Remember, pushing strong through the end of the year can help you start 2020 with momentum! There is plenty of time for special events and holiday parties, you can afford to spend a couple of hours a day helping put together deals that can close before this year is over!

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“Having nothing is better than a bad something!”

It has been a pretty interesting week. I had a training last week and followed up with some new clients and was really challenged to explain why so many people would rather have bad relationships than no relationships? I firmly believe that having no relationships is better than having bad ones! What do you think?

We all need referral partners and marketing programs that generate opportunities. But far too many originators occupy their time with people and processes that aren’t worth the time and trouble. They certainly don’t generate the results they are looking for!

Far too often originators get stuck in bad relationships with referral partners that consume their time, energy, and money, but don’t produce the quality or quantity of opportunities needed for the investment made! My best example of that was a loan officer I worked with that was pretty successful. She was doing a good deal of business, but working far too many hours for the business being closed. When we did the math, she was spending 70% of her working hours on about 40% of her total business! Anyone can see that that isn’t even close to being of equal value!

I explained to my originator that she either had to modify the relationship or eliminate it. While she was really concerned about the possibility of losing a referral partner that was generating 40% of her business, she also knew that consuming this kind of time for that business was far too stressful on both her personal and professional life! She had the conversation with the referral partner and the referral partner refused to change the way he did business. At that point, she took the leap of faith and fired him! He was SHOCKED! She was scared!

My originator went back to her office and constructed a plan by which she was going to do business and how best to do it. She got really clear in her own mind how it would work, and then she went out and shared the plan with her other referral partners. Those other partners were happy for her efforts and agreed that working according to her plan would be better for everyone and at the same time, provide a better quality experience for everyone involved, especially their customers!

In the year that followed, that loan originator grew her total business by almost double; and her total work hours were cut by more than 30%! Everyone was happy! The clients were happy, the referral partners were happy, my originator and her team was happy, the only one that wasn’t happy was that referral partner who went through a series of new lenders, all of whom either dropped the ball or quit accepting his way of doing business.

You need to clearly make the case for Why?

  • Why do we do it the way we do it?
  • Why do we work with who we work with?
  • Why is the way we work produce a better outcome?

If you can’t answer these questions clearly, you might have a problem. You might be working with the wrong referral partners, the wrong clients, maybe even working with the wrong tools and systems! You need to look at how and who you work with and ask yourself WHY?

Having a bad relationship isn’t better than having no relationship at all. Bad relationships force you to do and act in ways you aren’t happy with and that means you are not doing your best! Being busy isn’t the same as being productive! So take a few minutes and look at your business. Ask yourself WHY?

If you need fresh ideas or new concepts on the way to do what you do, please think about the Fast Start 180 program and invest $3,750 to change your life in the next six months; or subscribe to the “Access” program for only $59 a month and find out what tools you can use and know WHY!

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Fast Start 180 is the solution to closing more loans than ever before, visit

“Perspective improves production”

I have spent a great deal of time in these posts sharing information and strategies that have helped my originators and managers outperform the industry averages. Sometimes it’s doing something completely different than the others are doing, and other times it’s about adding one touch, or one contact, or one small additional step that changes the outcome dramatically. So much about what I share is about systems and procedures placed over a timeline that it really helps make the fundamental part of originations simple to follow and duplicate. The one area I spend less time talking about is what I am going to share today is perspective.

So many times we have people that have all the “tools” to be successful originators or managers, but there is just something missing that prevents that from happening at a higher level than they are. This is also true of those professionals that are doing better than average, but not as well as they could. I believe that the difference is largely due to perspective. How do they look at themselves, their team, their clients, their systems, and their business? In many cases, the differences are mostly about the way in which people view these things and how that affects their outcomes.

The old expression “Is the glass half empty or is it half full” comes to mind. Is the work we are doing proactive or reactive? Is it transactional or relational? Is each deal a simple transaction, or is it part of a long term strategy? Is our perspective influencing our outcome for the good or bad?

I like to think of this as a lesson learned from the movie “Groundhog Day”. If you have never seen the movie, go watch it. If you have seen it, go back and learn the valuable lesson of perspective. Circumstances are always linked to a positive or negative possibility. If something appears negative, look and see what you can do to change it to a positive. How is each person, situation, obstacle, or event put in front of us, actually an opportunity to improve ourselves or the fortunes of those around us?

Our business outcomes can be anything we want them to be. The clients I coach all make specific choices about how good they are, the processes they use, the quality of the customer and referral partner experience, and how much money they earn in the time they work. Not any one of them is the same. None of them do everything we talk about. However, a common thread appears over time, they all understand the value of having a really clear perspective of who they are and what they are trying to accomplish! Some start with that perspective, and others move toward it over time! Either way the results are the same, approaching your business with a really clear vision of what you are doing and how it connects to everything else around it can make all the difference. And sometimes that difference is HUGE!

Take some time to watch “Groundhog Day” this weekend. Pay attention to the evolution that takes place when the perspective changes. In the movie the change takes place seemingly overnight; but we all know that it wasn’t the case. Your business won’t change overnight; but it will change dramatically over time for the better. And after all, why not get a little better each day? You can’t change everything, but you can change enough to really matter!

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“What is a deadline?”

I have been having a number of conversations lately about deadlines and how originators find themselves stressing over them. A specific case in point, I was just visiting one of my clients and their assistant, we were out to dinner. We were having a productive exchange about best practices when I began to notice the assistant looking at her phone every few minutes. When I inquired about the situation and why she kept focusing on her phone instead of the people she was with, she said she was waiting for disclosures to be acknowledged so a loan could close the following Monday. That if she didn’t get them back by midnight, the transaction would be delayed.

I asked her how she prepared the borrower to perform in this situation and she said she told him she had to have those disclosures back by midnight, or the loan couldn’t close on time. I asked her why she set the deadline at midnight. As expected, she said it was when the deadline was. I said “whose deadline, yours or the client’s? She said it was the same thing. That is when I explained to her that they weren’t the same at all. While legally she had an obligation to get those disclosures back by midnight to close the following Monday, I explained that if she had made the client’s deadline 4 p.m. that afternoon, she wouldn’t be checking her phone every five minutes looking to see if the client did indeed return the needed documents!

You see, deadlines are different for different people and circumstances. We often say things in general terms like “In order to close on Monday, I need your disclosures acknowledged by midnight.” The problem with that is, midnight is your deadline, and once it comes, you have no options. As a professional, your job is to set in place a timeline for the work to get done so that the closing happens as scheduled. Once midnight came and went, there were no options left. However, had she set the deadline at 4 p.m. that afternoon, she would have had time to reach out to the client and the referral partner and explain that the closing was now going to be delayed a few days because those disclosures weren’t executed by 4 p.m. as instructed.

Clearly this would have prompted a reaction from the customer and the referral partner asking if there was anything that could be done to keep the closing Monday as scheduled? This would have given you the opportunity to have that client execute those documents immediately, and she could have enjoyed her evening! Remember, we need to control the actions and the timeline or we are subject to other people setting it for us. Never set a deadline for anyone that doesn’t give you a chance to resolve the issue without harm!

Now most people are really good about understanding the timeline on the CD, but aren’t so connected to the LE. I have seen a number of occasions when the LE wasn’t executed properly and there were issues. You can’t allow that to happen. You need to set deadlines that work for you that give you a chance to save the customer from themselves! So set the deadlines at 4 p.m; this will give you time to engage in the process and resolve the issue, or at least connect with everyone and workout an extension.

Remember, it’s your job as a professional to set the rules and timeline for the transaction to insure a timely and smooth transaction. Giving a client a midnight deadline, only forces you to stay up all night waiting for something that might not happen. Setting a 4 p.m. deadline gets it done so you have time to save the client from themselves!

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“Lack of Inventory isn’t the Problem!”

It certainly appears that everyone in the media and most in the real estate business are complaining about a lack of inventory. It seems everyone has become focused on this mantra for one reason of another. My opinion is that if there is a lack of inventory, then it’s the result of people failing to take specific action! Here are a few examples of what I mean:

If there are more buyers than sellers in your market and there is this lack of inventory, why aren’t people taking advantage of this new found “seller’s market” and selling? Clearly nobody has made the case for them to do so. So when people who could take advantage of an opportunity, don’t take advantage of the opportunity, they are either uninformed or uneducated. Both of those are solvable by effective and specific communication.

When current homeowners who could list their homes and buy another home and don’t; it’s because they weren’t aware of the cost and value differences of what they own verses what they would like to have. Once again the lack of effective communication and specific strategies are missing from the equation.

In most markets in this country there are specific price points where there is a large amount of inventory for those people looking to buy. The question is; do you know where that level is and how to work that market to draw attention to those who could buy? Sometimes the markets flow from the bottom and push their way up; but in other cases the market can be pulled up from the top! So are you identifying the void and using that opportunity to create activity?

Right now we are facing the end of the school year. Many people who would like to sell and buy, would sell and buy IF somebody shared with them a strategy to succeed! For those that have small children who will be starting school in the fall, moving closer to the school or a better school would be a great reason. Someone just needs to let them know it’s possible! How many families are sending their kids off to college in the fall and no longer need all the space they have? Those people would be a great target to work! Last but certainly not least are the teachers and administrators themselves. How many are changing jobs and moving to new schools? All of these are reasons to connect and communicate.

The lack of inventory in your market isn’t because the homes don’t exist; it’s because people don’t know that it makes sense for them to MOVE! If you aren’t going to be the one out on the streets sharing the message, then you are likely the one sitting around complaining that the reason you don’t do more business is that there is a lack of inventory. In reality, you don’t do enough business because you don’t talk to enough people!

So get out and use the success strategies we have shared here in the past to help create the movement in the market you need. If you wait for someone else to do the work, they aren’t likely to pay YOU!

All of the success strategies can be found at or through

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“Sharing Best Practices”

As a coach, you do what you can to share the best practices with your clients. Most of the time, you can convey the concepts pretty clearly, sometimes it’s best to just share that concept in motion. Well, that was exactly the case this past week when I brought two clients together so they could each see how the other was doing a specific part of their business, and both benefit from the time together.

My client Joe has more than twenty years in the mortgage business and is a master of communication and follow-up. My client Christy is beginning her fifth year in the business and has mastered the art of the initial filtering process and setting expectations for the clients and referral partners. Each of them could benefit from the other’s strengths, as well as the visualization of actually seeing the work in motion. So last week, Joe and I left Florida and went to Louisiana to visit with Christy and her team.

In just one business day, both Joe and Christy got to see and share information that will forever change how they do business. Both people got to see how exactly what they were trying to accomplish, executed by someone that has mastered the very part of the business they want to improve upon. I will tell you, as a coach, watching the student become the teacher was a priceless experience. To have your clients learning from each other, to see how the message and the mechanics were transferred so simply was about as good as it gets. Just one day that will change the way two teams of people provide an exceptional experience for their clients and their referral partners forever!

We are all busy. We all have a great number of things going on in our lives both personal and professional that it can make it hard to stop and either ask for help, or be the one that helps another. In this case, the timing wasn’t ideal for either one of my two clients, and certainly didn’t fit well into my schedule, but it was important enough to make it happen, and everyone involved learned something valuable and benefitted from the time together.

So think about what you do and how well you do it. There are some things I am sure you would like to make better, and some things you do as well or better than most. When you struggle to find a solution on your own, ask for some help! Ask your coach or mentor to connect you with someone that has mastered the things you struggle with. Also be open to help someone who struggles and has asked you for some help. I promise you, it’s worth it!

Our business suffers from the lack of mentorship. As the profession ages, we do a very poor job in our industry hiring, mentoring, and building that next generation of mortgage professionals to be better and more consumer centric than we were! The fact is we really need to elevate our profession as a whole. We can do this by building better systems to support a better client experience, and share that knowledge with the next generation of professionals that will follow us forward.

So with a great deal of pride in my two clients for making this past week happen, the two teams of people who will now change a few things in their lives to make the experience better and more productive, I challenge all who read this to make a commitment to learn one better way this year to serve your clients and referral partners; then share one way with someone that could use your help. I guarantee it’s worth the time and energy to do!

Thanks Joe & Christy! Thanks Team Solar and Team Farro! Thanks for caring enough to share this experience with each other and allowing me to be a part of it.

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“There are THREE sides to a coin!”

Most of the time, people think of a coin as two sided. The story of flipping a coin and calling “Heads” or “Tails” to decide something goes back thousands of years. When it comes to making a one in two choice, a coin flip can certainly do the trick; but as any coin collector will tell you, there is a third side to every coin, and that is the edge! Look at your change. You can see different edge types on different coins. Some are smooth. Others have ridges. A smaller group of coins actually has images or engraving on the edge. That third side sometimes makes all the difference! And while flipping a coin generally ends up either heads or tails, it is possible for that coin to land on its edge!

I bring this up because I want you to think of all the possibilities, not just the obvious possibilities. In the mortgage and real estate industry we see situations that are as clear and as obvious as heads and tails; and for the most part, it is really the outcome. However, things are not always as they appear and that is where your deals can quickly go sideways in a big hurry! We always need to account for the edge! We always need to know what about our situation could happen, even if it isn’t likely to happen.

As a professional, you do these transactions every day. Your clients are involved a few times in a lifetime. Market conditions change; and as a professional you are aware of these changes and allow for them and educate those around you of them. But seem people aren’t aware of changes or are not working with people who have prepared them for all the possibilities. That is where you create your advantage. The very differentiation we should all be looking for; your competitive edge!

While most of the market works on the obvious, the real professionals account for, and master the edge! Some examples of the edge thinking:

  • Having your agents refer you all of their listings so you can save them up to 2% on their next purchase.
  • Having your agents refer you to potential listing opportunities so you as a lender can offer services, support, and an endorsement of that agent.
  • Originators working with their agents on The Forever Home Strategy® or the First Time Seller Strategy® to help generate listing and buy side opportunities.
  • Contacting every professional associated with the transaction to verify information and establish a new relationship after a successful closing.

These are just a few of the concepts I like to think of when we look at what the most professional people can, and are doing to explore every possible opportunity and outcome on each transaction!

While most of the country is struggling with a tight inventory market; some are out there setting records and serving their markets because they don’t just live with heads and tails; they live, work, and own the edge!

These concepts and more are all in the new Power Partnerships Program® that Terri Murphy and I have created to help loan originators and their Realtor® referral partners work together to generate and secure more opportunities. Take a look at to see how we might be able to help you!

Questions or comments: or visit us online at

“The Best Succeed”

The best succeed when times are challenging because they engage the situation and work toward a solution. OOPS! I used that four-letter word again, “WORK!” It’s true; the best succeed because they are willing to do the very things those that don’t succeed are not willing to do. Plain and simple, if you want a result, you have to do the work!

We are looking around the country and hearing from most markets that there is a challenge with inventory. One client of mine just told me that their borrower was told by their agent, that it might take a year or longer to find them a home! Can you imagine? What a great way to present the case for home ownership than to tell someone that it may take a year for them to find a home?

Let’s be clear, in some markets, there is certainly a lack of listed inventory. That said there is no shortage of homes, just a shortage of homeowners who don’t know that it’s time for them to sell and move on! Nobody has made the case and given them their “WHY”! Nobody has shared with them the value on moving to their next home. Yes, not everyone is currently living in the home they say is the home they plan on staying forever! So why not help them get there?

We all know home prices aren’t going down. Neither are interest rates. It makes perfect sense to make the move now! Not only because it saves money, but what do you think the market is going to look like at the height of the spring and summer markets?

It is time for lenders and their Realtor® referral partners to sit down and run the numbers. Look at the demand, the neighborhoods, current and past prices, and make the case for action! Remember, the best succeed because leaders lead! Take out your copy of the “Forever Home Strategy®” and review it carefully. Be sure you are clear to all the moving pieces and the timing of these actions and activities. Make use of your social media platform by using video to share your actions in specific neighborhoods! Create involvement and value by being consistent with the information and your actions!

Two hours once a week working directly in the field talking with the people who would benefit from making a change! Forty or fifty contacts a week for four to six weeks could very well make the difference between complaining about tight inventory, and closing a few transactions! After all, would you rather be sitting down complaining about the market, or would you like to be doing some work and closing some deals?

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The “Forever Home Strategy®” is part of the IMT Coaching Program and Power Partnerships® at  $59 a month can change your business for the better!