“Don’t lose momentum”

It is very likely that by now you have put together all the deals you are going to that are going to close in 2016. In many cases, both originators and their referral partners take their feet off the gas pedal and begin that long coast into the next year. I am here to tell you Don’t Do It!!!

Every year I see it happen, the “year” is seemingly “over” so people relax and hit the parties, go off shopping, or just goes through the motions of “pretending” to work every day. Now notice I didn’t include vacations. Vacations are a great thing to me and an important feature of a productive person. So if you are truly going on vacation, then go! If you are just going through the motions, stop it right now!

Momentum is a very powerful thing. We often don’t realize how important it is to generate and maintain your momentum until you are looking at a giant hole that once was your transaction pipeline! Like water flowing through a pump, your business flow is much the same. Like an old farm pump, you have to work really hard for a period of time to even begin to get the water to flow. As you continue to pump the handle, the flow of water begins to increase. That very first stream of water may not be as clean as you would like, or as much as you would like, but as you continue to pump the handle, the flow gets stronger and the quality of water gets better!

Just like the farm pump, you need to be prepared for what to do with the water once it starts to flow. If you use your final vessel to collect the first dirty water, you now ruin the clean water when it comes, or have no room for it when it does! You need to be prepared for both! Just like in your business, you are likely to not get the best referrals right up front, but it gives you the chance to show your systems and be sure they function well so once the “better water” starts to come, you have a good way to handle the business you really want and to keep that business flowing!

As with the farm pump, once you stop pumping, the water slows and then will eventually come to a stop. The longer you wait to resume pumping, the longer it takes for the water to flow and the quality to come back! Your business is the exact same thing! You don’t have to work your business as hard all the time, but you can’t leave it alone completely for too long or you run the risk of never getting back the quantity and quality you once had!

So the action plan for the next few weeks is to be certain you are engaged with your referral partners. Not just at holiday parties or events, but by having meaningful conversations about specific actions and activities you would like to plan in the first quarter of 2017! Get commitments and secure and schedule appointments! You can’t allow your referral partners to stop working their “pumps” as well! If they dry up, YOU dry up! Over the next three weeks we will look at a few ideas that will help you keep things flowing into 2017!

For those of you who came by and said hello at the Triple Play Event in Atlantic City the last couple of days, it was great to see you and share our new “Power Partnerships” program with you! We are very proud of what we have put together and your warm reception of this new program was very much appreciated! For those of you who would like to learn more about “Power Partnerships” you can go to www.rlppnow.com and take a look.

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

“Happy Thanksgiving!”

As the final push for opportunities is upon us, we pause for a day of Thanksgiving. It is proper for us to take the time and reflect, share, and appreciate all we are truly thankful for.

This year I added my grandson Cameron to the family, and my son in law Michael returned safely from his deployment. Business is going really well for my clients, and I am about to launch a new program with Terri Murphy at Triple Play in Atlantic City December 5th. It has truly been a very productive year! Yes, I also turn 60 on Sunday, so there is that.

What I really want to share with all of you is that we need to reflect and be sure we are doing all we can to be the best we can be. Why wouldn’t we? Why not be better, faster, and more efficient? Why not get more done in less time? Why not be a greater value to all of those we connect with? Why not be the best?

Of all the professional things I am most thankful for was that my clients really excelled at mastering the loan process up front, and reduced the number of days from contract to clear to close. Now much of this was largely due to becoming more compliant and to deal with TRID; but the very work needed to get that done, now has an added benefit; closing loans faster now saves clients’ MONEY!

Think about it for a minute. Closing loans in thirty days or less means you can now lock a loan for thirty days or less. Your competition may require a forty-five or sixty day lock to get the job done. Take a quick look at your rate sheet. What is the dollar cost difference in a thirty to forty-five or sixty day loan lock? Do the math! It adds up to a great deal of money!

So I am very thankful! You should be very thankful! Your referral partners and your clients should be very thankful! You did the work, you mastered the process, you have made the process more efficient, and now all of that makes the process smoother, take less time, and now saves the client MONEY!

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

“Quick Check of the Numbers”

Last post of September and we are entering the fourth quarter of 2016. Now is the time to quickly check of all your numbers to see where you are, and where you are likely to be by year end. This means checking every referral; every pre-approval. You need to see exactly where you are and by now, have a really solid idea of what 2016 will look like when it’s done! Compare your current numbers and your year ending projections against your business plan to see if you are where you are supposed to be!

It is really important to look at each referral partner. Not just the total number, but the source of each one to get really clear on how valuable each referral source is to you. Without being clear as to where your business is coming from, you can’t do a good job building your plan for 2017! Now I know that this is some work, but it doesn’t, or shouldn’t, take much time to tally these numbers. This is something you should have been tracking every month all along! If you haven’t, no time like the present to get started on good habits!

The numbers may contain a few surprises! Some people aren’t referring you as much as you thought! Some people are sending more opportunity your way than you expected! All the data is important so you can make solid projections for 2017. Notice I said projections! Some people like to call them “goals”, but I have found that some people-setting goals are the same as making a wish! It would be nice if it came true, but really not making a commitment to a plan of action that will make the wish come true!

So take a quick look and see what the numbers tell you. You may have to revise some of your thinking about what is possible and what you may need to be working on in the year to come. For me, October is business planning month. I guide my clients through our annual business planning process in October so we can have a good idea of the things we need to do in order to prepare for the year to come. Contrary to popular belief, the fourth quarter isn’t the beginning of the end; it’s the beginning of the beginning of 2017!

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

“Resize the Net”

I have often had this conversation with my clients, but don’t believe I have shared this particular thought process before in writing. The concept of “Resizing the Net” is something I have shared with my younger or newer clients through the years and has proven to be a solid tool in growing the business. The concept is pretty simple; there comes a point in every originators business when they must either shift gears in their business approach, or be content with their level of performance. The saying; “If you do what you have always done; you will get what you have always gotten!” kind of rings true here, if you don’t change your efforts, it isn’t likely you will change your outcome!

So what do I mean by the words “resizing the net”? Well, it’s really pretty simple. When new originators head out into the world looking for opportunities, they pretty much talk to anyone and everyone in hope of finding an opportunity. This takes a great deal of time, but to the new originator with nothing else going on, this provides a way to keep them busy and refining their message and approach. Early on, any conversation is a good conversation. Any approach is a good approach. The feedback alone is worth the effort provided you are making adjustments and tracking results.

In the beginning you get the attention from less productive referral partners and less likely successful transaction opportunities. The less productive people have the time to talk with you, as well as a number of failed transactions they can give you to look at and work on. Some may have merit, but most are likely never coming together! The better referral partners, the ones we would all want to do business with either already have trusted people in place, or aren’t going to give you a chance to sell yourself because you just can’t prove that you can do what you say you can do! Let’s face it, nobody ever walked into a real estate office and said, “My Company stinks! We can’t close a loan on time! Our rates are lousy! And our closing costs will be higher than you can possibly imagine!” Everyone says these things, but how would anyone know if you can deliver? The simple answer is, they can’t! So, the better people spend their time working with those who have proven themselves.

So how do we prove ourselves? You do so by first going out and taking whatever opportunities you can find and quickly making the determination if you have a real deal, or just a fantasy. Sooner or later you will come across that real deal! When you do, execute quickly and follow-up strongly! It is likely that the other people involved might just be that professional referral partner you really want to get in front of! If you do a great job, people will take note! You may not get an opportunity to meet with the other people, but you will have planted the seeds for the second and third time! And believe me, since the better partners do more business, it won’t take you long to get opportunities two, three, and four!

Resizing the net comes when you have spent your time putting in the ground work to begin doing deals and making connections to the better referral partners. Just as you would do as a fisherman who wants to catch bigger fish, you use a net with bigger holes to allow the smaller fish to slip through and retain the larger ones. Your systems are your net! At first, you talk to everyone and spend a lot of time working on “deals” that will never go together. As time goes by, you get the opportunity to open up that net, spend less time chasing everything and working on the real things that will lead to real opportunities.

So ask yourself, “Do I spend more of my time being busy or being productive?” If the answer is busy, then you need to improve your systems and resize your net!

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

“Working toward the fourth quarter”

Glad to be back from vacation, but it’s time to reconnect with the work at hand. The beginning of September marks the beginning of the end for our business year. Chances are, you have less than 90 days to get deals into the system and get them closed to count for your 2016 numbers. It’s likely you even less time if you want to get paid on those deals in 2016.

So first let’s take a look at your numbers year to date and see where we stand.

  • What is your year to date earnings?
  • Home many closed transactions?
  • Now add to those numbers deals already in your pipeline that have not closed yet.
  • What is your current number of pre-approvals out looking?

Now you have a good idea of how 2016 is shaping up for you. Compare the final numbers to what your projections were and you have a good idea on the work you have left to accomplish in the next 90 or so days. Warning!!! You may not be happy with the numbers you see!

To those of you that have exceeded your projections or have already closed more transactions this year than you planned for, GREAT JOB! But don’t let off the gas! The coming fourth quarter will not only help push you further to the good; but it will be the work you put in place to start 2017!

So either way, let’s talk about the list of things we need to pay attention too in September:

  • Check in with all of your accountants and use those filing their taxes in October as a reason to connect with that accountant.
  • Share the strategy that shows us that filing in October, and then again in February for 2016 gives us two years’ worth of documented income in less than six months! So anyone thinking about buying a home in the next few years, this is a very important time!
  • Set appointments with your financial planners for breakfast, coffee, or lunch. The fourth quarter is a time when portfolios get rebalanced and is a perfect time for the “Annual Mortgage Fitness Check-up & Identity Theft Screening!
  • Prepare for your fall event or Halloween party!
  • Decide on what your plans are this winter for the holidays or if you are going to work the “Black Friday Sale Strategy®” this year.

September is a critical month for checking your numbers and making your fall and winter plans. Time will pass very quickly and before you know it, this year is over and you will have wondered how it all got past you. So take a few minutes and do the work. It only takes a little time and effort to figure out what you need to do and schedule the time to do it!

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

“Do it right, do more business. The 8 Simple Steps of Success”

It never gets old when a client tells me that referral partners are finding them! The complete reverse of the paradigm, referral partners coming to YOU! Asking to meet with YOU! Taking you to breakfast, lunch, coffee, or a drink and THEY grab the check! This happens more frequently than you might think. It can happen to you on a regular basis if you just take the time to master the skills that matter!

Here are the 8 Simple Steps of Success that can make all the difference in your journey to success!

  • Show Up!
  • Set the proper Expectations
  • Provide a solution to the challenge at hand
  • Create the timeline to succeed
  • Communicate clearly and in the client’s chosen form!
  • Deliver on the promises set in your expectations
  • Stay connected providing ongoing value!
  • Work with those who “get it” and fire the ones that don’t!

I know you think this is too simple or that you already do these things, and maybe you do, but do you do all these things every time? As I have shared with you in the past, “Consistency is Currency!” If you don’t have a schedule plan of visitation, communication, and conversation, then you don’t have a plan, and if it isn’t scheduled on a regular basis, you are not going to be consistent. You have to show up in people’s lives in a meaningful way using all forms of communication. We have talked about this before; master all levels of communication, not just the ones you like.

Setting the proper expectations is the backbone of the process. I would rather you lose a deal in the beginning of the transaction because you were too specific and too complete, than to end a transaction, late, sloppy, or not at all. You are the expert and clients and referral partners need you to set the tone on how this will go from contact to closing!

The client isn’t always right! Often they will come to you with a plan that either will not work, or may not be the best possible option. Your job is to listen to the client’s story and then propose all possible solutions. Sometimes their plan is the best plan; and sometimes it isn’t. If a customer wants to make a bad choice, that is their right, but you are obligated to provide all the options so they know that they had a choice!

Don’t forget the timeline! If you don’t build in milestones along the way, nobody will know when the deal is off track until it’s too late! We have talked a great deal about the transaction timeline. Use it!

You must learn to ask the client how best to communicate with them. Never assume! Some people want to meet in person. Some prefer email, text, or phone calls. Some want to Skype® or use Facebook Messenger®, whatever form they choose, adapt and communicate!

All of the preceding means nothing, if you fail to deliver on your promise and meet or exceed the set expectations. The ability to master and control the transaction timeline is simple; it’s just not easy! Under promise and over deliver is a wise saying for a reason!

You can’t just walk away from a transaction and expect future referrals. You must continue to keep connected with everyone in the transaction long after the one deal is closed. You can’t keep sending them mortgage information. NOBODY wants or needs mortgage information from you every month! But they would appreciate you sending them something of value. Use video and electronic coupons like we have talked about in the past. Deliver exceptional value from exceptional product and service providers on a regular basis and people will keep you and your business flowing with referrals!

Your business, your systems, your tools, your very procedures and timelines are the very filters by which you will find the business and the referral partners you are looking for! There are people out there who would love an originator who followed this plan. Clients and referral partners need and are actively seeking quality mortgage professionals to do business with! Stay true to your system and those people will find you! If you run into people or “professionals” who didn’t think your system is what they want or need, PLEASE let them go! You can fire your way to success! Don’t work with those who don’t want to follow your system. There are plenty of clients and referral partners who will!

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