Book Club

One of the things I get a great deal of satisfaction from is sharing and receiving good books. My choices tend to be business books, but also have been known to read many biographies and historical depictions of world events. I have friends as well as clients who will send me books to read on a fairly regular basis and offer an opinion on. I think reading is vital to everyone and physical books are preferred over a reader or audio versions. I cherish the feel of a book and the ability to mark it up and make notes. As a pure business booster, sharing books with referral partners and clients is one of the best value propositions I can think of.

This leads me to the concept I put together with some friends that was a special form of book club. We did it with 12 people but you can work with more or less depending on the type of books you want to read and how committed the people in the club are to reading. If you can muster up six participants in your first attempt, you might find it easier to get started than 12, but 12 is ideal and you will soon see why.

So my group contained 12 people. We first all proposed a list of books we thought would be good for the group to read. Everyone sent their list to the group leader (known as #1) and they then selected one book on each list that would be read and a color highlighter to use to highlight important features of the books.

The leader of the group then assigned numbers 2 through 12 to the rest of the group, along with the book they had to buy and read for their first book. Because we had 12 in the group, the timeline was to read the book was one month. They also would give you the mailing address of the next number on the list so you could mail your book to the next number once you were done, or by the end of the month.

Everyone now knew their first book to buy, the color highlighter they had to use, and to whom they would be mailing their highlighted book to once they were finished. Now came the time to buy your book and begin reading and highlighting the passages you found important. By the beginning of the next month you should have received a new book that had already been read and highlighted. You were to read the book, taking notice to highlight any passages you felt important that weren’t already highlighted by a previous reader. If you agreed that a highlighted passage was important, you would simple place a small “dot” in your color highlighter in the margin. If you didn’t think it important, you did nothing. At the end of the month you mail this book along and receive your next book, now highlighted by tworeaders. This goes on month after month following the same procedure.

By the end of the year, you get your original book BACK, this time; it has been read by eleven and highlighted by all of them! You can now reread your book and see what others agreed with you in highlighting. You also see what other people may have highlighted that you may have missed! In any case, you will have read twelve books that year!

Reading books is vanishing from our culture at an alarming rate. Many adults don’t manage to read even a single book in a year! If you want to expand your mind, learn how to relax and share thoughts without getting into a conflict or running the risk of being “unfriended” or even “bullied”, try book club and expand your thoughts and the group of people who can help you improve the way you think and approach your life and your business.

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“Communicate & Connect”

There has been a huge amount of talk in the industry lately about communicating with our clients. Much of the focus has been directed at email and automated services. While I believe there is a place for automation in our industry, my belief is that automation can become abdication! Automation shouldn’t replace personal contact; it should be in addition to your personal contact.

In many cases, we are relying far too much on email as our preferred method of communication with our clients without ever asking them what their preferred method of communication is! The reliance on the email relationship has grown to become a real problem for mortgage originators without them even knowing it! I personally have clients that work for companies that have a very powerful automated communication system. This system is programed to email the client and referral partners throughout the process with all kinds of information. In some cases, clients and referral partners have complained about the number of messages they are being sent, as well as the types of information in those messages.

My point is the transactional lifecycle of our clients is rather small. Most LOS systems now have a portal for the client to go in and actually see their file status, but most clients never use this feature. The reason is often that they don’t want or need to know their day-to-day status. In fact, a real mortgage professional would have set forward a specific timeline of milestones so the customer knew exactly when certain things were completed and that everything was on track, just by the regular client connection phone calls.

What are regular client connection phone calls? Those are the brief one to three minute personal phone calls or text messages, not emails, which we make every week to the client to keep us connected to them and them to our process. Think about it, the time from first contact to pre-approval is less than ten days for most of my clients. Sometimes that process is less than 24 hours! Once that client is fully pre-approved, it is likely less than 12 weeks for them to find a home and enter into contract. Regardless of how long the process takes, making a weekly status phone call or text to your customer is a great way to keep connected and support the relationship! Too many deals are lost after pre-approval because originators fail to keep connected! Email isn’t connecting. Besides, 12 text messages or phone calls during that part of the process by you or your team amounts to less than an hour of work. Less than an hour to secure your transaction and build a long lasting relationship with that client! How many deals do you do in a year, Fifty, One Hundred, Three Hundred? Using your personal communication to stay connected and building a relationship while providing exceptional service to the client is a very small investment in your future business!

Email, video, and other forms of electronic communication are NOT a substitute for a personal connection. Even texting is working away from personal communication the client really desires. And yes, there are some clients that are really disconnected from the process and have no desire at all to be communicated with. Those people however, are never calling you because they already completed an application online and have chosen an automated experience, not a personal experience. While you need to provide both avenues for your clients, you had better not EVER think an algorithm would ever replace a person for most people in the process of buying, selling, or refinancing their home. At least not most people!

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