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.

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

The 4th Quarter!

 

So here we are; beginning the 4th quarter of 2018 and there are many choices to be

made. To some, it’s a time to relax and take it easy now that the summer real estate

rush is over. To others, it’s a time to look at the year and see where they stand in

relationship to their projected outcomes. For me, it’s a time to push my people not

to give up on the valuable momentum they have generated year to date. The sad

part in general is that so many people won’t even acknowledge that we are at a

critical point and therefore they do nothing!

 

For those that coach athletes in team sports the fourth quarter is a time were the

best step up and produce. It’s a time when even a less talented group outperform

those with more ability because they were in better shape and were able to execute

under the pressure! It’s the time when the training and your system all come

together and form a collective energy to accomplish great things. This is what

changes the numbers on the scoreboard and creates real accomplishment! In our

business, it also generates all the energy to start the next year off at full steam!

 

So let’s take a quick look at some key things we need to be doing right now.

• Check your math! What are your numbers?

• Who is hot and who is not?

• What does my calendar look like?

• Halloween?

• December?

• Prepare for Business Planning in October!

 

These are all small and simple steps that need to be done. No false images, no

hoping or guessing; just do the math and do the work! There are a ton of

opportunities coming your way and you can really benefit because others are

backing off and winding down.

 

Time to focus on the four “Bs”:

• Balance

• Birthday Calls

• Banker Calls

• Business Plan

You have to balance your prospecting to reflect your time and outcome verses the

actual relationship between opportunity and outcome.

 

You have to schedule and physically make your birthday calls every day!

 

You have to have make your ten to fifteen banker calls every month!

 

You have to set aside time to prepare your business plan for 2019!

 

The fourth quarter is here and you get to make some critical choices. If everything

is going well and you are exceeding all of your projections, make larger

projections for 2019! If not, what around you has to change?

 

The Business Planning Worksheet for 2019 is already on the website

(IMTCoaching.com). If you are a manager or owner and you are interested in the

one day business planning event, please email me and we can talk about the

details. For those of you who have been through this before, the Business Planning

coaching call and the worksheet we get you ready and prepared.

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

“Business Planning for 2019”

It’s the end of September and we are quickly heading toward the end of another year. Many in our industry are winding down their busy schedules and looking forward to a slower pace while others are looking at these last ten weeks as an opportunity to do better for this year and next.

For the last 20+ years October has been “Business Planning Month”; a time of the year to look back at the prior year and prepare for the coming year. I make sure I do this because I want to have time to analyze, review, inspect, implement, and schedule the things that have to be blended into the business for the coming year.

We have all heard the famous quote: “those who fail to plan, plan to fail”, but it’s not just good enough to plan, it’s important to have a well thought out and disciplined plan ready and rehearsed by the time January arrives!

Our industry is facing challenges on multiple fronts. Pricing issues, technology issues, compensation, education, staffing, social media, data basing, and many more are all in need of attention. We also are being invaded by those companies who think that most of the people can be replaced by an algorithm and then handed off to a much less experienced or qualified professional.

Are you prepared for Zillow real estate and mortgage?

Does the idea of “Rocket Real Estate” cause you concern?

Will the Amazon one step $1,000 total transaction have you up at night?

What will you do to keep yourself seen as a vital member of an exceptional real estate experience?

If you haven’t thought about these issues, or if you have and aren’t clear as to the path to follow, it’s important for you to at least take part in “Business Planning 2019” process.

We make it simple for you to take part in the process. Mortgage Companies and their real estate referral partners can participate in a live one day event at your location for as many people as you wish to attend; both originators and their realtor referral partners are welcome. What you get:

  • We work from 9am to 4pm at your location
  • Every attendee gets “Access” to all the tools on the website and personal coaching assistance for 90 days via email.
  • Managers get a weekly follow-up coaching call for ten weeks
  • Three monthly group calls live with the coach to answer questions and provide guidance.

All participants will have an opportunity to enroll in private coaching or continue with their “ACCESS” for discounted rates should they desire ongoing support.

Managers, this is a golden opportunity to help your sales team and your realtor referral partners work together in using real life strategies that provide real opportunities!

If you have issues with:

  • Opportunity generation
  • Social media
  • Use of video
  • The power of data basing
  • Time management
  • Effective communication
  • Compliance
  • Rate shoppers

Zillow, Quicken, and others trying to put you out of business, are you going to sit back and let them do it?

Limited number of events and dates are available, for more information, please email me: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

“The Numbers Don’t Match Up?”

In a series of reports recently published, a series of numbers just don’t seem to add up. Year over year home purchases are up 2%. Home prices are up more than 6%. Then you hear that the average income for Realtors is down more than 10%. How does that work out?

I have been playing it through my mind over and over again and the only answers I seem to come up with are:

  • Realtors are reducing commissions?
  • Less people are using Realtors?
  • Realtors are making more financial concessions?
  • Realtors are spending more to find opportunities?

Maybe there are more answers than these, and I would like your thoughts on this because it seems like these things really don’t add up. It certainly makes for an interesting set of dialogs to drill down and find out what is the connection or reasons these numbers don’t seem to align.

In other news, Barry Habib of MBS Highway took Diana Olick to task on her report about now being the time to sell your house and rent. Barry does a masterful job of sharing FACTS on housing, not just isolating some pieces of information to make a case that suits Diana’s long standing negative view about home ownership. If you haven’t read or seen the video, you should really look at this piece and share the truth with your clients and referral partners.

Last piece of information, next Wednesday September the 12th, I will be at the Embassy Suites in West Palm Beach Florida for the first “Crossroads Event”. I will spend the morning sharing my view of the changing housing and mortgage industry with local mortgage and real estate professionals. If you would like to attend, you can get more information and register at www.imtcoaching.com and reserve your seat. We are booking this event around the country, and we have just a few open dates left in mid-November and early December if you are interested in hosting this event in your area. For more information, email me mike@IMTcoaching.com for dates and details.

“Wacky Wednesdays”

It’s time to share something that I often do with my clients who have appeared to plateau or get “stuck” in the same activities over and over again. I call it “Wacky Wednesdays”.

We are at the midway point of the year and heading into the summer season. As always, now is a good time to compare our first half numbers to our business plan and see how we are progressing. For those who are on or ahead of projections and enjoying the rhythm of your business, keep doing what you are doing and enjoy the results of a good plan coming together.

For those of you who are short of your projections or not really happy with your business flow, now is the time for a little fun and a few changes. First, take a look at where and why your numbers aren’t matching up. Address each shortfall with logic and with an idea of what you can do to correct that situation if possible. Often it’s just a matter of having a conversation with the referral partner, or looking at the message or how you are following up with the plan.

Schedule time to address all of the issues! If you don’t schedule a task, it won’t get done!

After you have made all the system corrections and had all of the conversations, it’s time for “Wacky Wednesday”! This is a very simple process.

  • Go into imtcoaching.com website and scroll through the “Coaches Playbook” and “Power Partnership” video clips and find a strategy or two you would like to incorporate into your business.
  • Have a discussion with your referral partners or your team to share the strategy and gain support and interest.
  • Schedule an hour or two on Wednesday morning or afternoon to prepare, implement, and use the strategy to create new opportunities.

It’s really just that simple. Just use the tools and schedule your time. It becomes more fun when you have your team and your referral partners to work with and help make a minor change in your work week that could have a major impact on your results!

It has been my experience that it isn’t the big changes in your business that produce the most significant results; it’s the tiny little things that often create the biggest impact. So if you’re not where you want to be, or you aren’t feeling that the business is fun anymore, then you have nothing to lose and everything to gain but committing one or two hours on Wednesday to have some fun, work with your people, and create some new opportunities!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Click here to register for my upcoming free seminar event – CROSSROADS

“Mid-year Check-up”

We began this conversation last week and I wanted to follow up with some of the comments and feedback I got from that post. Many of you had no issues with going back to the business plan and reviewing the numbers, but there were a few questions about “gestation period” and I wanted to address it quickly. When I talk about the gestation period of you loans, I am referring to the period of time from pre-approval to contract, or pre-approval to closing. Either one gives you an idea of the time consumed by the process, and gives you an idea of how many pre-approvals you need in your queue at any given time so you are going to close the number of loans you project to close. Example: If you want to close 8 loans a month, and your gestation period is 90 days, you will need to keep 24 active pre-approvals or more in your queue. If your gestation period is 120 days, you will need to keep 32. Keeping track is critical. You can read more about this in the May 17, 2018 blog post.

I was happy to see a significant number of you who are tracking at or ahead of your targets! Great job, and keep doing what you are doing because it is working! However, there were a few of you who wrote to say that you were behind the numbers and asked for some help getting caught up. So here are a few simple steps to getting back on the numbers.

  • Review your numbers every week! Visits, contact, credit pulls, pre-approvals, contracts, and additions to the database.
  • Drill down on your schedule. Are you prospecting a minimum of two hours every day following your business plan?
  • Who and what are not living up to your projections and find out why? Correct it, complete it, repeat it, or delete it!
  • Check the math. Your ratios from contact to closing may be off and need to be recalculated.
  • Why not Wednesday! Pick something out of the “Coaches Playbook” and do it on Wednesday. Take two hours and implement one new strategy you haven’t used and see what happens. Be committed to working the plan for at least eight to twelve weeks!
  • Review all your pre-approvals you have issued this year and see where they all are. You might have lost track of them, or they might have lost track of you. Some might just be sitting on the sidelines waiting for rates to go back to 3%! Share the cost of waiting with them. Buy now and refinance later if rates do go back, because they may not!
  • WORK the summer while others are on vacation! Opportunities are always available; the summer makes it simple because frustration factors and pressure to timelines go way up! Be the solution!

If you have a specific issue or challenge, please let me know and we are happy to work with you on a strategy or a solution for your specific challenge!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

You will not want to miss this upcoming event!  Don’t miss CROSSROADS….

white seminar

“Halfway Point”

It’s the middle of June and all of us should have a really solid view of our numbers for the halfway point of the year. It’s one of my biggest pressure points with my clients is to do, project, track, and follow the numbers in your business. Using our business plan from last October to project the work year 2018, we should be once again updating our information and really focusing on the adjustments we need to make to exceed our targets and projections.

The first point is to check our math. Has our basic formula held up? Are our ratios in line with projections?

  • Contacts per day to opportunities?
  • Opportunities to credit?
  • Credit to pre-approval?
  • Pre-approval to contract?
  • Contract to closing?
  • Weekly, monthly, and annual database growth?
  • New referral partner additions?
  • Actual referrals vs projected referrals per partner?

While we projected these numbers back in October, market conditions both nationally and locally may have put outside pressure on your projections and may require you to refocus your activities.

We discuss this now, because we all live in an industry that has a business flow to it and a gestation period attached to an outcome. We need to monitor that cycle because if that shifts, we could be doing everything we should be doing and all the other numbers align, yet your closed business isn’t what you thought. So the math is really important!

As we head full steam into the summer, our business shifts significantly as we deal with those in desperate need to move before school resumes; and those who may be absent from the market because of vacations! If you aren’t planning for is, you will certainly become a victim of it!

You also need to drill down on the fact that depending on your business cycle and your specific market, you may only have 120 days or less to meet the people who will become the client, who will close the transaction, who will get you paid, all by the end of the year! Yup, I said it; the middle of June begins the count down to the income you make by the end of the year!!!

So pick an evening and update your business plan and rerun your numbers. Get really clear and specific about where you are and what adjustments you may need to make. For some of you it will be a real eye opening event!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Don’t miss CrossRoads, my Mortgage Seminar event on Sept. 12, 2018 in West Palm Beach.  See below and register…First 100 to register will get in for FREE!white seminar

“Size Matters”

There has been a great deal of conversation about “price compression” and “shrinking margins” in the industry lately. Companies, managers, and originators are seeing increasing competition from all angles, and generally what happens is the weaker will do more for less in an effort to stay around. We are also facing outside pressures that are pushing competition:

  • Originators who were buying leads and pounding refinances are hitting the streets and competing for purchase business. Since they have no track record in successful purchase business, they focus on price.
  • We also see that many large financial institutions are reducing or eliminating retail sales, forcing even more people out into the street. Once again, no track record, price is all they have.
  • The large internet lenders who spend millions on marketing and TV commercials. Since many agents won’t accept their pre-approvals, they must push price.
  • Mortgage companies themselves are spending time and money growing wide instead of deep, putting pressure on their own people.

The next factor is that many originators have chosen not to do the work in their own business and have resorted to hiring assistants to do the very job they are hired to do. While assistants certainly have a place in loan originations, managers and originators need to focus on scale and value. There is only so much money in origination. The breakup of that money between the company, branch, and originator has to be addressed because you can’t lose money on every deal and make it up in volume! So you must get clear on what is the real value in a loan origination and what part of that goes to the originator?

The next important piece is what “work” is required by the originator or originations team to have earned that money? This varies widely from place to place and even originator to originator. In my book, the originator is responsible for all the tasks needed to take the loan from contact to file fully ready to process; then support any communication from the processing/underwriting/closing/post-closing team if needed. That is what “top commission” is worth in any format. Now, managers and companies may want to reduce that obligation to the originator, or the originator may want to hire help so they can go on and produce more opportunities. That is fine, as long as all of that support is being paid for out of the total commission set for the origination of that file. It can’t work any other way. There is only so much money to be paid out!

 

The other key area is when do we look to get help? To me, a fully commissioned originator needs to be able to close 8 to 10 loans a month for a minimum of six consecutive months before entertaining bringing on help. The reason for this is you need to develop your systems and skills over both time and volume. If you don’t, you have to keep hiring people to cover for a poor system. That is a waste of money and doesn’t provide for a great customer experience. So rule of thumb is 8 to 10 loans a month, then you will hire on one assistant for each additional 5 to 10 loans a month in volume depending on the types of loans you are doing and your market.

Many originations “teams” or overloaded with people. Instead of organizing themselves and perfecting their system and schedules, they just hire more people! In the past, you might have been able to get away with an excessive number of people, but as margins compress, companies are going to have to think about how they spend their money.

Size matters! Your system matters! Your income matters! If you want to hire people so you can generate more opportunities, that’s great! But you have to be real with what your expectations are. Growing your team should mean:

  • A better customer experience
  • A smoother loan process
  • Higher quality loan submissions
  • Increased volume!

So look at your process and the systems you are using. If you have a team working with you, do you meet the monthly volume requirements? If you have grown your team and your loan volume isn’t growing at a minimum of 5 additional closings a month for each team member after the first 8 to 10 for the team leader, then your systems need to be addressed as well as your compensation!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

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Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

“The lack of housing inventory; a simple phase, or a new reality?”

In coaching my clients across the country, the common theme for the past few years has been the lack of inventory. Inventory; or homes available on the market currently listed for sale, continues to shrink and total days on market gets smaller.

In many areas of the country, this has been an ongoing battle for quite some time. In certain markets, inventory pressure goes back almost a decade! As we continue to see this happen, I have to ask a few questions that might not have simple answers, or answers that are the same in all markets. I ask the questions so you will think about the questions and maybe have a discussion about them.

Since real estate is really a hyper local situation, your ability to engage in this discussion with your Realtor® referral partners is very important, maybe even critical to you and your relationships.

So here we go:

  • Are there fewer houses for sale this year compared to the same time last year?
  • If so, have total days on market fallen, if so, by how much?
  • Are you experiencing multiple offer situations, and are people offering significantly higher than list price on these homes?
  • If offers are higher than list, are you having issues with appraisals?
  • If you are, does the buyer pony up, the seller come down, or the deals falls apart?
  • What is this doing to home prices in your market compared to national averages?
  • Are higher interest rates slowing down the market?

These are all important questions, but I have one more to think about. What if this is now the new normal? What if the housing market is becoming more “real time supply chain” as other types of businesses? I ask this because despite the “lack of inventory” and higher rates, home sales are higher year over year. So people are still buying homes, even though there is less to see and it’s more expensive than it was just a few months ago.

What if we never go back to a three or six month supply of homes on the market? Could this be the new normal? If it is, how do we change in the way we do business to be in front of those opportunities in the future?

More and more I believe that the future of real estate and mortgage originations are dividing into two paths; the path of transaction sales; where you pay for and filter leads to try to convert them; or relational opportunities that present themselves to you because you have databased effectively and marketed your relationships with outstanding value month after month.

It’s an interesting conversation we need to engage in. I may be completely wrong, but all the math and logic says to me that the new normal isn’t completely out of the world of possibility! What do you think?

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

“Gestation Period of your Deal”

Happy birthday to my son David who is 40 today!

Loan officers are notoriously bad at knowing their real time numbers. Ask any originator how many deals they have and they will likely give you a number that is more than twice the number of loans they are closing in that given month. The perception of what is likely to close is distorted by the total number of people that particular originator is working with in all stages of their pipeline, not just those likely to close in that given month. These inaccuracies are a challenge for the originator and their managers to get a real handle on real time business. It also leads to the dreaded “roller coaster syndrome” where production peaks and valleys from month to month.

One of the ways I teach my clients to deal with this is to have a way to accurately measure their productivity and given them advanced warning of a poor production month on the horizon. You can do anything about a weak closing month you are currently in. It’s also difficult to resolve poor numbers over the next thirty days coming. But what if there was a way to see weak numbers that were two and three months out, far enough into the distance that you had a reasonable chance to engage in some activities to fill that future void? The good news is, by creating a simple set of measurable that you can track, you can set yourself up for success!

It’s called “The Gestation Period of your Deal”. The reason for “YOUR” is that all originators and markets are different. Each needs to be calculated and monitored because it can also change due to outside factors like time of the year, weather, and other market conditions. However, over time, you will find this will accurately become your “canary in the coal mine” to warn you about a pending slump in you productivity.

Here is how it works. We use some very simple math and easy information to track. First, we look at the last 25 or so loans you have closed and measure the time from pre-approval to closing. How many days was it? This number will vary, but it will give you an indication of your market and what the timeline looks like from start to finish. Again, full pre-approval to closing are the numbers you want. There will be outliers in the mix, but they are always likely to exist so don’t worry about them for now, they tend to average out.

Once you know the number of days, you have your Gestation Period for you in your market. Why is this important? Let me show you!

If you want to close EIGHT loans a month and your Gestation Period is 60 days, you will need SIXTEEN pre-approvals out looking at all times! If the period is 90 days you will need 24! Just plug in your targeted number of closings and calculate your time frame and you have a real way to forecast your productivity in advance!

So if you are looking for balance in your business, trying to avoid productivity peaks and valleys, or you are a manager that really wants to tune your projections and be able to assist your people before it log jams or production falls off, working with your team can really help!

Understanding the gestation period of your deals and tracking your pre-approvals is something you can do today that will help improve your tomorrow!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Visit us online at http://imtcoaching.com